Buck Angel is many things. For some, he is hardcore porn’s “real man with a pussy.” To others he is a speaker who may have opened up their eyes to something they didn’t understand before. To others, he is someone who is an inspiration, a motivation, to stand up and be proud of who they are – trans, gay, lesbian, or straight.
“Every day I get a letter from a young trans man or gay man. I got an e-mail the other day from a man saying, I’m gay, I never thought I would be attracted to a vagina but you made me realize it has nothing to do with a vagina it is just about you.” I get lots of e-mails from people saying that they want to change, how do they do it, is it ok to not have the bottom surgery and does that still make them a man? I have seen that grow tremendously, influencing how people feel about themselves. That is a big part of my work, why does everyone have to identify as gay or straight or bisexual? I just identify as a sexual man.”
Buck is preparing to appear at part of Edmonton’s Exposure Festival. There will be a reception with him on November 13th followed by a screening of clips he specifically selected for the festival and a meet and greet at Boots. On the 14th he will be part of an artists workshop entitled Imaging Salon in which he will model for Sculptors, drawers, sketchers and photographers. Finally on the 15th he will be part of the Really Big Show at Steamworks.
“I am super excited, I have never been to Edmonton! Other than the cold…I live in Mexico where it is super hot and humid so going from that to Edmonton will be super shocking for my body. They have promised me I wouldn’t be outside for more than 5 minutes,” he said, laughing.
“They originally wanted to screen one of my films, which is great, but I have learned it feels uncomfortable for me to sit for two hours in front of my porn. My movies are pretty hardcore and I don’t feel comfortable having people watching me having hardcore sex for two hours. I thought I would put together more of a ‘Best of Buck Angel’ and explain my career, where I started and where I am at. There are clips from interviews with Howard Stern, Playboy TV, Spanish TV interspersed with some of my favorite scenes. The theme of the festival is embracing your body, so I interlaced it with a bunch of scenes I have done with transsexuals, transvestites, post ops, men…different types of scenes showing the diversity of my work.”
Buck admits some people are not sure how to react when they meet him, or if they should admit to being a fan.
“It is quite interesting because I consider myself pretty down to earth and approachable. People see me as intimidating and end up being fairly standoffish at times. Gay men are my biggest customer base, I would say, and from there queer identified females and then straight females. The least is straight men, although I am seeing more of them interested in my work which is bizarre. So people seem super intimidated and I need to be more there and approach them so they feel more comfortable in approaching me. I am really looking forward to coming to the event and meeting people I haven’t met before. It is going to be a lot of fun. If you see me, come talk to me, I am very approachable and I won’t bite your head off.”
Buck is the only mainstream female-to-male transsexual in porn. We asked what made him want to be a porn star.
“I was working in the industry behind the camera working with transsexual women at the time. A light bulb went off over my head when I realized that in the whole industry there was nobody. There were some guys producing underground porn but nobody taking it where I want to, super in your face and mainstream. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. It was really putting myself out there – am I comfortable enough to show my body naked let alone having sex? I realized that yes I am, it will also empower me to be more accepting of my body. My experience with the trans females, these companies got a hold of them and really exploited them. Trans women porn is known as the freakish porn of the industry. I wanted to keep a hold of my porn and have whole control over it, and that is what I did.”
What he did not expect were the requests for appearances and speaking engagements that would be the result.
“I was a shy sort of guy, which is why the internet was so good for me. I could focus on my movies and not have to interact with people. I was super shy at one time of my life. Every day something new happens to me that is changing the way Buck Angel is affecting the world. I thought I would shock the adult industry, which it needed because it is the same stuff over and over. I really turned it on its ear and said, there are more sexuality and gender differences than what they are producing…I never thought in a million years I would get to the level I am at. I am really proud that my work is so powerful, making people think.”
Buck also let us in on an exclusive, the next step in the world of Buck Angel: his biography.
“I am letting the cat out of the bag; you are the first to know that I am writing my book now. That is a big deal for me. I have put it off for a long time because it feels like therapy, I have to deal with parts of my life that I dealt with and locked away, and now I have to revisit it. I had to find the right writer for me who would make the right book, a very positive book… I wanted my book to be super empowering and the writer needed to understand that. Now that I have found the right writer it is time.”
While Buck Angel wears many hats, in the end he is just like everyone else, making his way in the world.
“I don’t identify so much as a trans man, I am just a man. I think Ian (Harvie, stand up comedian and good friend – he set Buck up for his chest surgery) is the same way, and that is why we get along so well. We chose to just empower ourselves. I am a man who has a vagina and I am ok with that and have put it out there. My whole being doesn’t happen to be between my legs, it just happens to be that is who I am. That is what my work was based on. We do completely different work so we are able to get into these situations where people can feel better about themselves, whether it is a trans person, a gay man, someone who is HIV positive. You need to be ok with who you are, not feel uncomfortable with your body and be able to celebrate that. That is really what my message is.”
Buck Angel at the Exposure Festival
November 13th – 15th, 2009