An Open Letter to AVN and the Transgender / Transexual Community

So, this is what a shitstorm on Twitter looks like, eh?

A couple weeks back, I got an email from Mark Kernes over at AVN asking a simple question, here’s the entirety of his email:

Date: Sun, 09 Dec 2012 11:26:26 -0800
From: Mark Kernes <mark.kernes@avn.com>
To: iafd@iafd.com
CC: Brittany St Jordan <brittany@brittanyts.com>, 
 Wendy Williams <hotwendywilliams@aol.com>
Subject: Transsexuals

Hey, guys,
Trannies have been around for a long time now, so isn't it about time 
that iafd either includes them in the "female" rather than "male" 
category (as is currently the case), since that's the sex they say best 
suits their own ideas of themselves, or at least establish a category of 
"transsexual" since most possess both a penis and breasts? It'd be the 
right thing to do.

Regards,
Mark Kernes, AVN

Mark’s proselytizing aside, nothing about this email screamed “Your response is on the record” or “I will forward your response to people who disagree with you and then write an editorial about it” so I did not think that is what would happen.  I thought it was just another email from an occasional correspondent.  I didn’t notice at the time that is was cc’d to Brittany St. Jordan and Wendy Williams, but I never “reply all” so my response went to Mark only.  Here’s the entirety of my remarks:

Date: Sun, 09 Dec 2012 17:31:11 -0500
From: Internet Adult Film Database Staff <iafd@iafd.com>
To: Mark Kernes <mark.kernes@avn.com>
Subject: Re: Transsexuals

Mark,

At this point, we go with genitalia, not self-image.  Born a boy gets 
you marked as a M in our database; we're not currently structured for a 
third gender.  When they go post-op we create a second profile in the 
opposing gender at that point to track those movies and then we link the 
two profiles together.

Jeff

And that was the extent of our conversation.

Then on December 12, I saw a series of tweets directed our way:

https://twitter.com/AmyDalyXXX/status/278301402323886080

And finally this one, which sent me to HungAngels.com:

https://twitter.com/AmyDalyXXX/status/278301662718857216

What is the lead article in the thread?  MY EMAIL TO MARK!

WTF!

Call me old-fashioned, but I still subscribe to the notion that email between two people are just between those people until someone says “Do you mind if I share this?”  Just forwarding private email willy-nilly is in really poor taste.

So the rest of the thread was which consisted of a reasonable comment or two that I took to heart, but there’s Amy Daly really making me not want to help the cause at all:

I’ve emailed them a long time ago and asked to be completely removed from their databases. They don’t give a crap. Everyone should totally spam their email and tweet at them though:
https://twitter.com/iafdcom

I also recommend submitting DMCA notices on your profile photos just to create some extra work for them. Fuck IAFD.

The thoughtful remarks really did hit home. The attacking remarks did too.

I had gotten some emails from some fans and performers, some were reasonable, some were insulting.  However, none felt like they were talking to us, just at us. That they just wanted us to know how they felt.  So we took the emails under advisement and started looking how to make things right.

We got a very nice, invective-free email from Michelle Austin.  I began to draft a reply to her, but never sent it because I thought it would be better served as a blog post.  However, the holidays got in the way and slowed my blogging activity way down.

My draft reply to Michelle said this:

Michelle,

Thank you for your polite and informative note.

Judging by the outpouring of emotion from some members in the TS porn community today, it is clear that by our actions we’re offending more than we’re helping, and that is very much off-message for us. We love porn and the people who make it, so we’re not happy at how our actions are being interpreted.

Please don’t interpret our ignorance as malice, as it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re clumsy, sure, but not on purpose.

The foundations for the database that runs our site were built 20 years ago and it was not built with the capacity for a third gender; so our site is not built upon that foundation either. Our original curator created two tables – ACTORS and ACTRESSES – and placed TS performers into the Actors table, so for consistency sake, we do too. His logic was based on genitals, and that’s what we follow… because we don’t know any better.

We don’t want to hurt your fight, so we will working in the coming weeks to address this issue.

I don’t know how much you know about us, but The IAFD is an all-volunteer effort made up of only 12 editors, none of whom work on the site full time. This is a labor of love for us, and we make mistakes just like any other group of humans.

I say this by way of explanation so you know the transition will not be a quick process, as we will have to do quite a bit of manual work identifying and then moving performers from one table to the other, and not all editors will be involved, so we ask for your patience while we get things moving.

And thank you for addressing us rationally and professionally, not resorting to name-calling or lawyer-threatening.

