Through the Benz

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!

Casey Kisses Through The Benz

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Kelli Lox on art, porn, life, and social media!

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Kelli Lox is one of the biggest names in the trans porn industry, but her popularity and influence far exceeds that of just the world of porn. Kelli is known for her intelligence and her open and honest approach to life, and for her willingness to speak her mind. She is a true artist in every sense of the world, expressing her creativity in a wide variety of mediums. Kelli has broken down the stereotypes of what so many people assume a pornstar to be and has blazed a new path and become a role model to many. I had the pleasure of interviewing this amazing lady and getting a glimpse into her life and a better understanding of what drives her.

You have what many would consider to be a dream job, being a model in the porn industry. Is the job really as glamorous and interesting and much fun as people would assume?

Yes and no. It’s very Wizard of Oz in that way, as in, you sometimes do and sometimes don’t want to look behind the curtain. I don’t know if it’s better to maintain that ‘it’s so glamorous’ thing or to humanize it with unglamorous details. But I will say, yes. Yes the life of a porn star is fucking rad. You get to travel and have sex with beautiful people and party and make money and get treated like a fucking rock star everywhere you go and interact with fans and great creative people. It is a dream job, for sure.

How did you get your start working in the porn industry?

I modeled for art classes in college and when I transitioned I wanted to get back into it. A photographer friend of mine helped me make a profile on a modeling website and I started dancing at a local trans strip club. I got some modeling work and then got an offer to do a shoot for Grooby. The scene did well and I attended what was at that time called the Tranny Awards in LA. And the rest is history I guess.

Dancing seems to be one of your passions, since you’ve done everything from ballet to stripping. Can you tell us what dancing means to you?

Dance is one of the purest art forms. It requires little to no equipment and anyone can do it. And the trained dancer’s body is a work of art, too. I had to quit ballet when I transitioned, and I might be getting too old to dance in strip clubs, but I still have my pole in my bedroom.

Did you attend college before or after transitioning? Can you talk about what your college experience was like and what you majored in? Has your college education been useful in helping you to become successful in porn?

When I was in college, I was a boy with a secret. I was in a serious relationship with a girl and I earned my B.S. in geography. I went on to get a Master’s degree and got a professional job and that’s how I supported/support all my loved ones and why today I have been unemployed for nearly six months but drive a new car and live in a mansion. College is so important for a lifetime of financial stability and my dream is to help young trans girls get a college education. Sucking men’s dicks as a way to make ends meet is fun but when you get older you will want stability and you’ll question the choices you made in your 20’s with a critical eye.

Kelli Lox Through The BenzWhat does Grooby means to you?

Grooby is to the transgender movement what the Beatles is to the 60’s. You can look at the Beatles’ work and track an entire mental process of a generation. Same with Grooby. If you look at the way they’ve changed their terminology and marketing over the past few years, it reads like the diary of our social movement. For example, they changed the name of their awards show from The Tranny Awards to Transgender Erotica Awards. That’s like leaving the Sgt. Peppers and Yellow Submarine stuff and going to White Album, you know? It coincides with a mental change in awareness of a lot of people. Like, okay that’s not cool anymore for whatever reason, let’s class it up and grow up a bit. I am very proud of the people at Grooby, and I am very proud of my good working relationship with Grooby. They get a lot of flak from lots of folks, but that’s to be expected. Like Peter Acworth at Kink, you just become an easy target for a lot of angry people who have an axe to grind. At the center of these companies, there are very cool and well-meaning people who really just want to do the right thing and also remain profitable. I know we want to hold people accountable but if there’s a way to do that without being dicks to them, that would be appreciated.

Does your family know you work in the porn industry and if so, how do they feel about it?

Yeah, everyone knows. The metaphorical cat is out of the metaphorical bag, so to speak. I don’t know how everyone really feels about it because I only get what they say to my face or whatever. I know some of my relatives know and judge me and either don’t want to associate with me now or will act nice to my face but still judge me. And other relatives know and think it’s kind of cool – they’re proud that I did something with my life that I enjoy and attained some kind of fame – the whole American dream thing. And some of my relatives don’t really care either way, they just want me to be happy and healthy and look forward to seeing me again soon. I text my mom about going to the awards show and working and stuff, at the end of the day, she is proud of me and wants me to succeed.

What advice would you give to aspiring models who want to get into the industry?

I don’t really want to give advice. If I had followed all the advice that was out there when I started, my career would have gone differently. I think you have to see it as art – there’s no wrong or right way to do it. Make it YOU, or not, I don’t know. Advice is tricky because the wise don’t need it and fools don’t heed it. lol

Do you foresee a point anytime soon when you’ll retire from porn?

I was told once “never retire from porn.” I don’t really understand why but I think it’s something about letting work happen or not happen organically. A lot of times people get into a mood and want to make some kind of fatalistic statement and then, like, no one really cares, and maybe instead of stewing and brewing statements like that, you could be doing something more productive. And anyways, I know I’m a porn star but secretly I never have seen myself as a porn star – I’m an artist and an internet personality. If you look at my behavior on twitter, it’s very different than most porn stars. I’ve been told that I’m doing it wrong by a lot of people, but I have more followers than them so I just nod and say thanks and keep doing what I’m doing.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by your behavior on social media being different than other porn stars?

Well, most porn stars are careful not to offend any fans or potential fans, and many don’t feel comfortable revealing personal information such as hobbies and interests. They feel very strongly that their Twitter is a facade, just business. Their approach is to never be political, never say anything that could jeopardize future work, never say anything controversial, etc. So if you see a porn girl talking about how she hates Trump (Janice Griffith) or a porn girl bitching about how she’s getting blacklisted by some studios just because she’s done scenes with TS girls (Adriana Chechik), that takes balls. And I’m like that too. Most girls, even trans girls, don’t have the balls to be girls who speak their minds. or they just made a decision to keep their Twitter purely a business facade, which is okay too.

Kelli Lox Through The BenzNot to make generalizations, but in many ways you seem to be outside of the norm in what people generally assume a pornstar would be like with all your artistic and intellectual pursuits. You express your creativity in so many ways such as in front and behind the camera, in your drawing and painting, writing, composing and playing music, and dancing. You’re also well-educated and speak several different languages, and are obviously being very intelligent and independent. Would it be fair to call you a renaissance woman?

