Trans Dominion: Jane Starr on Coming Out, BDSM, and What’s Missing in TS Porn

Jane

Trans Ethics: How did you first get in to sex work?

Jane Starr: My first intro to sex work was when I moved to Los Angeles. I needed a job so I could do things like eat, pay rent, sleep indoors. I applied at Buffalo Exchange and The Pleasure Chest, which is probably the most versatile well-known sex store in L.A. I had met a girl who had just been fired from there, so I said “let’s go,” and they hired me. I thought it was going to be the most bleak depressing thing I could ever do.

TE: Sex work, or working at that store?

JS: Working at the store. My only experience with sex work had been at seventeen. I was a homeless drug addict in Houston, Texas . I met lots of other punk street kids –boys and girls. They were really cool. They were open about getting picked up, being prostitutes. This was way before my transition, so I started doing it too. In my drug addict mania I started cross-dressing like all the punk girls I had admired my whole life. But my need to transition was still buried way too deep inside of me.

TE: How did you discover that you needed to transition?

JS: After being a full-blown drug addict from thirteen to seventeen, I got sent to a variety of rehabs and juvenile detention centers for almost a year. I got out and got sober. I moved to Austin with my mom when I was eighteen. I remember that first Halloween was coming and I just immediately thought “be a girl”. I hung out with my friend Rose who dyed her hair a lot, so I always had her dye mine. I was dating a girl who would paint my nails and I loved it. But the boys would make fun of me so I would try to turn down the impulse. But pretty much every Halloween I would dress up like a girl and just feel like a superhero.

I repressed all that. A few years later I’m in L.A. working at this sex store. I start to realize I liked selling sex merchandise. I liked getting people to open up. We had a lot of BDSM equipment but I thought it was dumb, like for spooky kids at the Renaissance Faire, until they had a class on it and I got hit with tools. I kept saying “Hit me harder.” I got hog tied. I just went nearly comatose with calm, like the rest of my life was gone and I could just feel my face against the cold tile floor. I asked if I could just stay there for the rest of the class.

The next day I brought in $700 and went up to this girl I had a huge crush on and said “Help me.” We started dating over time. One night she was strap-on fucking me (my first time) and I just went into a quiet trance. I saw a girl in my head. It was me. She was like thirteen and she had short hair and barrettes. She was a little punk girl standing in front of her parents trailer in Houston. She was so pissed because everyone ignored her. I just started talking to my girlfriend saying my name’s Jane. (Thank you for helping me.) She went along with it. After that I told her how powerful it felt. We both thought of it as a role play kind of deal.  She got a job as a dominatrix at The Dominion in L.A. We realized we didn’t play together very well, and she met a woman who she thought would be a great Domme for me. I started playing live with this amazing dominatrix, Mistress Melissa, every weekend at Bar Sinister. I was a really heavy player as it turned out. Loved getting punched in the face, kicked in the crotch, whipped bloody.

My girlfriend and I got married. The impulse to be Jane grew stronger over time. I had no idea it would. My Mistress was very sweet about it. She started teaching me how to do makeup, walk in heels, [and] become a girl. This started turning my wife off horribly. I totally understood –if she started to transition female-to-male, I would’ve been like… “gross”, because you’re either wired to be attracted to someone or not. Eventually I knew I had to transition. We got divorced. It was really, really hard and sad. I got on hormones. We still worked together at The Pleasure Chest through all of this.

A few years later I got asked to be in a forced-bi scene by another professional domme. That’s where a client wants to “be forced” to suck a guy’s dick. So I would man up, go in there, and walk out with $400. I liked doing it. I was good at it. That was my next introduction into actual sex work.

TE: How do you respond to people who would say that you’re just a cross-dressing fetishist?

JS: The same way I would to the whole “You’re a gay man so deep in denial that you need to become a woman to be gay” [argument]: Who would go to this much trouble? That’s such an unrealistic train of thought to me. I’m too honest with myself. It would be too draining. Hormones/electrolysis/breast implants/laser/having your entire life uprooted. I’m just not that out of touch with myself. With therapy –which I waited way too long to start– I saw the signs throughout my childhood growing up. I saw girls as so peaceful, boys as so competitive. As a child I would see punk girls and just girls in general in high school hanging out where I would skateboard. They’d tell me I was cute. I knew they probably just thought it was hilarious how embarrassed I was getting. But looking back I wanted to say “Don’t leave. Help me become one of you.”

TE: When it comes to your sex work now, are you strictly submissive or do you domme others?