And that pretty much sums it up.  We agree that TS performers deserve their own category; a “gender=t” to use our URL parlance…

In looking at this issue, we’re spending time looking harder at the site itself and its technical underpinnings.  One of the posters over at HungAngels said:

Wait….so their database can handle linking two separate “gender specific files” together as one entry…something I’m almost certain the database was not designed for originally, and yet they cant create a 3rd category?

To answer – we don’t link them as one entry; it’s two entries, linked by a comment.  See it in action with Sulka (Post-Op) and Sulka (Pre-Op). Adding a third table to the database and then having to update every query that runs the site to check a third table is a huge amount of work, and not scalable should the day arise when we’d need to address a fourth gender. (Who knows what wonders the future may hold?)

So instead, we’re eliminating the two table design and moving to a more modern single table design where gender or job is not a determining factor.  (We also have a DIRECTOR table; gender=d) But this transition isn’t an overnight thing, we have hundreds of stored procedures and thousands of lines of code to go through to make sure we’re not referencing tables that won’t exist anymore, and I’m the only guy who does the coding, and I do it in my spare time around the requirements of my day job.

But we’re working on it.

You can’t really blame us for getting things wrong, when the community itself can’t seem to agree on terms.  In the AVN editorial, Brittany St. Jordan is quoted:

 ‘Tranny,’ ‘shemale,’ and all of the demeaning terms need to stop. We are transsexuals and that is how we should be labeled. If more than two syllable words are too difficult for some, then TS is more than appropriate.

Our problem is the industry uses those terms ALL THE TIME.  How many movies have TRANNY or SHEMALE in the title? @GroobySteven, one of the more outspoken producers and leaders in the TS space has this as this Twitter slug: “Producer and owner of Grooby Productions … shemales, TS’s and trannys … rock and roll? More like a cup of tea please!”  If you can’t get Steven — someone who lives and breathes TS material and lifestyle — to stop using terms you feel are derogatory, what hope do we have?

Or, in the alternative, is Brittany St. Jordan the outlier, and we shouldn’t be listening to her on these matters?  We have no idea who to listen to, so we’re doing the best we can.

To address why these movies in the above links are tagged as “(GAY)”, when all the performers in a movie have GENDER=M then the site tags that movie as all-male/gay.  We can override this categorization, but that’s why it is the way it is by default.  Obviously, this is another behavior we’ll be changing.

Now, some quick responses to AVN’s article.

Kernes writes:

Now, we understand that the expenses attendant to running IAFD are largely paid for by its moderators, and secondarily by donations from the porn-watching public; hence, its ability to rewrite its database software to add a category for “transsexual” might take some doing”but Jeff gave no indication that IAFD was even interested in doing so. (Those with programming experience who might want to help with such a project can contact IAFD here.)

We don’t accept donations from anyone.  (Maybe we should put a PayPal link on the site somewhere.)  Our expenses (hardware purchase, upgrade and maintenance;  co-location rent; bandwidth) are covered by banner advertising and affiliate commissions on the price search; that’s it.  There’s not a lot left over because I’m less interested in being a salesman than I am about running a useful website in my spare time.  Our editorial team (we’re not moderators; that was RAME), comprised of all volunteers,  does not contribute financially to the running of the site, we are lucky to be self-sustaining.

And as far as “Jeff gave no indication that IAFD was even interested in doing so” I WAS NEVER ASKED.   Mark (the person, not the reporter) sent me an email, I sent him back a one paragraph response because I thought I was only talking to him.  He didn’t mention “Go on the record for why you…” I didn’t expect that my off-hand response to a knowledgeable member of the community would have resulted in this editorial; had I known, I would have made sure I was clearer and more detailed in my response.  I also would have been happy to grant an interview or have some more meaningful back and forth if Mark was forthcoming with his intentions for my reply.

At the end of the day, my hope is that this blog post allays your fears.  We’ve listened.  We were ignorant, and you educated us.  We want to do right by the community.  We don’t like being hated or spammed or whatever else makes us feel bad. Sex and porn are supposed to make us feel good, so let’s try to stick with that.

@GroobySteven made a very generous offer of programming assistance, and we’ll discuss that with him in the days ahead.  We know the site has been pretty stagnant for longer than any of us care to admit, and I am hoping this is the first in a number of steps to help modernize the site and develop a base we can work off of going forward.

Merry Christmas 2012!

For the eighth year running (sorry for missing you 2008!), we’ve been  listing the Christmas themed porn, and this year isn’t much different.

We’re adding a bunch of Christmas themed titles… for our hetero visitors…

We’ve got some fetish titles:

(We’re still adding, so check the New Movies page…)

I reviewed Santa Comes Twice for Playboy Radio this time last year…

But the web-content producers are the ones who are really getting their money worth for their investment in a Santa Suit.

