Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I'm Still Fucking Here; TMP Reviews Charlotte's LGBT Film Festival 2016

Sabrina Samone

Maybe it was the tension that needed to be released from the recent North Carolina laws passed against our community, or hopefully, it was a realization that we must come together to support each other. Either way, this past weekend's Charlotte LGBT Film Festival was a huge success, with an obvious increase in attendance from previous years. I'd like to thank my new found sis, Isley Whitfield and the rest of the team behind Charlotte's LGBT Film Festival, and Charlotte Pride, for their warm invite, reception, and the fabulous experience.

The atmosphere, obviously due to the bigoted law of HB2, was full of discussions, the talk of several protest planned, and the work yet to be done. One topic that was special to me; was the talk of building unity within Charlotte's LGBT community, especially within the fragmented trans community. Words of more structured organization, comradeship, and building an actual hands on support system among and for all our brothers and sisters was refreshing to hear, in local trans culture.

Those sentiments were heightened and represented in the films shown. Due in part, I'm sure, to the  transgender bathroom law;  this year was the most diverse movie selection yet.  Films like 'No Difference',  which focused on the masculine/feminine labeling of African American Lesbians, 'Major', the highly anticipated documentary about the life and times of Stonewall veteran and trans heroic,  advocate, Miss  Major Griffin-Gracy, and 'Those People', a film that began as a typical Gay male film, but went further with a focus on mental issues, and a interracial relationship.

The final night ended with a table discussion on the HB2 law, and everyone was welcome to voice their opinion, and talk about plans of action. The entire weekend event was  planned and orchestrated well, and the atmosphere was very welcoming to all of the Rainbow tribe. All the films were worth seeing but here is just those that stood out to me as exceptional, not only for their content, direction, acting, and cinematography, but also for those within the LGBT community rarely represented.

Without a doubt, for me, the most educational film was 'No Difference'. Director Nneka Onuorah, highlighted the often unheard voices of queer and lesbian women of color, and the stigma that has been imposed upon them by the years of oppression inflicted upon African American culture. It portrays the strict masculine, and homophobic ideas that drive African American lesbian culture to differentiate women as either masculine (a stud), or feminine (femmes), along with other labels that even the community itself forces all to adhere too.
One of the most moving moments, is of a stud that decides  to carry a child for her partner that is unable to carry herself. A woman, who identifies as such, but yet must explain her choices for having a child within the lesbian community.

This film, and it's subject matter is a topic that is long overdo.


As a transgender person, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say we are often disappointed with the same themed gay male oriented films. Yet, 'Those People' will pleasantly surprise you. Not only is it well written, directed and acted, but the plot is not full of shirtless gay white only men. Thankfully, the film had a plot also that did not center around just sex. If you are a gay male, you also will not be disappointed in the lack of flesh, there's just the right amount of it. This is an excellent film that centers around a group of New York Upper East side LG brat packs, with their share of co-dependency issues, addiction and love triangles. You will also be treated to some ethnicity, that's often missed in Gay films. The main character, a ditsy but loving Jewish character that comes off as a die hard bottom, and the heart throb Arabian he falls for.

All the characters face real life moments of personal, and career highs and lows. A fun film about friendship, sacrifices and romantic love. 


The highlight of the weekend was the highly anticipated film, 'Major'. A documentary about the life and times of one of the last remaining Stonewall girls, Miss Major Griffin Gracy.  Laverne Cox said, "Loving a trans person is revolutionary", and this story is full of love and inspiration. It is even more revolutionary to see a trans community together, and united. I came of age, and began transition in this atmosphere and it's so good to see it still exist. It's so disappointing to hear 'all trans people are different' to explain people's reasoning to not be united, or get to know other trans people outside of their comfort zone. This film shows that is possible and more.

Charlotte was home to the first showing in the South East of this film. Several cities fought for that prestige, but fortunately for us and me, Charlotte's team won.

Miss Major started her activism in 1969 as one of the original Stonewall girls who are often unrecognized for igniting the LGBT revolution we now witness today. She has spent 45 plus years advocating for the rights of transgender people, and those incarcerated. She has advocated for those with HIV, trans and gay, yet has had to fight for recognition in the greater rainbow community. Finally, she along with us, are able to witness with the release of this film, the amazing story of Mama Major.
There are so many films, those of us who have been fortunate enough to be mentored by older trans girls or trans showgirls have come to know. This is one to add to the books. A must see for every trans person, both female and male. Not only is it an honor to see her story, to see the work she has done on all our behalf, but what was not expected was the level of comradery the film demonstrated.  An uplifting film of courage, hardship, survival and the bond that links all who carry the flag of being trans.

This film moved me beyond words, and inspired me to continue my part in fighting with my community. Without a doubt, the best film of the weekend. It will inspire you, bring you tears, and have you laughing your pants off.

This year's films also featured the Danish Girl, and a short "Elise", a look into the day of a transgender woman of color in the sex industry. Kudos to Charlotte LGBT Film Festival for their inclusiveness this year to transgender people in film.


Twenty Inspiring Trans People of Color; #Morethanonemonth

Defining Who We Are VIII: Is Transgender Society Unity, Under Siege From Within?

