Understanding How the Transgender Community Has Been Transformed

Dr. Ava Cadell

When I spoke at the Bisexual Conference in San Diego back in 2003, the word “transgender” was not yet in the current vernacular. But there were many transsexual individuals in attendance, searching for like-minded people with whom to share experiences and create a community.

As a sexologist and AASECT Certified Sex Counselor, my goal has long been to help people feel fulfilled in their love lives. A person can’t do that if he/she doesn’t feel comfortable in the skin of their assigned gender at birth. Individuals need to become their best selves, and learn to love and accept themselves. We all have a combination of yin and yang qualities, (feminine and masculine energy) which manifest in our sexual identity preferences. And we each seek to find someone to complement us, not complete us, regardless of gender, in order to have a healthy relationship.

We never used to talk about our community on such a large scale, and now we’re calling ourselves transgender instead of transsexual, which is new. -Buck Angel

Now in 2015, 12 years later, “transgender” has become a household word, and the high-profile public experiences of celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, and popular TV shows like “Transparent” have made the notion of fluid sexual identity mainstream. Because of this popular acceptance, the transgender community has been growing by leaps and bounds, and there are many pioneers who have valuable experiences and information to share.

For this article, I interviewed transgender adult performer, speaker, writer, human rights advocate, and educator Buck Angel for his opinions on how his community has been changing. Angel serves on the Board of Directors of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance.

With inspirational figures like Buck Angel actively opening new doors for individuals seeking information and guidance, I strongly believe the transgender community will continue to flourish. From my experience with my own practice, I know that acceptance, education and authenticity can overcome even the most insurmountable obstacles, so there is never a need to suppress one’s true identity.

Who knows where the Transgender community might be in another 12 years from now?

Dr. Ava: How has the transgender community changed in the last decade?

Buck Angel: The fact that you just asked that question shows how much it has changed. We never used to talk about our community on such a large scale, and now we’re calling ourselves transgender instead of transsexual, which is new. We now have TV shows, commercials and products geared towards us — it is something that people have started to feel comfortable saying out loud. There is pride, and there is a big world community happening now. Though we do have a long way to go, I believe there has been great positive change more recently.

Dr. Ava: What is the best and worse thing about being trans?

Angel: The best for me is that I get to be me! My body is now mine. It’s an incredible feeling that is hard to put into words. I am also so grateful to be able to speak all over the world, that people find my words inspirational, and that I get to motivate not only trans people, but the world, to work on becoming “one” together. I would say the worst part is dealing with some of the hate around my work as a pornographer and how my trans community speaks out about sex work in a negative way. That is so challenging for me. We get hate from the outside world but it seems to hurt more when you get it from your own community.

Dr. Ava: What are the best sex toys and products for trans singles and couples?

Angel: There is nothing, so now I am working on that! Stay tuned.

Dr. Ava: What is the definition of trans porn?

Angel: Now it means MTF (male to female) and FTM (female to male) porn, where as before it just meant trans women. The great thing about this is that I see more trans people becoming the producers of their own content. We are no longer “working for the man.” We have the opportunity to show the world what we want them to see.

Dr. Ava: What needs to happen to keep the trans community movement growing in the right direction?

Angel: One word: Community. Definition: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. This is the only thing that will grow us in a positive direction. We do not have this now. We have lots of internal fighting and hate. Once we figure this out, well, you will see so much more than you see today.

Dubbed “America’s Leading Sexologist” by no less an authority than Cosmopolitan Magazine, Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Dr. Ava Cadell is a clinical sexologist, AASECT certified sex counselor, and founder of and She has just released her 10th book, entitled  “Idiot’s Guides: Kama Sutra.”