Brazzers offers a few holiday themed tid-bits (since the last time we did this):

A Brazzers Christmas Party has Johnny Sins getting molested by a bunch of gals at a Christmas party, notably Dillion Harper, Alice March and Staci Silverstone.brazzers_santa3

They’ve also got:

Merry Christmas, everybody.  (Unless you don’t swing that way, then Happy Tuesday!)

 

 

AVN Announces 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees

Adult Video News announced the 2013 inductees into their Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame (Founders Branch)

  • Danni Ashe
  • Anthony J
  • Bill Pinyon and Steve Wojcik

Today on Spice Radio: Campus Cuties (1985)

Campus Cuties DVD CoverToday on Spice Radio’s YouPorn (XM103, 2:40 pm Eastern), I’ll be talking with Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn about Paul G. Vatelli‘s 1985 video, Campus Cuties.

The movie starts with Nikki Charm writing her parents a letter, and we hear her voiceover dripping with slapback echo about how well she’s doing in school and how she’s meeting so many new people.  It seems like she’s leaving the country and leaving for the big city as she and her  boyfriend Kevin James are talking in a stable.  (The soundtrack still has the slapback echo applied, so the whole thing sounds like an old Elvis record.)  But she explains that there’s so much she wants to learn so she has to go away, but Kevin is threatened and scared about her finding a new way of life (i.e. cock).  He’s sad about it. He helps pack her into the car, says a tearful goodbye, and she leaves for school.  (There’s a lick in the music that sounds exactly like Handbags and Gladrags, the closing theme to Ricky Gervais’ version of The Office.)

She gets to campus and is waiting, according to a sign, for the principal (tho shouldn’t it be the dean — oh, her voiceover calls him the Dean) — and this excites her but not as much as Kevin’s cock does when it slips inside her (she tells us) so we cut to just that.

Back in the stable, Nikki’s lying naked on top of Kevin and they’re making out and she slowly moves her tits up his mouth as she sits up and absent mindedly starts stroking his cock.  She stands and lets him eat her out for a bit.  It’s an awkward position and it doesn’t seem to lend itself either to decent photography or decent cunnilingus. So she lays down and throws her legs over his shoulders so he can dig in.  The echo on the vocal track is still a bit distracting, but she moves down to blowing him, so we can focus on that instead.  Kevin’s dick is impressive; Nikki is pretty diminutive, so it seems his manhood might be bigger than her head.  She jerks it daintily (pinky sticking out, like a proper lady) and then she jumps on it, riding him.  She turns and rides him reverse cowgirl which he seems to like as he equates with “being like the rodeo!”

We cut back and forth between medium shots of her face and medium shots of the penetration.  More full body shots would be nice.  Nikki has a kickin little bod and it should be shown off.  Happily, when we move to the spoon position, we get some full body shots, and shots of her nicely trimmed bush taking Kevin to the hilt are pretty effective.  Finally, she turns around  and jerks him off onto his belly.

Reverie over, she is snapped back into reality by Tracey Adams who brings her to see the Dean, Jesse Eastern.  “Anytime you have a problem, or want to fuck. . .er, want to talk, my door is always open. . .” and Nikki leaves and meets Catty (Summer Rose) who clues Nikki in to Tracey and Jesse’s affair, then tells her cocktails are at 7.

Back to the Dean’s office and Tracey wastes no time in gobbling some knob and finishes him off with a handy.  Both stay clothed thru their encounter, with only his pants around his knees.  There is no post-cum head, tho Tracey does study his cock a bit.

Nikki meets her roommate Mauvais DeNoir.  Nikki mentions that Catty showed her around, and we cut to Taija Rae in a one-piece lingerie on top of Rick Savage.  Then, we see  Tom Byron and Shone Taylor watching the Rick/Taija pairing on some video equipment.  Taija keeps her leotard on and moves into a 69 position, so Rick has to pull the crotch aside to return the favors, and once they move into doggie style, she has the leotard pulled down to her stomach and over her legs so it’s not in the way, but Rick can use it like a handle.  Rick looks over his shoulder, right into the camera, and gives it the high sign.  Back with Tom and Shone and they’re laughing saying the Lone Ranger theme should be playing.  Rick flipped Taija over and came all over her box (tho the leotard is back around her right leg, i.e. in the way.)  Rick comes into the control room and steals a beer and gloats about how well they got their room outfitted with cameras.

Nikki and Mauvais go see Taija and Summer to have some drinky-poos and smoke a little pot.  The boys (Tom, Shone and Rick) then show up and bring beer and sexual advances.

