Subversive Smut Made By Ladies, Artists, And Queers: The Anatomy Of Queer Porn

The first way that I ever described the kind of porn I was making and buying for No Fauxxx back in 2002 was “Subversive Smut Made By Ladies, Artists, and Queers.” I still use this motto to this day to describe what I think “queer porn” REALLY is. And in many ways, I am very protective of this term. The adult industry can be a place that chews you up and spits you out, and I never want to see that happen to something that I hold so dearly. With the genre gaining momentum and popularity, I thought that if I wrote this post, maybe future directors, performers, and producers would benefit from the trade secrets of the queer porn movement. And maybe porn reviewers and porn watchers will read this and gain more insight on what Queer Porn is, really.

These are my thoughts and opinions, and while I coined the term queer porn, maybe these are outdated or personal opinions not shared by other directors. Maybe it’s not “mine” to define because I share this movement with hundreds of other people – but this is how I see it, this is how I believe it to be, and how I’d like it to stay.

First off, queer is a word that’s been reclaimed by gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans* and fluid, questioning, and kinky/perverted individuals who still feel like outsiders in the whole GLBT spectrum. It transgresses gender and sexual orientation, and literally means strange or outside of the box. Queer people actively live, work, and play outside of the boxes we were put in as children. We defy socialization. We defy what the world says is “normal.” We are our own normal.

Queer Porn Is Subversive. It actively works to deconstruct and incite revolution against the established porn regime, break down stereotypes, and put a positive, sexually charged spotlight on the kind of people that are considered outcasts, freaks, or imperfect – alongside folks that might typically get work in other facets of the adult industry, but also have strong feelings of subversion, politics, ally-ship, kin-ship, or intellectual or sexual attraction within the queer community. This is why you see so many “amateurs” alongside “porn stars” in queer porn. Many of us work as adult performers in the larger scheme of things, but find the queer porn movement to be more of our home, a safe place to work, experiment, learn, and express ourselves.

Queer Porn Is Ethical. So are other kinds of porn, of course. But I believe that ethics are on the forfront of our movement. I believe that queer porn should have ethical casting practices, and hire talented and professional performers of all sizes, races, genders, abilities, et cetera – without discrimination. I think this might be the number one rule of queer porn. Ethical casting IS queer porn. You’re not making it, otherwise. People of color, plus size/fat/big-bodied folks, and transgender, transsexxual, and genderqueer folks get work just as often, and get paid just as much, as everyone else. In fact, these people maybe even make up the majority of the players in the movement. While I just see this as common sense and decency, the adult industry is super fucked up to these people in general (need proof? google “blackzilla”, “bbw porn”, or “shemale surprise” and you’ll see why these kinds of politics are so important to a queer community) – and that makes my work super political, even if nothing is said (or perhaps because nothing is being said) when the camera starts rolling. Other ethics that the queer porn movement hold include equal and transparent pay structure (every company kind of has a policy of paying what it can – but all performers get paid the same no matter how famous or sexy they are or what sex acts they decide to do or not do, or what happens on set.) and active consent on set – the performers normally get invited to do whatever they find sexy, or negotiate with their costar (most often self-appointed) and the director on what they want to do or not do, whether they want to use condoms and gloves, and other details of the scene. This is drastically different from the rest of the industry – and believe it or not, this system works very well. What you maybe lack in mainstream glitz and formula – you gain in chemistry, trust, and creativity. You do more, and you do a better job, when you feel safe and respected – it’s common sense.

Queer Porn is Made by Feminists. Queer porn, because of it’s ethical casting and on set tactics, is inherently feminist. Or maybe its inherently equalist. It’s, if anything, highly political, even when it’s not saying anything outright. Queer porn is an equality-based movement, or perhaps an equalizing movement, that intends to bring strength and sexiness to all kinds of people. Women, ladies, dykes, butches, femmes, and feminists of all kinds work in the queer porn movement. We are BDSM freedom fighters, orgasm soldiers, sex positive sex educators with doctorates, mothers, activists, and outspoken sex workers. Women and/or femme-and-feminist-identified genderqueer people (like myself) are celebrated leaders in queer porn. We are the business owners, the producers, the directors, the talent, the editors, the light crew, the musicians, the camera persons. We are our own agents. We own our choices. We get to perform under our own desired working conditions, be it with condoms and other safer sex barriers, be it with our own chosen partners, be it based on finding and achieving our own orgasms, be it on dressing the way we choose, be it not being judged or hired (or fired) for the shapes or colors of our own bodies.

Queer Porn is made by Artists. This goes without saying. Shine Louise Houston, for instance, is a film-school graduate with a strong aesthetic vision and passion for her gear and her artistic rules. I also went to school for visual art – photography to be exact, and I’ve had gallery shows, published work, and awards given to me for my photos. Jiz Lee and Drew Deveaux both studied modern dance, Maxwell Lander is an incredible photographer, Carlos Batts and April Flores are experimental video and visual artists, using sculpture, collage, and media. Tina Horn is an incredible writer and drummer. Many queer porn stars are painters, performance artists, film-makers, fashion designers, and musicians. This creativity seems to soak our work down to the mattress – we aren’t just making a product for you to consume – as artists, we use our skills to express ourselves and our ideas, and evoke strong emotion from our audiences.

Queer porn is more than just people fucking on film. While you can sit there and have one hundred orgasms watching it, there’s so much under the surface. Politics, creativity, and individualism are basic, undeniable pieces of the puzzle. Queer porn is subversive smut made by ladies, artists, and of course… queers.

[This post is a part of Courtney Trouble Week.]

[At top: Courtney Trouble and Maxine Holloway, via courtney trouble tumblr landia (courtneytrouble.tumblr.com)]