How Is The Live Sex Cam Industry Empowering Transsexual Performers?
Transgender sex workers have, historically, been a much-maligned minority within a minority, one subjected to a disproportionate amount of prejudice and stigmatization. This is in stark contrast to the fact that trans porn is hugely popular – and is, as of 2023, more popular than ever.
Porn tagged as ‘transgender’ is the third most viewed porn category in the US, and the seventh most popular worldwide. In 2022, it rose 75% in popularity. Overall, then, we can conclude that society has a love-hate relationship with trans sex workers – it loves to see them naked but hates to acknowledge their rights.
That said, however, many claim that the cam industry has finally righted this ship. Trans cam models, it is said, have much more power over their sex work, in a number of ways that they simply didn’t have with traditional sex work. The cam industry, then, is argued to actually be empowering transgender sex workers.
Is this claim true? And if it is, how, exactly, is cam work so empowering to trans performers? Let’s take a look.
Trans Cam Models Have More Control Over Their Clientele
A huge problem in traditional sex work is the fact that many workers don’t have control over their circumstances in any way, shape, or form. Beholden to a boss or supervisor in some form – whether a strip-club manager or the stereotypical street-side pimp – both cis and trans sex workers were vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, whether from their boss or their clients.
This isn’t the case with cam work, however. Cam models are largely freelancers, which means that they answer only to themselves. What’s more, the degree of control they have over their clients means that they’re more empowered than ever when it comes to pushy, demanding, unpleasant, or unwelcome clients that don’t respect boundaries, and don’t take no for an answer.
The suite of options available to the average cam model on sites like PDcams.com means that she is easily able to block or report nuisance viewers who are overstepping their bounds.
There are no negative repercussions for doing so (cam platforms fully support their performers blocking unwelcome viewers – that’s why the option is there), and it’s quick, easy, and hassle-free.
Trans Models Are Hugely Popular
On the surface of things, this might not seem like an immediately positive thing. So what if trans performers on cam sites are massively popular? That just means that they’re being fetishized and seen as sexual objects, not accepted. Moreover, it means that they’re being defined by their transness rather than their chosen gender.
However, the fact that trans models are popular is a positive in one huge way – visibility. Cam shows are not purely sexual and provide a platform from which performers can engage with their viewers. This includes simple chatting and socialization, which goes some way to helping viewers see cam performers not solely as sexual objects, but as actual people.
Camming Has Been Hailed As Part Of A ‘Feminist Revolution’
Before diving into this point, an important clarification is needed: there is a subset of people who call themselves feminists but who exclude trans women from their definition of women.
These people are called ‘TERFs’ (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), and it’s safe to say that when discussing feminism, many people reject their views and include trans women in any discussion about feminism.
That clarified: it has been claimed by some cam-industry proponents that camming, far from being objectifying or degrading to performers, is actually instrumental to the feminist revolution. The reasons for this are threefold:
Camming Is About Reclaiming The Sex Industry
For too long, champions of this theory have claimed, that the sex industry has been dominated by men behind the camera. These men control the money, control the creative decisions, and control the performers’ bodies.
Camming has changed all that. Cam models (including trans performers) have much more autonomy, and they control their output, the hours they work, and what they do with their own bodies.
Camming Represents Financial Independence
Sex workers have historically been subject, as we discussed earlier, to outside parties controlling their finances. Not so with cam work, where the purse strings remain firmly in the grasp of the performers themselves. Cam models control their finances completely and, outside of the cut they pay to their platform of choice, they keep 100% of their profits.
Camming Bolsters Body Positivity
As we touched upon briefly earlier, it can be easy to dismiss camming as encouraging the objectification of the performers who work in the industry. But cam girls (including trans girls) have a great degree of control over their own bodies, including what they show and how they show it. They are beholden to nobody, and if they’re uncomfortable with any particular aspect of a performance, they can stop it at any time.
In fact, trans cam models report overall higher levels of self-esteem and body satisfaction than those who work in other fields. While many may dismiss the industry as exploitative, that’s not actually the case at all.
Though any form of sex work has traditionally been impugned as degrading to women – whether cis or trans – the fact is that when it comes to the live cam trans industry, this is emphatically not true.
Cam models have a much greater degree of financial, sexual and bodily autonomy than any other kinds of sex workers – even those employed by supposedly progressive studios – and the fact is that when you are able to fully control your surroundings, your rates, and your clientele, it is much more liberating and empowering than any of the alternatives.
All of this holds particularly true for trans sex workers, who have historically been subjected to exploitation and abuse that outstrip even those suffered by their cis counterparts.
In a nutshell: the cam industry represents more than just an evolution of the sex work industry. It holds the key to independence and self-realization for trans sex workers.