Cinema Politica continues its legacy of screening truth to power through the lens of a trans-woman activist
Cinema Politica’s upcoming screening, MAJOR!, directed by Annalise Ophelian, aims to depict the struggles and abuse faced by trans* women of colour on a daily basis, particularly in prison. It won Best Documentary at the New Jersey LGBTQ Film Festival, the Queer Hippo International LGBTQ Film festival and the Boston LGBTQ Film Festival. The Kickstarter campaign associated with the film raised over $25,000, which provided the funds necessary to complete the project.
The film, set in San Francisco, tells the story of Miss Major, a trans-woman activist who has dedicated 40 years of her life to fighting for the rights of the trans* community. Miss Major is a very animated person who never fails to make you laugh throughout the documentary. She brings light to very dark stories and gives hope to the hopeless. The film intertwines Miss Major’s personal story of becoming a trans* woman and an activist with the stories of people who have experienced violence and punishment for being trans*. MAJOR! showcases the courage of those who fight against the hate crimes and discrimination aimed at the trans*community.
The film separates the themes of the story into several “chapters” in an interesting way. From the first chapter to the last, the story teaches us about trans* rights and the everyday struggles trans* people face, while also exuding the love this community has for one another. Miss Major, also referred to as “Mama Major,” is the mother hen who brings all of this love together. She is the go-to person for advice, she helps strengthen those who need it, she cares about people’s experiences and she listens to those who come to her for advice or council. The chapters in the film provide valuable information about the The Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex Justice Project—an organization run by members of the trans* community and previously directed by Miss Major—as well as other statistics about the criminal justice system and street economics, the term used to describe the methods which some trans* women have to turn to prostitution or drugs in order to make a living.
This film is a definite eye-opener. Even if you are well-aware of the discrimination trans* people constantly battle, you will certainly learn something new. Each and every one of the stories recounted in this film is unique and should be heard. Some of the interview subjects include Major’s previous romantic partners, her son and many of the people she has helped throughout the years.
The trans*community has countless stories to be told and MAJOR! allows for a few of these stories to be heard, including Miss Major’s. The film recognizes her for all the hard work she has done in her community. It shows us that she is a legendary advocate for trans*rights, and that never giving up is the true foundation of change.
Be sure to check out MAJOR! at this year’s Cinema Politica. It will be screened on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Concordia in H-110.