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This Pride Month, HBO will air The Stroll, a documentary on the history of New York City’s Meatpacking District as seen through the eyes of transgender s*x workers. On June 21, 2023, the documentary will be shown live on HBO and HBO Max. It made its international debut earlier this year, on January 23, 2023, at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes.
The following is the official trailer for The Stroll (2023):
Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker, who represent the LGBTQ community and are best known for their films Random Acts of Flyness (2018) and She Gone Rogue (2012), respectively, direct the documentary. The film is inspired on Kristen Lovell’s real experiences as a s*x worker in New York City in the 1990s, when she chose the industry as a last alternative after being rejected by other career prospects due to her gender identity.
The Stroll on HBO: A glimpse inside HBO’s forthcoming documentary on New York City’s 14th Street
According to HBO’s official website, the film was inspired by Kristen Lovell’s real experiences when she initially relocated to New York City and started working as an s*x worker after being dismissed from a coffee shop due to her transition into a transwoman. It says,
“Like many transgender women of color during this era (the 1990s), Kristen Lovell began s*x work in an area known as The Stroll in the Meatpacking District of lower Manhattan, where trans women congregated and forged a deep camaraderie to protect each other from harassment and violence.”
It goes on to say,
“Reuniting her sisters to tell this essential New York story from their first-hand experiences, Kristen’s intimate narration and interviews bring an astonishing array of archival material of bygone New York from the 1970s through the early 2000s to life.”
The presenters, including the filmmaker, Kristen Lovell, can be seen in the teaser navigating the fourteenth street known as “The Stroll,” interviewing 11 trans women who worked there for durations ranging from 2 to 25 years. They revealed their horrific experiences and how, as trans persons of color, they often experienced prejudice from both neighbors and their customers, who ended up exploiting them. The trailer also criticizes the media outlets of the 1980s, which often referred to them as “criminals,” contributing significantly to their otherization.
Their allegations include being accused of murder, being detained by officers who employed their services, being pulled by automobiles for half a block, being driven out of the area, and being beaten but denied care at the hospital, among other things.
Despite the common tragedy, the group rallies to fight for equitable treatment and respect and refuse to discuss s*x work with shame or stigma. Members of these groups also discuss their experiences protesting for equal rights. One of them states in the teaser,
“The system never provided us with resources; we created them.”
The Stroll receives excellent feedback after its Sundance Film Festival premiere. The HBO documentary, which debuted on January 23, 2023, at the Sundance Film Festival, received excellent reviews from reviewers. It has an IMDB rating of 7.7/10 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 8.2/10.
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