Courtney Trouble Wants to Turn You On: The Autostraddle Interview

courtney troubleYou should know Courtney Trouble the way the rest of the country knows Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint. Those guys are the prolific pornographers notorious for challenging sexual mores and championing their Constitutional right to film sex and show it to you, and Courtney Trouble is like that, kinda, only queer.

I didn’t know Courtney or NoFauxxx.com until a few weeks ago but now she’s a permanent part of my internet history (and for those who’ve been on the up-and-up about all of this all this time, feel free to smack me with a dildo).

I found Courtney Trouble while trolling for some good old-fashioned hetero porn one day. All those “naughty blonde teens” and “prison gang bangs” weren’t doing it for me and I was questioning my choice of pornography. But typical “lesbian porn” is laughable at best and I often find it bizarrely uncomfortable to watch. Maybe it’s the Lee press-on nails or the tramp stamps? Gay male porn used to be my fallback but then my little brother came out and I can’t even look at it anymore. (Thanks, bro.) And now heterosexual porn was making me feel bad.

Guilt kicked in like a cock-blocking jealous girlfriend. The girls in porn seemed young enough to be my little teen cousins and I was definitely not into that. I started feeling uncomfortable seeing girls that young pushed into aggressive sexual situations… maybe I’m just getting older but I was definitely creeped out. And truthfully, how many times can you watch “drunk college sluts” getting it on before you roll your eyes, feel slimed and shut the laptop closed?

I looked up “queer porn” online because I was one step away from giving up porn all together. Thankfully, I am not a quitter!

Courtney Trouble popped up in my search like a fairy porn godmother and NoFauxxx.com exploded with queer alternative love juice all over my screen. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.

Trans men using strap-ons to pleasure bbws?

Women of color engaging in various sex acts with each other?

Where the hell had I been and why was this my first time here?!

courtney trouble

You know it’s good when you call the wifey over and both of you peruse the website. What struck us straight away was NoFauxxx’s mission statement. Here is an excerpt:

“This site is run by a woman…we believe feminists can make pornography, perform in pornography, view pornography and enjoy pornography…”

She had me at “run by a woman.” She directs and stars in her own films. Her fundamental work ethic is 100% sex positive and emphasizes safety, respect and inclusivity.

I signed up for a week’s subscription and dove right in. I was intrigued by the openness and radical attitude of queer porn but at first I was more shocked than aroused — I’d never seen women that were round, brown or butch in photography. I’d never seen transmen in porn and never had I ever seen them all together and doing it with each other. I felt like I was studying and learning about an aspect of queer life that’d been hidden from me… or maybe I’d been unknowingly hiding from it.

It was fucking cool.

I needed to know more about Courtney Trouble, and she took me up on the offer to play five questions.

courtney trouble

AS: Define “queer porn” and what it means to you, if you can.

CT: Queer Porn is a little bit undefinable, because the “point” of queer porn is to show the vast diversity of queer desire, and performers “queering” sex more as a verb than an adjective. Queer Porn is a collaborative, open-communication-centric, intimate art that is as much the performer’s concept as well as the director or producer. Queer Porn removes the various niches, stereotypes, and misconceptions that the dominant adult industry places on people based on how they look or how they fuck, and allows the performers and producers to make authentic, meaningful, sex-positive imagery that reflects our true sexual natures.

AS: In what ways do you envision “queer porn,” changing the world?

CT: People are getting bored of the cookie-cutter, formulaic pornography you can find for free on the internet – it’s practically all the same, and what it lacks, queer porn has in abundance. More and more porn consumers are looking for chemistry-driven, creative, explicit, and authentic content, and the more queer porn is released into the world, the more popular it will become. With that popularity and attention, people will see queers in a positive light and perhaps society will learn through watching our porn that we are not freaks, deviants, or second class citizens, in and out of the bedroom. Queer Porn has the power to challenge the audience to find new ways to be sexy, and that feeling will rub off (we’re in it for the puns, folks!) on your daily life if you watch enough of it.

courtney troubleAS:  Name five famous people, living or dead, with whom you would want to film a ‘gangbang.’

CT: Kim Gordon, Allison Wolfe, Patti Smith, Beth Ditto, and Me!

AS: How is your new project Queerporn.TV (which has a super badass manifesto), different from the way porn is distributed online now? And how is it different from Nofauxxx.com?

CT: Thanks for asking! QueerPorn.TV is a collaboration with my dear friend, queer porn star Tina Horn. We’re doing this purely-internet-based project to create a community where anybody can access queer porn or be a queer porn star. It is super “reality” (like reality tv) and our scenes are shot with minimal equipment in extremely loose, open-ended environments. We are encouraging our “stars” to think outside the box and do new things, push the envelope, and create new equations of couplings, actions, and kink within queer porn. We are also planning Sex Ed scenes, as well as live streaming sex scenes, demonstrations, and “TV Shows.” It’s different from No Fauxxx in the sense that it’s way more community-based – No Fauxxx is truly just an extention of my art and my world and my eyes, whereas QueerPorn.TV is set up to inlcude everybody’s voices.

