Through the Benz

Family

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There are various definitions of the word family; most often it refers to a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household related to one another by blood or marriage. There are other definitions as well, such as a group of people united in criminal activity, like the Mafia, or a taxonomic rank in the classification of organisms between genus and order. But there is another definition of family that can be just as meaningful as the other definitions: a group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.

For many in the transgender community the simple fact that we’re trans brings us together and into a new family because of the shared experiences and the bonds that develop from those experiences. It doesn’t mean we love the family we were born into any less, it just means we have another family of people with whom we share an understanding of what it’s like to be transgender. I was there when my children were born but that doesn’t mean I understand what it’s like to actually give birth, just as cis-gendered people can’t truly understand what it’s like to be transgender. After feeling alone for so long it’s a wonderful thing to find others who understand.

And sometimes we turn to other people for friendship and support when we lose relationships with the family we were born into. There is no replacing the love of a child or sister, but sometimes it helps to have friends to talk with and who listen and understand what’s it’s like to lose a relationship. It doesn’t mean I’m trying to find a substitute family, it just means I’m human and there are times when I need a friend. It’s human nature to want to be part of a community or a family; we are not meant to be alone. When we are alone and feeling the loss of those relationships there are several common ways to react; we can seek out others to not feel so alone, or we can try to numb the pain through things such as alcohol or drugs, or we can just stop feeling anything and stop living life.

Through The Benz FamilyI was blessed to grow up in a loving family where I had a mom and a sister who loved me, and later in my life to have a wife and two sons who also loved me. Those are the relationships which have always meant everything to me and always will. Most relationships experience some amount of ebb and flow, whether they be family, friends or acquaintances. Some relationships grow and flourish, while others fade away. Sometimes rifts develop with people we love and care about which are not easily mended, and if we’re not careful we can lose people we love. Relationships are easy when things are going well, but it’s the difficult times which ultimately show how strong a relationship really is and whether or not it can weather the storm. Relationships require effort and dedication to make them work; they need to be tended to and nurtured, or else they shrivel up and die.

I am also blessed to have many friends who I’ve met online, and occasionally in person, and those friendships mean the world to me. Many of those friendships developed through my work in the porn industry, and over the past couple of years some of those people have become dear friends who have become like family to me. I have friends who I talk baseball with, or cooking, or any number of shared interests we have. We’ve gotten to know each other and shared parts of our lives and developed a bond and a level of trust that is very special. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate the friendships I’m fortunate to be part of, and I’ve learned that the quality of my life is directly proportional to the friendships I have. Unfortunately I’ve also learned that no amount of friendships can replace the love of the family I was born into.

I’ve learned things can be said out of anger and hurt, and that some things can never be taken back.

I’ve learned that life can change in the blink of an eye.

I’ve learned that time is precious and once we lose it we never get it back.

I’ve learned that forgiveness is hard, especially trying to forgive yourself for fucking things up.

I’ve learned I’m not the person I thought I was.

I’ve learned that therapy only helps so much and that talking about it hurts like hell.

I’ve learned that working out at the gym is one of the few ways to block out the pain, but my body can only take so much exercise before it starts breaking down.

I’ve learned physical pain hurts less than emotional pain.

I’ve learned that I can’t escape the pain through sleep because I dream about people and things which hurt and I’ve woken up crying too many times.

I’ve learned there is no pain which hurts as much as the pain of losing the love of your family

I’ve learned what it feels like when life isn’t worth living and you want to die.

And I’ve learned that when it’s all said and done, that the only thing that really matters is the love of your family. None of the other stuff maters; the material possessions, the awards, the number of Twitter followers, the compliments about my looks, the mementos of my past. None of it means a damn thing.

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It’s Time To Abolish The Trans Panic Legal Defense

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Last week Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill banning the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defense in murder cases, making Illinois the second state to do so, after California become the first state to officially ban the defense in 2014. The law prevents people in those states from claiming that the murder victim was gay or bisexual and made a sexual advance that caused them to react violently, or that the victim’s gender identity caused them to react violently. This is a defense tactic which specifically targets members of the LGBT community and is based on stereotypes and ignorance and fear. Defendants in murder cases have sometimes been able to argue their way to a lesser charge of manslaughter if the killings happened during a “sudden quarrel” or in the “heat of passion” when defendants claimed they were so shocked to learn their victim was gay or trans that they had no other recourse than violence. The new law clearly states that a defendant’s discomfort, surprise, or fear of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity may not be used as a legal defense to justify the assault.

Gwen AraujoThe case which brought this issue to light was 2002 murder of transgender woman Gwen Araujo, who was beaten to death by four men after they realized that she was transgender. The defense came up with a “panic” defense, stating that the defendants were unaware that Araujo was transgender. Two of the men were convicted of second-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison, and the two others pleaded guilty to lesser charges. There were no convictions for hate crimes.

While this is certainly good news that a second state has outlawed this barbaric defense, it begs the question why are there still 48 states which still allow it? Why do we still have 48 states which say it’s acceptable to use sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason for killing someone? It is astounding that in this day and age of supposed equality and freedom for everyone that a legal tactic like this even exists, let alone that it is legally allowed in 48 out of 50 states. This is unacceptable and we as a community need to stand up and work together to change this.

In years past under previous presidential administrations the standard method would be to contact your state and federal representatives to let them know you support introducing legislation to ban the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses. However, given the current political climate I’m not sure that this is an issue which would be much of a priority to most legislators, but it’s still the best avenue to affect change and get this archaic defense banned in every state. One thing to be aware of is that if you aren’t a registered voter your voice literally doesn’t count; you must be a registered voter in order for the politicians in your state or district to listen to you. And this is a big problem for the trans community because we are extremely under-represented due to the fact that we often move out of necessity to find available housing or jobs, and that many trans people may not be registered voters due to name change issues and/or having to move frequently.

If ever there was a time for our voices to be heard, now is that time. It is crucial for members of the LGBT community to be registered voters and to actually vote. We must make our voices heard. Moreover, we need to let our state and federal legislators know that we do not support legislation which is discriminatory or results in our rights being taken away. We must demand equality and end the discrimination, and the only way to do that is if our voices are heard.

To find out who your legislators are and how to contact them click here

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Ya Gotta Have Style!

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Being transgender is no easy task; there is a lot to learn and it’s a steep learning curve. When we transition we are literally reinventing ourselves from the ground up; we have to learn things on the go that cis-people have had their entire lives to learn and understand. Not only do we have to learn how to be comfortable with ourselves and figure out our place in life, we also have to deal with practical issues such as how to present as our authentic gender. Our appearance is one of the things we focus on, especially early in our transition, because the reality is that how we look plays a large role in how we are accepted; in other words, whether or not we pass. But passing is more than just about looks, it’s about confidence. There are some things we can change, for instance, through surgery, and there are others which we can’t change and we just have to adapt and manage with what we have. But one of things which we can learn, is fashion. And fashion is more than just the clothes we wear; it’s a statement about who we are. It’s an attitude.

Developing your own unique sense of style takes time, and a lot of it is trial and error; figuring out what doesn’t work is just as important as figuring out what does work. You can learn a lot online and by observing other people, but there is no substitute for actually trying on different outfits and styles and seeing what you like or don’t like, and more importantly, seeing what looks good on your body style. And while it can be a challenge, developing our sense of style should also be something which we have fun with, because most of us had to go through quite a journey to reach the point where we can express who we really are. And it’s not as much about the clothes and makeup and shoes as it is that we now have that option to wear whatever we want and to be our authentic selves. One of the things I enjoy most about being a woman is that I’m able to polish my nails. Something as simple as that is very meaningful for me, along with having long hair. I had to wait over 50 years to be able to transition and reach the point where I could express who I really am, so you can be darn sure I’m going to savor every moment of having polished nails and wearing my hair long!

