Man Made: It’s Not About Winning—It’s About Survival

Man Made Documentary

At first glance, you might think that the forthcoming documentary, Man Made, is about hyper masculinity in the fast-growing trans male bodybuilding subculture, but that assumption would miss the mark. In truth, Man Made goes much deeper than skin and muscles. While its subjects aim to construct muscular bodies, they are in fact pursuing much more: their true, real selves. This examination, along with the film’s messages of inclusion, acceptance, healing and hope, makes it an essential work.

“Set against the backdrop of bodybuilding competition, this film examines what it takes to mold yourself into the person you always hoped you could be. But the strength on display in Man Made transcends the physical. Beyond the swagger involved in being able to strike poses on stage—in bodies that are different from anything they believed they could have—most of these subjects, like many transpeople who aren’t bodybuilders, have weathered unspeakable hardships.

“They have survived suicide attempts; mental and physical abuse; depression and anxiety; drug and alcohol addiction; being kicked out of family homes; prayed over by preachers and doused in holy water; cheated on by partners; and warned never to come back to their native country under threat of being killed.

“This is both a riveting competition film and a unique social justice narrative—as well as a much larger examination of how we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, figuratively and literally.

“For the men of Man Made, it’s not about winning—it’s about survival.”

– Excerpt from the Director’s Statement

Directed by T Cooper, produced by Mandalay Sports Media, and featuring competitors from the annual Trans Fitness Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Man Made is expected to be released next summer (2017.) For a sneak preview, check out the trailer below.

T CooperT Cooper is an American novelist, journalist, television-writer, and activist. He is the author of four novels. His most recent books are the nonfiction Real Man Adventures (McSweeney’s, 2013), and Young Adult novel Changers Book One: Drew (Akashic Books, 2014), which he co-wrote with Allison Glock-Cooper. –

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