Beyond The Red Light immerses us in the day-to-day life of Lila, the only open trans sex worker and face of transgender rights in North Macedonia. In a region where LGBTQ+ rights are non-existent, we follow Lila as she decides to stay in the Balkans to fight for her rights in a climate that oppresses her for the very nature of her identity.
Lila works for Star, an underfunded sex workers’ collective in the Balkans. After receiving a grant from the Red Umbrella Fund, their mission is to decriminalise sex work in North Macedonia by December 2022. ‘There is not one whore in Macedonia who doesn’t know me’, claims Lila. This trust underpins our journey into this country's underground world of activism and sex work.
The film meets Lila when she is at a crossroads. She recently was evicted for going public with her trans status on a major news channel. With one week to move out, this news coincides with a seminal event for Star; their first face-to-face meeting between sex workers and politicians. We follow Lila as she reveals how being the figurehead of a movement means sacrificing your safety, mental health and time. We follow Lila as she makes the difficult decision to choose herself, leaving Star to return to sex work, in order to fund her long-term goal – gender reassignment surgery.