Politically, this movie is another example of the transformative power of filmmaking. It is part of a medium traditionally gatekept by white cismen with their limited perspective, but the flood gate is opening. Lovell and Drucker do not take an “Imperial Overseer” approach to this topic. When we see Tabytha, Ceyenne, Egyptt, and our other cast of colorful and vibrant women, we see Kristen right next to them. She makes space for these women to share their stories while demonstrating empathy as a sister and participant.
As a result, the film is haunting and feels like a whole picture rather than a narrow one, like other films on similar topics. Lovell serves as our guide through the underbelly of the disenfranchised as she reveals her own story and that of her sisters. Sisterhood is a main theme within this story, as for many transgender women of color on The Stroll. Community was all they had. Many of the young girls and women in the Meatpacking District during The Stroll were runaways or kicked out of their families. With nowhere to go and employment discrimination due to their transition, the transgender women of color in this area turned to sex work to make a living.
Unfortunately, this occupation came with workplace violence. It is disheartening to hear tales of young girls, some 15 years old or younger, displaced and put into a world where they are given the cold shoulder. But despite the tyranny of former Mayor Giuliani, police brutality, abusive clients, and rampant homelessness, the love and support shared among the trans women of The Stroll kept them going. The older trans women, especially, provided the protection and guidance these young women needed. Described as Wonder Woman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the transgender sex workers wore metaphysical armor in the face of adversity.