Today I was leafing through AVN Magazine and came across Billy Castro Does the Mission listed on their Top 25 Chart for Transsexual Rentals. (Well, the magazine actually called the category “Tranny/She-Male” however the online site lists “Transsexual” which is my preference.) The list appears to be compiled from “a cross-section of U.S. video stores, adult stores and online studios” and though I’m not sure exactly what that means I do know that it feels pretty awesome to see my friend Billy Castro up on the list, because, as Mandy Mitchell noted via Twitter when I commented about the listing — it’s “pretty rare!”
As someone who currently identifies neither fully cisgender nor transgender, I get excited because this level of visibility corresponds to my dream of this “genre” expanding and bringing the integrity of the pornographers/performers and our identities, politics, and expressions to the world. The more queer porn is out there — in this case featuring trans and gender-variant performers — the more common and familiar our vocabulary and engagement becomes. Already I have been asked many times what “cisgender” means (by cis-presenting fans), or what it means to be genderqueer (which is how I identify) — and I sometimes find that sometimes the person asking identifies with me! I’m blown away by how amazing it feels to receive messages from people saying that porn helped to affirm or explore their sexual and/or gender identity and desires. This means the world to me. (By the way, here’s some interesting links about cisgender as a term (and a video here), cisgender privilege, the awesome GenderFork.com, and this cute comic.)
What is interesting as queer porn becomes viewed by people “outside” the community/experience, is that there are many questions that come up. Often there are assumptions — which can feel offensive but I believe can be great points of discussion and growth. When Billy Castro Does the Mission appeared on the list I imagined fans and merchants looking up the title, perhaps they are fans of Buck Angel, perhaps they might be curious about the performer with a name like Billy Castro. When I saw the list I also recalled a great post by America’s Beloved Porn Journalist Gram Ponante in a review about Speakeasy (which features several HOT performers like Billy Castro, Tomcat, Cyd Loverboy, Mustache Malone, Dallas Fivestar, and myself in 40’s lipstick drag by the ever radiant Miss Lorelei Lee). In the review, Gram consulted Speakeasy‘s filmmaker, Courtney Trouble, and she responded by providing a pretty compelling list of resources and “Tips for Reviewing Porn with transsexual, gender-bending, or or gender-queer performers & performances”, I recommend checking it out: Trouble with a Capital T and that stands for Transfolk.
While I’m on the subject of visibility, I have to express how excited I am for the Feminist Porn Awards this week in Toronto, where I hope to check out Doing It Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project. Tobi Hill-Meyer, Gina de Vries, and Drew Hawks are some of the women who have appeared on CrashPadSeries.com and NoFauxxx.com. I remember back a few years when it was just getting underway, so I’m looking forward to checking it out and hope I can help support the film and see our own representation and influence continue to grow.