But as I mentioned earlier, having a sense of style is more than just the clothes and make-up and hair; it’s about who we are on the inside. It’s being confident in who you are and feeling good about yourself. You can wear the most expensive clothes and makeup, but it won’t matter if you don’t have confidence and your own sense of style. I don’t need to be perfectly dressed and made up to feel good about myself. Early in my transition I wouldn’t leave the house without wearing make-up and being perfectly dressed and accessorized because I wasn’t secure enough about myself without all those things; they were my battle armor I needed to venture out. But these days I generally go without make-up and I wear my hair up, and I’m okay with looking frumpy! I still love the opportunity to get all dressed up, but the difference is now it’s my choice; my sense of worth is not determined by what I’m wearing or how I look or worrying about how others perceive me. And that is part of the process as we transition and learn to be comfortable with ourselves; we are all unique and there is no right or wrong way to be trans, just be yourself. The only person you need to please is you! And that brings us back to developing our sense of style. Again, there is no right or wrong way to express who you are and your sense of fashion; the most important thing is to find what works for you! Some people just want to blend in and live their lives, while others want to express their unique style and stand out. So, it’s important to know yourself and what style you’re going for.

When I do clean up and dress nicely I often get comments about the clothes I wear and my sense of style. I doubt I have a better sense of style than anyone else, I’ve just figured out through trial and error what works for me. I understand my body size and shape and know what styles look best on me. Trust me, I’ve spent countless hours inside store dressing rooms looking at myself in the mirror trying to decide if a certain style looked okay on me and figuring out the right size. Like I said, trial and error! There are some styles I’d love to wear but they look terrible on me because of my body type, so I avoid those and instead wear things which accentuate what I do have. Being rather flat chested eliminates a lot of clothing options, but I can get away with small boobs since I’m tall and slim and wear styles which emphasize a slender figure like mine. Basically, I’ve always just worn things that I liked and which I felt looked good on me. I don’t worry about current fashion trends; I tend to stick with the classics which never go out of style. And I’m not overly adventurous when it comes to fashion, I mainly stick with a few certain styles that I know work for me. Also, be aware of your surroundings and dress appropriately for the occasion; you won’t see too many women wearing a little black dress and 5 inch stilettos at the grocery store. Nothing will draw attention to you as quickly as being inappropriately dressed.

Another consideration is cost; it can add up very quickly when you’re trying to build a wardrobe. But you don’t have to buy expensive clothes to look good; I buy a lot of my clothes from stores like Target which have pretty reasonable prices. And when I first began transitioning I shopped at places like Goodwill and found a lot of really nice clothes at bargain prices. Another thing to keep in mind is that even though we all love dresses you have a lot more options with separate tops and bottoms which you can mix and match.

And one last thought: SMILE!!! It drives me crazy how often I see trans women who post pictures of themselves and they’re dressed nicely and have beautifully done hair and makeup, but it’s all for naught because they’re not smiling! A smile goes a long way towards how you look, as does how you move and carry yourself. And not just how we walk, but the overall way we move and carry ourselves. The best way I can describe it is flowing; you want flowing graceful movements, whether it’s walking, reaching for something, or turning around. You can see what I mean if you watch people dance, and in particular ballet; the graceful and elegant way they move. It takes time to develop an awareness of how you move and to be able break old habits and develop new ones. Lots of practice and lots of patience!

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Are “you guys” being overly sensitive?

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We in the transgender community have a lot of things to be concerned about in these troubling times. Our state and federal governments continue to attempt passage of legislation which takes away our rights and makes it legal to discriminate against us. Bathroom bills continue to be proposed in state after state. Federal protections for transgender youth have been done away with, leaving them more vulnerable and at even greater risk of bullying. Transgender murders and suicides continue at a horrendous rate. Trans people still have high rates of unemployment and poverty. We have a president who is systematically taking away our rights, such as declaring he will reinstate the ban on trans people serving openly in the military, and who is sorely lacking in moral character by failing to stand up to and condemn the violence and hate carried out by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis. We have a nation which is divided and coming apart at the seams.

And in the midst of all these pressing issues, there are an increasingly large number of people in our community who would rather worry about petty things, which, in the large scheme of things, aren’t really very relevant. And more importantly, they divert our time and attention away from the issues which are important. One of my pet peeves is people who get very offended when they are part of a mix-gender group of people which gets referred to as “you guys.” I completely understand that some people are sensitive to being triggered by certain things, such as being mis-gendered. No one, including me, likes to be mis-gendered, and especially when it’s intentional and meant to be hurtful. But the term “you guys” is generally considered to be gender-neutral. There is a big difference between being called a guy, which is gender specific, and being among a group of people which is addressed as “you guys.” We need to use common sense and have some level of comprehension as to how the comment was said and the intended meaning. Someone can be called a lady, but based on the context of how it was said along with the tone of voice and whether it was said sarcastically, it can be said as an insult and to be demeaning.

Some words, such as dude, guy, lady, gal, girl, boy, etc., refer to specific genders and are pretty much universally accepted. “You guys” is generally accepted as a generic mixed-gender colloquialism. Very few people these days refer to a mixed gender group as “guys and gals.” Just doesn’t happen in today’s society and with how the English language has evolved. Should we be in an uproar because we still continue to use the words “manhole cover,” “freshman,” and “mankind?” Again, where do we draw the line? Should we start a petition to change the name to “womanhole covers?” I personally think that sounds like a bad idea!

My point, is that sometimes we lose perspective, and maybe get a bit overly sensitive. Let’s not jump down someone’s throat over an innocent comment when there was no malice or ill-intent behind it. The English language is always evolving and words take on new meanings, but we still have to use common sense and take into account the context of how something was said, along with body language and tone of voice. Let’s not stress over the little things when we have so many important issues which need our attention.

And with that I’m going to thank you guys for taking the time to read this and go to bed now!

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So you want to be a model for Grooby?

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One of the things I get asked about frequently is how to become a model for Grooby. You can read about the process of how to apply by reading Steven Grooby’s blog post here and filling out the online application form here.

There is still a big misconception among trans women who want to mode is that they have to be tall and thin with big boobs, which is not the case at all. Grooby makes an effort to shoot models of all shapes and sizes and looks. Modeling is more than just about looks, it’s about personality, confidence,  desire and what you bring to the table. But before you apply make sure this is something you really want to do and that you understand the potential ramifications of having your pictures on a porn site, because once those pictures are out there for everyone to see there is no turning back. Make sure you’re okay if your friends and family find out, and how this may affect potential employment opportunities for you in the future. I thought long and hard about whether to do my shoot and had some major concerns, but looking back none the of the things I was concerned about turned out to be an issue. And the modeling opened the door to a lot of opportunities for me.

So now that your application has been accepted and Grooby wants to do a shoot you’ll be contacted by the Grooby photographer assigned to do your shoot to schedule the date, time, and location. You may also receive instructions and tips on how to prepare for the shoot, what to expect, and what to do and not to do, such as don’t be drunk or high for your shoot and don’t bring friends with you. One of the things which will really help is to practice ahead of time what you’ll say during the videos. It helps a lot to know ahead of time what you’ll say so you don’t have to wing it as you go. Practice sounding sexy and seductive, and try to remember that you’re talking to the people watching your video, not the camera. You can also learn a lot by doing a bit of research online about how to be successful in your modeling career. Another great resource is to talk with experienced models and get their perspective. There are a lot of models who are more than happy to help and answer any questions you have.

As the shoot gets closer start getting things ready and schedule what day you’ll do your nails and hair, and when to shave. Shave early enough so you avoid razor rash. Take time to choose your outfits, shoes, and accessories. Having the right outfits and accessories and making sure your makeup, hair and nails look good is one of those things which make a big difference in how well your set does, and it also says a lot about you and your work ethic. Be sure to have everything packed and ready to go ahead of time and that you give yourself enough time to get to your shoot location. The last thing you want to do is have to rush and stress out about being late, because you won’t be relaxed for the shoot. Again, don’t drink, get high, or bring along a friend. Make sure to bring your government issued photo ID and another form of ID, as it will be needed when you sign the legal paperwork.

So now you’re at your shoot and you’re ready to go. One of the biggest mistakes a model can make is to think they know it all and not listen to their photographer and the directions they are giving you. Grooby photographers are all very experienced and among the best in the business, so listen to what your photographer tells you; they are professionals who are good at what they do and know how to get the most out of you. It’s natural that you may be nervous if it’s your first shoot, but again, your photographer will get you to relax.

