Trans Vision: Cookie Cosmos on Changing Expectations, Advocacy Through Porn, and Coming Out

ReRa1OMH

TransEthics: Your Twitter bio says you’re an “ethical queer porn creator and performer” Exactly what does that mean to you?

Cookie Cosmos: To me, Ethical Porn has always meant treating performers well. In my case I work with other trans people, so I try to make content the performers want to make, make sure they are comfortable doing it and that they take home a fair cut. It also means taking down content that the performer is no longer happy being marketed. I’ve cut scenes short in the past because a performer is experiencing dysphoria, and if you are working with other trans people I think that’s the least you can do.

TE: Do you think it’s important that trans porn be made by trans people?

CC: I cannot see a better way of trans representation getting better in porn than if trans There is a wide range of ways trans people have sex. We see a wide range of how trans people have sex, some of us are entirely comfortable with the way things are done in the mainstream and that’s fine, I wish them well. However what I’d like to see happening is people making content that represents the other ways trans people have sex.

Where’s the kink content where we aren’t in a domme role exclusively? It’s very rare to see that sort of thing being produced by the mainstream parts of the industry. Where’s the porn of the trans girl who doesn’t get rock hard? Where’s the porn where it’s not expected that performers who take meds have to be able to do that kind of thing? I think the only way we’re going to get away from the idea of there being a formula that sells and that being the only viable option for porn is if people start producing things themselves. Thankfully I’m seeing a lot of that and it’s great to see.

TE: What are some of the challenges which independent producers face when going up against the standard mainstream porn narrative which surrounds trans people?

CC: A large amount of audiences are expecting certain things. Very few of my videos or camshows end in me or another performer cumming. That’s realistically not a thing that happens often with a lot of trans girls on HRT, at least not in a hugely visible way. I avoid trying to do scenes that rely on it and because of this I think it’s hard to market sometimes. I think expectations is the main answer, people expect to see certain things because all the other porn with trans performers in it has those things. Realistically you’ve got to start cultivating a new audience that doesn’t expect those things and that involves a lot of educating your audience on how you personally work sexually for them to understand sometimes.

TE: Sounds challenging. Do you find it difficult to maintain an audience for that reason?

CC: Not hugely, it just means being open and talking about these things. I started my sex work career thinking I’d just try to emulate the other styles of content out there, but pretending my body works in ways that it doesn’t became tiresome very quickly. As I’ve become more confident I’ve spoken about these things more and more. I’ve never taken a dip in followers or revenue – it’s always climbed if anything – so I’m taking that to mean that people like me being honest and the work I do.

TE: What are some of the kinks you’ve explored that aren’t in the traditional trans porn narrative?

CC: Most of my content falls outside of that. Theres a big thing of “trans subs don’t sell”. I’m not sure how accurate that really is though… I see a lot of popular subby trans girls so maybe times are changing.

A lot of independent creators do kink quite often, in mainstream you don’t see that as much. In mainstream productions, the fact it’s got trans people in the content IS the kink. I get it: porn has to have a selling point, an element of mystique… but I try to produce things that don’t rely on my trans status being that mystique because once we start doing that, you are fetishising trans individuals which can be harmful to the community as a whole.

TE: Why do you feel it’s important that trans people stop being fetishized?

CC: Fetishisation leads to stereotyping, it’s as simple as that. A lot of the times I’ve been called slurs it hasn’t been by someone meaning them harmfully, its been by someone thinking that’s what you call a trans person because thats what we are all called in porn. Because trans people make up a small percentage of the population the only trans interaction many cis people have ever had is through porn. It means that people think its okay to treat all trans people as a fetish. It’s okay to have a preference for trans people, it isn’t okay not to treat us like the people we are.

TE: You’ve mentioned that you do porn as a way to advocate for trans people. Can you expand on that?

CC: Lots of trans people know something is wrong for a long time before they come out but they can’t put it into words. As I said earlier, many people don’t know a trans person in real life but there are plenty of us on the internet and with the rise of camsites we’re available to talk to at all times. I’m not saying go and barrage camgirls with questions about your identity, they might not appreciate that (if its me though feel free). As a questioning person, if I’d had that, or known about it, I possibly would have come out way sooner than I did. It’s also good to show trans people who are nervous about these issues that yes, we can lead happy sex lives, and that gender identities that differ from those assigned to us at birth can be represented as normal in porn.

TE: What advice would you give to a person who was questioning their gender?

CC: Come out at your own pace, in ways that make you comfortable. Don’t worry about fitting the stereotype of what trans is, that doesn’t really exist. You might not want surgery… that’s cool. It’s all your own decision and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. Do some googling, have a look at resources. Some of them might not apply to you, that’s fine. Life gets better… harder in some ways, but definitely better overall.

Also if you are in the UK, don’t accept it if a GP tells you they can’t treat you. It’s their job. They cannot deny you a referral to a gender identity clinic. I see this a lot and it never fails to annoy me.

TE: What other kind of roadblocks does the NHS put in the way of people wanting to transition?

CC: The usual one is a long waiting list for appointments. This is pretty unacceptable and needs to be sorted out, but whilst it’s a long wait it’s worth it for treatment. It kind of depends where you go. I can only speak for CHX because it’s the only GIC I’ve been to and I’ve heard others are a bit behind them in attitude, but I’ve found them to be pretty good in my case. They can be difficult to get hold of at times, but tend to be helpful and understanding in person when you are actually there. At least in my case, it might differ with others. This is just my experience and whilst I would love to think it’s representative of all people using the service I suspect it probably isn’t. Change your name before you go if you can. It’s free to do this in the UK: you only need to print off a deed poll and sign it with witnesses.

TE: In the USA, there’s been a lot of legislation targeting trans people – trans women in particular. Do you worry about something like that migrating to the UK?

CC: Not particularly… it wouldn’t fly here nearly as easily. A lot of those bills come out of hard religion of a type that isn’t the norm here. Also no government that is going to get elected would dare dock LGBT protections because it would look terrible to the public. They might not advance them, but I doubt they would ever remove them. The consensus here in general is that LGBT people deserve protections and rights. They at least have to pretend to care even if they don’t really.

TE: Just one more question: What’s one perception cis people have about trans women that you would change if you could?

CC: Not specific to trans women in particular, but that we’re “unsure”. I didn’t go through all this to be unsure of who I am. I know very well. I’ve known all my life. [Only] a tiny tiny amount of the trans population detransition. No, we are damn sure of who we are. This effects non-binary people especially and that needs to stop.

TE: Thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us today.

CC: No problem. Thank you.

follow Cookie on Twitter!

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