The Stroll

HBO Documentary Films

Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker’s The Stroll is an exercise in excavation. The story of its titular space—a strip of street in the Meatpacking district in New York City once frequented by trans sex workers in order to survive—is one that risked, by its very nature, being forgotten. Such urban history, after all, lives not in the buildings (which have since been turned into fancy galleries and high-end restaurants), but in the individuals who lived it and who since have been displaced by those same gentrifying forces. In wanting to conjure up what “The Stroll” once was, the filmmakers had to contend with a visual archive that had long seen trans sex workers as figures fit for mockery, if not outright disdain. Recontextualizing such imagery, the film privileges instead candid interviews where these women speak for and about themselves, refusing the call toward respectability politics as well as the dour lens through which their stories are often told. For excavating local queer history with dignity and celebrating the resilience of a tight-knit community of trans sex workers who are seldom afforded such a caring gaze—and telling, in the process, a cautionary tale about the ills of gentrification—The Stroll wins a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Carlos King, Scott Shatsky, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Sara Rodriguez. Associate Producer: Matt Wolf. Directors: Kristen Lovell, Zackary Drucker. Editor: Mel Mel Sukekawa-Mooring. Cinematography: Sara Kinney. Sound/Music: Stenfert Charles.