Liverpool Trans Pride: Behind the Films

With our Film With Pride Liverpool Trans Pride special kicking off online this week, we spoke to the curator of the series, Kelly Stubbs.

Kelly is a youth worker, supporting LGBT+ young people across Cheshire, the coordinator of Transmission Art Project – a conceptual art project dealing with contemporary issues around gender – and an activist.

She organised her first demonstration in South Wales, against David Alton’s proposed bill to take away the right of women to make choices about their own bodies in 1988. Later the challenge was thrown down to organise a Trans Pride in Liverpool and she found an activity which resolved the split in her life between her public, political activism and a previously hidden and confused private life as a nascent transgender woman. Liverpool’s first Trans Pride took place on Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) 2019.

Originally set to be hosted as a socially-distanced event at Picturehouse @ FACT, the Film With Pride special was intended to include debate and discussion around the eight films: A Throne for Miss Ghana, All Falls Down, Ishq, Dosti and All That, Lilly, Finally Leon, Realness, Afirmar Con Ello Otro Mundo (Thus Affirm Another World) and F to M.

But, with the UK back in lockdown, the programme has moved online and we spoke to Kelly about her selections.

“A Throne for Miss Ghana, All Falls Down and Ishq, Dosti and All That, address some of the common truths or assumptions about the transgender experience, but in different ways. The films I’ve chosen very much reflect the breadth of common experience for transgender people internationally.

“A Throne for Miss Ghana reminded me of the kitsch magic of Ma Vie En Rose and the power of dreams and hope. All Falls Down looks at the reality of being transgender in suburban US and highlights how that is not the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow. Ishq, Dosti and All That is a beautifully-made documentary of trans life in India, which despite the various forms of distance, is immediately familiar to me.

“In many ways, Lilly is the film that has stayed with me most since making these selections. Like all of these films, there is a clumsiness to the film making to be expected from film makers working with one arm tied behind our backs. Inevitably there are scenes amongst all these films which hit the wrong note, but Lilly is the closest I’ve come to seeing my life prior to coming out, up on the screen!

“Finally Leon and Realness are two films standing on the shoulders of Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Pedro Almodovar, respectively. Finally Leon paints a beautifully simple portrait of the anguish of visibility – or lack of – of our oppression, in particular relating to transgender men.

“Realness fleshes out our awareness of the trans experience in Spain with gusto, while Afirmar Con Ello Otro Mundo (Thus Affirm Another World) and F to M, finish our international tour of the trans experience and pack as much punch in their very short running times as a dozen of The Danish Girl

“Every one of these films is from a different country, but these two films encapsulate the commonality of experience we all face, beyond the immediate experiences of our respective genders.”

A Throne for Miss Ghana and All Falls Down will be shown on Friday 13th November from 5pm. For the full Trans Pride Liverpool film programme visit the Film With Pride Facebook page.

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