Grooby modeling Through The Benz

And for goodness sake, smile or at least look like you’re having fun!! It blows me away how many sets I see where the model is not smiling and looks decidedly unhappy. I get that sometimes the model is going for the seductive look which does not need a big toothy smile, and that there are a variety of smiles ranging from baring all your teeth to a more subtle, shy smile. But time after time I see models who look unhappy, like they’d rather be getting a root canal than doing the shoot. And that is not a look which will gain you many fans. It’s understandable that you might be nervous, but hopefully you will eventually relax as the shoot goes on, and at the very least you can put on a fake smile. I can’t stress the importance of learning to relax and have fun, because if you’re tense it will affect not just your smile but your body language and your poses will look awkward and uncomfortable. Believe in yourself that you can do this! Nothing is sexier than confidence!

But ultimately it’s up to the model whether or not they will smile. But, the bottom line is that this is a business and we are creating a product that needs to please our customers, and frankly, when I look at a set where the model isn’t smiling and looks unhappy, I immediately lose interest and move on. You don’t want to lose fans and customers because you didn’t smile.

The actually shoot is just one part of the process; after the shoot is done and you’re waiting for your sets to be released you need to spend time on social media working to build up your fan base. Set up social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and start networking to gain followers. Follow people in the industry, and that will get you moving in the right direction. And again, there are a lot of good people who are willing to help if you’re not social media savvy.

Another good way to get your face and name out there so people know who you are is with Grooby Girls, which is a site set up for models to promote themselves and for fans of Grooby Girls to see their favorite models. One of the main ways we get to promote ourselves is with Grooby Girls shirts, which are given to models after a shoot and also available for purchase online.

You’ve gotten the opportunity to do a shoot with Grooby, and it’s up to you to make the most of it. The exposure from modeling for Grooby can open a lot of doors and lead to opportunities both in the industry and outside the industry. It’s up to you to decide what direction you want to go and what you hope to gain from it. Success is different for everyone; some people want to be famous pornstars while others want to work behind the scenes, or even pursue a career in an entirely different field. Modeling is like anything else in life; you get out of it what you put into it. So enjoy the experience of getting to be a model and have fun!

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Trump trans ban: A slap in the face to trans community

I woke this morning to the news that Trump will reinstate the ban against transgender Americans being allowed to serve openly in the military. The ban had been lifted under President Obama but the plan to allow trans people to serve openly was still under review, and it was an ominous sign when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was delaying enactment of the plan.

Trump made the following statement in three tweets this morning: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

Trump trans military ban

The “tremendous medical costs” is nothing but an excuse. In 2016 the Defense Department commissioned the Rand Corporation to do study which concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force. The study put the number of transgender people in the military between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender reassignment surgery is rare in the general population, and the RAND study estimated the possibility of 30 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found. Trump’s argument that the medical costs would be a burden is nothing but a thinly veiled excuse to discriminate against transgender Americans and deny us the right to serve openly. So, what’s next, reinstating the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy? Our rights are being systematically taken away, and where does it end?

Trump trans military banI am beyond outraged. I am angry that we as a nation have taken yet another step backwards by allowing the trans community to be so blatantly discriminated against. Up until now I have refrained from criticizing those in the LGBT community who voted for Trump, but I can no longer hold my tongue. I am furious and bewildered that so many in the trans community actually voted for Trump. He was very clear during his campaign that he intended to take away the rights of the LGBT community, so It’s not like the reinstatement of the ban or the other anti-trans legislation should come as a surprise. How any member of the trans community could think it was a good idea to vote for Trump is beyond me. During his campaign Trump stated “Thank you to the LGBT Community! I will fight for you!” Does it look like he’s fighting for us? The only thing he’s fighting for is to take away our rights and legislate us out of existence. It’s frightening how simple it apparently was for so many people to be persuaded to vote for him.

As a trans veteran I have always been unabashedly patriotic and proud to be an American. It was an honor to serve my country. But today I feel like I’ve been spit on by my own country. The very people whose rights and freedoms I protected while serving are now taking away my rights. I have never felt more ashamed of my country. Trump does not represent the principals which made America great; he stands for hate and ignorance and greed. He is not my president.

We as a nation, and especially those of us in the LGBT community, need to think long and hard about what America stands for and whether the current direction this nation is heading under Trump is in line with those beliefs. We have taken a huge step backwards under Trump and it’s only going to get worse. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask some hard questions. We need to take a stand before it’s too late; before there is nothing left to fight for.

Attack my integrity? A shill for Grooby? Think again.

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I had intended to write about Caitlyn Jenner’s possible run for the Senate in California, but after recent events on social media I felt the need to clarify a few things about this column and what I write.

Last week I wrote a column about Trans Identity and the issues we face in our own community because some choose to judge and try to exclude certain people who they feel are not really trans or “not trans enough” which has led to a lot of bickering and divisiveness within our community. After logging onto Facebook yesterday and reading yet another diatribe against cross-dresser, I made the following post:

“Some trans women need to take a long, hard look at themselves because they are nothing but self-righteous hypocrites. We’re fighting to be accepted, and yet so many trans women are extremely judgmental as to whether someone is really trans, or “trans enough.” As if it’s up to them to decide. At this rate the conservatives are going to get exactly what they want because the trans community seems intent on tearing itself apart from within with this idiotic bickering. This is why I’m not on FB much anymore, because you can’t post anything without it erupting into petty bickering and bitching about cross-dressers.”

The post got a decent number of comments, including many thoughtful, intelligent replies, as well as lot of comments which were nothing more than the same old arguments that always come up during the bickering. But one particular trans woman chose to aggressively go after me and take me to task for being too inclusive (of cross-dressers), and she also accused me of being a mouthpiece for Grooby Productions. She said I only wrote what was sanctioned and approved by the people at Grooby, and that they would not publish something they didn’t like or agree with. And she had the audacity to make all these accusations without having ever read my column! If you don’t like my column or agree with my opinions, that’s fine, I have no problem with that. But if you want to criticize my writing you damn well have better at least read it first.

For the record: Steven Grooby, CEO and Founder of Grooby Productions, and Kristel Penn, Marketing and Editorial Director of Grooby Productions, have given me the creative freedom to write about whatever interests me, and have never censored or edited anything I wrote. NEVER. And I’m pretty sure I’ve written some things which they did not agree with.

Yes, I am very loyal to Grooby Productions and the people who work there because they have without fail been supportive of me and treated me fairly and with respect. And that in turn has earned my respect and loyalty. Do I agree with everything Grooby Productions and Steven does? No. But Steven has shown time after time that he cares about the trans community and has helped countless trans people, including me.

Furthermore, I would sooner quit than be forced to write something which I did not believe in or support. I have too much self-respect to compromise my beliefs, and I strongly resent that anyone would challenge my integrity.

In last week’s column, I stated at the very beginning that “These are my own views and I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with them, or imply that my views are the only ones which are correct. Everyone has their own opinions and who is to say one person’s opinion is better or more correct than anyone else’s.” I don’t claim to be an expert on anything or to suppose my opinions are better than anyone else’s. My opinions are just that; opinions. We all have them and we all have the freedom to express our opinions. What I do have are life experiences which is what I draw upon when I write, and hopefully I’ve gained a bit of maturity and perspective in my 55 years of living.

And lastly, if you have a grudge against Grooby that’s your problem, not mine, and I do not appreciate being attacked because you choose to be petty and vindictive. Grow up and get over it.

And now, back to Caitlyn.

This column was originally going to be about Caitlyn Jenner, who recently announced that she is considering running for the Senate in California. I was curious what people thought of this, especially those in the trans community where Caitlyn is a very controversial figure. Most agree she has done a lot to help the trans community by getting trans issues into mainstream media so more people are aware of trans people and the issues we face. But, and this is a very big but, she has drawn a lot of criticism for being Republican and for making a lot of comments which almost seem transphobic. That, along with the fact that most feel she is in no way representative of the trans community as a whole given that she is a celebrity and has unlimited financial resources available to her.

Most of the responses, as expected, were not supportive of Jenner running. Most had an issue with her being a Republican, along with the fact that she has no political experience. And frankly, she is just not well liked in the trans community and most people feel she has done little to help her own community. So, it appears she has very little support within the trans community, and she would almost certainly have no support from the conservative population, so that seems to indicate she would have no realistic chance of winning. But, she has a lot of money, so who knows. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and if she does indeed decide to run.

