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‘Gun Hill Road’

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A Bronx transgender teenager clashes with her estranged and traditionally macho father. 2011

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“As a transgender Afro-Latina from the Bronx, I understood the lack of inclusion and visibility not only of transgender women in film, but specifically of Black and Brown transgender women,” said Harmony Santana, who became the first openly transgender performer nominated for a major American acting award when she drew an Independent Spirit nomination for her performance in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s “Gun Hill Road.” Santana said transgender people of color face a unique struggle: not only must they face the socioeconomic consequences of generational oppression, but also a lack of acceptance from their own communities as a result of patriarchal ideologies and toxic masculinity. That’s why onscreen representation is a lifeline: “The mental, spiritual, and physical changes a transgender person undergoes during their lifetime is something only another transgender person can fully understand, so when you are able to see people who look like you and share those similar experiences in a film, there is something within you that gains hope and feels less lonely in your experience.”