Back in 2007 Catherine Crouch made headlines for her blatently anti-trans short film The Gendercator, which, due to the lack of trans inclusion on LGBTQ film festival selection committees, was included in several of them and ultimately pulled from the San Francisco Frameline Festival.
In subsequent debates, she repeatedly explained that the film was designed to "spark dialog" and even if people disagreed with her, at least they were talking about it.
Well, I've decided to continue the dialog in a format that I believe the quality of the original film and dialog are most deserving of -- a plot driven, political, porn film full of camp, humor, and cheap sci-fi special effects. See the trailer and more of my analysis of the issue under the cut.
In her original statement, Crouch stated:
More and more often we see young heterosexual women carving their bodies into porno Barbie dolls and lesbian women altering themselves into transmen... I am hopeful that this movie will foster discussion about female body modification and medical ethics.
Of course her film never touched on the issue of women using body modification to be "porno Barbie dolls," so her insistence of focusing on "female body modification" in actuality relates only to trans men, a fact which she disputed then contradicted in her follow up director's statement.
This remark is not about transpeople. It is about women... My statement was not meant to question the validity of this condition [transsexuality], but to call attention to the increasing number of young women who are taking testosterone or undergoing voluntary mastectomies to enhance their masculinity. These are women who formerly identified, or would be considered by the lesbian community, as butch lesbians.
Don't trust my cutting of her words? Read both statements in their entirety on her website.
Obviously, I disagree with her on many points, hopefully a few are self-evident from the self-contradictory and factually inaccurate aspects of her statement. But her words echoed fears and concerns that I grew up hearing regularly in a second-wave lesbian feminist family.
She sees people who she identifies with making incredibly different choices and in her fear that they are being coerced, she advances her own form of coercion. By painting trans people with a broad brush (and failing to understand who exactly she is talking about) she is unable to successfully differentiate trans people fighting tooth and nail against a coercive system denying the right to transition, and the boogie-monster of this generation's butch women being turned into men.
Her concerns ignore the reality that many trans men never were lesbians, many are gay men, and plenty are femme. And despite her feminist lens, she ignores the existence of butch trans women and gives all her attention to men -- men who she wishes were butch women.
These issues are important to address. Not because there is any validity to them, but because they are part of the reason so many in our community cling to their ignorance.
Why do so through the medium of pornography? Well, first because that happens to be my craft. But also because even though her film didn't address the issue, her statement condemns pornography alongside transition. With porn, just like transition, she mis-identifies the problem. Mainstream pornography often perpetuates unhealthy body standards -- as does mainstream magazines, mainstream television, and even mainstream broadcast news. The problem is the content, not the form, of the media.
Alternative porn exists which demonstrates that a wide variety of body types can be incredibly hot, and I wanted to establish exactly that in my film.