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Q&A Quickies with the beautiful Casey Kisses!

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This week’s edition of Q&A Quickies features the beautiful Casey Kisses! Casey is the 2017 Transgender Erotica Awards winner for Stroker of the Year, sponsored by Shemale Strokers, and she is always a fan favorite! When Casey isn’t busy shooting scenes she can be found on Chaturbate where she is always in demand!

And stay tuned for a full-length interview of Casey coming soon! And based on some of her answers to these questions it’s going to be a fun interview!

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Bacon cheeseburger or tofu burger?

CK:  Bacon cheeseburger, with extra bacon

Favorite sex partner: male, female, or trans?

CK:  Male

What songs are on your playlist right now?

CK:  Deceptacon, Short Skirt Long Jacket, Are You Gunna be my Girl

Favorite scene you’ve shot?

CK:  My first hardcore and it was for Two Tgirls. It was my favorite because it was the first time Korra Del Rio and I kissed. We haven’t been too far apart since.

If you could choose anyone, who would you want to do a scene with?

CK:  Spit roast with mark whalberg and James Franco

Casey Kisses Through The Benz   Casey Kisses Through The Benz

Favorite part of being a pornstar?

CK:  I love making connections and learning things that help me improve my image.

Least favorite part of being a pornstar?

CK:  Buying outfits only to use them once

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

CK:  Milk

Where would your dream vacation be?

CK:  Greece

Favorite movie or tv show right now?

CK:  Finding Nemo

What are you wearing right now?

CK:  Short shorts and flip flops

How often do you masturbate?

CK:  2-3 x daily, mostly on Chaturbate

Casey Kisses Through The Benz

Oral sex or anal sex?

CK:  Both please!

Favorite social media site?

CK:  Twitter and Instagram are my go to

Interacting with fans on social media: fun or not fun?

CK:  Fun fun fun!

Who inspires you?

CK:  Nicole Charming, Korra Del Rio, Morgan Bailey, & Foxxy

Are you left or right-handed?

CK:  Right

How old are you?

CK:  27

What would be your dream job?

CK:  Life guard in Hawaii

What do you like to do in your free time?

CK:  Movies, eating, swim, kayak, hike, explore and adventure. Clubs and casinos are super fun too!

If you could choose not to be transgender, would you?

CK:  Not really. I love myself too much!

Best advice you have ever received?

CK:  Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

Favorite subject in school?

CK:  Drama and art

Favorite city?

CK:  Miami, so far

Casey Kisses Through The Benz    Casey Kisses Through The Benz

Favorite fast food place?

CK:  Starbucks

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

CK:  Harriet the spy

Last movie you saw in a theater?

CK:  Moana

Beach, city, or mountains?

CK:  Beach, any time of day

What age did you know you were trans?

CK:  Super young

Do you work out regularly?

CK:  I try to stay active

If you could have dinner with any three people from history who would it be?

CK:  My grandmother brother and sister

Favorite animal to see at the zoo?

CK:  I don’t like zoos, I love all animals!

Are you a cat or dog person?

CK:  Both

One thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

CK:  All of my tattoos were given to me by friends and I let them pick out the design

Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America?

CK:  Optimistic. I love my country and the freedoms I have. I love and respect anyone in service trying to protect these rights as well.

Describe yourself in three words:

CK:  Always hungry. Always.

Casey Kisses Through The Benz

Star Wars, Star Trek, or Dancing with the Stars?

CK:  I’ve never seen any of them lol

How did you choose your model name?

CK:  My cam name was Casey Haze originally but I thought Kisses were cuter

Mac or PC?

CK:  Alienware

Do you have a kinky side?

CK:  Very kinky..

Do you sleep clothed or in the buff?

CK:  Naked, face down

Thanks Casey, this was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to do our interview, which will be coming soon to Through The Benz!

Be sure to follow Casey Kisses on Twitter at @Caseykissesxoxo!

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Trans Identity: Who’s Who, And What Does It Matter

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NOTE: These are my own views and I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with them, or imply that my views are the only ones which are correct. Everyone has their own opinions and who is to say one person’s opinion is better or more correct than anyone else’s. This is a topic which I’ve been thinking about for a while and has come up in several interviews and been a very hot topic on social media, so this is my attempt to make sense of a confusing and troubling issue.

One of the biggest issues we in the trans community face is being labeled: a “guy in a dress,” a “freak,” a “pervert.” We have fought long and hard to be accepted for who we are. Yet there seems to be a large number of trans women who feel the need to judge other trans woman and decide whether or not someone is actually trans, and even if they are being trans the “right way.” It seems to me that’s just a tad bit hypocritical; haven’t we as a community learned anything about being judged and labeled? Haven’t we all agreed that gender is a spectrum and fought against the whole idea of gender being binary? And yet here we are, having people in our own community telling others they aren’t really trans. Excuse me, but what right do any of us have to judge anyone else? And did I not get the memo about the “correct way” to be trans, because I sure thought we were all individuals and there was no right or wrong to be trans, just as there is no right or wrong way to be human.

So, what exactly determines whether someone is trans? Who “qualifies” as being justified in calling themselves trans? It seems like a simple question, but it’s gotten to be very contentious and led to a lot of bickering and divisiveness within our community. Whomever “our community” is, since that is the topic of discussion. One of the challenges in writing about this is that not everyone agrees with the gender identity terminology, so let’s begin with some basic definitions. These definitions are ones which seem to be the most commonly accepted, and I realize not everyone will agree with them, but for the sake of clarity these are what I’m going with:

Drag Queen: A drag queen is a male who dresses in drag to perform and often acts with exaggerated femininity and will embellish certain characteristics such as make-up and eyelashes for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. Performing in drag is performance art and generally has no connection to gender identity or sexuality.

Transvestite: Transvestites are individuals who wear clothing of the opposite gender primarily for erotic arousal or sexual gratification, although some do it for emotional or psychological reasons as well.

Cross-dresser: Cross-dressers are individuals who wear clothing of the opposite gender primarily for emotional or psychological reasons.

Transsexual: Transsexuals are individuals who strongly feel that they are, or ought to be, the opposite sex. The body they were born with does not match their own inner conviction and mental image of who they are or want to be. Nor are they comfortable with the gender role society expects them to play based on that body. This dilemma causes them intense emotional distress (dysphoria) and often interferes with their day-to-day functioning. There are male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals, as well as pre-operative (pre-op), post-operative (post-op) or non-operative (non-op).

Transgender: There are two common definitions for the term “transgender.” One is the general term for all people who have a conflict with or a question about their gender. This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, etc., and anyone else along the gender spectrum. The other definition of transgender covers individuals who visually present as and live in the role opposite their anatomical sex, but who do not make any actual physical changes.

So, having gone over the definitions, let’s make a few quick observations.

Transvestite is an outdated term which is generally not used by anyone with knowledge of trans people and issues; it only seems to be used by those who are uninformed as a derogatory term to demean a trans person. So for the purposes of this column, transvestite will not be included in the discussion.

I understand and agree with those who say that drag-queens should not be considered trans. Drag-queens are performers and their gender identity has nothing to do with their performance; they are no different than any other performer whether it be movies, theater, etc. So, drag-queens won’t be included in this discussion either.

And now things get a bit murkier.

Cross-dressers often have a mentality that could almost be described as living in a fantasy world where they occasionally indulge their desires to dress up and then return back to their regular life. It seems like their main focus is on the clothing and taking lots of pictures to post online. Trans people, on the other hand, live the life and are invested in the community and the issues that affect trans people and the trans community. It is their real life, not just a part-time fantasy life that gets taken out every so often to play with before being put away. You could almost say there is a different mentality, or even a large cultural difference between cross-dressers and trans people. Having said that, things get a bit complicated by the fact that many of us, myself included, considered ourselves cross-dressers before we made the decision to transition. And to make things even confusing, what about the people who consider themselves trans women or men but don’t choose to live full-time as their preferred gender for whatever reason? Does that makes them any less trans? In my humble opinion, it does not.