Yes, people have called me a renaissance woman. Ii am 100% a renaissance woman. I’m not like other girls, and I’m certainly not like other girls who say they’re not like other girls. I have paid my dues and I don’t take shit from anyone. I’m smart and talented. Before I start listing too many good traits I should remind myself that I’m also modest lol. Really, I’m just another woman who depends on a support network of women.

What was your childhood like and when did you realize you were transgender?

I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and had what I would call a pretty normal childhood as a boy. I always knew I was a girl, but I also very quickly realized that I had to hide it. I saw a gay boy in kindergarten getting teased and I didn’t want to get teased like that.

I lived in Pocatello and Idaho Falls for 13 years, so I know what a beautiful area that is, and also how conservative, although Boise is one of the more progressive cities in Idaho.

Yeah Boise is mostly alright now, especially the north end where I grew up. but it wasn’t like that when I was a kid. And still, it’s one corner of one town in a big state that’s run by conservatives.

Was it a process for you to come to terms with the fact that you were trans?

Well, my PR lady says not to talk about drugs in interviews, so I’ll just say that I went on a deep spiritual journey sometime in 2009 or 2010. I went really deep inside myself, and realized that it was suddenly more painful to go on pretending that I was a boy than it was to face my fears and decide to transition. So, all by myself, in the dark, sitting naked on the floor with a blanket, a candle and a jug of water, I asked myself “am I really going to do this?” And there in the silence there was this really deep little ‘click’ as I said “yes.” And that was that. The decision had been made and rest was a matter of execution.

Looking back, was transitioning easier or harder than you expected?

I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew I would have a difficult time with family members and friends, and I was right about that. Obtaining hormones and getting rid of boy clothes was work, but learning how to do makeup and put together stylish outfits wasn’t that hard at all. It felt like home to me. Yes, there were a lot of heavy social tribulations but there’s no way to tell how much of that was just my life and how much was a direct result of transitioning.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning their transition?

Young trans girls should just know that they’re gonna need support groups, and they’re gonna lose some social groups, so they’ve got to find new ones. I’d tell them to make allies among genetic females if they haven’t already, because they’re gonna need them. They might need to move to a city where they can function normally among the population. The first years can be really awkward, so realize that it won’t always be that way, at least for most trans girls. After those awkward few years right out of the gate you start to settle into a new personality and pacing that is really you and feels more comfortable. You gotta stick with it for a minute and after a few years you’re like “oh, okay, okay.”

Kelli Lox Through The BenzIs your family supportive and accepting of you?

I think it’s all relative. I mean, when it came to being supportive, my parents were better than some parents, not as good as other parents. There are a lot of valid reasons that I could be really resentful towards them. There are ways I really needed them and I guess I was asking too much of them, or it was just beyond their ability to deliver. I don’t know. But they stuck with me and my relationship with both of my parents is really good; better now than it has ever been. Not everyone can say that, whether they’re transgender or not. That took a lot of work and forgiveness on all sides. I’m just at that age now where you’re like “holy shit I hope I didn’t cause too much damage when I was being a mega brat!” and you really start to value being on good terms with your family. My brother is also very close to me. My transition was a challenge for him because he always saw himself as open-minded and progressive and found himself painted as kind of a jerk in some ways during those years. We worked through it all, and now we’re super tight in a new way. In fact, he’s getting married in Seattle later this year and he asked me to be his best lady!!  I’m so excited!!

Do you enjoy interacting with your fans on social media?

Interacting with fans on Twitter is, like, my favorite thing in the world. And not only that, but interacting with other artists of all kinds all around the world, and giving voice to artists I support, and constantly showing my support of other performers – these things are the things that make me feel good about what I do. And there are lots of younger trans girls who follow me on twitter. I actually am a huge influence for a lot of them. I appreciate that so much and I also recognize that I have some kind of responsibility towards them. I am doing the best I can to live up to that responsibility. I think that’s how I sleep well at night, knowing that I am making a difference and authentically doing the best I can, not just for me, but for all trans people, and all artists, and all women, and all sex workers.

Speaking of sex workers, there are some who claim that trans women are being exploited as sex workers. What are your thoughts on this?

Meh, all people are exploited. Yeah I have it harder than many but mostly I’m super privileged. We need to complain when it’s time to complain about stuff, and call things out when it’s time to call things out, but we also need to sit back sometimes and just shut up and thank our lucky stars. I don’t know, it gets tricky. It takes a lot of presence and intelligence and creativity to fight social injustice in a way that is actually effective in fomenting real change. Sometimes people introduce an issue to me like “wanna get worked up about this? what’s your opinion?” and I’m like “I’ll pass, thanks.” Opinions are like chopped onions, I don’t want anyone’s in my face and I’ll cry if I can’t get away fast lol.

Can the trans porn industry be a positive influence within the trans community since there is still such a stigma attached to the industry and being a sex worker?

The porn world isn’t just one thing, it’s a lot of different studios and distributors and fan bases and consumers. I think if you look at it a certain way, you’ll find some evidence that you’re looking at it the correct way and find what you though you would. Like, if you approach it with a “porn is bad” mentality, you will find evidence to concretely back that up. And if you start with “porn is good” you’ll find indisputable evidence that it’s true. So, I don’t know, a lot of it is like clay – if you want something good to come out of it, make something good out of it.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Hmmm I don’t know there are times I party hard for four days straight and there are times I sleep all day and do laundry.  Sometimes I exercise religiously every day and sometimes I have a friend over and we order takeout from two restaurants at the same time and eat them in bed, so I dunno. Some days I’m really busy with work, running errands etc.  and sometimes I just clean my room and play my keyboard and sing or draw. Sometimes I am hanging out with friends but a lot of time I’m alone. I like being alone, it helps me think.

Kelli Lox Through The BenzDo you find it difficult to date being trans? Do you think working in the porn industry make it harder or easier?

