Trans sex worker and porn performer Trip Richards. (triplextransman/ Instagram)
A trans man and sex worker has clearly explained why physical characteristics and genitals “do not define manhood”.
Trip Richards is a trans man adult performer who mostly produces gay porn, and in an interview with Advocate he discussed his transition and his career as a sex worker.
Now 30 years old, Richards began transitioning just after he turned 24.
He said: “It was scary because I didn’t know how people would react, and I also didn’t know if I would achieve the physical results I wanted.
“However, as soon as I began testosterone, I felt so much better. It was like my head cleared and I felt at home in my body for the first time ever.
“The chemical changes of having the proper hormones in my body were incredible, and then once the physical changes like body and hair and beard began, I felt even better.”
He wanted to make clear, however, that “physical characteristics do not define manhood”, and that “being a man is about identity not appearance”.
But, he added: “It still felt great to finally recognize myself in the mirror as the man I was on the inside.”
Richards said that the stigma that comes with being a sex worker affects “everyone who does adult work of any sort”, but that being a trans man has added some additional difficulties.
“There is an assumption that people who do sex work are all exploited (not true) or that we are all dumb and have no other options (also definitely not true),” he said.
“People also judge us for doing the exact things that personally they fantasize about, which is frustrating.”
He said that “fetishization is a natural part of eroticism”, but that it in some cases it can become problematic.
“Since porn is my full-time job,” he said, “I don’t have a problem with fans seeing my body as a sexual object provided that they are paying for content and treating me nicely.
“I think a bigger issue is the way that trans men are shoehorned into certain types of sexual roles/role-play, such as always being seen as bottoms or submissives, I fight against these assumptions in my own work, and have made a concerted effort to produce films where I am in dominant and topping positions, just so that people realize that trans male sexual roles are as diverse as cismale roles.”
Luckily, Richards has found a network of supportive fans and co-stars to outweigh “people in the world [who] consider me to be ‘lesser-than’ both because of my body and my career”.
He said: “I have had almost-exclusively positive experiences with my cis gay co-stars.
“In fact I am really happy how accepting gay porn performers are of trans men, as they realize that manhood is not defined by genitals but instead by personality and energy.”