It’s been kind of heartwarming to see corporations and artists boycotting the state of North Carolina to protest the passing of HB2. Born out of mass panic about trans people having the right to use public restrooms appropriate to their gender, the law bans cities and counties from granting any rights or protections to LGBT people that aren’t already in state law. It’s just the kind of hateful shit that you’d expect from the state that kept sending Jesse Helms back to the Senate decade after decade.
Like a lot of people, I have to admit that I got an enjoyable snicker or two when I read that at least one porn site was blocking North Carolina residents. XHamster, a notorious tube site, announced that they would just start serving a blank screen to IP addresses from the state. XHamster spokesman Mike Kulich said in a statement:
We have spent the last 50 years fighting for equality for everyone and these laws are discriminatory whichdoes not tolerate. Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one. We will not standby and pump revenue into a system that promotes this type of garbage. We respect all sexualities and embrace them.
The very concept of HB2 pisses me off so much that I’m not feeling too picky about where I get my schadenfreude. Leave it to an actual porn star to drag me back to reality. Genderqueer model, actor, and activist Jiz Lee wrote on their Facebook page, reminding everyone (i.e., me) that the entire business model of XHamster 1 depends on stealing the work of actors and producers like them:
Furthermore, Lee quotes a developer from North Carolina, Chris Lowrance, who says that you can indeed still watch stolen porn on XHamster in the state. The blank page apparently lasted a mere day before it was replaced with a popup mocking NC residents’ porn-watching habits:
Since then, Lowrance says that the popup has been replaced yet again:
They’ve since updated it – It now asks if you support HB2. Saying “yes” does temporarily block the site (clearing browser info resets it). Saying “No” allows you to view it.
Between the two of them, this is an excellent reality check on getting carried away with righteous schadenfreude. I despise the lawmakers behind HB2 and wish them all the worst, but that anger also makes it easy for people like XHamster to dress themselves up as something that they’re not. XHamster has been as damaging to trans communities and sex workers in their way as the fearmongers behind HB2; the anger that people like me are feeling right now gives them an opportunity to make themselves look like the good guys. They’re not. They’re parasites who depend on shame and stigma against sex workers to survive. We should remember that.
For those of us who like our porn, respect the people who make it, and want them to get paid Jiz closes with a few pertinent reminders:
Anyway. Ending on a positive, if you’d like to support a few queer trans-owned companies doing good work, here’s a quick top 5: Doing It Online, Foxhouse Films, Bonus Hole Boys, Ftmfucker.com, Ajapornfilms… and of course our trans/non-binary butts over at Pink & White Productions. Thanks for hearing me vent.
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- I really don’t know where they got the ridiculous name, although I have a strong hunch that it may have something to do with the old rumor that circulated during my adolescence about Richard Gere and a hamster. ↩