Photography by Ryan Pfluger at the Top of the Strand hotel, New York, on September 23, 2015. Styling by Javon Drake. Groomer: Andi Y. Sickles: Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger.
Shot in Puerto Rico, the vital trans doc Mala Mala, by Dan Sickles (center) and Antonio Santini (right), is as raw as it is stylized, suggesting Paris Is Burning reimagined by Almodóvar. Given its bounty of LGBT advancements, Santini calls 2015 “the year of love — a great time to be working.” Yet Sickles, whose work won him a speaking gig at the American embassy in Kiev, doesn’t discount the lack of trans support for a second. “Eighteen trans women of color were murdered in the U.S. this year alone,” he says, “and only a handful of people are speaking up for them.”
Parvez Sharma (left) grew up gay in a conservative city in India, but he seems impervious to vitriol, which helps, considering that his latest documentary, A Sinner in Mecca — a story of his personal journey on the hajj — has resulted in death threats since it began screening. But the men and women who’ve thanked him for making a film for gay Muslims sustain him. Says Sharma, “Maybe Muslims like me will be the reformers.”