• Golden Globe Awards

I´m a Girl, I´m a Princess [Yo nena, Yo princesa] (Argentina)

“Today mom will start writing down everything she remembers. Today I will try to remember how you went from being my baby to being Luana, my princess”, begins the book “I´m girl, I´m princess”, written by Gabriella Mansilla, about her daughter, the first trans girl in the world to receive her ID, according to her gender self-perception through the Gender Identity Law. Almost a decade later, the story has been adapted to the screen, directed by Argentinian filmmaker Federico Palazzo, an experience that the director described as “a relentless learning”.
I´m a girl, I´m a princess tells the story of a couple (Eleonora Wexler and Juan Palomino), parents of twin boys (Isabella Gómez Catalán and Valentino Vena), where one of the boys does not identify with the gender assigned to him at birth. The film opens by introducing a family dynamic that could be considered normal: mother sells homemade pizza, father has a mechanic shop, the twins spend their time playing games and sharing adventures. From the beginning Gabriella, the mother, tries to understand her son Manuel, who, since the age of two, loves to play with dolls, paint with pink crayons and try on her mother´s dresses. He keeps saying she is a girl not a boy.
From then on, Palazzo shows the different obstacles that the family has to overcome, including continuing psychological therapies, constant reproaches by the father, who does not understand and resists the decision of one of his sons to consider himself a girl, and social discrimination. Neither doctors nor psychologists find the cause of the ailments that affect Manuel. Gabriela desperately searches for solutions. Finally, she finds help through the Argentinian Homosexual Community (CHA) which helps her. Manuel does not present any pathology, nor does he behave strangely to attract attention. Manuel is simply a transgender girl. Her name, now, is Luana.
“The story came to us because of the generosity of Gabriella Mansilla, who gave us the access to write the script for this movie that gives visibility to the rights of the trans children,” said Federico Palazzo in an interview with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Both Palazzo and Wexler had access to Luana´s current life thanks to Mansilla, who opened the doors of her house in Buenos Aires.
The director always wanted to find a transgender child to play the part of Luana. “When I found Isabella, the first thing she told me was that she wanted to become an actress so that children would be happier. From then on, my first priority was to keep a playful spirit in the set and make everything playful so she could get in and out the situation without experiencing pain or distress. When I achieved that first layer, I understood this girl could play all the keys (of the character)”, said Palazzo.
In 2013, at the age of six, Luana, made history by becoming the first transgender girl in Argentina and in the world to achieve a gender change in her ID.