Oy, this is tricky because it’s hard to tell what people’s real motives are. It’s like, when someone acts interested in me, I ask the magic eight ball “what are their true motives here?” and the magic eight balls says “… time will tell.” So sometimes you get burned and sometimes there’s a fun experience to be had with someone. In the end, you have to make sure you got your rocks off, at least, or had fun or got financial help or whatever, so that you don’t feel like you were taken advantage of, but also still think of the other person respectfully even if things didn’t end well. Relationships are like hamburgers – the most delicious ones are often messy, and though you might swear them off for a while, one day you’ll be ready to bury your face into another one. Also, it’s a meal – it’s a one-time thing, it ain’t forever. For better or worse, no burger lasts forever. hhaha

Looking onto your crystal ball, where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

More famous. Author of a book. In a major movie. Writing for a TV show. Doing amazing shit with amazing people. Making art. Making a difference. More followers. And, I dunno, in love and living with a beautiful girl who dances or draws comics or something. Drinking iced tea on a sunny day or snuggled watching cartoons on a rainy day. I see my future self as fit and healthy, with something to smile about.

What sort of book would you like to write?

I book about my life. I have seen some shit and I have been through some shit. Even people who have been through some shit tell me “holy hell girl you’ve been through some shit” lol  I have a very important story to tell.

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

Hahaha I don’t think I can surprise anyone anymore. I was talking about a dream I had where I jumped out of an airplane with no parachute on, and a close friend of mine had missed the part where I had said it was a dream, and walked in when I was in mid-story, and he says “oh my god Kelli, you are the only person who can do shit like this and live to tell the tale! go on.” and sat to listen to the rest of my story. Then we explained that I was talking about something that happened in a dream and we all laughed so hard and he said “Kelli, that’s how amazing you are! You could mention things you’ve done and I’d just be like ‘okay, and then what happened?’ even though it’s something completely unreal that if anyone else said I’d immediately be all like ‘bullshit!'” hahaha

Thank you for taking the time to do the interview Kelli, it was a lot of fun!

Be sure to check out more about Kelli on:

Her official blog at kellilox.com/

On Facebook at facebook.com/kelli.lox

On Twitter at  twitter.com/KelliLox

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Get the inside scoop on pornstar Raven Roxx!

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Raven Roxx is a fan favorite who keeps busy with her dancing, camming, and of course making porn for her many fans! I had the pleasure of interviewing Raven and learning more about this fascinating lady!

What was your childhood like and when did you realize you were transgender?

I had a pretty typical childhood.  We weren’t rich but we weren’t poor.  The common misconception is that transgender people were molested as kids, I was not.  I was pretty happy most of the time doing all the normal boy things like playing baseball, riding bikes, sledding, and camping.  I actually knew I was different at 4-5 years old, it’s the first time I ever put on something that would be considered “girl.” It just felt right, but at the time I had no idea what to call it. Truthfully until the internet was easily accessible I thought I was the only one in the world that felt this way.  I had cross-dressed my entire life, but I guess it wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I started thinking maybe this is more than just weird feelings and urges.

Was it a process for you to come to terms with the fact that you were trans?

It was!  I long 38 year process.  I’ll pick up from my mid 30’s since before that was covered in the previous question.  I knew another person who was a crossdresser but he worked at the VA.  I’m a veteran, and he explained that recently the VA started covering therapy and medications, so I ended up going to the VA and started the process.  The first thing I did was meet with a gender therapist, and after three months I was referred to the endocrinologist.  I continued therapy for two years total and I highly recommend it.  I ended my therapy the day I went as Raven, she looked at me at the end of the session and said “you don’t need me anymore, I think we are done.”

Raven Roxx Through The BenzIs your family supportive and accepting of you?

Oh my gosh, overwhelming yes!  My parents took it very well all things considered.  I asked my mom once if I disappointed her and her response was “I still have a son (my brother), I just have 3 daughters now.” That was a teary moment.  My brother and sisters all took it very well, and they are very supportive.  I’m truly blessed in the amount of family I kept because I know a lot of girls lose everyone.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning their transition?

It’s never too early to start working on your female voice.  It takes a long time and a lot of practice, so start early.  You can ace the clothing, makeup, hair, and mannerisms but if you don’t work on your voice you will out yourself as soon as you open your mouth.  I waited and didn’t work on my voice until the end and wished I had started earlier.  You don’t need to see a speech pathologist or have surgery in most cases.  I used voice memo on my iPhone and a $6 tutorial I found online.

How did you get started working in the porn industry?

It was kind of like an escalation process.  When the excitement of transition began to subside, I was approached by Kimber Haven, who was dancing at Wendy Williams Lexington tgirl parties.  I attended the parties but did not dance.  She knew I was bored and suggested I ask Wendy if she needed dancers, which I did, and I now I am a dancer.  After that though discussions of doing some porn started floating around.  I guess you could say that was around the beginning of Bad Girl Mafia Productions.  The first movie I ever did was a solo masturbation scene and OMG it took me forever to get off!

You have what many would consider to be a dream job, being a model in the porn industry. Is the job really as glamorous and interesting and much fun as people would assume?

What everyone sees is glamorous but behind the scenes is not nearly as glamorous.  What you don’t see before I shoot is the 12-24 hours before I don’t eat.  Anal douching……yes it’s gross, but it’s sooooo necessary. Water based lube is very sticky when it dries, just saying.  Silicone based lube is almost impossible to wash off.  Some lube may look like cum but it DOES NOT taste like cum.

Raven Roxx Through The Benz

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

Favorite:  Going to shows and cons, and meeting fans, and other people in the industry.  I’m really chatty so any chance I get to run my mouth I jump on the chance.

Least Fav:  All the prep work required before filming.  Douching, shaving, plucking, and my least of the least fav…..starving myself!

Does your family know you work in the porn industry and if so, how do they feel about it?

My siblings know I do porn.  As far as I know my mom and dad don’t and I’m not going tell them.  There are just certain things you don’t discuss with your mom.  Besides, she most likely knows anyway and just will never bring it up.  Not that I’m ashamed of it, but the older generation comes from a much more sexually oppressed society and I just don’t think they would understand.

Raven Roxx Through The BenzDo you foresee a point anytime soon when you’ll retire from porn?

I hope not for a good while.  What I will say is that I want to end my porn career like the show Seinfeld ended; I’d rather end it on a high than try to drag it out to where people only remember the downward spiral at the end because I held on too long.

What advice would you give to aspiring models who want to get into the industry?

Grow a thick skin.  People are going to say things about you, and it doesn’t matter how good you look, it’s going to happen.  The quicker you learn to brush it off and do your own thing, the easier it will be.

