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This Season's Must-See Queer Docs

Trans List

Watch out for Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s Sexual Revolution and The Trans List.

From left: Nicole Maines and Janet Mock. Courtesy of T. Greenfield-Sanders / HBO.

HBO has become a reliable purveyor of premium LGBT documentaries, and this winter it delivers another two. The first, Mariela Castro's March: Cuba's Sexual Revolution (premiering November 28), directed by Jon Alpert, follows Raul's daughter, a pioneering activist who, through her work as the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, has helped advance LGBT rights in a country that, during the Cuban Revolution, sent gay men away to labor camps. Though their wounds are still fresh, subjects like Yanet and Mailin, a rural couple who jokingly refer to themselves as "lesbian peasants," and Juani, a trans man who boasts about his sex appeal post-gender reassignment surgery, reveal a fascinating snapshot of a nation evolving in real time.

Meanwhile, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders's The Trans List (premiering December 5) seeks to illuminate, in interviewer Janet Mock's words, "the mesmerizing constellation" of trans identities. From photographer Amos Mac recalling a childhood spent rummaging for boyish clothes in the Kmart girls section to legendary performer Miss Major Griffin-Gracy detailing her standoff with police at Stonewall, the film's stories are painful, heartwarming, and revelatory, often all at once.

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