Documentary Revisits Transgender Protagonists Decades Later

A man, Max Wolf Valerio, crosses a street in San Francisco in a still from the documentary "Genderation."

Courtesy of Frameline.

Max Wolf Valerio in a still from "Genderation."

More than 20 years ago, filmmaker Monika Treut documented the lives of a group of people in San Francisco exploring gender and what it means to be transgender to create a film called “Gendernauts.” In Treut’s new film, “Genderation,” she follows up with these same protagonists to see how shifting social scenes, political climates and individual circumstances of their lives have affected them. Treut and poet and documentary protagonist Max Wolf Valerio joined “Civic” to reflect on changes in the city and the nation, and the different kinds of transitions we experience as we grow older.

“Genderation” will screen exclusively in-person on June 20 at the Roxie Theater as part of Frameline.

“I think all of us are always changing. It’s not just trans people. Maybe trans people can teach the world how to be comfortable in transformation, and in taking, I hate to say, control of your life. But it’s being able to sort of steer your ship. But you’re also open, always open, because there’s so many surprises along the way. Which is what I found out when I did transition.”

— Max Wolf Valerio

“As a European, German, San Francisco was for me like a paradise. I mean, I came to San Francisco first time in the mid ‘80s, 1985. I showed my first film at Frameline. And Germany was very dark, and very stern and Spartanic in terms of a queer movement. It was still very politically correct. There were the lesbians, there were the gay men and the feminists hadn’t really lived up to anything queer. So coming to San Francisco was breathing fresh air, to be inspired by so many different forms of existence and freedom and experimentation. This spirit was, I think, very lively until, let’s say, the early 2000s in my experience.”

— Monika Treut