Saturday, January 16, 2016

LGBT Film Review: Mr. Angel


Shot over six years, Mr. Angel chronicles the extraordinary life of transgender advocate, educator and porn pioneer Buck Angel. Buck has survived addiction, homelessness, suicide and relentless opposition to his gender expression. Still, he lives his truth without compromise or apology. This feature-length documentary explores Buck's moving story to understand the complexities of someone who has overcome incredible obstacles, then shamelessly sought the spotlight and its backlash to share his message of empowerment. An inspirational story of rare perseverance and an unlikely hero.

My Review:

There aren't a lot of people in the sex industry who have truly pushed audience's perception of what it is to be a trans-male porn star. In fact, Buck Angel is the first to have done it. His mission was more than changing the porn industry, but reaching out to an audience of people - trans people and cis people alike - and educating them on the power of being yourself, with being comfortable in the skin you're in and with your body, and owning it. This documentary is about that - not only about his transition and his "man with a pussy" persona, but about his transitioning from being that porn star to a sex educator and trans advocate.

The latter is not as easy as one may think - Buck's journey to being accepted as somebody to be taken seriously in regards to sex ed and trans advocacy is a pretty harrowing one. All because he did porn - and is shamelessly proud that he's a man with a vagina, without any apologies, because it's not his genitals that defines his gender, it is him that defines him, not anything or anyone else. In doing that, there's so much biting transphobia, harsh misunderstanding, unnecessary confusion, and typical hate towards him, but that doesn't stop Buck. The true beauty of this documentary is that we know the man who's not in his industry for himself, but for the trans community, especially for trans male youth who find guidance in him that they otherwise wouldn't find in anybody else. And the honesty here - it's true to the day in the life of Buck Angel and the men out there who are just like him. Buck also empowers trans men in making them feel that it's OKAY to be a trans man and to LOVE one's vagina as a trans man, which in turn makes them feel more comfortable with their gender identity, love lives, and sex lives. That's a life changer. Absolutely beautiful and incredibly touching. By being poignantly truthful about the trans male experience - from bottom surgery, HRT, struggling for family acceptance, and fighting to NOT be perceived as a "she-male," an "it", or a "freak" - Buck tells all from a place of confidence, fearlessness, and love.

** This is currently on Netflix **

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