So, where does this leave us? Even more confused than ever. It’s the whole labeling thing which is the sticky wicket. There are many in the trans community who want nothing to do with anyone who considers themselves a cross-dresser, even going so far as to unfriend or block them on social media. And to a certain extent, I can understand this, although I’ve never unfriended or blocked anyone because of it, but I don’t really want to see a million pictures of your heels or pantyhose, or hear about how you’re a sissy and want to forcibly feminized. On the other hand, there are many cross-dressers who are simply unable to transition because of life circumstances or because they don’t feel the need to transition because they’re happy with the way things are. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a vastly different mindset, or almost a cultural difference. So how do we differentiate between the fetishistic cross-dresser versus the cross-dresser who will eventually go on to transition? Beats me. We could develop more labels, but that seems kind of counterproductive, and hypocritical, and will continue to cause more divisiveness in our community. Or, we could actually stop worrying about it and stop judging others and focus on our own lives. Otherwise known as acceptance. I know, right, what a novel idea?

I think the bigger issue is what does it matter who is trans? Don’t we all agree that gender is a spectrum, and there is no right or wrong way to be trans? Isn’t it counter-productive, and extremely hypocritical, to be labeling and excluding people from our own community? Why are so many in the trans community wasting so much time and effort pursuing this when there are many more pressing issues to deal with in this country, such as all the hate and discrimination coming from the Trump Administration. Now more than ever we need to stand together and fight for our rights, not tear our community apart from within. And as if it weren’t obvious, nothing would please all the conservatives and haters more than watching our community come unraveled from all this petty bickering, because we’d be giving them exactly what they wanted; a weaker trans community with less of a voice and less power.

And really, how can we expect cis-gender people to understand and accept us when we apparently don’t even understand ourselves well enough to agree upon who is actually trans?

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The Power of Pride: Portland Pride 2017

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Portland is one of the most welcoming and accepting cities in the Pacific Northwest, if not the country. Portlanders are known for their friendliness and not being judgmental. And we’re not afraid to speak up and make our voices heard when we don’t agree with something, as shown by the many anti-Trump rallies in the past months. Unfortunately, Portland is not immune from hate and violence, as shown by the recent murders of two men who came to the defense of two girls who were the target of racial slurs aboard a MAX train. But as a trans woman Portland is one of the places I feel most safe, and where I don’t have to fear being trans or to hide who I am.

Portland Pride Through The BenzThis past weekend was Portland Pride, which is a time to celebrate diversity and who we are. But Pride is so much more than just a celebration; it’s an opportunity to bring attention to the LGBTQ community and educate people about who we are and the challenges we face. And this year’s Pride was even more important and meaningful because of the discrimination and hate which has been on the rise since Trump came to office. Pride gives us the opportunity to show that we will not be bullied and we are not going away. As the saying goes, we are out and proud. I did have concerns about going to Pride this year because of the increased violence against the LGBTQ community and all the pro-Trump supporters who have been out in force in Portland. But as I mentioned earlier, this year’s Pride is special and I was damned if I was going to let anyone scare me away from attending.

The Trans Pride parade was on Saturday and it was such a wonderful experience. After a week of chilly, rainy weather the sun finally reappeared and it was a gorgeous day. Mother Nature was showing her Pride spirit too! The march isn’t just about showing who we are, it’s about the comradery and support of being among such a huge gathering of our community. The past year has been trying for all of us, facing a daily onslaught of hate and legislation designed to take away our rights, so Pride is a time when we can get a break from all that and feel good about ourselves. And being there amongst people who understand and are so supportive is very powerful and affirming. To have people showing their support for us, whether it was a sign or a smile or just cheering, means a lot. It gives me hope at a time when feeling hopeful can be difficult, and it reinforces that we’re not alone. There are people who care and who are fighting for us as allies.

Portland Pride Through The Benz

One of the moments which touched me the most was when a saw a couple about my age holding a sign that said “We Love Our Trans Child” because so often we hear of parents disowning their child when the child comes out as trans. I went over and talked with them for a while and it made my day to hear about how they accepted and support their daughter and how she has grown and how happy that makes them. There is hope. And that is the power of Pride, to connect with people and share stories and give hope and support.

Portland Pride Through The Benz   Portland Pride Through The Benz

There were demonstrators there, but not as many as I had anticipated, or maybe I just didn’t see them thanks to the efforts of the Portland Police Department. And a big thank to a group of amazing people who are here to take care of us year after year, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who acted as a barrio between us and the demonstrators and blocked them out with big LGBT flags, along with the Raging Grannies, who’s beautiful voices drowned out the hateful chants of the demonstrators. The Grannies touched my heart is many ways, and I would honored to join their ranks some day.

Portland Pride Through The Benz   Portland Pride Through The Benz

It was heartening to see all the people who turned out for the parade to participate or to cheer us on, and to see all the LGBTQ flags flying from buildings downtown. It was a wonderful and positive experience that I won’t soon forget. Pride is a wonderful reason to feel good about ourselves, which is something that is all too easy to forget to do, especially these turbulent times we live in.

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New feature on Through The Benz: Q&A Quickies!

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In my on-going effort to keep improving my Through The Benz column I’m excited to announce the addition of a new feature: Q&A Quickies! It’s sort of like an interview but in a more compact format; with short questions requiring brief answers. I enjoy doing the interviews and will continue to do those, but I’ve felt lately that I’ve been in a rut with the interviews and they have not been up to par with earlier interviews. So, I’m working on new questions and areas to focus on in the interviews, and in refining my writing to be more concise because I’ve noticed I tend to be a bit too wordy at times. And who wants to listen to me ramble on aimlessly, right?

Since this is the first time I’ve done Q&A Quickies I felt I should be the guinea pig and go first. Let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions for questions to be used for future Quickie columns! So, without further ado, here we go!

Bacon cheeseburger or tofu burger?

BB: Easy choice: bacon cheeseburger for sure! Tofu is a four-letter word in my kitchen!
Favorite sex partner: male, female, or trans?

BB: Female or trans. Sorry dudes 🙁
What songs are on your playlist right now?

BB: I’ve been listening to Pat Benatar, the Scorpions, The Beach Boys, and America.
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

BB: For most of my life I favored milk chocolate, but lately I prefer dark chocolate.
Where would your dream vacation be?

BB: I’d love to travel through Europe and see all the amazing art, along with historical sites, cathedrals, and castles.
How often do you masturbate?

BB: Not very often.
Favorite social media site?

BB: It tends to vary, but right now I’d say Twitter.
Interacting with fans on social media: fun or not fun?

BB: Fun! (usually lol)
Who inspires you?

BB: My mom and my sons.
Should Trump be impeached?

BB: Yes, without a doubt.
Last book you read?

BB: I’m currently reading Family Tree by Susan Wiggs.
Toilet paper: over or under the roll?

BB: Over!! Having it go under is just plain wrong! Lol
Are you left or right-handed?

BB: Left-handed, but I can write with both hands.
How old are you?

BB: I’m 55 years old.
If you could choose not to be transgender, would you?

BB: First reaction was yes, but being trans is such a big part of who I am, so I would say no
Best advice you have ever received?

BB: To be mindful and focus on the present and not dwell on the past or future.
Favorite city?

BB: The City of Angels: Los Angeles. More specifically, West Hollywood.
Favorite fast food place?

BB: In N Out Burgers, but Killer Burger is a close second!
Ice cream, doughnuts, or pie?

BB: Doughnuts!
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

BB: An astronaut and a baseball player.
Last movie you saw in a theater?

BB: Probably the last new Star Wars movie. It’s been a while! lol
Beach, city, or mountains?

BB: This is tough because I love all three, but I have to go with city.
What age did you know you were trans?

BB: Around age three.
Do you work out regularly?

BB: Yes, I go to the gym most every day.
If you could have dinner with any three people from history who would it be?

BB: Thomas Jefferson, Babe Ruth, and John Glenn
Favorite animal to see at the zoo?

BB: I like the big cats and also the gorillas.
Are you a cat or dog person?

BB: Definitely dog!
One thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

BB: I lived two whole summers in the backwoods of a National Park, far from civilization!
Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the future of America?

BB: I want to feel optimistic that we will survive the current regime, but it’s tough at times.
Describe yourself in three words.

BB: Strong, fragile, feeling
Star Wars, Star Trek, or Dancing with the Stars?

BB: Star Wars, always!
How did you choose your model name?

