Up until I was 23 years old, there were bottled awkward emotions about my sexuality. I felt alone, cornered in a small space, trapped by images and practices of how sex should be “performed”. It was obvious I was positioned in the roles of outsider and weirdo, just like middle school. The strangeness compounded when I realized that I experienced two episodes of sexual assault and rape. Here I was, navigating through a wilderness of cisnormative sexual behaviors I didn’t desire to inhabit. In my young adulthood I’ve experimented by way of numerous sexual avenues and none of them were fulfilling. I battled with respectability politics and the opinions of other people while raging with an everlasting longing for my own sexual revolution. When would it happen?
In the summer of 2013, queer and feminist pornography saved my life. This could be considered an unorthodox statement but there aren’t any lies. Queer and feminist pornography saved my life and brought affirmation to my sexuality when I wasn’t working a server shift or writing. It was the candy shop, watching adventurous and liberating performances from queer and trans pornographers such as Jade Phillips, Jiz Lee, and Quinn Cassidy. From my viewing I learned there was more to exploring one’s sexuality than executing the missionary position or participating in any activities that involved vaginal or anal penetration. Those were the images plaguing what sex meant. This genre taught me there are a variety of ways to give and receive pleasure. Most importantly, I learned about consent. My queer sex education was administered to myself via this pornography as well as social networks that provided open and honest discussions on the subject of sexuality. Soon thereafter I began to usher intersections of race and gender.
However respectability politics was an ugly monster in this war. I never condemned other people for working in queer porn; the condemnations were toward me for aspiring it. My dream, since I was a teenager, was to be a writer, artist, and performance poet in a big city. Over time I added being a sociologist, but a queer porn entertainer? Outing myself as a sex worker? I thought it wouldn’t be respectable. During this period, I worked off and on as a webcam model but doing film was a new height. A few months after I was booked in Oakland to film a scene, I postponed, canceled, revived, then buried my plans. I had convinced myself it was a bad thing to do and would not favor well in an arts career, the poison of respectability flowing through my bloodstream.
One day a couple of queer friends and I were messaging over Facebook and I learned they were creating a pornographic film with scenes showcasing queer and trans people of color. I immediately said I was interested. At the end of 2014 I applied to the same company under a newly established performer name. My hope was back. The drive was back and I didn’t understand why until I found myself wanting to speak openly about sexual liberation via Twitter. Was it coming out (again)? I’m not sure but I knew I didn’t want to be closed about how I wanted to express my sexuality. And it was my sexuality that has been waiting to be painted for many reasons.
When discussing the film, it was brought to my attention many queer, trans, and gender non conforming people of color do not have an authentic representation in pornography, erotic film, and sex education. They are wanting to see their bodies, our bodies, all unique, beautiful, and deserving, portrayed and included in diverse sexual activity, how to be pleasured, embraced, and bask in ecstasy unashamed. It took me until now to realize all my passions can be demonstrated, that I have a contribution these erotic visuals of sexual and consenting communication away from a cisheteronormative and colonized lens. And honestly? It’s one of the most respectable things my body has acknowledged.