“First of all,” she says, “apparently ‘Tranny’ is a bad word. I don’t know why.”Born male (“a few years ago”) and hailing from Atlanta, Presley is hosting the red carpet for the 4th annual Tranny Awards, presented by transsexual porn site Grooby.com.
“People get offended by labels,” she says, “but also people just like to get offended in general.”
Until recently, the general public’s main exposure to transsexuals has been through the filter of adult entertainment: transsexual prostitutes and transsexual porn. But that doesn’t mean that all transsexual porn is the same or that all pornographers working in the trans world have the same agenda or vocabulary.
“Me,” says Presley, “I don’t like any term with the word ‘boy’ or ‘male’ in it; it’s insulting. I’m a woman. I’m a chick with a dick.”
Buddy Wood, longtime director of transsexual porn, has a rule of thumb: “If she’s wearing a dress,” he says, “call her ‘She.’”
Presley has had surgery on her breasts and butt, and her Adam’s Apple is almost nonexistent. She believes she will go for gender reassignment surgery one day, but where she is right now is paying the bills, she says.
“Every post-op I talk to is like, ‘Come over to the other side,’” she says.I ask Presley if there is a transsexual “community” but she says No. There are merely different groups who care about and have strong opinions about transsexuals.
“For example, Thai transsexuals are different from Atlanta transsexuals,” she says, adding, “there’s something in the water in Atlanta that makes beautiful transsexuals.
“And don’t get me started about Tranny Chasers,” she says. “Tranny fans are something else.”
“Those are not the movies I make,” says Presley. “I want [my movies] to be as beautiful and erotic as possible. I want the guy to think he has a real connection.”
Presley began her performing career as a drag queen, and still does drag shows when she goes back to Atlanta. But she says that there is not a lot of love in drag circles for trannies.
“Some drag queens think that trannies are trashy,” Presley says. “I think it’s just jealousy. They’re jealous they can’t land a straight guy. They’ll say, ‘Don’t forget you were once a boy!’”
One of Presley’s names for herself is “The Unicorn” and another is “The Trap.”
“I’ve only tricked one guy,” she says, “but I usually never let it get that far.”
I ask her if, deep down, she thinks men want to act “tricked,” to maintain plausible denial.
“I think, deep down, they all know,” she says.
Presley transitioned into porn not knowing the territory.“When I went to my first L.A. tranny club, I couldn’t believe all the fans,” she says. “I felt like I grew up on a farm. I didn’t know there were so many people into this. For a long time I thought it was just me.”
Even though transsexual porn is becoming more popular, whether it be tranny hookers from Thailand, gender-political porn from San Francisco, or Presley’s GlamTrans offerings, she laments that there were few real guideposts along the way.
“We all started somewhere,” she says. “But I wish there had been someone to tell me to avoid shady things.”
“Oh, like you show up expecting to do this one thing for a certain rate, and they keep piling on things for you to do, and it eventually becomes three scenes with a BJ and you’re stuck with a nasty looking homeless guy…”
What advice would you give tomorrow’s transsexual porn performer, and do you think there’s room for her?
“I’d tell her to not worry about being the Next Somebody Else. Instead be the Best You. Don’t have too much of an ego—which is difficult for a tranny—and try to be humble. Don’t go in with an attitude. It never hurts to ask questions, and if it sounds shady, it probably is.”
Who are the people whose work you admire?
“Oh, I like Kimber James, Bailey Jay is a good friend of mine, and Jonelle Brooks is really bringing her A game. There is a lot of room for good work, not cheesy stuff. And I think there’s even more room for male talent in tranny porn, because you always end up seeing the same guys…”
Sunday’s 4th annual Tranny Awards will be followed by a second party on Monday. These events have been heavily hyped and are expected to draw bigger-than-usual crowds.
I ask Presley what first-time attendees can expect.
“These are the hottest bitches in the world, and they all have penises,” she says. “Plus, trannies know how to drink and they know how to party. They’re not lightweights.”
But what about tenderness?
“That’s right,” she says. “Talk to them like a girl; don’t talk to them like a tranny.”