I was 19 when I began my job as a cam model, and identified as a cis female lesbian. My girlfriend at the time and I started out together, and we were making decent money. In the five years since, I’ve transitioned and branched into my own solo career as a trans masculine/non binary sex worker.
I’ve worked in the industry as part of a cis-identified lesbian couple, a solo girl, an out-of-the-closet pre transtion trans-masc, and now a mostly transitioned trans-masc. It’s been a ride. My career has morphed and changed shape in so many ways, and as a result, I believe I have a unique perspective on how the porn industry treats different identity types.
A lot of people just somehow don’t know we exist. This erasure leaves us with few options. As adult performers and in the real world we have to constantly explain ourselves and defend our existence as a part of the trans community.
I’ve faced discrimination on many different levels over the course of my transtion. From users who visit my sites, to the sites themselves, and production companies. When I announced I was getting top surgery about a year ago, I got a whirlwind of responses. Most of them were supportive and excited for me, models who embraced me and uplifted me as a trans person, members who said they would stick by me no matter what, and that was really lovely.
But on the other side, I was getting constant hate and harassment, people telling me no one would ever want to watch my porn, saying they were only sticking around as long as I had tits. People telling me that I was disgusting, sick, undesirable, that I was making a huge mistake, and my existence was a tragedy and a waste. At this point, I didn’t know of anyone in the industry like me. The part of the community I had surrounded myself with was mostly women.
I knew lots of trans women who were successful, but then again, the “trans porn” tag overwhelmingly catered to trans-femmes, and I hadn’t actually seen a lot of trans-mascs represented in porn before that.
I couldn’t really imagine myself being successful after top surgery. I figured that what I was doing was very likely to end my career. But easing my dysphoria and being in the right body was much more important to me, so I took the leap. I had no backup plan, no backup job, and a 4 year gap in my resume. I felt pretty intimidated. But I decided to just keep going and try to make it work.
Trans femmes are famously fetishized in today’s society, and this is reflected in the trans porn category. This is a problem that plays a huge factor in the exotification and oppression of trans femmes. Online, trans femmes are sensationalized. Consequently, take a look at any porn sites trans category and it’s pretty much exclusively trans feminine folks. This trend is so prevalent that trans masculine folks using the trans tags face being removed from the trans tag entirely. One of the sites I work on has removed me from the tag – as if I’m not trans, or the tag just isn’t for my particular type of trans. This phenomenon is a deep cut to our community which reaches far beyond the porn world.
I believe porn trends are quite telling of our society. I regularly have users in my chatroom who are confused as to why I’m in the trans tag, telling me I’m not trans, or assuming that I must be trans femme. These people actually don’t know that there’s more than one way to be trans. I’ve noticed these patterns in the real world as well, how the conversation around trans folks rarely includes trans masculine people, as well as non binary or other gender nonconforming people. A lot of people just somehow don’t know we exist. This erasure leaves us with few options. As adult performers and in the real world we have to constantly explain ourselves and defend our existence as a part of the trans community.
If we aren’t welcome in the trans porn category, where do we go? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels at a loss of what to do and where to go in the industry. I’ve had to settle for being categorized as a cis girl, and on the other end of that, I’ve even been forced into the “male” category. (Some trans mascs might want that, but I don’t identify as male so it wasn’t cool). Lack of education about all trans people is a core issue here. I’m not entirely sure what the solution is, especially since this lack of knowledge of the very existence of trans mascs runs so deep throughout our society.
Lack of education about all trans people is a core issue here. I’m not entirely sure what the solution is, especially since this lack of knowledge of the very existence of trans mascs runs so deep throughout our society.
As far as the sex work industry goes, I think the trans tag needs to be redefined. “Trans” may be a good umbrella category for the various types of identities that we have, but perhaps for the sake of visibility in porn, we need multiple categories to choose from and a way to filter through all kinds of identities so that less of us are drowning in the masses, and everyone gets equal representation and opportunity to be discovered on these sites.
I’d be interested to hear from other sex workers on this topic. I believe our community is a powerful force to be reckoned with that could make a real difference.
About the Author: Margo is an online sex worker who has been in the industry for 5 years and has transitioned in the last 2 years. They run an onlyfans, sell adult clips, and perform on livestreams regularly. To find their work and support their sexy endeavors, there’s a link in their instagram/twitter bios to their sites. Check it out here.