trends

Both Sides of the Fence

Joanne Cachapero
News of performer / director Kurt Lockwood's first bisexual scene, shot as web content for online production company Hancock Studios, set the industry gossip wheels turning earlier this year.

For some, Lockwood's consent to be bottomed by another male performer confirmed what had long been the subject of speculation and sometimes outright spitefulness from the porno peanut gallery on the chat boards — that, even with hundreds of straight scenes to his credit, his sexual orientation was actually gay.

"He looks a little too happy here to consider this 'gay-for-pay,'" said a recent post by Care Less on XXXPornTalk.com, referring to photos of Lockwood apparently performing in a transsexual title (in an unidentified production). "More like gay-to-stay."

As for his motivation in doing the scene for Hancock, Lockwood told XBIZ because it was his first, and perhaps only, bisexual performance, he received a fee of $5,000. But, more than the money, Lockwood said that he also was motivated by his sense of outrage at being perceived to be persecuted by porn bloggers for doing his job as a sex performer.

"Part of the reason I did the specialty scene besides, of course, the big moolah, was to prove that those porn bloggers can post whatever they want about me, and I am — always have been and always will be — immune to their attacks, as are all of us sex workers," Lockwood said.

"The proof is in the pudding," he added. "I'm still booked as much as I want to work. Hence, these porn bloggers have no power at all. Period. And hopefully this makes them and their boring would-be morals Gestapo see that. Here's the truth — every sex worker does nearly everything or has experimented at some point."

The feud between Lockwood and the bloggers and message boards has been long-standing. It has been speculated that the perception of Lockwood as arrogant is the real cause of the message board insults. In all fairness, with an open forum format where people are entitled to their opinions, while critics have dogged him, Lockwood's supporters also have defended him.

However, beyond online innuendos, gossip and squabbles, Lockwood's situation at being tagged as "gay" and then choosing to perform in bisexual or specialty gay content does raise issues for male performers who prefer not to be categorized by orientation — especially because most male performers seem reluctant to be identified as bisexual.

Is it possible that performing as a bisexual man is the last taboo? Does what you do on-camera reflect on your real-life sexual orientation? Is the negative feedback on the boards really a mirror for insidious homophobia in the straight industry-at-large? Or, with society's view of sexuality evolving, is it necessary to put male performers into the straight or gay categories?

"I just think that these guys have got to stop thinking with the mindset just because you do something, you have to be labeled one way or another," Hancock Studios founder Mike Hancock explained. "It's just about exploring."

Hancock is openly bisexual, and Lockwood is one of many male performers to have crossed the sexual line by performing with other men.

Veteran straight performer Peter North is known to have appeared in several gay titles under the name Matt Ramsey, and legendary star Jamie Gillis was well-known for his omnisexual tendencies, with roles in many straight classics, as well as work in extreme BDSM/fetish and in the 1975 gay title, "Boynapped," under the name James Rugman.

More recently, male performer Christian has faced the similar criticism for his work in gay videos, as Maxx Diesel, when he started his career as an exclusive model for Falcon Studios.

In a recent interview with XBIZ, Christian said that he still loses work because of female performers that refuse to perform with him due to his background in the gay industry. They are usually influenced by a boyfriend or director, he theorized, or the erroneous conclusion that they may become infected with a sexually transmitted disease if they work with him, even though he is AIM-tested like other active straight industry performers.

Christian has also appeared for Hancock on his flagship website, Mike Hancock.com, which features all-male pro-am content that is not necessarily classified as strictly "gay," but features men with beautiful physiques in solo and action scenes.

Hancock sees attitudes toward men's sexuality changing, especially with the younger generation of performers. Having been a videographer/ director for the last 10 years, he feels that it's the old school pornographers that pass on prejudices by influencing newbie performers to believe they will lose bookings by working in bisexual (or other types of specialty) scenes.

"[Most] of the stuff I shoot is straight, but I do a lot of videos," he explained. "I do a lot of gay videos, a lot of bisexual scenes. And when I watch these younger guys, whether they're having straight sex or gay sex, it's just a very sexual thing for them and they're able to cross the lines much easier than a lot of these guys from an older generation.

"People that are in their 20s really have a lot more open minds," Hancock added.

While he is careful to point out that ClubHancock.com, once it's launched will be primarily a straight site, it will also feature elements of bisexual, twink, transsexual and fetish content. He has already shot straight content for the site with pro performers Eva Angelina, Charles Dera and Billy Glide, to name a few, and will include amateurs in the mix, as well.

"We are aware of what people enjoy and a lot of these young guys out there really want to see more than what these old guys are giving them in a vanilla video. They want a little racier content," Hancock said. "People who come to the site will see people that have never been seen before and also people that they know and they enjoy watching. I don't want it to be just amateur and I don't want it to be just name people. I like to mix them all together and put people with where they would really enjoy being with each other."

If high-quality bisexual content has become a trend on the web that has not always been the case with DVD product. At HotMovies.com, there are only 655 bisexual titles out of a catalog of more than 90,000 movies; smaller companies produce the majority of bisexual videos and the talent is largely amateur with many productions being shot overseas. Any higher quality productions often dates back well to the '90s, and male performers that appear in bisexual videos, if they are well-known, are from the gay industry.

Hancock points out there is also reverse prejudice from the gay community, which assumes that any male performer willing to appear in bisexual or "gay-for-pay" titles is latently homosexual, but in denial about his orientation.

Historically, though, there are many more "gay" performers that identify as straight in their real lives; models including Andrew Justice and veteran performer Rod Barry, just to name a few, who work mainly in gay content and have also shot for Hancock.

So while he says it's relatively easy to get males to work in bisexual or specialty content, Hancock said it often boils down to finding a female that is willing to participate, for fear of being stigmatized.

"This is a great industry to work in when we can all be friends," Hancock said. "Unfortunately, there are people out there that don't want to be friends with anybody but their little niche. But how can you work in sex and the sex industry and not realize that there is so many different colors of the rainbow of what people like? To be in this industry and have so many hang ups is really a contradiction."

And as for Lockwood, Hancock said the performer chose to perform in the scene for several reasons, including being well paid, being assured of an AIM-tested, condom-only production — and because he wanted to.

"Where Kurt is in his life now, he doesn't care what people think about him. He's OK with himself; where he is in his life with his family where he doesn't need their approval," Hancock said. "That's where we are as well; we don't need the industry's approval."

Since becoming a new father at the end of last year, Lockwood said he has enjoyed his "semi-retirement resurgence" and the ability to pick and choose who he works for, including BDSM producer Chanta Rose; Scott David, Will Ryder and Matty Klatt at Hustler; Naughty America director/producer Laura; and director Bobby Manilla.

Lockwood said also that his life is moving in a new direction and he isn't planning on prolonging his adult career. By the end of the year, he may travel to the north of Spain, where his girlfriend is originally from, and retire for good.

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