BB: I googled “model names” and then checked porn sites to see the model names. I noticed a lot had car names in them, like Mercedes or Benz, and Becca Benz just kind of came to me.
Mac or PC?

BB: PC. I’d rather have a root canal than be forced to use a Mac!
Do you have a kinky side?

BB: I do indeed have a kinky side! I used to be fairly active in the kink community in Portland.

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Pride 2017: Celebrating Diversity And Who We Are

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With today being the start of Pride Month I thought I’d share my thoughts about what LGBTQ Pride means to me.

I am proud to be trans and proud of my community. To me being trans, or anyone in the LGBTQ spectrum, means we are strong. We have to be strong out of necessity if we are going to survive, especially in the current political climate. Our community has come together like never before to stand strong and fight for our rights and make our voices heard. As horrible as the current political situation is, it has mobilized our community and shown us and everyone else who we are and our strength and that we will not sit idly by as our rights are taken away and our very existence is under attack. So, Pride 2017 is going to be especially meaningful to many of us, and I will proudly wave my flag and voice my support for who we are.

I am proud that I have overcome the challenges and obstacles I’ve faced in order to become the real me and live the life I’m supposed to be living. And that goes for everyone in the LGBTQ community, and especially the trans community. We are survivors. And we are strong, whether we realize it or not. It’s often difficult to feel pride in being trans because for many of us we grew up feeling ashamed of who we are, and even today we still face a great deal of hate from those who are close-minded and unaccepting. It can be tough to feel good about yourself when we face so much negativity day after day. And that is one of the reasons why Pride Month is important, because it’s a powerful experience to be surrounded by people who are supportive and understanding and where we can feel good and celebrate who we are.

I always get uncomfortable when people talk about how brave we as trans people are, but I’ve learned to accept that compliment because when you think about that there is a lot of truth to it. It takes courage to face a world that so often condemns our very existence. It takes courage to get out of bed on days when the depression is bad and all you want to do is stay in bed and hide. It takes courage to keep going when it feels like all hope is lost. And most of all, it takes courage to be yourself; your true authentic self. So yes, I am proud to be trans and I wear my colors as a badge of honor.

But having said that, I hope that someday this battle for acceptance ends and I can just be me. I look forward to the day when I can just be Rebecca, and not Rebecca the trans woman. Yes, I am trans and proud of it, but that shouldn’t define me. There is so much more to me than just being trans, and sometimes I feel like that gets lost. I am first and foremost a person; a woman, a parent and child, a grandma, a friend, a baseball fan, a foodie, a writer, a lover of books, a hopeless romantic, a dork, a veteran, a lover of art, a history buff, an artist, and the list goes on and on. I am me. Such a simple sentence, but it took the better part of 50 years to figure out who I was and to find my way to being that person. And the journey continues, but I can finally say I am happy with who I am.

So I will be out and about for Pride 2017 and waving my flag and showing my support and letting the world know I’m a proud member of the LGBTQ community. Let’s celebrate diversity and show the world just how amazing we all are!

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Kayleigh Coxx: Brains and beauty and so much more!

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Kayleigh Coxx is someone who caught my attention the first time I saw her on Twitter not only because of her stunning beauty but also because she is intelligent and articulate and not shy about expressing her opinions, which makes her Twitting feed very interesting. But most of all she seems real and genuine and is someone I can relate to. So, this is an interview I was really excited to do because I felt Kayleigh would have some interesting insights to share, and also because I have to admit to having a bit of a crush on her; those eyes of hers and that smile are beyond sexy! And it’s not very often that I get the chance to interview a fellow Oregonian! Kayleigh is flat out gorgeous and she has a natural beauty that shines through in her pictures and videos, so it’s no surprise that she her recent sets on Shemale Yum have done so well and garnered her a strong following. And like all her other fans, I hope to see more from her soon!

Hi Kayleigh, and thank you for doing this interview!

Hi Becca!!! Thank you for having me 😀

Kayleigh Coxx Through The BenzCongratulations on your most recent set coming out on Shemale Yum! How has the reception been for the sets you’ve released with Grooby?

It’s been fantastic, I was really taken aback by how much people liked my first set. It’s been really amazing to see the directors and actual porn stars (that I looked up to for so long!) who said I had a great set.

When can we look forward to seeing more from you?

That’s definitely the plan going forward, I hope to really broaden my social media with a bit more content once I get all moved out. Current limitations of living at home with parents and doing porn!

So you cam from home with your parents there?

I do! My parents are unaware! I tend to do it late at night and I lock the doors and put something under the door to stop the noise! The giant ring light, mountains of sex toys/lingerie, and constant traveling probably has tipped them off though! I don’t know what they think I’m doing. I think that they think I do graphic design consulting ????????

And more congrats are in order for being named the Shemale Yum Model of the Month for April! As a Model of the Month myself in December 2014 I know how much it means to be selected.

Thank you, I didn’t expect it truthfully and am very thankful to have been selected. Thank you Grooby. Thank you Becca!

You’ve worked with Grooby as well as Christian XXX with Pure TS. Are there any other sites you’d like to do shoots for?

Sites I’d like to work for… Hmm… I mean the main ones that jumps out to me is TransSensual, SMC, & Trans500? I would also like to see some of the normative-straight brands like Brazzers, Wicked, etc branch out and dip their toes in the transgender side of porn. I just love all of those site’s production quality. I would love to shoot anything with Dylan James. Ay, Chihuahua! <3

Christian XXX is a controversial figure in the world of trans porn; people either seem to love him or hate him. You posted the following tweet about him: “I really wanted to give a special thanks to @christianxxx1. He’s taken care of me like a brother, and he is an extremely special guy to me.”  Can you tell us about your experiences with Christian and why he’s so special to you?

I greatly appreciate Christian’s willingness to start me off in the porn industry. He took care of me post-surgery and that’s more than I could have asked anyone for. I’d rather leave it at that.

How did you get started working in the porn industry?

Whew, this is a strange story. So, I was seeing a couple for casual sex and they asked me to cam a few times, I said “No,” and “It’s not my sort of thing,” and so we grew apart. Then one day, I asked the guy of the couple for a dirty picture of me he took sucking his dick because I no longer had it. Conversation eventually leads back to the “Want to cam with us?” question, and this time I caved. Maybe I had a glass of wine too many, maybe I was feeling adventurous who knows! That was basically late November/early December. Later that month I think messaged Christian, or he messaged me—not sure, on Grindr (of all places) and I thought it was a troll account, turned out it was actually him! He offered me those scenes and then the rest is basically where we are today.

Is being a model in porn industry really as glamorous and interesting as people assume?

I mean porn (and camming) have led me to do things I would never else have. Go places, do things, meet people etc. But on set it is pretty basic, it’s a camera, cameraman, and sometimes just you, or you and your costars. There’s no fancy red carpet to your dildos and butt plugs. No personal anal douche assistant, nothing! Camming sort of prepared me for what to expect.

Kayleigh Coxx Through The Benz   Kayleigh Coxx Through The Benz

What’s your favorite part of the job and your least favorite part?

Favorite part of the job is the hot fucking sex! I mean hands down, this is easily the best part. I mean the guys in this industry know how to lay pipe. It’s almost disappointing going back and getting dick from hometown boys. I myself feel that I am almost overdoing it when having sex with someone who isn’t in porn. Least favorite part is actually a hard question, I mean I enjoy a scene from start to finish almost entirely. Maybe the not being able to eat mass quantities of Taco Bell because I have a body image to maintain lol.

For models who are looking to get into the industry what advice would you give them?

Gosh if anyone actually wants my advice! My advice is you need to get yourself out there go put your pictures on Reddit or something where criticism is given about your look, passing/not-passing (I know this is very controversial—but if you want to be in most Trans porn it’s the measuring stick). Bare in mind that a lot of these places kid glove you so look for critics. My best friend is a very blunt genetic girl, who I adore to pieces and absolutely dearly love, she would give me no-nonsense answers (sometimes it hurt) that really helped me progress. Anyways LEARN MAKEUP. When you think you’re good, you’re not. Keep pushing yourself to LEARN BETTER MAKEUP. However, if there’s any piece of advice I want to give, it’s that no one, not even the prettiest genetic girl, is built without some masculine or unattractive feature—you don’t need a different body you just need to learn to love the one you have! Change whatever you want but don’t lose sight of what makes you original!

