A heartfelt tribute to the parts of ourselves we seek to change.
In Cuteanon Films’ beautiful short movie, adult performer and writer Jamal Phoenix gives his formerly femme body an emotional pre-surgery send-off.
Jamal’s thoughts open the film, as he explains his dysphoric relationship with his breasts and how, this close to top surgery, he wanted to find a way to pay tribute to a part of himself that he so long despised:
“It’s a way to say I’m sorry. I could not keep you, but I love you anyway. I guess it’s a way to say goodbye.”
An adult film, therefore, seems fitting – a way to celebrate his breasts before they’re gone. Jamal’s voiceover talks us through meeting Chéris, his sassy, feminine sex worker character, based on Jamal’s own fierce femme younger self. The film is a chance for Jamal “to be a glamorous feminine sex worker, just one last time.” Unlike cis people playing trans characters, Jamal knows what it’s like to “perform cis-ness,” to become a strong Black woman, even after he has fully embraced his trans identity.
Chéris is bold, confident, and sexy. Standing on the street after a shift in a brothel, she is frustrated because her clients that evening had not given her tits the attention they rightly deserved. She meets a new john (Dante Dionys), however, who takes her to a hotel and is revealed to be a ‘titty lover’. Chéris is delighted as the john sinks to his knees and worships her breasts. As the couple have sex, we’re hyper-aware of Chéris’ tits and the love and attention they’re given. Jamal explains that he had never done a titty fuck, and so we see him experience it for the first and last time through Chéris – the perfect way, for him, to salute them. When the john eventually comes on her tits, he expresses his happiness, to which Chéris replies, “they’re happy, too.”
The trans experience cannot be defined, just as the cis experience can’t. Every trans person has their own journey with their self-expression, their body, their place in the world. Those that do experience dysphoria will experience it differently. While yes, it’s typically negative, hope and loss and love can be mixed in there as well. You can love something yet need to let it go. You can love yourself, yet need to change to be who you truly are. And you can show love to those parts of yourself you cannot bear.
Jamal has had top surgery, but as he says, “We have so many different relationships with ourselves, that fierce femme is still gonna be inside me.” And for this film, that fierce femme, and her tits, were shown a lot of love.
Mes Chéris is available on PinkLabel.tv