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Lupe: A Bold Film About Immigration and Gender Identity

A closeup of a man

In the powerful film, “Lupe,” directors Andre Phillips and Charles Vuolo explore the themes of immigration, family and gender identity, as seen through the eyes of a Cuban-immigrant boxer, Rafael (played brilliantly by Rafael Albarrán). Referred to as they, Rafael struggles with their identity while searching for their missing sister, Isabelle, in New York’s underground sex industry.

To ensure the story felt authentic to Latinx and queer culture, the producer Kerry Michelle O’brien, who identifies as trans, and the film’s directors, let Lana’s scenes, played by trans actress Celia Harrison, be unscripted so that her voice and perspective could shine through.

While I am thankful for films like Lupe, and groundbreaking shows like Pose, because they are spearheading true LGBTQ representation in media, now is the time for more stories like these to shine. Showcasing the struggles of marginal people to blend into the greater culture, with nuance and care for development of fully realized characters is what we desperately need. I can’t wait for people who are battling with their community over their identity to see this movie. Because, yes, quality representation matters.

Check out the trailer for Lupe below and let us know what you think.


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