Within the last two years I had the honor of getting 6 nominations for the TEA show with only a few other performers getting more over the same period. Last year the event started with Michelle Austin speaking about how porn is too pc and how alternative terms like “Chicks with Dicks”, “Shemales” and “Tranny” are what should stay within porn, this clearly made me extremely uncomfortable. Later in the show I had multiple men try to touch me in a sexual nature like happened the year before at the after party. I kind of was able to brush this off and deal with this in an extremely deadpan April Ludgate way but over time it really started getting to me. I also met some really really rad trans performers who I still talk to and work with often but after this last year I left with an extremely nasty taste in my mouth of “why I am I really here?”.
Before I got into this industry it was my dream to be nominated for an AVN, its the award all the performers I looked up to had their careers defined by such a Sasha Grey & Stoya. Its the award that comes up on sets after shooting a great scene talking about how amazing it would be if the film would be nominated for an AVN. After attending AVN last year it was probably one of my best experiences I’ve had in this industry and I made contacts that have allowed me to make a lot of the content I’m currently working on that I dreamt of making. I feel like with my experience at the TEA show it feels like “Is it really worth putting myself through what is going to extremely problematic language on top of some random man trying to feel me up for an award show I didn’t know about until I was nominated two years ago?”. The truth about award shows is often more than not is its more about the connections you can gain rather than the awards themselves. This largely weighs into my decision to distance myself from the show because largely the companies sponsoring the event are the ones that are owned by cis males pushing transphobic language even when the trans community stands against them (example the interaction Steven Grooby & The Trans Lifeline https://medium.com/@Translifeline/trans-lifeline-and-grooby-when-saying-no-is-a-revolutionary-act-e474fafcb383. If I’m going to hold myself to the values that have gotten me to this point in the industry supporting their award show I believe would make me a total hypocrite.
I clearly have some fans who are cis men who do watch mainstream trans porn and I’m happy I have them but my reasons for doing porn is to create a safe place for trans women to find trans porn without the stigma that is attached to mainstream trans porn. I feel like having my porn along side titles that use overt transphobic language isn’t something I’m truly comfortable with as a trans woman. I got into this industry in part to show that trans women don’t need to be subjected to niches, slurs and really belong in all genres of porn. My view is trans women are women and casting should be based around that same concept, if there’s a great trans lesbian performer she should get booked for lesbian sites or if there’s a great trans domme she should be booked for bdsm sites. That concept is what represents what is lgbt employment protection that is law in 20 states including California.
I fully realize that one performer speaking up isn’t going to change the politics of pornography. Most people outside of the mainstream trans porn world know little about this award show. I know some of the response will be “Why did you have to say something you could have just skipped it.” I think its extremely important that with my current visibility that I raise visibility about how not everyone in porn conforms to the industry standards just like how the performers who inspired me to do porn did.http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/sasha-grey-the-dirtiest-girl-in-the-world-the-story-behind-the-story-20090429 My goal is speaking out against the wrongs of this industry will hopefully lead to a more trans positivity within the porn industry.