The Front Porch
This film follows Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza as they realize the need to find their roots, leave the Bay Area, and return home to the South. Questions of home, what they will find upon arriving in the South, and the reality of living as a Transgender and queer person all become very real!
Inclusion StatementAs a non-binary Transgender and queer Latinx in the South, this film explores the personal story of Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza and offers hope to those wrestling similar questions of identity and the complications of home. In this, Dr. Robyn models courage to oppressed communities and individuals.
About The Project
Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza left Northern Mexico (the Republic of Texas) in their mid-twenties for graduate school in Chicago, then further educational training in Colorado, and took their first faculty post in the Bay Area of California! They really thought that the Bay Area would be the place they would flourish, but discovered in 2015 that they were severely disconnected from their roots and didn't know it! Dr. Robyn devoted their time and energy to becoming an academic, but felt displaced and living in ways that were not grounded to place.
Following the election of 2016, Dr. Robyn knew they had to find home, but never imagined that home was in the South. After deliberating with themselves and packing up their car with their belongings, they headed east and finally arrived in Nashville in February of 2017. They drove across country taking in the beauty and grandeur of the United States, and made a stop in Little Rock to discern where their place might be. They stayed with their Mexican family for a bit, traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to discern further, then in early February 2017, they made the five and 1/2 hour drive to Nashville, TN from Little Rock, AR and began to plant their feet on Southern soil.
This planting their feet has not been without complications. Finding insurance, a doctor that will treat a Transgender person, learning how to live, again, in the South as an out TransQueer person has not been easy. It has all been a process; one that has facilitated moments of enjoyment and deep flourishing, and also moments of fear and trembling.
Reconnecting with their roots wasn't the only issue; home was the other problem. How might middle Tennessee, Nashville, and the South help create conditions for Dr. Robyn to recover a place they might call home, especially as the Trump presidency seemingly condoned white supremacy, criminalized LGBTQIA persons, and disposed of people of color, immigrants, and refugees? The journey home to the South was full of many twists and turns, even one that took Dr. Robyn to Charlottesville in 2017 to witness the Unite the Right rally and hold public witness on the corner of 2nd and Water Streets.
Coming home to the South has created more questions, like, how do Transgender people get the protections they need, along with securing reproductive justice for Transgender people, and how do LGBTQIA folks live in strategic ways in a region that would otherwise damn Dr. Robyn for who they are.
Journeying from the Bay Area to the South, the film gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective with some of Dr. Robyn's closest people. including front porch conversations with their Mexican mother, clergy, and activists from Little Rock to Nashville. Within these collected stories is a larger story- the story of searching, the story of belonging, and the story of home.”
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About This Team
Dr. Robyn and Ben Saunders have been collaborating on projects since 2015. Ben interviewed Dr. Robyn for a social justice montage film and they knew that he was the perfect person to collaborate with on a larger project. Both Ben and Robyn are story tellers, both hail from the South, and Ben has been by their side as they've discovered the richness of coming home to the South. Kyle Jonas joined the work as a member of the Adelicia Company Team and, also hailing from the South, brings a wealth of knowledge to film and story-telling and is briliant with audio!