I agonized over the title of this piece for a little too long. I came up with about a dozen puns involving the name Jiz, but they all came out far too nasty-sounding for such a classy and upstanding media outlet as Tits and Sass. So, without further ado and no dirty puns, meet genderqueer porn star Jiz Lee.
June is a busy month for Jiz (man, this is all still sounding raunchy, isn’t it?), who is performing this weekend at OP Magazine‘s Trans March after party and Courtney Trouble’s annual pride party, Queerly Beloved, on Pride Sunday. You can get another hot load of Jiz next week, as the co-curator of This Is What I Want, an art show all about the intersection of sex and performance. The festival features a few other San Francisco sex worker superstars, like Michelle Tea, and is a part of the larger National Queer Arts Festival.
Jiz also just finished shooting (ohhh, yeah!) in Cheryl Dunye’s upcoming film, Mommy is Coming, and an engagement with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at their Ecosexual Symposium last week. If you’ll miss the star in person, you can get some more Jiz all up in your face at the site KarmaPervs.com, described as a “philanthropic porn fundraiser,” full of hot exclusive photos all in the name of charity.
I’m not in porn for financial reasons, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like getting paid! I have a day job as a web producer that I really like, it’s steady and consistent work, and my employers know what I do and are also flexible to allow me days off so I can travel and shoot. I don’t think there are many adult performers who only do films as their income. For me, it’s given me a lot of financial freedom. Porn has enabled me to pay off my student loans and last year I got LASIK eye surgery, but I do it because I really love having sex on camera. Not depending on sex work financially is a privilege that also allows me to be really selective about which projects I want to do.
What sort of stigma do you face that’s unique to being a queer porn star? Straight women in the sex industry are pitied and assumed to be vapid, abused, and/or incapable of doing anything else. Do you get that with your work too, or is there a different set of stereotypes you have to deal with?
I feel incredibly empowered in queer porn. In fact the only weird trollish, anti-sex worker type comment I’ve received was from someone who didn’t even know who I was. It was very blanketed as a general attack on (what appears to be) gay pornography, and wasn’t supported by any fact. I’m not even sure how the person found me to comment, via twitter. But I assume random statements like that are common for mainstream porn performers. In general, the fans of queer porn are supportive, vocal, loyal, educated, and just simply beautiful and kind people who are just as excited as I am about my work. Of course, there’s still overlaying sex-negative situations and judgements, but I think queer pornography is such a niche market that we are under the radar.
Queer porn that I’ve seen usually ends up meaning queer women and FTM’s, with MTFs actually being more part of mainstream straight men’s porn. Am I wrong about this, or are there any companies/films that are featuring MTF’s as part of a “queer” genre?
I worry about the term “queer porn” being too limiting . I think that queer women and transmen are interested in performing in queer porn because there aren’t many options in other genres. Many lesbian companies have a specific aesthetic (which includes not hiring lesbian transwomen) and hires women based on their femininity more than their authentic desire for other women. And most gay and straight production companies do not hire transmen. So there’s two loosely defined demographics who until recently haven’t had much options for work. Performers who have more opportunity for work usually end up in LA and queer porn may be under their radar.
I hope that more transwomen apply to queer porn sites. As far as I know, Mandy Mitchell has a great queer site, and Tobi Hill-Meyer has produced two DVDs now featuring queer transwomen and their lovers. Beyond their work, QueerPorn.tv has a few transwomen, and CrashPadSeries.com has probably the most diverse cast I’ve seen in any porn site, which includes a good handful of trans-identified women, including Tobi and Drew Deveaux who is an outspoken performer. The smallest representation may be actually be cisgender butch women. And after that, cisgender queer men. Besides gender expression being represented, there’s also a large percentage of people of color, people of size and varying abilities, and I don’t know any other site that features a performer from the deaf community. One of the values of queer pornography is individuality and representation, and this is definitely true of many of the companies I perform with, and also brings a more authentic feeling to the work.
What would you like to see happening in your industry in the future?
I would love to see consumers growing and becoming more supportive of our work, preventing content piracy and purchasing more pornography. I get the sense that there are many of my fans who haven’t seen my films, but appreciate my message online. I hope that more people purchase my porn and become strong consumers in queer pornography so that we can continue to make work — both increasing the diversity of our productions, as well as the breadth of work as more directors begin to share their pornographic visions with the world.
As you’ve only worked in the queer market and aren’t in it for the money, do you personally consider what you do to be sex work? I ask because, for me, every day of stripping feels like “work,” even when I’m enjoying it.
To me, sex work includes any paying job that involves sex (adult performances, prostitution, phone sex operator, etc.), and I definitely consider porn and my participation in it “work,” in the “find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” kind of way. I have the ability to choose my scenes and co-stars, and because I don’t depend on the money, I can decline a shoot if I don’t think I’ll like it. Balancing porn as a side project with the rest of my life makes each shoot feel like an adventure. But I’m still a professional, and a job’s a job.