Kayleigh Coxx Through The BenzSo be honest; what’s it really like doing a shoot and having sex in front of the camera?

If you aren’t kinky to begin with you’re probably gonna have a hard time. I didn’t realize how much of me is really a weird kinky person. And I love it I might add. Think porn being… having sex out on the balcony of your apartment… in the middle of NYC… during the day… and you’re just drunk enough to say all the dirty shit you hold back most times. To me I would do that hundred times over and sober! I love it, and I love the dirty thought of hundreds, thousands, of guys jerking off to it.

You’re very active on social media and you tweet about a wide range of subjects which makes your Twitter feed very entertaining. Do you enjoy interacting with your fans on social media?

I love seeing fans on Twitter, Instagram, etc! I fangirl and fawn over different porn actresses/actors myself and I can’t help but follow all the hilarious and talented makeup artists that are on twitter. If someone actually has something interesting to say to me too and they’re a fan it always makes me happy. I also love seeing all the different types of people who are into my sets!

One of the subjects you tweet about a lot is food; including your love of Taco Bell. A girl after my own heart! When did your love of Taco Bell begin, and what is it about their food you love so much?

Interesting question. As a younger kid in middle school I remember Taco Bell had a “4th meal” ad campaign and I went and ate Taco Bell 4 times in one day. Not a healthy choice, but I was young and dumb! Basically ever since then I’ve been sorta hooked!

 

Favorite burger place? -Good question! Until about a month ago I would have said Cornucopia in Eugene! but now it’s got to be Fukuburger in Las Vegas. OMG so good.

Taco Bell or burgers? -TACO BELL OVER EVERYTHING.

Favorite kind of pizza? -Quote directly from my tinder “My favorite pizza topping is sausage, don’t fuck with me if you like cheese pizza. Cheese isn’t a topping you whore.”

How long have you been camming? Which do you enjoy more, camming or doing shoots?

Camming started in about early December. It depends honestly sometimes between the two which one is better. Sometimes camming is super fun and tips are coming in and you have interesting/hot private shows and then other hand it’s hard to give up those deep-dicking, super hot-bodied sexy times. I like to talk, like a lot, so camming gives me that opportunity to interact with people which I really love. As anyone who comes into my cam shows can probably attest to. My cam show is either running my mouth or cumming! I like them both equally because they are pretty different. Being good at camming doesn’t necessarily make you good at porn and vice versa.

Kayleigh Coxx Through The BenzYou recently had breast augmentation surgery; can you share what that experience was like?

Different! It’s honestly not that bad of a recovery. Pretty quick and easy. I mean there was the strange feeling of like “What are these big oranges attached to my chest?” Though I love what I see in the mirror every day even more! Of course there was the fear of a bad result or worse but it helped me confront some of my insecurities too! I was a bit nervous doing it since none of my friends from home were able to come with me, so I was kinda on my own. All went well and am healing quickly.

You’ve mentioned on Twitter that you play the piano. Is music something you enjoy and do you play any other instruments?

I am a piano player and I used to be able to play the guitar. Guitar is almost impossible with acrylics all the time. Although guitar was always difficult because I have small hands! Same thing for piano too. I’m a creative person at heart, I like to do graphic design, I used to produce EDM music as a passion and I even got asked to DJ as a paying gig at one point. However I’m pretty private with my art, the introvert in me fears the criticism. Art though really for me is a way to express myself in a way, and it’s one of those things where I get so focused on making the project better or playing something better that I completely forget about anything else.

As a fellow Oregonian I’m curious if you enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest?

I love how different Oregon and really specifically Eugene/Portland are from the rest of the USA. There’s nothing quite like the camping here either. And the coast!  The coast is… it’s strange, it’s scary at times, and beautiful because of those things. One of my favorite things to clear my mind was drive to the coast and drive as far down or up the coast as I felt and then take the offroads back. Cheesy I know. There’s silence and so many pretty trees and rivers that you don’t really get in other places and parts of the country. I hate the rain and the cloudiness 8-months out of the year, and that’s why I’m moving to the big LV. Sun sun sun.

It sounds like you’re into camping?

I do! I know it doesn’t fit the wearing lots of makeup and “getting my hair did” persona I sorta portray, but I love camping! The isolation and the outdoors are amazing. And when you’re with friends you finally start to talk you start drinking and it’s a blast! Salt Creek Falls or basically anywhere up the coast are my favorite places!

Why did you decide to move to Vegas and when are you moving? And may I add I’m sorry to see you leave Oregon 🙁

I believe my last trip in April was the tipping point. Even from the first time when I flew out to meet Christian and it was snowing in Eugene I think I sorta knew. What really made the difference was I felt like I made some really good friends out there and I knew it would make sense. Also it’s a great place I hear if you want to shoot porn 😉

I hear ya. When I l went to Los Angeles in March for TEA it was so hard leaving the warm sunny weather there to come home to the cold and rainy Portland weather. I can definitely see the appeal of Las Vegas! And it does appear the porn biz is moving away from California and into Vegas.

Kayleigh Coxx Through The BenzWhat was your childhood like and when did you realize you were transgender?

My earliest memory of being transgender was trying on girl’s clothes when I was like in preschool maybe 3-5years old? My family is… different. I have two much older siblings almost 20 yrs older and then a 3yr older brother. All males. Maybe it was only natural when it turned out I wasn’t a boy in gender. I had a kind of stereotypical childhood. Always battling with acceptance and the confidence to come out as transgender throughout. I always had mostly girl friends growing up, a few friends knew about me being trans and spread the rumors and such and I was made fun of etc. I’m 25, so back 10 years ago when I was younger the atmosphere and acceptance for coming out as trans was much different today. It led me to being closeted until really about 22 years old. I had finally reached the point I decided that I no longer cared about anyone’s negative opinion of myself being trans and so I got the help I needed and about a year and a half later I got on hormones. I’ve been on hormones for about a year and a half now.

Is your family accepting and supportive of you?

In an odd way. I made the transition abruptly and to my surprise there was barely any family/coworkers/family-friends who recognized me as the other person but transgender, so they sort of and in some cases refer to me as the daughter they never told people about. Which has created it’s problems… when my health-insurance dropped me because I was not the person they had on their coverage list. In private they are very supportive, I understand it’s hard and different. I appreciate the values they gave me and the discipline they taught me nonetheless. My parents are a much different generation, in their late 60s.

Do you find it difficult to date being trans? Does working in the porn industry make it harder or easier?

With any trans individual you’ll find the answer to that question is at points in life it is, and at others it’s no different than being any other stranger on the street. I mean I’ve had credit cards frozen because they thought I was some malicious girl attempting to screw up some guy’s credit card, and then on the flip side I’ve had doors opened and drinks bought etc that any girl in the world is privet to. I don’t think porn has really changed my acceptance or lack thereof. Porn has certainly adjusted my normal life in dating especially and like the assumption that I must be horny 24/7 only thinking about sex individual. I love sex but I also have hobbies -_-

What do you feel are the biggest issues facing the transgender community right now?

I’d like to preface this answer with, I am not political and I am not pointing fingers at any particular person or politician. I think there are a lot of issues in the trans-community. I think one of the biggest issues (as a transgender woman) is the distinction/perception of passing-transgender people and non-passing-transgender people vs transgender people as a whole. Although I think that our tendency is to hide behind passibility sometimes to avoid dealing with actual trans-threats. I certainly think, as we all know, we have a ways to go before the end of discrimination—but my god does it feel a lot better than 10 years ago.

Kayleigh Coxx Through The BenzThere continues to be a negative perception of the adult entertainment industry and those who work in it by mainstream society. What can we as an industry do to break down those stereotypes and get people to view us in a more positive light?