Taija hooks up with Tom and Rick hooks up with Summer, leaving Nikki to fight off Shone‘s advances.  She’s just not that into him.  He kisses on her, but she’s resistant. (And through it all, Mauvais sleeps…)

Tom eats Taija as Summer blows Rick.  Taija’s rocking the tan lines in pretty hard as she grabs beer off of Shone.  Shone takes his shirt off and flexes and grabs Nikki’s left tit a bunch of times, but she’s not into it and shoots him down… but then they’re making out more on the bed, so she’s becoming quite a little cocktease at school.

Summer and Rick move into a 69 as Tom climbs on the other bed, allowing Taija easier access to blow him and then with no transition, he’s banging her doggie style, and Shone is taken on the bed trying to coax Nikki’s hand down to his junk, but she wants to part of it.  Rick, meanwhile, is working her finger in Summer’s ass and then takes her doggie style as well.  The attempted rape of Nikki continues in a wide shot as the other two couples are banging.  Rick keep a finger in Summer’s ass as much as he can.  Finally, Tommy flips her over and she jerks him off onto her tits.  Nikki seems to like to watch, and Rick, we’re led to believe, cums inside Summer, tho we see no evidence of that.

Later, in the afterglow, someone knocks on the door, they all jump under the covers and Taija opens the door, revealing the Dean, making sure there was no pot smoking, drinking or uninvited guests.  That is one hands-on administrator!

Next we see Nikki in class as Buck Adams lectures on “Anglo-saxon narrative” as delivered to us by “the great “Beowulf.”  (The classroom is full of people, so bravo production team for getting your crew and friends in the show!) and then he releases the class.  Mauvais stays behind at his request, and he offers her a position.  WTF is with this script?  A position?!  No matter, he has her spread across her desk as soon as she mentions having read Beowulf.

He eats her out, and she’s got a pretty great rack, but since we’re in closeup, we don’t get to see it enough, as her nipples are trying to poke into the frame, but are contstantly thwarted.  Buck jackhammers her then takes her doggie style on the desk and cums on her ass and back.

A new day and Nikki is upset that she got a Dear Nikki letter.  Summer comes over, asks what is wrong and decides that what she needs is some sweet, sweet loving.  Cue the gentle acoustic guitars and sweet kisses and easily probing hands.  Nikki takes to pussy eating like a fish to water, and the girls kiss a lot with swirly tongues.

Nikki is back in the Dean’s office and he’s very impressed with her progress.  he likes to “give congratulations where congratulations are due” and in this case, congratulations means his cock and they’re due in her mouth.

Uh-oh! What’s this?!  The boys have the Dean’s office wired for camera as well?

The Dean suggests Nikki can get Phi Beta Kappa or Cum Laude status by simply letting him congratulate her.  She takes her shirt and bra off and plays with her nipples as the Dean makes mouth love to his glasses, or at least chews on them a little.  She then strips her jeans off and unhooks her stocking from their garters and rolls them down her leg.  Meanwhile, blue-balled Shone is in the next room getting all sorts of excited.  Nikki  puts herself on his desk and the Dean starts in on her tits.  They fuck and the boys watch on while drinking their beers and Rick makes a joke that the “Dean sure is cumming loud!”  And once the Dean does cum on her ass, he says “We sure came loud!”  Same joke!?

Finally, we see he senior bash is happening and underclassmen are welcome.  The Boys are striking out, and Rick leaves to see a lady friend, but Tom and Shone take Tracey back into a store room, ply her with champagne and she confesses to the fact that the Dean makes her suck his cock.  Tom doesn’t think that sounds so bad, so he asks her to suck his cock, and she does, and Shone fucks her from behind.  they stay in these positions until she jerks Tom off in her hand and Shone comes on her ass.

Finally, Nikki is writing another letter home, bragging of meeting a nice boy she might bring home after the semester is over (who would that be?) and saying how much she loves her time as State College.

Credits.

Well, parts of the story were incomprehensible.  What was the relationship between Buck Adams and Mauvais, anyway?

Paul Vatelli made a bunch of really great movies – I Like to Watch and Stiff Competition, chief among them – but this wasn’t really up to those standards.  Since he died in 1986 from complications arising from AIDS, it’s very possible he was sick at this point in his life and just going through the motions.

All that being said, this is a pretty good cast and a completely typical sexual effort.  Not horrible by any measure, but it never really scaled any heights either.  A solid 2.25 out of 4.

Best scenes are the Nikki/Kevin pairing at the beginning and the Tom/Taija and  Rick/Summer couplings.

AVN Award Nominations 2013: Transsexual Categories

The nominations for the 2013 AVN Awards were announced earlier this week.  Special thanks to IAFD Editor Jamie for doing the heavy lifting and getting everything linked up.

Best Transsexual Release

Best Transsexual Sex Scene

Transsexual Performer of the Year