Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Interview with Buck Angel (part 1)


Okey, dokey. Tis time. Time to play blog with… Buck Angel. Um, yeah… Buck Angel. OMGOMGOMGOMG… Buck.Angel. Yeah, I’m kinda freakin’ out. I was freakin’ out when I first talked to him back in November, and, well… I’m still kinda freakin’ out.  

Dude rocks mah socks.

'k. *mumbles* Interview Amara. Interview.

*clears throat* As previously mentioned, the interview is kinda... long. Too long for one blog post. I had a hard time trying to decide how to break it up. In the end, I decided to just break it in half; I'll post part 1 today, part 2 on Thursday. I do hope you'll all come back. 

Now, with a big giant “thank you”, and a huge “Welcome to my blog”, I am please to bring you all…
*drum roll*… Buck Angel.


Amara: Hi Buck, thank you soooo much for agreeing to let me interview you. I’ll try reeeeal hard not to do it all starry-eyed, which is… easier said than done. *smiles* If you would please, let’s start with telling me a little bit about yourself. Who is Buck Angel?

Buck: I am actually just a normal guy. People think because I have a vagina that makes me different from other men in general, but I don’t really think I am. There’s a mistaken assumption because I work in the adult business that I must be a big party animal and go out every night. Not true. Though I am definitely a man with a mission; and that is a mission to educate about gender and sexuality, to help open people’s minds and change the world.

On that, you may notice that I stick with the original terms I used starting when I began my change about 20 years ago—the ordinary language like “bio” “sex change” and “transsexual” as they are easy for everyone to understand and I often speak to groups who might be confused by the newer jargon.
To learn more about me, visit my websites: buckangel.com, buckangelentertainment.com, and buckangelbodybuilding.com (Well, I guess I am a bit of an entrepreneur, too).

Amara:  *laughs* Yeah, I’d say ‘a bit of an entrepreneur’ seems accurate. 

So, when did you first realize you fell outside the traditional gender roles society places us in?

Buck:  Everything was fine when I was a kid because I was raised like a boy, my parents called me “Buck” and I played sports with the guys—it all seemed normal. Then I hit puberty and my breasts started to develop and then I began menstruating. It was a total nightmare for me until I finally started my sex change.

Amara:  What does a typical day in the life of Buck Angel look like?

Buck: Hahhaa you’re gonna crack up! Ok, if I am at home and not on the road, I get up and have coffee and read the news on my iPad. Then I workout for an hour, eat breakfast, shower, and start my day in the office. I work pretty much all day on the Internet (and eat 3 more meals). Then I have dinner with my wife and we watch some kind of TV series on NetFlix. Then we go to bed and start all over again…I know, boring—huh?

Amara: *laughs* Sounds nice to me. Who is the one person that has played the most significant role in your life and why?

Buck:  Hands down it is my wife, Elayne Angel, who is also my best friend. She did not start out with me on my sex change journey (I met her after that), but she has been the most supportive and also the one who has encouraged me to do my work as “Buck Angel.” She said to me when I had the idea to put myself out there, “You have to do it; you will change the world.” I thought that was so funny then, but she was right. She is just an all around great person: she is grounded and also has her own career to focus on. So we help each other and support each other’s work. I think that makes us a stronger couple because we each have our own identity and career. I am for sure a very lucky man to have her by my side.

Amara: That’s so awesome. I love that.

When we first talked about doing this interview, I opened my blog to my readers who wanted to ask you questions of their own, one of the questions I received the most was, how do you self identify? And how long have you identified as such?

Buck: I identify as a man. I have always identified that way even before I started my hormone treatment. For me it was all about transitioning from female to male. That was the end goal for me. Today things are a bit more fluid for people. The trans movement of today is totally different than when I transitioned. It is more about trans as an identity, but for me it was about becoming a man.

Amara:  Which community do you identify with most?

Buck:  That’s a hard question for me because I do not actually identify with any community. Though if I had to pick, I would say my community is the LGBT, just because that is where I came from, and where I and feel my message helps the most. But with that said I admit that I am not a big fan of any community, as they always try to put people into boxes. They make people feel they have to abide by certain rules they put in place telling us how to be gay, or how to be a trans person. My message is all about not fitting in the box. Especially in those communities—I don’t know why they would want to do that to people who have suffered with trying to fit in, and when they finally discover themselves and go to these communities for love and support, they get pounced on if they don’t follow the rules.

Amara:  What are your thoughts on “coming out” as relates to trans* vs gay people. Is there a difference? If so, why?

Well, whether trans or gay, there are different circumstances to coming out (or not)—to someone you’re dating vs. family vs. an employer. They are certainly the same in the sense that whoever you’re disclosing to may not be accepting of what you’re telling them. For me it was much easier to come out as a transsexual to my family than it ever was to come as a gay woman. They were far more accepting of me being their son than their lesbian daughter.  Every situation is different.

Amara:  *nods* Very true.

Last November when we first spoke, the LGBTQ erotica/romance book genre (in which I usually blog) was going thru a controversy that led to people wanting to more accurately label the authors as male/female and lgbtq. It has led to all kinds of painful things, including transgender authors “outing” themselves before they were “forcibly outed” so to speak. How do you feel about people’s attempt at labeling and trying to put people in a black/white kind of box?

