5 porn actresses: how to say their parents

5 porn actresses: how to say their parents
March 25, 2020 By Elijah Others

As much has happened in the past few years, pornstar is still a profession that you tend to cut out of your CV when you apply to become an insurance broker. Of course, the industry has its problems, where young women and men are still being exploited, who sometimes do not even know exactly what they are getting into when shooting. The role models shown are rarely progressive, often problematic. But the biggest upset for the majority of the population remains that people have sex in front of a camera.

Especially the performers suffer from it. Pornstar Jiz Lee published the coming-out stories of colleagues in 2016 under the title Coming Out Like A Porn Star. In extremely personal and sometimes absurdly funny stories, they tell how they keep fighting stigmas and what value pornography has for them.

Even if directors like Erika Lust have proven to a broader public that sex films can have artistic value, and sites like Lustery and MakeLoveNotPorn show that porn can be realistic and intimate: The prejudices persist. Five actresses told us about their coming-out experiences.

When I told my family about my sex work, it responded almost as I expected. My little sister supported me, the rest either did not accept my revelation or openly expressed disgust.

Because I was out queer and non-monogamous at the same time, some in my family interpreted this as a selfish rebellion or phase that would soon pass again. My mother cried and insisted that I would put myself in “danger” with my work. She could never tell me what exactly this danger was.

A few years later, when I was in my room in California, 5,000 kilometers from my family, I called my mother. I’ve been doing porn for over a year, I was fine, and I hoped she’d changed her mind. I told her that I was happy, healthy, and met a great group of people – porn actresses and actors, many of whom, like me, are human rights defenders. The payment is great. “I’m proud,” I said. I wanted her to be proud too.

It didn’t matter. After years of bending to be treated with compassion, kindness and respect, I broke off contact with my family in 2017. It was the best decision I have ever made. In retrospect, I really only wish I had done it much earlier. Today I help other people in the industry who are struggling with similarly difficult family relationships.

Coming out is an ongoing process. It’s been almost ten years since I first starred in porn. Today I work full time as a producer. I have seen countless outing stories in these years. There is this typical bar scenario: someone asks you what you are doing. Usually I answer casually: “Porn.” I am lucky enough to live in my Berlin bubble. Most of the people here react positively. They are curious and want to know more. It’s great, even if I don’t always feel like explaining my life.

Generally, people talk more openly about sex in public. However, you never know how someone will react. As casually as you tell about it, a job in the porn industry is never normal. Even people who mean well often react childishly.

Telling my mother was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We both love each other very much. That may also explain why dealing with their concerns, their ratings, and their lack of acceptance was so painful – for them as for me.

We have had many coming out conversations over the years. She acknowledges my point of view, asks questions – sometimes we cry in the arms of others. The last time I showed a film that I made in Spain, she wanted to be shown. “But it’s porn,” I said. “I know,” she replied, “but I’m probably old enough to see that!”

When I started college, I also started sex work. When I was 18. As a queer person with disabilities and a mental illness, it seemed like a good way to finance myself, to remain independent and at the same time to pursue my creative passion as an actress. I fell in love with the community and the work. After graduation, I definitely want to continue.

I first told my younger sibling. He shrugged and said: “Cool”. It is something like the highest level of approval that can be elicited from him. Half a year later I told my mother. I’m lucky we have an extremely close relationship, but she has an anxiety disorder. She had a lot of questions. When I answered all of them, she said that she was proud of me as long as I didn’t make real meetings like escorting. So I promised her to keep it online.

Two years later I called my father, who wanted to watch my (non-porn) solo performance “From My Bedroom” and nervously told him about my job. A transgender model who sells short sex videos on the Internet – and all dressed in cosplay? He thought it was great! That made me so happy.

I know that I can count myself lucky. The support and unconditional love of my parents allowed me to politically charge my performances. I hope that I can use my voice for sex workers and secure the equality we deserve.

I started sex work when I was 18. I met photographers in a fetish club who wanted to take bondage pictures. I loved it. However, I didn’t know how to find my tits on the internet forever. So I asked my mother.

She was a stripper in the 90s. She knows how crappy sex work can be. But she also knows how much fun she can be. Her advice was: As long as you are proud of your work, I support you. That was just great!

My parents live separately and I knew that my father’s family would not react so cool to it. About two years ago my sister happened to see a picture of me on the Internet. In her words, she was “ashamed”. She burst into tears, could no longer speak to me. The family threatened to kick me if I didn’t stop. They asked me to give up my job that I had been doing for six years without offering any help or responding to me at all.

My father later told me that although he did not approve of my work, he was still proud of me. However, he refused to defend me from the others. He said I should keep trying to convince my sisters. So I should continue to insult and be put down by them. That is out of the question for me. During our last conversation I said to him that he should either stand up for me or leave me alone. I think he will choose the latter.

I lied to my family about why I moved to Los Angeles. I actually planned to tell them about my job as a porn actress as soon as I was successful, but it didn’t work out. I was outed very early in my career and my parents’ reaction hit me the worst. They questioned my mental health and even said at some point that I had died for them.

I had a few successful and enriching years as an actress, but at the same time only minimal and very cramped contact with my family. It is the main reason why I stopped. In the end, it was more important to me.

I haven’t been doing porn for four years now, but they neither recognize nor understand my experiences. I also struggle with the stigma in other areas of life – be it at work, while dating or generally with inappropriate comments, even from doctors.

There is still a lot we have to do as a society for sex work to be recognized as work; that sex workers have a right to support, love and acceptance. I have the privilege of being able to live my “civilian life” relatively unscathed today. When it comes to language, most people just have a bunch of questions. I take every opportunity to have a reasonable conversation about it. I believe that these conversations can help to create a greater understanding, more compassion and, above all, more security for sex workers.

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