Do you enjoy interacting with your fans on social media?

I absolutely adore my fans!  Let’s be honest, without my fans I’d be nothing.  I picked up a good habit from Kimber Haven, and I spend large amounts of my free time answering messages from fans.  No one does it for me so I spend a few hours every day responding to all the messages I get on various social media outlets.  It’s the least I can do for my peeps.

Can the trans porn industry be a positive influence within the trans community since there is still such a stigma attached to the industry and being a sex worker?

As with anything, positive or negative really depends on who you talk to.  I’m sure the bible thumpers claim no good can come from any porn.  I’m really not sure, you’ve kinda stumped me on this one because I know the way I personally feel is not necessarily the belief held by others.  I think it’s great, it’s a huge market, and it provides jobs to girls who may not have any other recourse.

There are some who claim that trans women are being exploited as sex workers. What are your thoughts on this?

I’m sure some are to certain degrees.  I personally don’t consider myself to exploited.  I enjoy what I do.  I mean I get paid to fuck and take sexy pictures of myself.  Let me say it like this; I’m going to be fucking, everyone does, so why not let someone video it and see it online?  It’s like a total win/win situation.

Kimber Haven Through The BenzWho inspires you?

Well, I’m always giving props to Wendy Williams as an icon, so in this interview I want to give props to someone I hold in equally high regard, Kimber Haven.  I’ve known Kimber almost as long as I’ve been actively transitioning.  And while she pisses me off on almost a daily basis I wouldn’t have it any other way.  She’s not afraid to tell me the truth, even if I don’t want to hear it.  While sometimes I hate her for it, it has made me a much better person inside and out, which would not have been possible without her.

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

I find it very hard.  Especially when you factor in that I’m a porn actress, cam model, exotic dancer, non-monogamous and polyamorous.  I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard to find anyone to accept all that.

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

Without a doubt all these religious freedom bills, aka bathroom bills.  We all know who we really need to keep out of bathrooms to prevent sexual assaults: preachers.  We also need better healthcare coverage.  Some companies are pioneering this kind of acceptance but sadly too many are lacking.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

I’m not sure I’ll be in front of the camera still then, but I hope I’m still working in the industry. Or sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a margarita……beaches and margaritas are good too.

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

I’m actually a really good gardener.  I can make my own canned spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickled jalapeños, and like potatoes.  It’s a really rewarding hobby.  Nothing beats walking out to the garden and grabbing stuff and making it from fresh produce.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Typical days are pretty boring.  I still have a day job so there I have accounted for at least 8 hours.  The rest of the day is spent answering fan mail, going to the gym, walking my old dog, or hanging out with friends.

Raven Roxx Through The Benz

Violence and suicide are two of the biggest problems that the trans community faces, with 41% of trans people attempting suicide. What can society do to address the issues which all too often leave trans people feeling like their only option is to end their life?

We need to stop stigmatizing trans people and shaming them for being authentic to themselves.  I hate to say it but religion plays a big part in this.  I am appalled at how many people who claim to be godly are the first in line to cast stones at others.

There is 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?

People need to be less uptight and stop being so worried about what other people are doing.  There are two kinds of people in the world, the ones who watch porn and the ones who lie about not watching porn.  If everyone could just admit they watch it and not be made to feel guilty I believe porn would be just another job.

Thank you for the interview Raven, it was a pleasure!

You can follow Raven on Twitter at @TsRavenRoxx visit her cam site at TsRaven.com, or see her official website at RavenRoxx.com

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Becca Benz 2017 TEA Part 2: Parties and shows!

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The Transgender Erotica Awards weekend is always such a fun time, and my week in Los Angeles had already been pretty eventful before the TEA events had even begun!

Thursday night at Club Cobra signals the unofficial start of the TEA festivities and is always a fun time, and this year was no different. I got there early and was sitting in a booth chatting with friends when my good friend David gave me two bags of delicious Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel chocolates! David is so sweet and thoughtful; last year he brought me flowers, and this year chocolates! It’s moments like this, and seeing good friends again, that makes TEA so meaningful to me.

2017 TEA Awards     2017 TEA Awards

And then a bit later in walks none other than the beautiful Staci Miguire, looking decidedly more blonde than the last time I saw her! She and I always have fun hanging out and dancing and she brings out my wild side! And it’s nice to be with someone taller than I am for a change! And it so happened that I wore a leopard print dress and Staci wore a zebra print dress, so we had fun with the animal print theme, and there were lots of jokes about predator and prey! We even considered swapping dresses since she’s more predator and I’m more prey, but thankfully we never actually got around to doing it lol

The club closed and security had their hands full ushering us all out of the club and off the property, and then trying to get everyone to go home. There were large groups of people mingling on the street and suddenly a fight broke out and it was like watching moths being drawn to light; everyone ran to the fight and cell phone flashes were going off like mad. We soon heard the sound of police sirens, and then a police helicopter appeared overhead with its light scanning the scene, followed by a fire truck and police cars screaming down the road. It was a crazy ending to a wild night!

Friday I had the pleasure of having breakfast with my dear friend Fran, who is someone I’ve gotten to know a lot more this past year and who has become near and dear to my heart. We’d been counting down the down the weeks and days as TEA approached, looking forward to breakfast and being able to talk and enjoy a break from the dreary Pacific Northwest weather. And it was definitely worth the wait, getting to talk face to face and just hang out and enjoy being together. We had the most wonderful conversations and I wouldn’t let her go back to work because I so enjoyed having her all to myself! And she also gives the absolute best hugs! It was such a wonderful afternoon and one of the things I will remember most from this year’s TEA.

Friday night it was the TEA party, which was moved up this year instead of being the night after the awards show as in previous years. The party was at Bardot and fabulous as always, and it was so much fun seeing everyone, and of course seeing what everyone was wearing, and in some cases, not wearing lol The folks at Grooby know how to throw a party, and this was one of their best!