TransMusePlanet's 4th Annual Top 20 Most Influential Trans People of 2015

TransMusePlanet's New Social Network For The Trans Community.
Let's Change The World Together.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Help Me Escape and Be Safe: A Cry For Help

By Sabrina Anna Samone

Relationships don't come easy. Often as a trans person, we long for that one person that we can connect with, understand us with out question, and that soul mate that will never leave us as so many may have throughout our transition. This can often make the trans person just a little more susceptible to abusive relationships. We often crave, and worry that no one will love us for who we are. This more than often leads us to find ourselves in unhealthy situations.

Often our community is plagued with drug addiction, mental issues, and other baggage that we bring into promising relationships. Domestic violence is more than physical. Abuse comes in many many forms. Verbal and  hurtful words, are not only able to hurt anyone, but can be detrimental to a trans
person. Words that cut at our self worth can easily damage an already unhealthy self image of ourselves. Whether the abuser is male, female, trans or both trans, both are damaged, and remain so for years to come. Abuse, be it verbal, mental or physical, is a growing concern in the often stigmatized TBGL community. It's even a more a growing issue in the trans world, be it from a Cis partner or a Trans partner.

Nearly on a daily basis, I'm asked, through TMP to help someone. Sometimes locally here in Charleston, SC as in the case of the local creator of our area's first transgender support group, or globally. In, Dear Trans Family...Will You Still Love Me When I'm No Longer Young and Beautiful?, I asked our TMP community to support a local legend in the trans community, and the response was overwhelming. We far exceeded our goal, and I'm happy to say Olivia is doing well now and in a safe place.

This year, I'm asking our community for  your continued support for a trans male friend I've known for nearly a year now. After assuming he found the soul mate of his life, he encountered major neglect, a partner with major drug addiction, and who left him near homeless and broke, only to fall in the arms of her drug pusher.

Will you please read his story, and find it in your hearts to help, or share this post so someone else can help .

Thank you with all my heart on behalf of Ira (safe name),
Sabrina Anna Samone

To help our Brother, click the picture link to his Go Fund Me Page
Ira's Go Fund Me


From the beginning of our relationship with my ex, who is also trans, had always convinced me that we were soul mates. She proposed to me and said that she wanted to spend the rest of our lives through good times and bad. Promises to have babies with me and that she will take care of us, and build a home together, so I moved in. She told me to trust her, and I did. One day, that began to change everything, she came to me crying that she was behind on a car bill, and that she will have to go back to prostituting again to get the money. She was crying and describing how horrible that is,and how she would do anything to avoid that. She said that if I loaned her the money she will pay me back within two pay checks. So to save who I believed was the love of my life, I gave her all of my savings. She knew that by taking my money that I was left completely vulnerable, and broke. One night, I found out that she was still having a relationship with her ex behind my back, and upon further investigation I later discovered that he was never really an ex because since they had never broken up. At first I thought that she was talking to him out of fear because he was extremely abusive to her; a drug addict that had gotten her addicted too. He often threatened to physically harm her, me, and our baby. He had ALREADY abused and beaten her for being with me. My first thought was to try and talk to him. Convince him to back off, stop calling her, and to stop showing up at our place. I knew that he would get angry, and do what he did last time; show up and try to beat her and me up. I was not going to risk that because I was pregnant and I would never do anything that would risk hurting or losing the baby. So instead of confronting him, I confronted her. The next thing I know she kicks me out of the apartment, blocks my number and blocks me from all other social media and then runs away to be with her ex so I won’t be able to find or reach her. Her ex is a guy who knows how to hide. He’s an ex gang member, and spent 10 years in jail for attempted murder, so he knows how to hide, and stalk someone. Without hesitation, she never checked up on me, deleted all the evidences of us ever being together, and without even an ounce of caring about our baby, her own flesh and blood. She abandoned me and our baby. I was devastated, and hurt. I felt cheated, used, alone, and betrayed. And all of that stress, devastation, and the emotional strain that I had to suffer took a huge toll on me. She threw me out without her paying me back, knowing that I had no money. That I had to find somewhere else to live, and that I don’t even have enough money to feed myself. She did not care if I had enough food for nutrition for her own baby, her own flesh and blood. Since she is now back with her ex, both using drugs and needing money, I am scared for my life that they will come after me, especially after her ex graphically described how he wants to hurt me. She knows where I am currently staying at and has showed up here before. I believe that I am in danger and must move to a new location. I’m asking for donations to help me move ASAP and for food. I need to find a new safe place where I can sleep and not worry about every sound that I hear outside my window. Also, I’m asking for donations so I can feed myself, because until recently, I had friends sending me food packages but to do to their finical situation they are no longer able to help me. Thank you for all of your support, every dollar will make a huge difference.


Defining who we are pt. VI: The Complexities of Trans dating

A Pictorial Celebration of Transgender Relationships

Dear Trans Family...Will You Still Love Me When I'm No Longer Young and Beautiful?

TransMusePlanet's New Social Network For The Trans Community.
Let's Change The World Together.