Kiki Wilson, Winner of Best Film, in Aware Fest 2019, has honored us with a her brilliant message to the world of equality:

Did you have any push back for this film?

Did subjects object to you following them or interviewing them? What was the response from the different communities that were involved in this project about the construction of the project? I did have push back from this film. There were struggles that had to be overcome from Production Aspects as well as the interviewing process. Some of the Trans individuals I originally spoke with were resistant the day of filming due to the prejudice and backlash they may receive. They were also worried for their safety since they have been passing for so long and due to the stigmas still set in the South they feared for their lives. The three Subjects I was finally able to get to participate were open to telling and showing me everything about their journeys to them living as their true authentic selves. I did have some negative feedback from the LGBTQ plus community. Some people did not want me talking about the issue of discrimination within our own community, but it was something I wanted to bring awareness to because it does happen, and it happens often. Other LGBTQ people were very supportive and thought the issues I wanted to speak on needed to be discussed out in the open.

What was the response of the different communities to this project and the different and varying opinions, perspectives, and experiences that were shown and depicted?

As mentioned above the responses were both positive and negative. I had people in the LGBTQ plus community who loved and connected with either one of or all three subjects. I had a surprising response from the Heterosexual audiences that have viewed it. They were shocked to see the topic of labels and discrimination within the community. Of course, there were Heterosexual people who did not like any of it. There is still a discrimination against the LGBTQ people from the black heterosexual community. A lot of people were able to learn within the LGBTQ community and the Heterosexual community and that was my goal. I wanted to open the discussions for all of us to feel comfortable enough speaking on hard topics to bring awareness.

Did you learn or gain any things or perspectives while working on this project?

I learned so much working on this film. First of all I was able to connect with my Subjects on a spiritual level. I know God sent me the right people at the right time. I wouldn’t have had it any other way honestly. I also was able to learn more about the Transgender community and the Labels. I came out in 2004 myself and even back then there were not this many labels for our community. I learned the term Gender Fluid and what that entails. I was able to grasp a better understanding on what Transgender individuals face. I have learned the Transgender community is one of the strongest and most loving communities out there. They face so much hate and criticism internally from themselves and from the outside world, but they still continue to give the most love to the people around them even when they don’t fully love themselves.

What motivated you to embark on this project and create this film?

I am an openly gay woman. People who see me for how I dress would identify me as more of a Femme Lesbian. I have been told by the heterosexual community and even the LGBTQ plus community that “I do not look like a lesbian”. That statement always shocked me, especially when it would come from other members of the same LGBTQ plus community that I am a part of. That is where we get labels on top of labels. Were not just lesbians, now we have to state if we are Femme, Stem, Stud, Butch and so on. I never felt like a full femme or stem lesbian so I always had to label myself as what I call a “Casual Femme Lesbian’ meaning I like to wear women’s jeans and t-shirts with flip flops or flats, and wear little make up. I enjoy being comfortable. I was noticing how I was labeling myself the “Casual Femme lesbian” and when I turned 30 I just didn’t like saying that anymore. I started feeling that if I tell you I identify as a lesbian that should be all that matters. What I wear shouldn’t determine how gay I am. I was also motivated to do this film particularly focusing on the Transgender community due to overhearing conversations from certain Gay men and Lesbian women discriminating against the Transgender community and I never understood why. Why would they discriminate against a person who is living their true self when we have been dealing with this? I also wanted the LGBTQ plus community to know there are people out there like them who have Spiritual/Religious beliefs and that is fine too. So many times we are told that God doesn’t love us because of our lifestyle or we are an abomination and we will burn in hell for our sins and that is not true. There are Organizations and churches such as The Gathering Place Atlanta that is LGBTQ plus friendly and our LGBTQ youth especially needs to know this. I believe lack of knowledge and understanding was and still is the cause for discrimination against LGBTQ plus people and that is why I wanted to embark on this project. I wanted to bring awareness and an understanding to the issues at hand.

Do you think this film and project will relieve or take some weight away off the fear and stigma that exists in Atlanta?

I believe that it will some. I know there will always be critics, but that pushes me to work harder. I cannot do this all by myself, but even if this film helps educate and change one mind that will make a difference.

Will you be creating more projects like this in the near future? Where can we find more?

Yes I plan on creating as much positive LGBTQ content as possible. I do have a short film on YouTube titled “Love Never Fails”. This short film is geared toward the LGBTQ youth and the hardships they face coming out to their families and when their families rejects them. It is a film to show they are not alone and there are organizations for them to go to in order to receive help and to connect with LGBTQ elders.

My dream now is to teach. I am focusing on getting into the Educational field. I plan on teaching LGBTQ Film History and/or LGBTQ history in general in a public-school system setting or at a College level setting.