2017 TEA Pre-Party

My favorite moment from the party was getting Fran and Kristel together for a picture of the three of us. Last year we’d forgotten to get a picture, so Fran and I had been reminding each other not to forget, and I was on a mission to make it happen! And we had such fun doing this picture, and it could not have turned out any more beautifully. These two ladies are good friends who mean the world to me, so I was pleased we got such a wonderful picture together. And as you can see, Fran was kind of getting all touchy feely back there, but she can cop a feel of my ass any time she wants 🙂

In previous years I remember seeing the food vendors outside the Avalon after it closed and how delicious the hot dogs smelled, but I never got one because I was worried about slopping food onto my dress, but this year I was hungry and it smelled so good that I broke down and bought one, and it had to be one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever had. And I managed to eat it without getting any on my dress!

2017 TEA CON After a late night of partying we all dragged ourselves out of bed Saturday afternoon for TEA Con, which this year was held at the Avalon, site of the awards show, and it’s such a great venue; much roomier and you couldn’t ask for more beautiful setting.

I spent the entire afternoon wandering around talking with everyone and never did settle down at a table; my friend Hanna from Transformation Magazine let me put my stuff at her table and it was nice to just sit with her and talk when I needed a break from wandering.

I went for comfort this year, wearing a casual maxi skirt and comfortable top, and flip-flops to give my tired feet a rest! I did have a pair of heels in my bag in case I felt too under-dressed, but they never did make it out of the bag lol

One of the funnest moments from TEA Con was getting the photographers together to pose for a picture for me, which was not unlike trying to herd cats! They have all become good friends over the three years I’ve been attending TEA, and I am so appreciative of the awesome work they do and all the time and effort they put into capturing all the special moments during the TEA events. And I always have so much fun talking and joking with them, and they are always so gracious when I ask them for a picture with someone, which I tend to do more than I probably should!

2017 TEA Con

I had decided I wasn’t going to attend the Saturday night event at Cheetah’s because the previous year had been such a fiasco; instead I had planned to go to either Hamburger Mary’s in Long Beach or Club Shine, but for some reason I was really tired decided to just hang out in my hotel room and order room service and watch the Food Channel. I felt guilty spending a Saturday night in Los Angeles in my hotel room, but I just needed a break and some time to rest and recharge. I don’t have access to tv or the Food Channel where I live, so it was kind of nice to just relax and watch Chopped, and take a nice long hot shower.

Sunday was the TEA awards, and I got my hair and makeup done that afternoon, which is always a fun thing to splurge on. I went to the same salon in Burbank that I went to last year but had a different lady do my hair, and I really enjoyed talking with her. I guess I’m getting chatty in my old age! And it turned out I got to see the lady who did my hair last year, which was nice!

It’s always fun getting all dressed to the nines and getting to wear a gown, and I really liked my gown this year; simple but elegant. I initially hadn’t planned to wear a gown this year because I felt I’d never be able to do better than last year’s gown, but I couldn’t resist. I mean, how often do you get the chance to wear a gown? So I took my time getting ready and then took Lyft to the Avalon. It’s always such a cool moment to arrive and walk in, knowing it’s finally here and that it’s going to be such an amazing night, and seeing everyone there! One of those magic moments that never seems to get old. This year I had the pleasure of walking the red carpet with my friend Eddie Wood, and we had a lot of fun; in fact I may have gotten a bit too carried away with the fun part, but I think Eddie had a good time!

Becca Benz 2017 TEA Awards     Becca Benz Eddie Wood 2017 TEA Awards

I mingled and talked and hugged and posed for pictures and was having such a wonderful time and felt so fortunate to once again be part of such an awesome event. When I looking through the program I was so excited to see that Al Tom was getting the Best Industry Professional Award!! I got up to go find him so I could give him a great big hug! Al is such a great photographer and a good friend to so many of us, and if anyone is deserving of this award it’s him.

The show was going to be starting soon and I was sitting at our table when I saw Laura Espinoza across the room, so I ran over to say hi to her, and we talked for a while. When I went back to the table I noticed my purse was gone. I asked the people at the table if they’d seen it and asked security if it had been turned in, but no one had seen it. I didn’t have time to worry about it because the award Jamie Jameson and I were presenting was the third award, so we had to go backstage before the show started. It was neat to present an award, and I was happy I got to do it with Jamie because I knew her and knew I could get by with not having to talk much. We were announced, which was pretty cool and then we walked out onto the stage, and I managed to do so without tripping, so I was happy and relieved! Jamie did the talking and I just stood there and smiled and clapped and enjoyed the moment. I kind of felt like Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune! After the winner was announced we moved off to the side and then exited after the winners.

I made it back to the table and still no sign of my purse, and that’s when I really started getting worried. And then when I realized I would not be able to fly home if I didn’t have my driver’s license, which was in my purse, I really started stressing out. And without my credit card or identification I wouldn’t have access to any money, and I stressed even more. I asked a friend who also lived in Portland and who had driven to Los Angeles if I could possibly get a ride back with her, and she graciously said yes, so at least I didn’t have to worry about being stranded here. And thankfully I hadn’t left my phone in my purse so at least I had that.

Miran Becca Benz 2017 TEAWhen the nominees for Best Internet Personality were announced it was such a cool moment to hear my name and see my picture, and to be included among such a distinguished group of nominees. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to win this year because I just felt like there were people more deserving than me. It was still a little disappointing not to win, but Miran is a friend and someone I have a great deal of respect for, and I was happy she won. And I have to say she looked stunning in the gorgeous gown she wore, as she always does.

I stayed until the intermission and then checked again with security, and when my purse was still missing I decided to head back to the hotel so I could call my bank and report my card missing, so I got a Lyft and went back to the hotel, where I had to get another key card so I could get in my room. I changed out of my gown and got cleaned up and then called the bank to report my card missing and arranged for a new card to be sent which would be waiting for me when I got back to Portland. Once that was taken care of I took a shower and tried to calm down. I would be leaving early in the morning to go home with my friend, and I still had to get packed, so there wasn’t much point to going to sleep, even if I could have slept, which was doubtful.

After the awards show ended a friend called me and left a message saying my purse had been found and it was in the security office, so I got dressed and drove back to the Avalon, hoping it wasn’t too late to get my purse before everyone left. I got there just as they were closing up and it took a while to find the right person to unlock the door, but when they opened the security office there was my purse on the counter, and my driver’s license and credit card were still in it. I was so so relieved.

