Film Image
Mama Gloria
Producer: Yvonne Welbon & Zainab Ali
76 minutes

Mama Gloria

At a time when Black transgender women face escalating violence and make up the majority of transgender people murdered each year, Gloria Allen’s story is an inspiring portrait of aging seldom seen. Born in 1945, Gloria came of age amid the legendary drag balls on Chicago’s South Side. She transitioned four years before Stonewall with the support of the women in her family, including her mother Alma, a former showgirl and Jet magazine centerfold, and her grandmother Mildred, a seamstress who sewed clothes for crossdressers and male strippers. Never imagining that she would make it past 40, let alone 60 or 70, Gloria felt compelled to open a charm school for young homeless trans people in Chicago offering lessons on love, makeup and manners that she received from her mother and grandmother. Now, living alone in a building for LGBTQ seniors and surviving on social security and a house-cleaning job, Gloria continues to grow old with joy, dignity and grace.

A 2022 GLAAD Media Award nominee, MAMA GLORIA, Luchina Fisher’s empathic and engaging documentary, is not only a portrait of a groundbreaking legend, but also a celebration of unconditional love, the love Gloria received from her own mother and that she now gives to her chosen children. The film includes rarely seen archival images of Chicago’s Black drag balls, crossdressers and shake dancers. It features the original song Presence of a Legend by singer and trans activist Shea Diamond and pop songwriter Justin Tranter.
59 minute version also available for purchase and rental.
Pricing & Ordering
Buyer Type Format Sale Type Price
Higher Education Institutions DSL 1-year License $150.00
Higher Education Institutions DSL 3-years License $300.00
Higher Education Institutions DVD Sale $300.00
Higher Education Institutions Life Digital File License $600.00
K-12, Public Libraries & Select Groups DVD Sale $80.00
Non-Theatrical/Educational Blu-Ray Rental $300.00
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"An inspiring, engrossing look at the life of LGBTQ+ activist and trans icon Gloria Allen, MAMA GLORIA is an essential addition to any public or academic library’s documentary collection. Highly recommended." - Chloe Allmand, Video Librarian Magazine
"This film is highly recommended. It paints an especially evocative picture of the history ofLGBTQ+ issues by following the story of someone who lived through it, and it portrays arealistic and inspiring image of the potential for joy amidst hardship and struggle." - Shanna Holiich, Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)
"Into her 70s, Gloria remained a vital, vibrant woman, a role model for the transgender community, and a spokeswoman for gender equality." - Candace Smith, Booklist
“In the face of anti-trans bills, ‘Mama Gloria’ is a blessing.” - Scalawag
“ inspirational film about life struggle, self-acceptance, and the beautiful transition of women aging gracefully.” - Irish Film Critic
“A dignified lady…and a film that does her justice.” - CGiii Film
“Both moving and entertaining.” -
Four stars. “A special film with an important message.” - Film Carnage
“‘Mama Gloria’ is truly an inspiring watch.” - Movie Maker
“An empowering portrait of a resilient, wise and infectiously joyous trans elder.” - The Queer Review
“Fisher’s debut documentary feature…is a love letter to the charismatic activist.” - Chicago Reader

• 2022 GLAAD Media Award Nominee for Outstanding TV Journalism – Long-form
• Best of Fest/Best Film, CineOdyssey Film Festival 2020
• Jury Award for Best Documentary, Teaneck International Film Festival 2020
• Black Lens Award, Milwaukee Film Festival 2021
• Nominated for Gold Q-Hugo Award and Best Documentary Feature, Chicago International Film Festival
• Finalist, Holidays 365 International Film Festival
• Massimadi LGBTQ+ Afro Film Festival
• Chicago South Side Film Festival
• Black Alphabet Film Festival
• MIX Copenhagen Film Festival
• Reel Affirmations LGBTQ+ Festival
• CinemAfrica Film Festival
• Edmonton International Film Festival
• Chicago On Screen
• Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival
• Cincy Pride Film Festival
• Inside Out Film Festival
• Milwaukee Film Festival
• Holidays 365 International Film Festival
• Kansas City Film Festival
• Oxford Film Festival
• BFI Flare
• Athena Film Festival
• Denton Black Film Festival
• Teaneck International Film Festival
• Cineodyssey Film Festival
• Chicago International Film Festival
• New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT)
• LGBT Aging Network
• Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore
• ASALH Conference
• Unitarian Church of the Desert
• Inside Out Youth Services
• Time Out Youth
• Jefferson Madison Regional Library
• George Mason University
• Human Rights Campaign Special Screening
• Gene Siskel Film Center, Theatrical Release

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TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.