JS: Oh I’m a switch in my life and my work. I love domming. I would only be submissive to other fem-dommes. Not even submissive –I could bottom to them, as in get beaten, act submissive. But I’m only truly submissive to my Mistress. She raised me to be a switch. I always wanted to be just as good as Her. I love topping people both sexually and in the BDSM realm.

TE: When you’re being completely submissive, how do you feel as opposed to when you are topping?

JS: Completely open. Very emotional. I cry a lot. Not from pain, but from emotional release, from joy. I also get very turned on with that type of total power exchange. As a top, I’m still playful, but I can be very sadistic. I feel much more controlled, like that person is my responsibility. Because they are. I know exactly what its like to be in their position. That’s why I think the best bottoms make the best tops. And I love incorporating BDSM into sex. I feel like there’s a real lack of that in the adult film market. It’s either one or the other. I feel like TS porn is basically trapped in the nineties with mostly just guy/TS scenes –no kink of any kind. I look at how Belladonna would just put every type of fetish into her content, and I think “why isn’t that happening in the TS genre?”

TE: Would you say being submissive is empowering for you?

JS: Incredibly. I’ve never had moments so intense and amazing as I have when I’m submissive with my Mistress… to be Her instrument… to connect Her and with others as I get hung upside down with rope, spun around the room, beaten and torn open. I’ve done a hook-suspension energy pull with Her where we each had six gauge hooks going through our chests connected by six feet of rope, and She dragged me around the room walking backwards as I slid on my back. I walk away from these experiences feeling so loved and close with Her, as well as being happy that we threw down with our everything to create an amazing scene. If people connect with it, that’s awesome. I would never want to shock anyone for the sake of shock alone. But if I help expand someone’s horizons, that’s awesome. I love when that happens to me through any art form, and porn is no different. That’s why I’m all about really going for it in my work. As an escort, and as a Domme/submissive. I try to show all of myself in shoots. I’ve only gotten to do solos so far and one scene where I fuck a guy and flog him with the different companies that distribute TS content. That’s why I’m looking forward to learning how to make my own material.

TE: If the choice were yours, what direction would you like to see TS porn take?

JS: I would like to see more diverse things happening. Incorporating more levels of kink into the content. Just show me something different. Show more hardcore fucking, face slapping, ass-to-mouth, cock-and-ball torture, over the knee (spanking), role play, power-exchange, nipple torture, hair pulling, mascara tear tracks, and spitting in each others mouths. [I’d like to see] different toys and gear being used than just your bargain bin vibrator,  and having more of a mix of TS girls fucking each other, fucking girls, getting strap-on fucked, fucking guys, and vice-versa. And talking dirty… I never really even hear TS girls talk period in most content. It’s like they’re these trophy wives on display instead of girls that are powerful and strong and still feminine and sexy. Feminine doesn’t mean demure, quiet and vacant-eyed to me. Sexy doesn’t end with “it’s a hot girl –with a penis– and look at her having an orgasm!”

I understand that it’s a very male-driven market, and that’s what most guys want to see. But I’m selling the DVDs to these guys at the sex store I currently work at, and they’re asking for things to be taken to another level: the way a lot of straight & lesbian porn has escalated to show such a broad spectrum of sexual diversity over the last decade.

TE: Just one more question: How do you respond to those who would say sex work isn’t ethical, and women who are willingly in sex work need to be “rescued”?

JS: I would say: Have you witnessed any of this first hand? A lack of ethics and values, women being exploited-as in being forced into doing something we don’t want to do? Do you realize how much effort it takes to book a shoot? There’s a thousand other girls trying to book that same shoot. I’ve never been forced into doing anything I didn’t want to do. I have clients whom I see as a domme/escort who try to get more out of me than I want to give… do you realize how easy it is to say “no” and shut them down? I have to submit my photos repeatedly to get every shoot I’ve gotten. I have to keep saying “I know I’m awesome, I know I’m your next best choice” to any company until they see me and hear me through the endless amount of other submissions they get from girls just as pretty and talented and driven. I don’t just want to be here. I fought to be here. Any industry can be unethical, offering low wages and coercion to overwork you [and show] indifference to you as a person… [just] one more replaceable part of a structure that gets rich off of you as you work yourself into an early grave. If I don’t keep my sense of self-worth intact, and I don’t set my own boundaries than yes, I’m setting myself up for harm and I do need to be rescued because I haven’t chosen to love and respect and take care of myself, and that’s no one else’s responsibility but mine. My occupation has nothing to do with my sense of ethics and values.

TE: Thank you so much, Jane.

JS: Thank you so much!

Follow Jane on Twitter. Her site tsjanestarr.xxx is launching soon.

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