When I had walked in I smelled the hot dogs from the street vender and as I was leaving I realized how hungry I was so I was looking forward to grabbing a couple of hot dogs to take home, but of course they were gone by the time I came out. I got home and checked online to see what was still open, but everything was closed or was not delivering, so I finally ended up going through the drive-through at McDonalds and getting two Egg McMuffins, which seemed an appropriate ending to what had been a long, long night. I got to bed just as the sun was coming up, but thankfully my hotel room had blackout curtains so I was able to get some sleep. I was exhausted Monday and didn’t do much beyond getting packed and having one more meal at In N Out. I had an early flight Tuesday morning so I went to bed early. The trip home was uneventful, and I was just thankful to be on the plane. It was good to get home, except for the weather. I had left warm, sunny California and returned to cold, rainy Portland, which was depressing. I got home and unpacked, and as much as I enjoyed my time in Los Angeles it was good to sleep in my own bed again.

My 2017 TEA was filled with lots of wonderful memories, even though it ended on a sour note with my purse having disappeared, but such is life. Last year was magical in every possible way and I will forever have those memories, and this year was special in its own ways. It all worked out in the end, as it invariably does.

It wasn’t until last week that I even looked at any of the pictures from this year’s TEA events, and when I did I was struck by how tired I looked. I was missing the energy and sparkle from previous years, and that was sort of a wakeup call that something was not right with me.

As for TEA 2018, I’m not sure at this point. I have a lot of personal things to sort out and I’m not sure what the future holds for me. I have three years of special memories and so many wonderful friends, and those will stay with me forever, no matter where my life takes me.

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Becca Benz 2017 TEA Part 1: Adventures in Los Angeles!

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I had been counting down the days and looking forward to TEA for a long time; actually since last year’s TEA ended! I got my gown and all the accessories and had all my reservations made and was ready to go! I was so excited to see all my friends, and was looking forward to lots of warm, sunny weather after having endured a Portland winter in which we’ve seen very little sun and lots of rain. I had been checking the weather forecast and was so relieved when I knew the weather would be good. I got packed and managed to get everything into my luggage, including four pairs of heels and my sneakers, and was ready to go!

Going through airport security is never fun because I always get “selected” to go through a pat-down and have my luggage searched. Go figure. So I get the Portland airport and check my bag and get ready to go through security, and it looks like I’m going to make it through without getting searched, but then the TSA agent points to my carry-on suitcase and asks me if that’s mine, and I reply yes, wondering what’s going on. He then gives me a funny look and asks me if I realized I had a large hunting knife in my bag. Shit! My bag has a small pocket on the side which I never use because I never remember it’s there, and when I recently moved I must have thrown the knife in that pocket of the bag and forgotten about it. I try to remain calm and collected and I tell him it’s my son’s knife and I hadn’t realized it was there, hoping I wasn’t going to be detained and have to explain all this. He gives me another funny look and then takes the knife to swab it for residue. He then tells me I can’t keep it, which I already know, and then sends me on my way. So, I normally always get patted down and searched, but when I carry a large hunting knife in my carry-on bag through security I don’t get patted down or even have my luggage searched. Huh. Guess I’ll have to put prohibited items in my carry-on bag from now on.

Becca Benz TEA 2017

Becca Benz TEA 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I make it on my flight, which was no small relief after the knife incident, and have a smooth trip to Burbank, and get my rental car and find my way to the hotel and get checked in. I splurged a little and went with a nicer hotel, but I was blown away at how nice my room was, and how amazing the shower was! I knew I’d be enjoying lots of long hot showers while I was there! My apologies for not doing my part to conserve water while I was there.

My first order of business was finding the sun-deck at the hotel to lay in the sun and get some much-needed color, but I find out the sun-deck is closed for repairs. What??? Thankfully their sister hotel was across the street and had a nice sun-deck, so I found a comfy chase lounge and enjoyed the warmth of the sun while I relaxed and looked at the palm trees. It was good to be back in Los Angeles! The second order of business was heading to my favorite In N Out Burger for dinner. Surprisingly it wasn’t too crowded and I got a booth to sit in while I enjoyed my animal-style burger and fries. God how I’d missed In N Out burgers!!!

I spent the next two days lounging in the sun and working on getting a tan, but being careful not to burn, and just being lazy and checking out my old haunts from when I lived there. Wednesday night I went to The Abbey, which is a place near and dear to my heart. The people who work there are so friendly and always so good to me, and it’s such a fun place whether I’m there to dance or just people-watch, plus they have really great food! I got there fairly early before things got too crazy and order a drink, which is the first drink I’ve had in a long, long time, so it doesn’t take much to get me feeling good lol And then Brooke Zannell, Eddie Wood, Chelsea Marie, and Montasia showed up, which was a really nice surprise! I was so excited they were there and to get the chance to catch up! Little did I know just how exciting things were going to get! We were sitting at a table talking, and I leaned over so I could hear what Brooke was saying when all of a sudden Eddie jumps up and starts furiously patting my head, and I’m wondering what the heck is going on. Then I smell something burning and Eddie is telling me my hair caught on fire when I leaned over the table and my hair went into the candle, which I hadn’t even noticed. Thank God Eddie saw what happened and took such quick action. And thankfully I didn’t have any product in my hair or hadn’t worn hairspray, otherwise my hair might have gone up like a Roman candle. Everyone assured me not much hair burned and that it wasn’t noticeable, but I was still pretty freaked about it. But after another drink I wasn’t so worried lol I managed to get back to the hotel at a decent hour without any further incidents. My first few days in Los Angeles were pretty exciting, and the TEA events hadn’t even started yet!

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Next week in Part 2 I’ll cover all TEA Con, the TEA Pre-party, and the TEA Awards, as well as a fun night at Club Cobra.

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Holly Parker opens up about life, porn, and being trans

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Holly Parker is one of the biggest names in trans porn, and for those of us fortunate to be able to know her as a friend, she is one of the most caring people you’ll ever meet. I got the opportunity to hang out with Holly and get to know her at last year’s TEA and discover what a special person she is, so being able to do this interview means a lot to me. Holly has achieved a great deal behind the camera, but it’s her voice as an advocate for the porn industry and the trans community where she really shines. And she has become a leading voice for trans health care, which we will cover in Part 2 of this interview. So without further ado, I give you the one and only Holly Parker!

What was your childhood like growing up?