QueerPorn TV scenes will be offered up as streaming direct downloads as well as membership-based viewing, and will also have a few surprises that none of our indie-porn counterparts have considered, that we can’t really talk about yet – but you’ll see very soon!

AS: Any thoughts or advice for people that are “queer porn” virgins?

CT: Oh Yeah! If you’re a queer porn virgin and you want to MAKE it, then make it yourself first and foremost! define the genre for yourself by grabbing a cheap flipcam, your smart phone, whatever, and make a few scenes to enjoy for yourself or share with friends.

If you’re looking to WATCH queer porn for the first time, for sure join NoFauxxx, or check out other cool websites like Crash Pad Series or Cocksexual. Go to GoodVibes.Com or stop in a store and check out their Queer Porn porn section, they have the BEST selection as they own Reel Queer Porn, the first large-scale queer porn production company. I’ve made 10 films with them, all queer – that’s a great place to start!

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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabrielle has written 72 articles for us.

26 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    This couldn’t have come at a more relevant time…I’ve been researching the whole alt-queer porn moving in SF and I feel like I’ve been looking for this since I simultaneously discovered the internet and porn when I was 13. There are so many sexy fabulous role models in the queer porn world (Jiz Lee–swoon), and it’s epidemic spreading can only do good for the non-hetero community :)

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        I think what’s even worse than its repetitive nature is that the clitoris/ female satisfaction is so completely ignored in a lot of mainstream porn. These poor girls are getting jackhammered with little to no foreplay. Despite their moaning (which I’ve noticed often merges into Ow/Ouch sounds) you can totally see them looking off-camera with a worried face, as if to say “I know this is supposed to go on until he cums in my eyes and I pretend to like it, but I think my vagina is going to prolapse…”

        Scary stuff, dude.

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    oh dear. I’m a bad gay again. I don’t like porn. I try to, I really do, but I keep getting the giggles at all the noises, and distracted by bad upholstery. However, I do like Calvin Klein underwear ads. Does that make up for it?

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      i understand what you mean about the bad upholstery! i hate seeing cheesy furniture in porn!

      this reminds me that Sugarbutch.net had a post a few weeks back with screenshots of porn scenes set in pretty nicely decorated apartments. with nice props like telephones, furniture, etc. i think i got more excited seeing the tasteful wallpaper and interior design than the people getting it on.

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    Sad to say “Queer Porn” is mostly code for non-trans (but queer-ID’d) lesbians performing with either transmasculine people or with FTMs. It almost completely excludes trans women just the way they’re often excluded from Queer spaces. I would love to see an article discussing the world of queer porn where this is honestly discussed because to many trans women (even those who are queer-IDd) queer is becoming synonymous with dismissing transfeminine identities and that sucks. :(

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        I was about to jump in and say the same thing! I’ve met Tobi (the project director) and she’s a sweetheart. she noticed the very same thing ginasf was talking about and made Doing It Ourselves to fill in the gap – and she’s about to do another one I think.

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      nofauxxx is actually better than most at featuring transwomen or transfeminine persons in their work. i’ve seen several scenes and photo shoots over the course of the site that have featured them.

      i will say that it does anger me a great deal when queer communities (lesbian communities in particular) are dismissive of transwomen and trans lesbians in particular. especially when they so readily accept transmasculine persons. transmisogyny is the queer community’s dirty little secret and it’s about time someone addressed it.

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        I agree with you completely. I have a huge axe to grind with the portion of the lesbian community that is only accepting of people who were “born women”, erase trans identity and refuse to consider that trans women face dual challenges of misogyny and transphobia. (And often race or class barriers.)

        There’s a lot of overlap with this mindset and a sort of self-segregation into lesbian-only or women-only spaces that are not accepting of other members of the greater queer family like bisexual women, gay men or transgendered people (they will occasionally accept trans men because they were born “female bodied”, which definitely downplays that now, they’re men.) I think this stems from the inaccurate stereotype that trans women usually date cisgender, heterosexual men, and a mix of resentment and disdain that goes with that.

        Why does this suck:
        – First and foremost, the discrimination is so horrible, especially coming from people who already understand the stigma of being queer and not strictly maintaining societal gender roles. It’s enormously disappointing that a community that understands not only discrimination, but almost the same kind of discrimination trans lesbians face, would turn around and join the chorus of transmisogynists.
        – On a way less important level, the kind of events and gatherings hosted by transmisogynist, womyn-born-womyn-only lesbians are usually incredibly boring and I find this depressing as well.
        – There are really cute trans lesbians out there and I don’t want any cute girls to think I’m a jerk.

