Welcome to the compelling lives and world of Sally, Chiqui, Giorgio, Jan and Cheska. Born men in the Phillipines, they now live in Tel Aviv as women. This movie gives us a view into the lives and plight of these transsexuals working menial but essential jobs in modern-day Israel. The girls are outsiders who have finally found a place of their own outside the judgmental confines of their native land.
It’s closed at the onset of the second Intifida, Israel was forced to find workers who were willing and capable of performing undesirable jobs previously tended to by foreign workers from Palestine who they mistreated and abused!!!
With tasks such as caring for the elderly and housekeeping suddenly unattended, a number of Phillipine transsexuals who had been cast out of their homes and otherwise exiled from society as a result of their sexual orientation were quick to answer the call and seek out a better life in a new land.
Many become caregivers for elderly, orthodox Jewish men, many of whom come to look upon them as substitute children. On their nights off, the workers perform as a drag queen ensemble, “Paper Dolls”, in Tel Aviv nightclubs to SRO audiences. Their dream is to perform in Tel Aviv’s biggest nightclub TLV.
Although the troupe’s members enjoy Israel’s liberal atmosphere, they are still outsiders and are always treated as such.
Tom Heymann’s moving documentary explores the role of immigrant worker in Western culture, and delves into the lives of societal outcasts seeking freedom and acceptance, however tenuous. Good news is the ladies have finally found a place in society that WILL allow them to live out their dreams!
This article was originally published in Transformation Magazine 60