Buck:  I think I answered this in one of the other questions. That is what my work is all about: not putting us in boxes. Forcibly outing someone is totally wrong and I do not understand why anyone would think they have the right to do this? Shame on them. I obviously have squashed that “male” box by putting myself out there as a man with a vagina. People have a super hard time with this because they need boxes to make them feel safe. They do not understand when something is different from them, and we have to open people’s eyes up to how “normal” we really are.

Amara: How do we overcome this “need” to label people?

Buck:  With lots of hard work. By not conforming to what society tells us we have to be and by changing the rules. When I first started my work people freaked out on me, especially in the adult entertainment business. Now I have won awards and I am a very well respected part of that industry. I changed the way they view people like me. All of us who feel we do not fit in the box need to band together and make the world see that we are normal.

Amara: I read an article on your thoughts on the use of pseudonyms. I blog mainly about authors and books, you make films, although they aren’t the same the basic principles of names and privacy are similar in my thinking. How important do you feel the use of pseudonyms are? Why?

Buck:  I feel it is extremely important and it a right that we should all have. For me it was about keeping my private life separate from my public life. I knew that I was going to do something that was going to push buttons and even make people very upset or angry. So I wanted to keep people in my private world safe. It is much safer for me to use a pseudonym and to keep my personal life separate from my work life.

Amara:  What types of privacy or safety concerns have you faced? How did you deal with them?

Buck: I have received many threatening emails throughout my career, including death threats. I would say that they have somewhat chilled out a bit, but I still get them. In the beginning of my career, it was mostly from the trans male community. They were bitching at me about how I was representing them all wrong and that I was making it look like FTMs could only be porn stars (yes they actually said that)!

But as I got more in the mainstream it starting coming from bio men. They just could not deal with my message: “It’s not what’s between your legs that defines you.” They freaked out because for many men, that IS entirely what defines them. For the most part I just ignore them. I stash the messages away in a “hate mail” file to use at some point in the future. Sometimes I write back and if I feel really angry about what they said, I’ll post their message on my blog or facebook with their email address.

Amara:  What do you believe has been your biggest role or accomplishment that has benefited the transgendered community?

Buck:  Helping people come to terms with their bodies. I think being transgendered is really hard. I know many people within the community (and also outside of it) who have found inspiration in the fact that I’ve been able to accept and become comfortable with my body and have learned to love it. I get a lot of positive feedback that I’ve helped other transpeople to become comfortable with their bodies too.


Ok. I think that's an ok place to break. On Thursday I'll post the rest of the interview; questions about Buck's movies, about his film Sexing the Transman and his answers to reader submitted questions.

That's all for us, for now.

Later taters!!


10 comments:

  1. "
    Forcibly outing someone is totally wrong and I do not understand why anyone would think they have the right to do this? Shame on them. "

    Amen brother. 

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this interview, Buck and Amara.  I'm really looking forward to reading the second part of it on Thursday. :)

    I've only recently become aware of the issues facing GQ/T* people and have been very lucky to have come to know some truly amazing and generous individuals who have been very tolerant about my, well, curiousity.

    One of the things that really struck me and which I found - and still find - baffling is the prejudice that happens within the GLBTQQ 'communities' themselves towards GQ/T* people.  

    I realise the need to put labels on people is pretty embedded as are binary concepts/constructs, but I also wonder if some of this is as a result of what was then the Gay and Lesbian movement and the way it has evolved over time.  As you said, Buck, there is much more 'identification' with fluidity and I imagine that would be pretty confronting to someone who has fought significant battles for sexual equality. 

    Not that that's an excuse, but it gives me something to thank a bit more about.

    Thanks again. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this interview, Buck and Amara.  I'm really looking forward to reading the second part of it on Thursday. :)

    I've only recently become aware of the issues facing GQ/T* people and have been very lucky to have come to know some truly amazing and generous individuals who have been very tolerant about my, well, curiousity.

    One of the things that really struck me and which I found - and still find - baffling is the prejudice that happens within the GLBTQQ 'communities' themselves towards GQ/T* people.  

    I realise the need to put labels on people is pretty embedded as are binary concepts/constructs, but I also wonder if some of this is as a result of what was then the Gay and Lesbian movement and the way it has evolved over time.  As you said, Buck, there is much more 'identification' with fluidity and I imagine that would be pretty confronting to someone who has fought significant battles for sexual equality. 

    Not that that's an excuse, but it gives me something to thank a bit more about.

    Thanks again. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I always appreciate someone who uses their powers for good--in Buck's case, using his celebrity to try to reach out to people and change minds/perceptions. Looking forward to the next part of the interview.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think biological determinism ("what's between your legs defines who you are") and its deeply ingrained subliminal influence on society and culture as a whole is the greatest obstacle that needs overcome.

    Period. 

    Many thanks for taking the time, Buck. You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great interview thus far. Looking forward to the rest!

    ReplyDelete
  7. *waves to everyone*

    Thanks for coming by guys. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great interview Amara, I look forward to reading the rest tomorrow.

    Buck, I loved your girl scout video on your web site.  My daughters are both girl scouts and it nice to see such a big organization being open minded and including everyone.  

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit about your life with us!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome interview Amara!! What great questions you are asking so Buck can give us insight (Thanks Buck!) I can't wait to read the second half!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks JayHJay! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. It was so great to get to do an interview with him. He's just way to awesome to endulge me like this. :D


    Thanks Brenda! lol I was so nervous about this one. I'm so used to "whoowhoo happy dances"... and I wanted to make it more than that. Twas vera important to me. :)

    ReplyDelete

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