My childhood growing up was mainly influenced by my immediate family. I was born in a sleepy little fisherman’s town in the early 90s. My family was very religious and until my grandparents died in 2003, I attended a prestigious private school. In 2004, I began going to public school. I was immediately introduced to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I kept it a secret from my family for some time, but then it got out of hand. My addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs was causing me to be reckless. By mid-summer 2006 it was either a long-term inpatient rehab or alternative school and outpatient.

The change of pace and size of my alternative school made it possible for me, for the first time, to acquire straight A’s. I drank every weekend I attended that school and passed every urine analysis. One day I decided to be honest about my substance abuse and my counselor told me that I needed long-term rehab or I was to be kicked out of school. I was 18 and dropped out of that school and went back to my old high school. I decided to drop out and got my GED in 2009 as Holly.

I grew up in a typical single-parent, American family with most relatives alive until I was 14. I even got along well with my dad separately from my mother. They were never married, I am a bastard child. I was raised privileged and loved, and was protected by my family and well taken care of growing up. The one thing that made my childhood difficult and stemmed any trouble or misunderstanding, was the fact I was transgender. I was never molested or abused, was always given the chance to make mistakes and learn from them and if I did not, whatever punishment WAS necessary, in my opinion now. Looking back, I never wanted or needed anything growing up, except acceptance and understanding of my gender dysphoria, although, I did not know how to do that or where to begin until I was 14. I had developed a full understanding of myself and was able to begin explaining and expressing myself in ways that may bring better understanding to other trans* people someday. This is regardless of how different my experience may be from theirs.

Holly Parker Through The Benz

Have you always known you were trans, and was it a process to come to terms with that?

I have always known I was trans. Recently in San Francisco I was with my mother for my gender reassignment surgery. We were being interviewed by BBC for a documentary on gender, and my mom and I discussed many things including random memories from my childhood. I’m talking about when I realized I was trans, which I unfortunately did not have that word for back then because of lack of education on gender. I thought I was a normal girl and the memories I have just so happen to be from meeting around two years old that I begin remembering. I didn’t even think I would have consciousness at that point ha ha that is enough for me, personally, so now I have been female all of my life, or a more general term, trans.

The only process I have gone through is convincing people I am “female” and I had a real disorder, mentally and physically debilitating. Passing cars, passing trains, overpasses, building windows, a gun. Many different choices for taking one’s life at any given time at RANDOM. I now look at those things and think of them as they are in the moment and not anything else harmful. I would like to avoid harm at all costs because I love life now and I see a real future ahead of me.

If I can bring more understanding and involve as much of the world in my transition as I can, I have a chance to bring some acceptance to all trans people across the world. As a young child, I just did not want to see anyone suffer and dreamed to be like Princess Diana and travel to other countries and volunteer with the sick and less fortunate. Although I realize that if you are going to make a difference in this world, it starts by making a difference on your home soil first or wherever you call home.

Is your family supporting and accepting of you?

My family may not have understood me all the way through, but they have never let that factor into their decision on whether they will except me in their life or not. Knowing it’s none of their business to understand me, for I am not hurting them or anyone mentally or physically to be happy myself. They just love me and are happy to see me happy when they watched me be miserable for so many years.

Now, even though they may not always understand me, they have always supported me in my journey be happy and grow as a human on this planet. I deserve to feel just as human as the next person. They have witnessed every decision I have made, and it has only bettered me as a person and helped my transition. My family knew me before I came out as trans and continue to know me and want to know me now. They remember how miserable and sad I was and for years no one knew what to do. Now that I am me and only become more of me each day, they see how happy I am and have been since I’ve transitioned. They have not only seen how much good I have done for myself, but the good I have done and kindness I have shown to others in order for them to feel acceptance when no one else may have been showing them acceptance at the time.

Holly Parker Through The Benz   Holly Parker Through The Benz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you get started working in the porn industry?

I googled “trans porn applications” and found a step-by-step application process and originally shot my first solo and hardcore with Radius Dark Photography. I began working in the porn industry after I moved back from Arizona, broke as fuck, after attempting to start over with my fiance at the time in Phoenix, Arizona. Sadly, he passed August 20, 2015. Little did I know that first shoot I desperately applied for online would be the first of many. It would be the beginning of my career as a “Porn Star.” I thought I would shoot one and fade out quickly. Sometimes I still wish I did.

Can you tell us a few of the people who have influenced you the most throughout your career?

There are so many influences in my career I don’t know who to begin with! These people did not influence me to get started in porn, but they influenced me to stay. I hate mentioning names because my philosophy on that as, “Every name you mention, you forget a name to mention.” My Twitter shows many retweets, posing photos, and advertisements for past work with many people who have made a large impact on my life as a Trans Porn Star.

Can you tell us what Grooby means to you?

Can I tell you what Grooby means to me? Friendships and paychecks!

Holly Parker Through The Benz

Does your family know you work in the porn industry and if so, how do they feel about it?

My family has always known I’ve worked in porn and they see my success and happiness today. I am happier and a lot less broke than working for minimum-wage 9-to-5 job. I want to build a career. I do not want a job. I learned a job stands for “Just Over Broke.” I was over working paycheck to paycheck many moons ago.

There are some who claim that trans women are being exploited as sex workers. What are your thoughts on this?

Well, all women in porn are exploited as sex workers, we have sex for money. Is it anyone’s business, other than the government at this point, to know how we make our money, pay our bills, feed our children and stay alive like the next privileged American? Most of us (Trans*) Women exploit ourselves as sex workers all day, every day. It is our livelihood. Porn is the ultimate advertising for sex work. There is nothing wrong with that. If it is done right, everyone is safe and making money.

Now that you’ve had reassignment surgery will you be retiring from porn?

Retiring from porn is a statement. For some, porn is a career. For others, like myself, it was an artistic outlet to temporarily support myself.  I did not need tax money from someone else to buy my groceries or federal funding support to help me with my transportation. I was able to work legally and pay my taxes, comfortably. Porn has, unfortunately to some, opened up many other doors for me to be successful. At this point, it depends on how I feel after I am 100% healed from my Gender Reassignment Surgery.

You have what many would consider to be a dream job, being a model in the porn industry. Is the job really as glamorous and interesting and much fun as people would assume?

