The PBS Indies showcases powerful and engaging shorts from a diverse range of filmmakers. Now streaming on the site is Vámonos, an exploration of what happens when tragedy forces a confrontation between butch identity and traditional Latino values.
When Hope learns that Mac, her recently deceased butch girlfriend, is going to be buried in a dress, she desperately tries to persuade Mac’s mother to bury her in a suit instead.
Fighting an uphill battle against centuries of tradition, Hope decides to take the matter into her own hands with the help of her friends.
The question is, will she have the courage to follow through and honor Mac’s identity?
Moira Morel, who co-wrote the film, says it came from a personal place.
“When I was 19, I read a borrowed copy of Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg,” she tells NewNowNext. “There is a passage in the book where the protagonist attends the funeral of an older butch woman from her community, and she is shocked to see that the family of the deceased has chosen to bury her in a dress. To add insult to injury, there was pressure on the butch friends of the deceased to also wear dresses in order to attend the services, a real humiliation for them.”
As a young lesbian coming into her own, Morel (above) was deeply impacted by the passage, especially since her traditional Latino family had yet to come to terms with her identity.
“I knew for certain that if something terrible were to happen to me, that I too would be going six feet under in full makeup and a dress, something I never would have never wanted,” she explains. “That’s when the seed for Vámonos was planted—16 years later, it’s come to bear fruit.”
Such “gender-washing” is sadly common for many gender-nonconforming and transgender people, coming at a time when their partners, friends and chosen family are most vulnerable.
“My hope for Vámonos is that it is seen not only by LGBTQ people, but that it also reaches the families of LGBTQ people, who may still be struggling to understand who their loved ones really are.”
Below, the producers of Vámanos asked people what they wanted to wear at the funeral.