GENDERNAUTS explores phenomena of gender fluidity at the end of the millennium in the Bay Area, California. It is a film about cyborgs, people who alter their bodies and minds with new technologies and chemistry, with an emphasis on biological women who use the male sexual hormone testosterone. We get to know San Francisco’s leading gender mixers: Max Wolf Valerio, who reads from his book, Max, A Man; Jordy Jones and his Net art; Texas Tomboy and his video art; Stafford, who explores new business venues and, together with Jordy Jones, organizes “Club Confidential,” the world’s leading gender bender event. We meet Hida, an intersexed woman, who happily inhabits the middle ground between male and female; and two extraordinary biological women who support transgender people: sex goddess Annie Sprinkle and ex-centerfold model Tornado, who was Stafford’s lover and is the self-proclaimed mother of Texas Tomboy. We take excursions into the life of the spotted hyena, a very special animal society. The female hyena has an enlarged clitoris that looks like a penis. Her bloodstream carries a large amount of testosterone especially when she’s pregnant. Our tour guide for the journey through shifting gender identities is Sandy Stone, also known as the “Goddess of Cyberspace,” who is Director of the ACTLab at the University of Texas at Austin.
Monika Treut have depicted in her films for nearly two decades the worlds that the mainstream media tends to treat as “deviant.” Her work consistently explores challenging and controversial issues surrounding minority sexual and gender identities. Born in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Treut studied literature and political science in Marburg/Lahn and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. It has been published as The Cruel Woman: Female Images in de Sade and von Sacher-Masoch.