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Tobi Hill-Meyer is a multiracial trans activist, writer, and filmmaker. She is the director of Doing It Ourselves, and winner of the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2010 Feminist Porn Awards. Hill-Meyer started producing media to fill the void of diverse trans characters and to offer an alternative to the overwhelmingly exploitative and exotic ways that trans women’s sexuality is often portrayed. Her work can be found at I got into porn because of Camp Trans. Camp Trans started as a protest of trans women’s exclusion from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in 1991. After two decades, Camp Trans has transformed into an amazing trans activist training and community space, an annual event that takes place near the music festival. I’d been aching to go for years, but I didn’t have the money. Although attendance was based on a sliding scale donation, the five-thousand mile road trip to get there and back would require several hundred dollars. A lover offered to connect me with a photographer she had worked with at One two-hour shoot for them would give me the equivalent of a month’s income as a tutor and fund my entire trip, so I decided to do it. Given the name of the website, I didn’t expect everything would be supportive and empowering—and it wasn’t. My experience wasn’t wholly negative, either. Significantly, it was the only work environment I’ve ever had where I was out as trans and was never mis-pronouned or misgendered. I can’t say the same thing about any of the LGBT organizations I volunteered for at the time. The shoot was a very uncomfortable, unsexy situation. I’m pretty confident in my ability to be sexy and attractive, but I wasn’t allowed to be sexy the way I would be with my own lovers or partners. I had to fit an entirely different model. Knowing that it was a work situation, I was certainly willing to compromise, but the whole situation set me off balance (both figuratively and literally). I’m a butch dyke and my sex life Where the Trans Women Aren’t: The Slow Inclusion of Trans Women in Feminist and Queer Porn Tobi Hill-Meyer has never focused much on penetration, but for the shoot I had to shave myself, put on stockings and heels, and hold my balance while leaning over and spreading my ass cheeks. The whole time I had to implicitly consent to being labeled by a horrible slur, “shemale.” Of course, all of this made it that much harder for me to perform the basic functions of the job: maintaining an erection and orgasming on command. It was only a series of photos followed by five-to-ten minutes of video, and while I’m usually comfortable modeling for a camera, the whole situation made me nervous and uncomfortable. As things progressed I had to go farther and farther out of my comfort zone. After about an hour and a half of tiring work, many photographs, and much uncomfortable posing, it was my job to masturbate to orgasm. After about five minutes the photographer leaned in and said in a somewhat exasperated voice, “So, are you going to cum now?” As you can imagine, that kind of pressure only makes things more difficult. Especially when I couldn’t do the things that normally turned me on because some corporate executive decided it wasn’t sexy. I got through it, but I was pretty freaked out afterward. I was shaking so much that I needed to have my lover drive us home. I probably could have found a work mode that would have allowed me to sufficiently dissociate and perform as someone else if it had been important enough, but I never got the opportunity to try because of my inability to ejaculate. It’s a pretty common condition among trans women; in fact, the ability to ejaculate is about as common (or uncommon ) among cis women as it is among trans women. Despite this, ShemaleYum .com (and the other website I subsequently worked for) insisted upon it. It’s not a scene without a money shot. Both times I told them up front that my body didn’t do that, and was told that it would be okay. However, it turned out they were just hoping they could get me to ejaculate under “the right circumstances.” During...


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