by Roger Brigham
I've always had a somewhat ambivalent fascination with the sport of bodybuilding that transcends the obvious erotic appeal and focuses on the sport's artistry and discipline.
I've never been one to call attention to myself but admired those who were willing not just to put themselves on display, but deliberately put themselves out there to be judged. I have respected the vision and the discipline it takes to sculpt and build out one's own flesh into a beautiful display of symmetry, proportion, and elegance. I've also mourned the deaths and ailments so often triggered by those who use chemical crutches to cheat their way to their goals.
Now, transgender bodybuilding is giving me an entirely different reason to enjoy the sport. In this context, even scars are beautiful, reminders of the physical and psychological challenges for the athletes to lay claim to their own bodies.
Frameline hosted last weekend in Oakland a free screening of "Man Made," an award-winning 2018 documentary focused on four transgender male bodybuilders who competed in Trans FitCon, an annual all-transgender bodybuilding competition in Atlanta. It is a compelling film that goes past the headlines and political lenses through which so many of us gain our knowledge of transgender issues and delves into the pain, the joy, and the journeys of self discovery necessary for some individuals to navigate to free themselves from the grip of the imperfect gender binary.
After the film, I got the chance to chat with one of the competitors from the film, Dominic Chilko, and what bodybuilding meant to him as a transgender man.
If you’ve been waiting to watch Oscar winner Colin Firth in a relationship with The Devil Wears Prada‘s Stanley Tucci as they embark on a cross-country road trip, your opportunity is here.
The pair play a committed gay couple in an upcoming film written and directed by Eastenders star Harry Macqueen.
Supernova follows Sam and Tusker celebrating two decades of love with a road trip across the UK to visit moments of the past as Tusker struggles with an early-onset dementia diagnosis. Firth, known for his critically acclaimed acting as King George VI in The King’s Speech, will star as Sam. Tucci, who has played several gay characters or characters revered by the LGBTQ community, is playing his partner Tusker. They embark on the road to reconvene with familiar faces and places as Tusker’s condition begins to worsen.
Speaking to Variety, Macqueen says his second feature film is a deeply romantic, modern love story.
“It follows two people who are bound together by their love for each other but being pushed apart by the situation they find themselves in,” Macqueen said. “Since Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.”
“It is an intimate, naked portrayal of a relationship facing a fissure that threatens to cut it to its very core.”
One commentator said, “We could comment on two heterosexual actors once again taking gay roles, but we’re willing to forgive as long as there’s at least one shirtless kissing scene.
With our weak rand, travel, particularly international travel is a very costly pleasure. This is not so much because of the cost of the ticket, though a return trip to Cape Town in high season can cost over R4000 whereas a ticket on the same dates to Rome or Bangkok is around R7500. The bigger problem is once you are there, where are you going to stay as accommodation will cost a whole lot more? Because of this a lot of people are turning to groups like Queer Couchsurfers on Facebook, and they report that this is the way to travel. Where else can you find free places to stay when travelling around the world, or even at home in SA? You may even get a shag into the deal!
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