Industry News

AVN, Brittany St Jordan Meeting RE: Treatment of Transsexuals

Interview with Brittany St Jordan by Jon

1 Who did you meet with and how would you describe the tone of the meeting?

We met with Mark, Sharron, Panos, Steve, Pete and one last gentleman whose names escapes me. It was made very apparent that they were there to listen to us. Even when moments of debate came up, they were civil and both sides listened to what the other had to say. It was a room full of professionals and we all acted accordingly. 

2 Could you please go into some more details about the AVN’s history of the recognition of the transsexual niche 

AVN has a history, whether indeed or not, to not really care about TS porn. It is one of the things that you get told almost immediately when entering this business. They will send you a trophy but they wouldn’t ever dream of letting a TS up on the stage. That is what I have been told on the talent side of things. Other things that I have seen and heard as well were people asking to place TS ads with AVN and being told no. After allowing TS performers to be nominated AVN sort of left us on the back burner and that is where we stayed until now.

    AVN has made it abundantly clear that going forward these things will no longer be happening. We were told that with the new ownership and overall way the company is going to be run that the TS niche is going to be treated with the respect in which it deserves. I think we all left the meeting with a positive feeling that these things will take place and that it wasn’t all lip service to appease a few angry TS performers.

The TS niche is an important and lucrative market segment 

The simple fact is that the vast majority of people who watch TS porn are straight  identifying males. That means that the same guys who are watching genetic girls are also into our content as well. A lot of is the femininity factor and if the performer delivers that to them then it does feel gay for them to watch. It happens a lot to me on web cam where guys see the promo photo and don’t read the description. The next thing you know they are watching me get myself off and after the initial shock of seeing that I have a cock wears off, many of them find it very erotic and usually end up returning for shows over and over again.

This is why our market is like an untapped oil well of pornography. The major obstacle has been how to promote us. Some companies label us as straight porn, which is what we prefer, while others try and sell us as gay porn. We don’t have the overly masculine attributes that most gay men find attractive. Even with the TS girls who aren’t the most feminine of the bunch they still don’t appeal to the gay crowd at large. Trying to lump us into a specialty or fetish category also does nothing to market us to our full potential either. When guys see the TS titles in the straight listings it reaffirms their own sexuality and encourages them to not be ashamed to watch our content. 

The mindset of TS porn and mainstream porn just don’t mix is an outdated philosophy that only exists because certain people allow to be so. The stumbling block is that production companies don’t want to spend the advertising dollars for events like AEE and other conventions as they don’t see a direct return on their investment. However, by partaking in those events and advertising with AVN or Xbiz it gives fans that reassurance that TS porn is on par with vagina porn. It will also serve to reach an even larger fan base that has yet to jump into the TS world. It won’t happen right away but over a span of time there will definitely be a return on every dime spent.

3 Who would you like to see participate in the nomination process?
More people who are actually educated about and interested in the TS niche would be a great start. From the looks of how things work right now it has the feeling that a bunch of DVD’s are laid out on a table and if a girl is in at least three of them she is nominated. The other possible idea is they count up the number of press releases and the girls with the most get mixed in with the DVD list and somewhere there evolves a list of performers who may or may not be the top of the TS porn world. To select the final list of nominees a few close associates with lips firmly pressed against AVN and Xbiz’s respective asses get put on the list. 

To some extent this method does filter out some performers who do not need to be there. However, instead of using ass kissing as the final step I would like to see people actually watch the scenes and filter the names out that way. I do know some of the people making the nominations actually watch the scenes but they are fewer than people who throw in names of talent they only know from previous nominations or press releases. Yes, this is a media based industry but when the media aspect overshadows the actual talent then we are depriving the girls who really are the best of the best in favor of who has the best PR team. There needs to be a happy medium of the two in order to really choose the best possible names to be nominated.

4 How will you be getting higher visibility in the AVN magazine and the AVN Awards?

During the meeting it was said that if advertisers are wanting to post TS ads that AVN will not decline the offer. This alone gives production companies incentive to advertise their TS lines without having to go through the rejection that has happened in the past. AVN has also said that they would like to have TS talent as presenters for next year as well as having the TS Performer of the Year be presented on stage. This now put the TS talent into the level of talent that is required by AVN to get the red carpet media attention that was denied to some of us this past year. Overall, this is going to be a great year for the TS niche with AVN and their awards next year. 

Along with AVN making the changes they have agreed to, the TS niche has some changes to make as well. We need to let go of the bitter feelings and bruised egos for things done in the past. This is the time to be promoting our content with AVN, submitting content for review, doing press releases, attending the AEE and being at the awards show. We need to let our fans knows as well and have them come out and show their support for what could be one of the proudest moments in TS porn history. When the TS Pornstar of the Year walks on to that stage next year it will be one of the most momentous times in our history of TS porn. It is the one thing that so many have said was unattainable but that is no longer the case and I hope the rest of the TS porn world can at least agree on this one thing and come together. Then we can all stand up and show the world that just because we are different doesn’t make us any less deserving of respect for the work that we do. 

We have made a huge leap in the right direction but it is up to everyone involved to keep it going.

5 What were some of the other issues aired and discussed at the meeting?

Mostly the lack of reviews when it comes to TS DVDs. This was one of the major points as the reviews affect all manner of aspects of how TS porn is marketed, promoted and ultimately awarded at the end of the year. It comes down to simple mathematics as AVN only has x number of reviewers and only a percentage of them really watch or enjoy TS porn. Being that there are hundreds of DVD release every month the TS stuff isn’t getting the attention it deserves. One way to assist in that is to contact AVN and see if a DVD was submitted and if so ask if it has been reviewed yet. Most production companies do monthly submissions of the content that has been released recently. By checking on titles like this it also lets the talent see which companies are actively promoting us and may persuade us to work with some companies over others. 

This is a situation where you get out of it only from what you put in. If you sit back and hope for a nomination but do nothing to proactively get your name recognized then don’t shame the system for your laziness. If you are out there creating great content and know it is deserving of recognition then it is up to the individual to make sure the right people know it is there and get to see it. If AVN is overwhelmed by TS talent submitting content for review it is way better than not having enough. Through proactive communication great things can be accomplished on both an individual and as a whole for the TS niche.

6 Were you satisfied with the meeting?

It isn’t every day where you get to sit down and air your concerns with the upper levels of AVN. I am most grateful for that opportunity and I left with a great sense of accomplishment and pride. Yes, I publicly kicked AVN in the nuts but the outcome of that has benefited the TS niche at large. The things that I said where not just random stuff that I pulled out of thin air. Many other people shared the very same things that I said with me in private but for various reasons would not ever think of speaking up about it. When the word initially went out that we were going to be up on stage next year, for that single moment, regardless of any behind the scenes animosity, we as an entire niche stood tall and as held a new sense of pride of being a Transsexual. For that single reason I call this entire string of events a huge fabulous fucking success.

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