It’s an open secret among transgender men: after coming out as trans, many of us develop an attraction for other men. DESIRE LINES is a feature-length essay film exploring what’s at stake for everyone when our sexual desires lead to feelings of social and political precarity.
Situated at the intersection of sex, gender, and desire, DESIRE LINES is a richly immersive film comprised of one-on-one interviews, erotic encounters, observational footage, performed scenarios, and a fictional narrative presenting an abbreviated history of the bathhouse. The bathhouse functions as a contested location: one that many cisgender and transgender men cite as a place of bodily acceptance and sexual transformation.
For some gay men the spectre of the HIV/AIDS crisis looms, while some trans men who seek to fit in engage in risky behaviors to do so. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the film seeks to illuminate the historical connections between these ongoing public health crises and the biopolitics of government indifference.
Anchored in bodies, public and private spaces, and the changing social sphere of the bathhouse, DESIRE LINES is a timely new work that reveals as much about why sexual desires might change as gender presentation changes as it does about masculinity in our culture. Through my own curiosity, the film invites viewers to remain open to the multiplicity of experiences reflected on screen, while emphasizing gender as a prism through which all other aspects of the self—race, class, and nationhood (among others) —are refracted.