★★★★ | Mr Angel
Buck Angel is a brawny muscular red-headed good-looking bearded hunk. With his heavily tattooed body, his twinkling eyes and his infectious smile, he is in fact one very hot man. In our label-fixated society Buck is actually transgender, or as he loves to describe himself so succinctly, he is ‘a man with a pussy’.
What strikes you immediately in this extraordinary wonderful documentary by Dan Hunt, is that before you start to try to get your head around all the gender-transitioning is how remarkably charismatic and engaging Buck truly is. He is full of charm, totally fearless with such a strong sense of purpose which we soon discover is something he achieved only after battling so many demons in his past.
Buck has always identified himself as a male – even when he grew up – he was a rather stunning looking woman who carved a career out of fashion modeling. That in turn led to cocaine and then a rapid spiral downwards where he ended up turning tricks, more suicide attempts and then literally ending up in the gutter.
Life eventually changed for him for the better after taking hormones and testosterone and he had a double mastectomy and ‘Buck’ was born. Not content with just being a male, he worked out aggressively and once he achieved a really great physique he launched into a career in porn. Here he carved out a unique niche for himself because as he kept saying ‘he never had bottom’ surgery.
As we follow him making personal appearances at Sex Industry Trade Shows he is unabashedly proud about his career and although he repeatedly insists that he is not a sexual oddity, he definitely is challenging the accepted terms and classifications we are currently used too. For examples he shoots videos with gay men for the gay market, but as his partners are penetrating his vagina, doesn’t that make it ‘straight’ sex? And when he does another scene with a MTF person who still has a penis, isn’t that also heterosexual sex?
I have to say that regardless of the technicalities of the actual penetration that takes considerable mind-blowing, you are firmly persuaded by a combination of Buck’s words, demeanor, attitude and spirit that he is very much a man.
The documentary made over 6 years sees Buck now happily married to Elayne, a piercing expert, and they are living in Mexico with countless dogs. Buck is now re-positioning himself from sex-worker to sex educator as he undertakes a series of speaking engagements and advocacy about gender-roles in particular. I would normally be skeptical about how anyone can switch sides like this and be either accepted or respected, but it’s hard not to be swept away by the combination of Buck’s enthusiasm and the belief in has in himself.
One of the biggest hurdles Buck had to overcome was helping his parents and siblings come to terms with his new persona. It’s not just the gender altering but it is also the porn career, which is hard for all of them to get their heads around. It is a remarkable journey that they all take together, and I defy anyone not to reach for the tissues when his father breaks down.
This is not a film for everyone… Some of the imagery is very graphic. I do hope it gets the biggest audience it deserves.
Full credit to Mr. Hunt for not only helping to start de-mystifying some of these questions, but more essentially for the respect that he accorded both Buck and his story.
Available on Amazon