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A Tampa filmmaker's docuseries explores anti-LGBTQ legislation through personal stories

A latina woman with long dark brown hair smiles next to a hanging microphone.
Daylina Miller
/
WUSF
Samantha Luque is the director and producer of "Beyond Borders," a YouTube docuseries that premiered in early May 2024. The first season amplifies the personal stories of LGBTQ+ Floridians as they navigate their personal identities and state legislation that impacts their community.

The five-part documentary is on YouTube and aims to "shed light on personal journeys, challenges, triumphs, as well as the ways in which anti-gay legislation has impacted the community."

When Florida lawmakers proposed a bill last year that could ban drag shows statewide, Tampa resident Samantha Luque sat in her car and cried.

Just a year earlier, she had debuted a documentary called "The Heart of Ybor" showcasing the community, history, and evolution of drag performers in Tampa’s Ybor City. It was featured at the 2022 Gasparilla Film Festival.

Her newest docuseries "Beyond Borders" expands that work by exploring the impact of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Florida through the personal stories of queer and transgender Tampa Bay area residents.

“I feel like there was just so much misinformation out there and so much hatred out there that I felt that if people could see someone who was part of the community, like a living breathing person, not somebody who is made up … I felt like if someone saw a real person who has gone through the journey, who is still going through the journey, can be like, ‘OK, well, all these legislations that we're trying to affect, you're affecting real people with real jobs with who are just trying to live their day to day.’”

The five-part weekly documentary includes interviews with transgender activists, drag queens, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community as they navigate their identities in a state that has passed several anti-LGBTQ laws in the past couple years.

The first season features interviews with people like Angelique Young, who talks about her journey as a trans woman; drag performer Ericka PC, a crucial figure in the Drag2Talle movement earlier this year; and more.

 

Luque said she wanted to amplify the voices of these Floridians instead of focusing solely on the "heaviness" of state legislation.

"Yes, let's inform people about what's going on, but let's do it in a positive way that we can elevate this and see the joyness and see their journey isn't all about darkness," Luque said. "Their journey is about light and love."

Luque hopes that queer youth in particular are watching — and that they see their future selves in the portrayals of happy, queer adults.

Her ultimate goal is to obtain the funding she needs to feature LGBTQ+ stories around the globe, focusing each new season of "Beyond Borders" on residents in different states and countries.

You can view Beyond Borders on YouTube.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.