In Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, the Vida/SIDA Cacica Pageant brings together members of the Puerto Rican community to celebrate its transgender participants.

I Am The Queen follows Bianca, Julissa and Jolizza as they prepare for the pageant under the guidance of Ginger Valdez, an experienced transgender mentor from the neighborhood. These trans women share stories of their transition, their relatives’ varying reactions, and how they find support from within the community.

Family dynamics, cultural heritage, and personal identity all play a part in how the contestants face the daily struggle that comes from being true to themselves.

  • Film Information:
  • Director: Henrique Cirne-Lima & Josue Pellot
  • TRT: 75 Min
  • Format: DCP
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Documentary
  • US Distributor: Cinema Libre Studio

About the Cast

Ginger Valdez Born in Puerto Rico and having lived in New York and Chicago, Valdez is the voice of wisdom in the film. She is the pageant coordinator and will guide the young contestants on how to be their best for the competition. Coming from another generation, she knows how much things changed and how much things stayed the same for transgender people. Valdez was kicked out of her house when she was only 14 years old, and was beaten up by the police when dressing up as a women was illegal in Puerto Rico. She is a talented performer with a great sense of humor, which helped her surpass all the adversities in life and become an optimistic, wise and generous human being.
Julissa Ortiz is a mature 20 years old transgender woman. When she decided to come out to her family as transgender she encountered the usual resistance from her family. She was wise and lucky, having a family who decided to listen to her needs, but she also decided to listen to her family concerns. In the end, they negotiated, they would accept her as transgender, but she would also postpone her transitioning until she was 18 years old. The result was a happy situation for everybody, Julissa avoided the path of going to the streets and the family had their daughter in their lives.

Jolizza Colon is also 20 years old. Funny, strong, independent and courageous, nothing will stop her from being true to herself. She struggled with her mother, also a strong personality, who would not let her dress up as a woman. In the end, Colon chose to leave the house and find support with other young transgender people she met on the streets. She has the support of her sister and cousins, and continues to work on her relationship with her mother.
Bianca Feliciano was the youngest of the women, having just turned 18 years when filming started, and had the hardest journey to the pageant. She was put in a foster home at a very young age, where she was abused and unhappy. When Feliciano finally got reunited with her family a lot of issues had to be worked out, including her decision to transition into a woman. She struggled with her family and in the end had to leave the house to find support with other transgender women she encountered in the streets of Chicago.

Press & Media

Press Quotes

"The story of these girls is so completely compelling that you will want to sit through to the very end to cheer them on. This is an extremely positive image of some heart-warming stories of these girls who not only knew who they were, but were courageous enough to own that fact even in this tight community which puts a great store in both family and God.
I cannot speak for the latter, but at least their families went out of their way to embrace them and give them the love that they so deserved."- Roger Walker-Dack, Queeritiques.com

"So if you are a transgender youth or you are a parent of a transgender youth, there is no better movie currently that takes you into a world that you are living in right now." - Ali Naro, Movies Over The Rainbow

Press Materials


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Contact Us

Distribution Contacts:

Rich Castro
PH: 818.588.3033

Media Contacts:

Beth Portello
PH: 818.588.3033

Outreach/Community Contact:

Gabe Laemmle
PH: 818.588.3033

DVD Sales Inquiries:

Rick Rieger
PH: 818.588.3033

International Rights:

Nadine France Ellman
PH: 818.588.3033

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