It is considered a dream job, being a model in the porn industry. You question if it is glamorous, is it as interesting is you think? This is a hard question to organize an answer to. Working is always interesting. In the beginning of your career, you think you will only be asked to do what you are comfortable with personally. That is not always the case. You are challenged, mostly in your own thoughts, to questions you are asked about performing acts you may have never considered comfortable to try. I have not been in a porn setting where I did not try and learn something interesting about myself that was new. Then again, I am a girl who says go forth and face whatever you are scared of and just get it out of the fucking way! There is so much more opportunity for you to bloom without restriction.

Porn is glamorous when you attend award shows, like the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards and the Transgender Erotica Awards (TEA) Show. You get to dress up and attend red carpet events with costars, producers, photographers, other models, directors, etc. Really, any title you can think of in film attends those awards to celebrate the individual success brought together by so many in the adult film industry to create so many productions teamwork could only accomplish.

Holly Parker Through The Benz

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

My favorite and least enjoyable parts I endure in porn? Well, my favorite part is getting ready for the project. I become a princess preparing for her coronation day, figuratively speaking, when my make-up begins. Each fresh curl is like a brand-new, warm and beautiful day. I become presentable and I feel ready to be seen.

I do not like traveling to the shoot, since I’m always dealing with some kind of unnecessary delay, although I don’t stress if it is in the same state or city. A missed flight because of uncontrollable weather conditions, traffic or some unexpected delay. Also, most adult production companies make you pay for your travel and do not reimburse you. Like a 2 way Spirit Airlines ticket is going to break the bank! lol

What advice would you give to aspiring models who want to get into the industry?

My best advice to aspiring models is never let yourself feel like lesser of a human due to your personal or someone else’s personal negative opinion. Constructive criticism him should always be welcome to. Only to humble, better yourself and build self-confidence. You were born to be who you want to be. Let it show, let it shine. Your individuality will be what makes you stand out from the rest.

As you know, violence and suicide are two of the biggest problems that the trans community faces, with 41% of trans people attempting suicide. There are organizations like Trans Lifeline which provides vital resources for trans people in times of crisis. What can we as a community, and more importantly, what can society do to address the issues which all too often leave trans people feeling like their only option is to end their life?

It does not start as a community or society together that makes a difference. Making a difference starts with yourself individually. Suicide comes from so many places inside one’s self. There is no knowledge of what giving up does for you once you cross over. Know the pain of your own life’s loss you cannot understand, that is something you will cause someone else. Surviving and helping others find a reason to survive inspires hope. Do not stop inspiring hope. Do not stop inspiring a future for Love. Your own story in survival of doubt will save someone else. Save lives on behalf of your own story about simply making a conscious decision to live now and in the future when you consider ending your life.

Always believe in finding a light at the end of your tunnel, figuratively speaking. If you do not see the light, never lose hope, or give up and let yourself die or kill yourself to put yourself out of misery. You claw and scratch kick and chew if you have to. If you are going to go out, always go out with a fight.

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

An individual need to understand a human’s personal life in order to confirm their existence as deserving the same basic rights and respect as your own only if you relate to them in some way that, subconsciously, you do not feel physically threatened or mentally inconvenienced. Whatever the word is for that need of equal or greater value as a human with no lesser accepted based on specific personal identification and beliefs. That is one of the biggest issues facing the transgender community today.

Holly Parker Through The BenzWho inspires you?

My inspiration in general, for life? I have parented and loved a life and I thank my lucky stars I am responsible for him until death do us part. My American Staffordshire terrier, Jengo Fett (Yes, from Star Wars). Jengo was gifted into my life in October 2012. An interesting fact about Jengo is that he was born the same day I was. I will be turning 26 while he turns 6 this Summer.

Jengo Fett. Do I want to be responsible for the death of my dog with an “Oh Well!” Attitude after he dies? Nope. I will always choose to be responsible for the death of nothing, especially a life. He inspires me to live. He inspires me to be responsible for my own life, I come home each night happy and don’t feel alone. I cannot accept him going to the pound because I decided to give up responsibility for a life I allowed into mine knowing originally the only way we would part is if one of us died. Jengo is the reason I wake up in the morning and why I strive for success. I do not want him to be homeless!

 

As a trans woman do you find it difficult to date, along with being a pornstar?

Dating is difficult not only for trans women, but every human that is able to date. Some make it feel easy until it is not. Do not stop and stay on my own when it is not easy, settling in sadness. Move forward. Do not ever give up on even the smallest chance to fall in love!

I have dated so many. Enough that more than a couple are no longer alive. I evaluate myself on dating in the past. I ask myself, “What have I learned? Not a fucking thing! I am still so fucking confused!”

Holly Parker Through The BenzWhen you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy in your free time?

Currently, home is in Las Vegas. You can only imagine how much there is to do here. In my free time, it is always the same things, just in a different order on a different day. I walk my dog, I love music and I especially enjoy traveling. I also enjoy keeping up on my laundry and every once in a while, I will receive a great recommendation for a TV series to binge watch.

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

Something people would be surprised to learn about me. I was arrested two times before I turned 18.

Do you enjoy interacting with your fans on social media?

When time allows or something hilarious pops up from one, I will interact with fans on social media. I really enjoy unique messages or fan art. I also appreciate the personal messages and it sucks I cannot respond to all of them. I apologize for any recent weird messages or posts on one of my social media accounts. It was maliciously hacked several times, but it has been resolved

Holly Becca TEA 2017

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Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself well established in my choice of career and close to a comfortable retirement. Possibly married, definitely a few kids. Two or more dogs and simple family filled holidays. I may have put on a few pounds, ideally in the right places! All this in the a well-deserved home.

There 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?

Avoid complaining about negativity. Be yourself and make an attempt to discuss the professional side of your experience if given the chance to share. Give some examples on how your career in the adult industry has benefited you. You can begin to bring a better respect to adult entertainment, maybe not by discussing the work you are performing, but the benefits the work has allowed you to prosper from.

The only way to normalize adult work is to leave out the discussion about the sex aspect. Talk about the business aspect and how it allows you to enjoy life when you’re not working. The work for some may not be agreed with, but the advantages business-wise can create a better platform to show people there is positive profit from adult entertainment. Sex is one of the few things in this world that will always and forever continue to sell in all shapes and forms.

You can follow Holly in Twitter at @TheHollyParker

See more of Holly on her website at hollyparker.xxx/home

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