Monday, March 15, 2021

Story of Black trans icon 'Mama Gloria' opens new season of 'AfroPoP

As we approach the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, a war is underway against transgender women on several fronts. On one hand fatal violence against transgender women, many of whom are Black, is at a high, with 2020 having been the most violent year ever according to Human Rights Campaign. In state capitals, legislative attacks have also mounted with a record number of bills (82, this year alone) having been introduced to take away the rights of transgender people, even as transgender rights protection is the subject of federal legislation.

This April, season 13 of the documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange opens with Mama Gloria. Directed by Luchina Fisher, the film presents an intimate profile of Gloria Allen, a Black transgender woman and living legend in the Chicago LGBTQ+ community. Born in Chicago in the 1940s, Gloria brings viewers along as she reminisces about her family and childhood, her struggles and joys in love and life, the LGBTQ history she has lived through and the groundbreaking charm school she started in 2011 that served the city’s homeless transgender youth, teaching them about decorum as well as providing them with a sense of community. Gloria also takes audiences along with her in the activities of her contemporary life, as she navigates her golden years with her characteristic joy, humor and grace. Inspired by the love Gloria has given to the young people she has mothered over the years and by director Luchina Fisher’s love for her own transgender daughter Gia, the film is the season premiere for AfroPoP season 13, airing on WORLD Channel and on Monday, April 5.