What "Paris is Burning" was to drag balls - "What's the T?" is to transgender life – a documentary that explores the challenges, successes and lives of five transgender women; a multi-character study and an introduction to the uninitiated.

“To understand the ladies of “What’s the T?” is to love them,” says San Francisco-based filmmaker, Cecilio Asuncion, recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Filipino-American award for LGBT advocacy.

It is thanks to Asuncion’s unique, tender and intimate friendships with the film’s subjects that allows “What’s the T?” – structured around a series of Asuncion's conversations with The Ladies – to be such a frank, engaging and memorable film.

The film is not only a loving crafted and empathetically handled documentary, but also a vivid snapshot of transgender life as it exists today– the terminology, the social realities, the successes and the heartbreak.

Over the last couple years, transgender characters and themes have jumped into mainstream consciousness, particularly through television and video-on-demand dramas like Netflix’ “Orange is the New Black” and Amazon’s “Transparent”.

Most recently and – perhaps most dramatically – “Orange is the new Black” star Laverne Cox, became the first trans person ever to be on the cover of TIME Magazine. The exposure, discussion and timing of this welcome trans awareness has been both prescient and fortuitous for the release of “What’s The T?” by Eye Film Releasing and Kinonation.

"What's the T?" was an official selection at over ten major LGBT film festivals worldwide including: Frameline, 37 San Francisco, Rio Gay Film Festival, Transgender Kiel Germany, as well as the Portland, Pensacola, and the Soho International Film Festivals. Additionally, “What’s the T?” won the festival favorite award at Cinema Diverse Palm Springs and is widely considered the best film of its kind to hit the festival circuit in years.

“What’s the T?” will be featured prominently in this year’s San Francisco Gay Pride Parade in concert with its world premiere on Hulu, Tuesday June 24th, 2014. Please check the Events page for details.

The Ladies are:

  • Cassandra Cass: One of the most recognizable transgender women today with appearances in “Transtasia” (2006), “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and “The Tyra Banks Show.”

  • Nya Ampon: A well-known dancer and performer at AsiaSF, one of San Francisco’s hottest bars and performance venues.

  • Rakash Armani: A former member of the “House of St. Clair” a top competing house in the underground ball scene, Rakash says she has 3 jobs, she is a nurse, works at a rehab facility and…being Armani.

  • Mia Tu Much: An LGBT advocate whose social work with LYRIC and the San Francisco Youth Commission has placed her on the prestigious Trans100 List, 2014.

  • Vi Le: A student who, after overcoming considerable adversity, is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in biology, and will appear in the upcoming Tyra Banks produced docu-series on VH1, "Transamerica."

Go to The Ladies page for bios and photos.

Producer and Director, Cecilio Asuncion with The Ladies and friends of "What's the T?"