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Queen of Lapa explores the day to day of a safe house for trans sex workers in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro. Established by Luana Muniz, lovingly named “Queen of Lapa,” by the community whom she is a protector, organizer and matriarch.

Luana and her family, have fought back with knives and batons when necessary, with their own rules and rituals which may inspire us to question the systems that have for centuries exploited and justified this marginalization and celebrate the resilience and dignity of this community.

For more than thirty years, Luana has worked hard to establish a safe house for other trans sex workers with a few simple, but strict rules: no drugs, practice safe sex and respect for the space. What emerged is a family and an institution.

In the face of brutal bigotry and violence from the public, corrupt police and the government of Brazil, this allegorical portrait highlights elements of the Brazilian culture and economy in ways rarely seen popular media. The filmmakers gracefully allow us to be immersed in their closed community, ultimately witnessing a beautiful, tender and human story about love, family and belonging.

Luana granted us exclusive access to this closed group that has never been seen in this light before. She and the rest of the girls trusted us because they knew we were not intending to create a message for the film or tell anyone what to think about them, but rather baring witness to their stories.

 

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