Trans Ethics: How long have you been camming?
Miss Erika Rose: Privately or publicly? (laughs) I’ve done private shows for a better part of four years and started doing it for private groups a bit over a year an a half ago. I’ve been camming publicly for about seven months now.
TE: Why did you get into sexwork?
ER: Mostly for the fun of it since I like showing my body off on twitter and a few other places. Besides that, I wanted to supplement my income so I can try to knock down a bit of debt I have a bit faster. I also like showing off what I got and enjoy the attention and stuff I get. It’s fun!
TE: You identify as a non-binary trans woman, and you’re the first I’ve interviewed. Could you go into a bit what it’s like to be non-binary and how that impacts you?
ER: You know how some people are right-handed, and others are left-handed, right…? Others are ambidextrous, but still sometimes prefer using one hand or another at times, and vice versa. That would be being gender-fluid in a small nutshell. I’m mostly in the feminine spectrum and feel most comfortable in there, and started hormones in response to that. There’s been times that I’ve identified as somewhere between masculine and feminine, masculine, and even agender. When the latter two have happened, it’s thrown me a bit and I have to figure out what’s going on in my brain. I usually take it as it is, but it’s different for me. I’ve gotten people who think I’m a fake, or I don’t exist because I’m non-binary, but hey, I’m talking to you right now, aren’t I?
TE: (laughs) Yes, you are. Do you feel that enby [a term some non-binary people use to self-identify] folks are ignored by the trans community in general?
ER: I wouldn’t go that far, but I would easily assert that we’re not as recognized. It’s gotten better from what I’ve seen in the past year alone, but it’s still got a long ways to go. I was honestly afraid of persistently publicly identifying as anything but a trans woman about three years back because of general ignorance regarding us. It wasn’t until sometime last year that I was more comfortable in saying, “Hey, this is me”. Even then, I’ve gotten about an even amount of flack from cis and trans people regarding people like me, and I can usually deal with the ignorance from cis people, but getting it from trans people is aggravating. How can someone say my identity isn’t valid, when they’re dealing with similar?
TE: Regarding enby visibility within the trans communities, what can we (the binary) do to help?
ER: Awareness and education. It’s simple as that. If memory serves me right, there’s a decent number of resourceful websites out there.
TE: You mentioned a certain amount of ignorance from trans people. Do you think non-binary people should be considered transgender?
ER: Yes and no. There are those of us that transition in some fashion (myself included), and others that do not.
Therein lies the rub. I’ve observed in various online groups that assigned-female-at-birth persons that ID as an enby identity, and claim that they’re trans and understand the struggles as trans women and call themselves as such. It’s wrong to appropriate identities like that. I haven’t seen as much of that coming from assigned-male-at-birth persons, but the spaces I’m in haven’t had as large as vocal population from them unless someone asks where they’re at. It feels like a tilt towards the masculine ID-ing people, but there are exceptions out there. I’ve noticed more of an androgynous to femme representation on twitter, for instance. Getting back to the original question, I assert that enbies that do transition are transgender, while those that do not, aren’t.
TE: How does being non-binary effect your targeted demographic as an enby trans girl?
ER: It doesn’t too much, since I usually cam to meet my goals and have fun. It’s probably pretty average when compared to a binary trans woman… except when I like to drop my voice. Now the times that I feel more in the masculine spectrum, I have to do a decent amount of, for a better lack of terms, acting female. “Oh hey, boobs, this doesn’t feel right. Fuck.” Thankfully, that’s only happened a few times, but it’s less than pleasant for it to hit like that.
Now, should I ever have the chance to get into video shoots, I’ll probably be able to explore myself a bit more and be comfortable with everything.
TE: Do you think any major porn producers will be including non-binary trans women such as yourself in the future?
ER: In the future…maybe. People like me probably have better luck with the queer/feminist-friendly production companies more so than something like one of those backed by a major company.
TE: How do you respond to people who say sexwork is unethical?
ER: Is telling them to kindly fuck off an option? (laughter)
TE: I suppose it is.
ER: Seriously though, if I have the spoons to do so, I’ll try to tell or debate with them that is a several millennia-old trade, that people have been doing sometimes for their own benefit. Whether for the pleasure of it, thrill, the money, or as a need out of survival. Sometimes it needs to be done. And if someone’s gonna argue about ethics, how about the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades? I don’t think of it as a necessary evil, it’s another job out there that there has demand for it.
TE: Just one last question: If you could speak to the world, what would you say?
ER: To quote my late friend: “I love every one of you motherfuckers.”
As much as I’m outgoing online, I’m actually a really quiet person…. until something is brought up that I’m really into and then you can’t shut me up. (laughs)
I do need to say that there needs to be better support and awareness for trans and enby people out there. Someday I’d to see those awfully high statistics (violence against trans people, suicides, etc…) drop to nil. I’ve lost friends and loved ones over the years and it really tears at me.
TE: It does many of us. Thank you so much Erika.
ER: You are most certainly welcome.