Luchando (Movie Review)

Luchando is a Spanish word meaning “to fight,” and it lends itself well to the title of Noelle Stout’s amazing documentary about the queer hustler underground in Havana, playing at Docfest at San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre Saturday, September 29, 9:15pm, Friday, October 5, 9:15pm, and Saturday, October 6, 7pm.

Luchando opens with 23-year-old transgender woman La Diosa returning from shopping, walking down a crowded Havana street, dressed in a makeshift short jean skirt and crop top, caressing her long black hair and receiving calls of “Transvestite! Tranny! Homosexual,” which she responds to with insults. “When I arrive, the street gets hot mama,” she explains. “That guy’s a stinky dick. It’s a shame.”

Those moments give you a sense of the kind of irreverence all of the documentary’s subjects show, and La Diosa explains the title eloquently: Though its literal meaning is “to fight,” “Luchando” also means to have sex for money, and has the strong sense of “to survive.” La Diosa doesn’t consider herself as having hustled, turned tricks, or had sex for money; what she’s done is “Luchando.” She’s survived.

Read more at Eros Zine.

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