Beware the Lily Law

color, sound, 04:35, clips

“Beware the Lily Law” is a site-specific video installation at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA. The piece uses the 1969 Stonewall riots as a starting point to address issues facing gay and transgender inmates. The riots began after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Police arrested men dressed as women and transgender patrons. Many of the patrons resisted the police raid, and the following day thousands of people marched in the streets, speaking out about unfair treatment under the law. It was the start of the modern gay rights movement. Today, transgender female prisoners are incarcerated in male prisons, and transgender male prisoners (female to male) are incarcerated in female prisons. They are often placed in “protective” or “administrative” custody. The resulting confinement, while safer for the inmates, is effectively a form of solitary confinement. Handelman has developed these monologues based on the experiences of real inmates and in collaboration with the performers Becca Blackwell and Michael Lynch.

“a powerful piece that uses the space simply and effectively…uncanny.” – Edith Newhall, The Philadelphia Inquirer




Director/Editor: Michelle Handelman; Performers: Becca Blackwell and Michael Lynch; Cinematogrphy: Edward David; Still Photography: Laure Leber; Sound Design: Vincent Baker; Sound Engineer: Dan Bora; Production Research and Assistance: Nadja Vareena Marcin; Production Intern: Joana Fittipaldi; “Spare Change for a Dying Queen” by Jimmy Camicia.