Masculinity and homosexuality have always been hopelessly — and helplessly — intertwined. From clones to queens, Bears to gym rats, the gay community has responded to these intersections with its own unique responses. Christopher Hines’ wide-ranging documentary explores them all.

Jason Hefley speaks about his San Diego gay flag football league while Kevin Reed discusses his affinity for baseball and problems of homophobia in the African American community. San Francisco Lt. Sheriff Vince Calvarese touches on being a big and burly out and proud member of the force. On the less testosterone-heavy side is Mark Snyder, an SF resident who embraces his effeminacy with a “sissy” tattoo, but also mentions the violence he faces on Bay Area streets.

Frequently, Hines gets his subjects to reflect revealingly on what made them the type of man they are today. The director also presents recent changes in cultural norms of masculinity, such as the “bromance” and the metrosexual, while excavating the past for images of the mustachioed “clone” and stereotypical queen. On the expert level, a knowledgeable cross-section of teachers, writers, and psychologists discuss their own views of gay culture and masculinity. Amongst all these different men and their corresponding “butch factors,” the salient point of Hines’ clever and fast-paced film is that, for gay men, acknowledging your homosexuality is just one of the steps along the path of discovering exactly what kind of man you are. — ROD ARMSTRONG



"The Butch Factor" is an extremely entertaining and informative piece that shows the masculine side of homosexuality and how some of the butcher men who often feel alone in their plight to enjoy gay life as a masculine male. This film breaks through many stereotypes and quite frankly could be shown in schools. - KEVIN M. THOMAS

I’m surprised no documentary before (that I knew of) had specifically tackled the topic that director Christopher Hines covers so thoroughly in The Butch Factor. The 87-minute feature explores gay men's complicated relationship with masculinity. The core segments of the film, and the freshest material here, are profiles of several gay men who play traditionally masculine roles: rugby player, construction worker, rodeo bull rider, and so on. Candid interviews about real people's lives often make for the best documentary material, and that's certainly true in The Butch Factor. We learn about the confusion these men felt while growing up and their sometimes painful experiences with living in the closet, as well as the camaraderie they feel just from hanging out with the guys.

Hines is a pro, and to paint a complete picture, he includes a few gay men with different approaches to masculinity. Along the way, the movie makes the point that sometimes the effeminate gay men are the toughest because they had to become that way.

The movie was exhaustively researched, with interviews of a wide variety of men all over the U.S. The subjects are likable and there's enough humor in the movie to at least lighten up the expansive subject matter.

The Butch Factor is a comprehensive look at an important subject, to be enjoyed in the comfort of your living room -- or, as one person in the audience suggested, in every high school in America. - STEVE PERIOD

Reel Affirmations  - Washington DC

The Butch Factor. Ostensibly a documentary about masculinity in the gay community, it was interspersed with so many shots of beefy men working out, muscle men hanging out by the pool, cops in uniform, and bars frolicking at Lazy Bear in Northern California, It's definitely a must-see, and despite the eye candy factor, Butch Factor does blow the lid off some strongly entrenched stereotypes in the gay community


Boys with their shirts off!
Film festivals like aGLIFF exist at least partly to dismantle homosexual stereotypes, which director Christopher Hines' sought to do by interviewing gay men on both of ends of the "butch spectrum" about what "masculinity" and "manliness" means to them. His resulting documentary, The Butch Factor, yields some thoughtful answers to those questions, but balances those meditations on "what makes a man?" out with plenty of shots of shirtless dudes. It's like turning a think tank on gender identity into a pool party.