Interview with pornographer/educator Buck Angel

For a guy, Buck Angel has an awesome vagina.
“Vagina — I hate the word vagina,” says pornographer/educator Buck Angel. “I prefer to use the word ‘pussy.’ ‘Vagina,’ it seems so yucky. No wonder people can’t wrap their minds around it. It’s not cute.”
Sorry, let me start again. For a guy, Buck Angel has an awesome pussy. And let me preface that by saying I don’t recommend Googling “Buck Angel” if you are at work, around children, or are offended by hardcore gay sex starring one of the world’s most influential transsexual artists. Actually, I take that back — go ahead. Get decadent.
Angel, who is the headline speaker at Exposure: Edmonton’s Queer Arts and Culture Festival, is a study in contrasts. At an early age, he knew something was different about himself. His inside didn’t match his outside, and that feeling of “wrongness” only grew as he got older. Drinking and drugs worked for a while as a coping mechanism, but he knew he had to make a decision. Well, he had to make several.
“I could go on for hours about my dramatic childhood, but it really wasn’t that bad,” Angel says. “It’s more about dealing with being a man trapped in a woman’s body that was horrific. But when I started doing my pornography, I started to empower myself. By putting myself out there in the world, exposing myself completely — physically and in a way mentally — I had to take it as an empowerment thing or I was going to get beaten up. People were writing the most horrendous e-mails you can’t even imagine. ‘You freak, I’m going to kill you, what is wrong with the world’… the most insane stuff that was coming at me from all angles. Pure hate. People couldn’t handle who I was or what I was doing. So, I either had to quit or deal with it and I decided to deal with it. That is when I knew I loved myself. That is empowerment.”
His life was different after that. No longer, and it feels weird saying this, was he just another porn star. Not only did he begin to care more about whom he was, but he started to care more about what he was doing.
“When I first started in porn, I had no idea what was going on,” Angel says. “I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to make porn and I’m going to kick ass in the adult entertainment business.’ That didn’t happen that way. It was really, really difficult. In some cases, the industry was very mean to me and it was really disrespectful. But now it’s different. I’m standing up and saying, ‘I’m going to make the adult movie world realize that there is more than just the vanilla sex they put out there.’ After a while, I started to get pretty successful with that.
“Then all these things started happening and I became somewhat of an educator. I had no idea that schools would want me to come in and speak and different types of events would want me to come in and talk about my work and show it. I feel really sort of blessed. I’m not religious in any way, but I just cannot believe that I started in porn and now it has changed into something so much more. I feel very excited that I’m doing things to educate the world on issues that are so important and haven’t really been talked about before.”
For Angel, the chance to speak at Exposure represented a unique opportunity. The organizers asked him to screen some of his work as he has done at other festivals in the past. But he’s a bit tired of sitting through Buckback Mountain, V Is for Vagina, and Pig Ass, so Angel came up with something new.
“I’ve always felt uncomfortable screening my porn,” Angel says. “It’s a very weird thing to screen porn. Porn is made to watch and have sex to or to jack off to. It’s not something where you have a bunch of people sit down and watch. It’s just not that kind of a film. So, I wanted to make something special for this show. It’s called The Best of Buck Angel and what I’ve done is I’ve taken snippets of my career and basically highlighted everything I’ve been doing with all the speaking and the big events that I’ve hosted. Then I inter-splice it with my porn. So you still get to see some of my pornography but you don’t have to sit there for two hours watching a fuck scene.”
When it comes down to it, Angel’s story is as much about him being a transsexual as it is about all our own sexual identities. Who we are is very different from who we may think we are inside — and who we want to be. “A lot of it has to do with your mental state more than your physical state,” Angel says. “For me, how you perceive yourself is how you are. Just because you might not fit into what the world sees physically as what you are, I believe that is not actually what you are. Because obviously, I’m a man who has a vagina and the rest of the world is so freaked out because it cannot understand how I can be a man and have a vagina. I am. I’m 100 per cent male and I don’t feel any other way. My genitals have nothing to do with me being a man. I think people have to understand that. Gender has a lot more to with how you feel about yourself than it does with what is between your legs.”

2 Replies to “Interview with pornographer/educator Buck Angel”

  1. I’m so glad you posted this into the big argument today. Too bad it was mostly missed. I love Buck’s focus on how you feel being more important than genitalia. Frustrating that we’re still so focused on the parts rather than the people.

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