Trans Politics: Brianna Westbrook on Healthcare, Trans Military, and HB2796

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TransEthics: What was it that first got you interested in politics?

Brianna Westbrook: I’ve always been interested in politics since a young age. I love being a leader for people. I just never thought that I could run for office until recently. The confidence was not there for me in my earlier years of life. The election of Donald Trump is what pushed me to use my voice. That was my breaking point. I saw a storm coming last year when he selected Mike Pence as his running mate.

TE: What was it about Pence that made you decide to run for Congress? Continue reading

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Trans Mission: Kate Adair on HB2, and Changing Media & Society

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TransEthics: Tell us what you do for the BBC.

Kate Adair: What I do is work on a platform called BBC The Social. It’s an online space giving a platform to new and emerging content creators. It’s about letting people make what we are passionate about. In my case I started with a couple of a Trans 101 videos and have recently moved on to doing a weekly thing called queer bites where I get to discuss a topic of the week… usually I take it from something that I have seen in the news or something big from the world of LGBTQI+ society, but I do admit I’m bias a little towards the trans content. I’m a trans person who leads on creating what I make, script, film and edit my own stuff and the BBC listens to my views and allow me to make what I feel is relevant and important. They tend not to change or alter what I say and —at least with the social— are happy to listen to my lead on whats needing to be said and put out there.  Continue reading

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

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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? Continue reading

Trans Orgasmic: Evie Eliot on Imagining a New Kind of Porn, Liberation, and Magic

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Trans Ethics: How did you get into the sex industry?

Evie Eliot: The very short version is that I just sort of woke up one morning and said “I’m going to make porn”. The longer version is that about seven years ago, I saw a film called the Third and the Seventh, by Alex Roman. It was the first time I’d ever seen something that fit the description “fine art cinema” for me, and at the end of it, the first thing I thought was, “I want to make porn that looks like this.” Back then though it was just “something I’d like to do”, in the same way as I wanted to say, travel South America. If someone had offered me an all expenses trip then I’d take it, but I wasn’t actually very serious about turning the idea into reality.

Continue reading

Trans Activism: Honey Foxxx on Unifying the LGBTQI Community and the Importance of Supportive Families

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Trans Ethics: How did you get started in the sex industry?

Honey FoXXX: I was 18 Years old and I was living in South Central (Los Angeles). This is a time pre-transition. I was on the 103rd street train station and this talent producer Robbie said “You look like you have a big dick.” He gave me his card and a week later I was shooting for gay porn.

TE: So you started pre-transition… how long were you doing that before you decided to get on hormones and start being your true self?

HF: I did gay porn for almost two years. I started my transition and taking hormones at 19, but I didn’t start living full time until I was 20, which is when I was discovered by Danielle FoX, which is how I got into TS porn.

TE: When you were growing up, did you ever think that the sex industry would become your career?

HF: Honestly… NO! No way! I was shy and quiet. I was kinda nerdy. Plus my parents were pretty conservative for a gay couple so I was very sheltered for a long time. Continue reading

Trending Trans: Bridging the gap between morality and sex work.

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Considering the interviews I have done so far, it’s clear that most humans are highly sexual creatures. The problem is over the centuries we have been told to repress these feelings, and that they are “wrong” — largely due to what many would claim are archaic monotheistic beliefs. In many ways, the repression of our sexual nature as humans is similar to repressing ones’ feelings when it comes to being transgender.

Society looks at trans people through very strict gender stereotypes: a binary male/female. Anyone having feelings that don’t coincide with one’s assigned birth gender is categorized as a “misfit”, a “freak”, or even in some extreme cases, an “abomination”. So a lot of trans women repress these feelings, often for self-preservation. But just like repressing the sexual nature of humans, it only works for so long.

In the 21st Century, there has been a revolution surrounding transgender people. And like the Trans Women of Color who started the Stonewall Riots, trans people are giving society the finger and being who they truly are. This has not occurred without pushback, however. Trans people are still excluded from equal rights laws and protections that are given to other minorities simply because our gender does not coincide with what society would push onto us.

Trans women are often rejected by their families when they come out. There are people who paint us in an extremely negative light, and even lie about us to perpetuate fear and the idea that “something is wrong” with us. The media then frequently sensationalizes us for a profit. The reality is that hormones are not cheap. Neither are the surgeries some (if not many) of us desire. The stigma of being trans is so much larger than the stigma surrounding sex, and by extension sex work.

It is important to mention that not all trans women have done sex work. However as Janet Mock pointed out in her book Redefining Realness it is an option many trans women turn to in order to afford the costs of transition, if for no other reason than the discrimination and stigma that surrounds being a trans woman makes it difficult to find employment.

Coupled with the stigma behind being transgender, and the perpetuation of negative imagery coming from both the Christian right and radical feminists, many trans women are unable to find employment outside the sex work industry. As Ada Black pointed out in her recent interview, there are trans women who turn to sex work just to be able to afford the basic necessities of life, stating that that it is “heartbreaking”.

So how can we destigmatize sex work? There has been and will always be a demand for it, with humans being sexual creatures. Since sex sells, what’s wrong with buying it? Isn’t supply and demand a fundamental economic factor? If you’re fulfilling a need that can’t be met elsewhere, isn’t that ethical? And as long as capitalism is forcing trans women to pay through the nose for hormones and surgeries, why shouldn’t we use the sex industry as a source for the money we will need? That’s ethical. Isn’t it?