Hard question to answer! Honestly I wish I knew the exact answer. I find that there is this common misconception that people who work in this industry just have sex for fun and then put it up on a website and that’s it. Yes sex is fun, very fun in fact, but it takes time to do hair, makeup. Creativity and artistic design to come up with an interesting scene. Good camerawork. Good editing. Great sourcing. So on so forth. Also someone’s body didn’t just happen to be good looking it’s because that guy/girl went to the gym and continues to go to the gym so you can see his/her sexy ass plow trannies/girls/guys whatever you’re into. Yes some of these things are things everyone does but not to the degree that the really good people in porn do. And also the art of being sexy on camera as you’re getting fucked/fucking someone is not quite so simple. I mean for goodness sakes the straight porn industry has so many HORRIBLE renditions of these casting couches where you have directors speaking on camera and girls like totally pulling themselves out of the scene. Like do you want to watch that or do you want to see Ricky Johnson fuck the bejeezus out of August Ames or like Christian XXX fuck Sarina Valentina (trans-equivalent). The product speaks for itself. I know that’s more of a justification, rather than a “what can we do?” but that’s like idiots thinking they could be pro golfers, gamers, etc, just because they do it on their off time occasionally.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

I don’t know, I don’t really have a certain goal. I want to do big things, but I hope if I’m lucky I will be doing something interesting with art, whether it be makeup, graphic design, or music and I would be happy. But truthfully I’m so new to all this I’m trying to figure out where I want to go from here in porn/camming and how long I want to do it for! Oh and maybe I’ll have a boyfriend at that point ????

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

Hard to surprise people now that I’ve practically bared all my interests and other life things on social media. Especially after exposing my insatiable desire for Taco Bell. Possibly that I’m actually really intelligent, I get painted as a ditzy cute girl or even sometimes as dumb, but I have depth, intelligence, and enjoy my boundaries being pushed out from where I’m comfortable. And if that corny answer isn’t good enough, this one seems to always to get a few ???’s I only eat one meal a day! Just the one. And sometimes that one meal is Taco Bell :v

Your answer was not corny at all and it shows exactly why I was so excited to interview you; to show there is more to you than just good looks. If society can see past the stereotypes and look at the real people who work in porn and see the intelligence and kindness and the good qualities it will go a long way towards putting an end to the stigma of being a sex worker. So, thank you again for the interview Kayleigh, I really enjoyed it and I’m an even bigger fan now that I’ve gotten to know more about you.

You can follow Kayleigh on Twitter at @kayleighcoxx84

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Beginnings and endings

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This has been a busy week in which I experienced the happiness of a new beginning but also the pain of a loss and the finality of death. The cycle of life continues and death is an inescapable part of that cycle, but with death comes a stark reminder of how fragile life is and a renewed appreciation of the time we do have and making the most of it.

On Monday May 1st I moved out of the apartment where I’d been renting a room since January and which had become an extremely stressful and uncomfortable situation. I’m now renting a room in south-west Portland which is in a beautiful house with roommates who are respectful and considerate. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally breath. I’m now living in what can best be described as a sanctuary; it’s like living in the middle of the woods where there is not another house in sight and where the only sounds I hear are the sounds of nature. I now go to sleep listing to crickets and frogs instead of the clamor of delivery trucks being unloaded, and I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and singing instead of roommates yelling and screaming at each other. My room has three big windows so there is lots of light, including the morning sun. And best of all, I have my own little private deck where I can sit in the patio chair my mom gave me and just relax. There are so many birds here and I’ve found that it’s really relaxing to just listen to all the birds and watch them fly around; who knows, maybe I’ll take up bird-watching! A few days after I moved in we had two days which were absolutely perfect; lots of sun and temperatures in the upper 70s, and I was sitting on my deck in the evening watching and listening to the birds and feeling so incredibly relaxed, and I was thinking this is exactly what I had dreamed of for the past month as I waited to move out of the apartment. This was the moment that had gotten me through the last hellish month, and it was so worth waiting for.

Becca BenzNormally when I move I do everything myself because I’ve moved often enough that I have it down to a science, but now that I own a bed I decided to hire movers. Plus, I didn’t feel like lugging everything up and down all the stairs. The movers were great and everything went smoothly and I’m all unpacked and settled in and getting used to my new surroundings. It’s so nice to have a clean kitchen to use instead of having to clear away dirty pots and pans and having my shoes stick to the floor because it’s so dirty from food that was spilled and not cleaned up. I’ve never been accused of being a neat freak, but I do like things clean and organized, and it was not pleasant living in such disgusting conditions. Thankfully I can put all that behind me and focus on the future. I feel more relaxed than I have in a long time and I can get out of survival mode and start living life again. I haven’t been too active on social media for a while, but I plan on changing that.

But with all the positive feelings I’ve experienced this week I also received some sad news a few days ago when I learned that my step-father had passed away after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Death is never easy but in this case his passing was a blessing because he is no longer suffering and my mom can now move on from what has been a difficult ordeal for her. She has been by his side over the many years since he was diagnosed and has taken care of him as the disease ravaged his body; the past few years have been especially difficult for her as she watched him deteriorate both physically and mentally. I’ve known him my entire life and he was a good man and we will all miss him deeply, but there is comfort in knowing he’s in a better place and now my mom can get back to living life again. My oldest son is planning to fly out here next weekend and we’re going to drive up and spend a few days with my mom, and we’re both really excited because it’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen him. When I notified my youngest son of his grandpa’s passing it led to another hurtful encounter. I am at a loss as to why my own son treats me this way, but I’m done with it. This is a difficult time for me which was made ever harder by his insensitive and belligerent comments. I’m done, I can’t do this anymore. I thought perhaps this might bring up together and give us a chance to move forward, but sadly I was wrong. My focus is on my mom and being there for her through this difficult time; she has always been there for us and I’m happy for the opportunity to be there for her during this difficult time.

So that’s where I’m at right now; lots of change in my life but feeling excited about the future. Summer is fast approaching and I feel like a bear emerging from hibernation; it’s been a long, difficult winter and I’m ready to shake off the effects of my long slumber and sow my wild oats! During winter when it’s cold and rainy I don’t feel much like getting dressed up and going out, but now that the weather is warming up I can’t wait to unpack my summer clothes and get out and explore all the fun things to do in Portland! Summer clothes are much more fun and sexy than winter clothes!

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The future looks bright for Becca Benz!

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After spending almost a week with my mom I’m feeling recharged and ready to get moving. The past few months have been difficult but things will soon be changing for the better. I’ll be moving on May 1st, which will be a huge step in the right direction to get out of my current living situation which has been extremely stressful and frustrating and into the new place which will provide some much-needed calmness. And I will have my own little deck outside my room, which I’m really excited about! With summer approaching I can’t wait to sit out on my deck and enjoy the warm weather!

My mom and I have always been very close; she raised my sister and I after my parents divorced and I could not have asked for a better mom. She was both a mom and dad and was always there for us, and it’s because of her that I am the person I am today. After spending so many years in the mid-west where we rarely got the chance to see each other it’s nice to be in Oregon where I’m able to see her more often. We still don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, but now that the weather is improving I’m going to make it a point to spend more time with her this summer. As she’s gotten older and has had her own issues to deal with it’s nice that I can be there for her and help take care of her. It’s interesting to see how the cycle of life works, that our parents take care of us and then later in life the roles reverse and we get the chance to take care of them. After all my mom has done for me I feel it’s a privilege to be able to be there for her. She has always been there for me and stuck with me through some difficult times and has accepted me as her daughter, and shown me what it means to be a good parent and a good person. I may not have had a father in my life but I was blessed to have a mom who more than made up for my father’s absence.

On May 2nd I have my consult for my reassignment surgery, which I’m really excited about. For most of my life having the surgery was not an option for financial reasons, but now that it’s covered by insurance it became a possibility for me. My penis was always a reminder that my body was not as it should be, but even so, I never had any hatred for my penis or a burning desire to get rid of it, but since the surgery is an option now I decided it’s something that made sense to do for several reasons, and now that I’ve made the decision to go for it I’m really excited! I think the one thing which I’m most stressed about is not being able to go to the gym for several months after the surgery while I recover, but I think I can handle it.

So there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to in the coming months and I’m ready to get on with my life and start moving forward again.

And finally, I want to thank everyone for all the support and encouragement and nice comments I received after my recent column about my uncertainty about whether or not to continue writing this column. The outpouring of support showed me that people do read it and that I have reached people. So I feel a renewed sense of excitement and I’m going to keep writing it. And I’ve had several people reach out to me about interviews, and I’m really excited about these upcoming interviews, so stay tuned!

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