2022 GLAAD-Nominated Film Celebrates Legendary Trans Activist Gloria Allen and the Power of Unconditional Love

Third World Newsreel
3 min readFeb 15, 2022


MAMA GLORIA Available for Public and Educational Screenings from Third World Newsreel Starting on Valentine’s Day

“The strong emphasis on family that is woven throughout Mama Gloria makes it a powerful film to share with loved ones.”

— Leslie Fields-Cruz, Black Public Media

(New York, NY) Third World Newsreel is proud to announce the release of Luchina Fisher’s award-winning film MAMA GLORIA, the story of legendary trans activist Gloria Allen.

Born in 1945, Gloria 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.

“In this documentary, audiences will see how much Gloria’s mother and grandmother taught her. That unconditional love has carried Gloria through her life,” said filmmaker Luchina Fisher.

Gloria felt compelled to open a charm school for young homeless trans people in Chicago, offering lessons on love, makeup, and manners to pass on what 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.

MAMA GLORIA 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.

Since its 2020 film festival premiere, MAMA GLORIA received a 2022 GLAAD Media Award Nomination, traveled to dozens of film festivals, winning the Black Lens Award at the Milwaukee Film Festival, and aired on World Channel and PBS as part of Black Public Media’s documentary series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange.

Gloria Allen and filmmaker Luchina Fisher are available for virtual talks and Q&As. Two versions of the film are available for purchase and rental from Third World Newsreel, a 76-min version for public screenings and a 59-min version for educational use. Visit twn.org for more information and rates, and email twn@twn.org for more details about speaking engagement rates.

Watch Trailer

Interview with Luchina Fisher

Download Press Kit

Mama Gloria Discussion Guide

Contact: Roselly Torres, twn@twn.org, (212) 947–9277 ext. 10


Third World Newsreel (TWN) TWN is a media arts organization dedicated to fostering the creation, appreciation, and dissemination of independent social issue media made by and about Black, Indigenous, and people of color. TWN also has a variety of workshops and classes throughout the year on film and video production. TWN is supported in part by NYSCA, NYCDCA, NEA, Peace Development Fund, Materials for the Arts, as well as individual donors. Visit www.twn.org.

Luchina Fisher (she/her) is an award-winning director, writer, and producer who works at the intersection of race, gender, and identity. Her feature directorial debut Mama Gloria, about Chicago trans icon activist Gloria Allen, premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and BFI Flare London; won numerous jury awards; and made its broadcast debut on World channel and PBS. The film has been nominated for a 2022 GLAAD Media Award. Previously, Luchina co-executive produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed feature documentary Birthright: A War Story, which appeared in more than 70 theaters nationwide, qualified for Oscar consideration, and streamed on Hulu. She is the director of two scripted short films, including Danger Word, and has written and produced several nationally broadcast documentaries as well as numerous segments for television. She most recently produced two episodes of the upcoming History Channel series with President Bill Clinton and is directing a feature documentary on predatory lending in housing as well as the forthcoming feature documentary on trans soul singer Jackie Shane. Luchina began her career as a journalist and has written for People, the Miami Herald, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, and ABCNews.com. Luchina is a Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellow and a member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia, the Black Documentary Collective and Film Fatales. She is an inaugural recipient of the Brown Girl Doc Mafia Black Director’s Grant.



Third World Newsreel

Third World Newsreel is a media arts organization that fosters independent, social justice BIPOC films.