        A cure for transmisogyny in the lesbian community is possible, though. We just need to screen Better than Chocolate many more times. How can you not love the sweet romance between Judy and Frances?

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        it’s not that the queer porn community isn’t as “accepting” of transwomen as they are transmen. i think i speak for myself, shine, and all other queer directors – it’s just that more transmen jump up to participate. this has been my experience from the beginning, and i’ve been making porn for ten years. while nofauxxx (http://nofauxxx.com) has a great handfull, and drew deveaux gets as much work as she can handle – there’s still a lack of transwomen offering up thier pornstar services in queer porn.

        i keep hoping to change this, and hope that every time this conversation pops up, the transwomen involved in the discussion apply for my projects, or refer their respective communities to apply.

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          Great points everyone. But this is far from a new issue so I think we should be reflective and nuanced in how we consider things.

          For sure, there are big challenges that do still exist. There’s tonnes of trans misogyny and cissexism (along with a fucktonne of other isms too) in porn and how the queer/queer women’s community constructs what we find attractive or even ‘legitimate’ as a ‘type’ of girl or person we’d be attracted to. How this affects people, how we can internalize this has big impacts on how great/hott/empowered we feel about ourselves.

          But, all that said, it’s important to not paint with big brushstrokes and to acknowledge the acknowledgement, action, and activism (yes, I’ll use that word as it often takes guts, costs money, and shuts doors) to include people who fall outside prevailing notions of hotness.

          I wrote a big post about this on my site – i hope you can check it out – so i’m not to go into detail. But do look at Courtney’s work, at the work of Shine Louise Houston and Pink & White, at the work Tristan Taormino, Joanna Angel, and Belladonna, Nica Noelle have done in the mainstream world to expand, as piecemeal as it is, the presence of different bodies and genders in their work. I’ve worked with Nica for SweetSinner & SweetHeart Video as an out trans performer – one of the first times this has happened in non trans-specific films.

          But, like Courtney says, there’s still work to do. Trans women do need to step up, and Directors and Production Companies could still work harder, for sure. But I think we should have fun exploring and realize just how far things have come from just 2 or 3 years ago.

          Just a few thoughts. Will be writing a new blog post in the coming days – stay tuned!

          xo dd

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      i really cannot fathom how exactly “queer is becoming synonymous with dismissing transfeminine identities.”

      like really? so i identify as a queer and because I, gabrielle, am not paving a new road for transwomen, i am by default dismissing their existence?

      this is why i tend to avoid homo-transmo-queero-polymo politics.

      i feel like it turns into a contest into who is more oppressed…

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    this is so relevant to my life.
    i went to check out the feminist porn awards film screening back in april, being a porn enjoying homo who’s sick of the mainstream/marketed/produced for/by hetero men crap we’re all used to..
    and it was great! and my mind was blown! and i got to hear tristan taormino speak! and was introduced to april flores and shine louise houston! and i left that theatre so elated with joy and feminist pride and vowed to never revert back to my old porn ways!

    yeah that lasted about 3 days. i’m just going to go ahead and take this as a kick in the butt to get my act together and support queer/feminist porn like i should be doing.

    high-five on the article.

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    I love queer porn, this is great!

    I first found Courtney Trouble via Fleshbot, oddly enough. You don’t usually think “Gawker media empire” coexists with “queer sensibility”, but they have featured some of Courtney Trouble’s films, behind the scenes things, and queer pornstars in the whole SF scene.

    To make a long story short, I have a huge crush on Syd Blakovich now.

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      Thanks Blythely.

      Sometimes I feel like my “conservative” values put me at odds against my feminist and queer values. While I feel pretty strong about people having the right to live in a sex-positive world free of stigma, oppression, repression etc., I personally live a very conservative, almost prude-like life. I’ll argue til I’m blue in the face that we deserve to have freedoms, and to smash taboos, but the choices I make in my own life are really safe and boring. I feel similar to a lot of church goers who preach abstinence and purity, and vote for repressive politicians then leave church to predrink, and dance it up on tables. Only I’m all for freedom of sexual expression, but I live my life as if I were asexual.

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    I don’t even know if I should admit this, but I’ve been fighting the urge to buy the $300 lifetime membership for about two months now.

    However I am getting Christmas money from my grandparents.

    THANKS GRANDMA AND GRANDPA.

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      I’ve been trying to get my rents to finance a nofauxxx account/Project Trans Action Strap On but they still insist on not giving me the cold hard cash. Your grandparents rock!

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    I have been thinking about performing in a queer porn thing for a little while now. But besides not knowing any directors based in Australia, I’m also worried that no matter how many pseudonyms I use, some idiot’s going to recognise me and make hell for me/my family (tis happened before). agh :P

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