crossover

What It’s Like to Be a Male ‘Crossover’ Porn Star Battling Stigma in the Adult Industry

Even in 2019, some in the industry still consider men who do straight, gay and trans scenes bad for business — largely because of one dangerous myth

For many performers, the adult industry is an incomparable space to explore their sexuality and desires. This, however, isn’t always the case for male crossover performers who shoot straight scenes in addition to gay scenes, bisexual scenes, pegging scenes and scenes with trans women. For them, the industry can be confining, judgmental and, worse yet, stigmatizing — largely because of the myth that they’re potential carriers of HIV due to the fact that they’re having sex with men and trans women on camera. And for the record, it is indeed a myth. “The unfortunate thing is that unsafe practices from untested partners outside of the industry is the real point of vulnerability within the industry, not ‘crossovers,’” explains Lotus Lain, the industry relations coordinator at the Free Speech Coalition.

To better understand life on both “sides” of porn — and how such performers deal with the stigma that even in 2019, some in the industry still consider them bad for business — I sought out three different crossover stars. Here’s what they told me…

“If I hadn’t had sex with any trans women or guys, my career would have taken off more quickly, especially now that I’m doing vanilla stuff.”

Tony Orlando, 28, Las Vegas: I began modeling for fetish photography in San Francisco about eight years ago. Kink.com was the first professional website to hire me. It was a kinky scene with a trans woman. When I applied, I was banking on doing a femme domme scene with a cis domme. But at the same time, I just like femininity, so I was open to anything. That was an awesome scene, and my first experience with a trans woman.

Now, that’s basically who I’m looking for in a relationship. A lot of trans women are concerned about being fetishized, so because of the porn I’ve done, they think my interest is just a fetish. I have to tell my friends, “I’m not fetishizing you, I like you.”

When it comes to sexual orientation, I don’t like identifying as anything. I don’t identify as gay, but I do gay porn and have fun doing stuff with guy friends off-camera too. I shot my first gay porn scene last year, after I’d already had experience off-camera. I like having sex with guys, but I don’t want to date them.

The people who decide what a “crossover” means are the agents. Crossover means I have sex with anyone. I’m definitely a crossover. As a career, it’s the worst move I could have made, but I didn’t enter the industry for money, even though it’s now my main source of income. The agents will fire some of their girls just for being in a scene with me, because of a stigma that says crossover performers have a higher chance of transmitting AIDS.

If I hadn’t had sex with any trans women or guys, my career would have taken off more quickly, especially now that I’m doing vanilla stuff. Every now and then, I’ll get booked by a bigger [straight] company, usually as one of the guys in a three-way or group scene. Vixen [Media Group] did shoot me for a scene, on recommendation, but I had to shoot with a woman I know who is also a crossover performer.

I’d say the definition of a female crossover performer is a woman who has a threesome with two guys who have a gay dynamic. Also, girl-on-girl scenes with trans girls and cis girls. Then those cis girls are crossovers. (Of course, for the most part, nobody has a stigma about cis girls having sex with cis girls.)

On straight sets, I could never tell anyone, “I had a threesome with two dudes last night for $800.” Directors will even tell me to clean up my Twitter feed because they don’t want to see diaper play and some of the other fetish stuff I do. Basically, I’ve had to dumb down my feeds just so I can get more mainstream work.

“Earlier in my career, I’d definitely make comments about the gay scenes I’d shot, and not everyone would be comfortable with it.”

John Johnson, 30, New York: When I first began doing porn, I was primarily focused on creating straight porn because that’s what I liked to watch the most. I already knew I was bisexual, but I didn’t have any intention of doing gay porn until companies began contacting me. That became my way into the industry, and I spent the next five or so years doing gay porn.

Gay porn and straight porn have different testing protocols, which is partly why people hold stereotypes about “crossover” performers. In gay porn, there are basically three ways people discuss testing and STI status before a shoot: 1) Both performers get tested and both get a negative result on paper; 2) they’re both HIV positive and agree to perform with one another; or 3) they’re comfortable shooting without knowing each other’s status.

When it comes to safety in porn, I don’t think it comes down to gay performers, crossover performers or straight performers. It’s not fair to assign that responsibility to any one type of performer, because it’s really about what kind of person that individual is. Is that person responsible? Is that person kind? There’s never been any intense series of breakout in the industry that I can remember, and even when someone in porn does contract something, it’s usually from someone outside the talent pool. There’s a community of great performers who are very safe, and we’re very open about what we do in our work and in our personal lives, which also keeps us safe.

Earlier in my career, I’d definitely make comments about the gay scenes I’d shot, and not everyone would be comfortable with it. I remember a group of fellow black male performers once made fun of me on [a straight] set. Then after we wrapped, the director called to tell me that he couldn’t work with me anymore because I’m a crossover. At this point, though, I’m surrounded by casts and crews who know everything about what I do and what I’ve done and don’t give a shit, which is a nice change.

“There’s another stigma on the gay side, too: ‘Why are these crossovers who are really straight stealing gay jobs?’”

Lance Hart, 39: I’ve been in other people’s porn since 2007 and my own porn since 2010. The first scene that I ever did was a femdom scene. I was a sub in the scene, so I basically got beat up by a couple girls. They tied me up, electrocuted me, flogged me, kicked me in the balls and all sorts of other crazy shit. About a year later, I got recruited to be in a gay porn, and I was under a two-year contract with a great, but very exclusive, company. As soon as that was over, I started my own femdom company and gay company. I also started getting asked to be in other porn for larger companies such as Kink.com and Evil Angel.

Lately, I mostly do trans and bi work, so I’m either working with a trans woman or at least two guys and one girl in a bi scene. In my opinion, for it really to be a bi scene, you need the guys to do anal with each other, and then penis-vagina sex with a girl. This has been my shtick for the past couple of years.

There is definitely a stigma around it. The straight side says, “We don’t want crossovers because we don’t want AIDS in our porn, and if you don’t hook up with gay people, you can’t get AIDS.” Of course, that isn’t true. Then there’s another stigma on the gay side: “Why are these crossovers who are really straight stealing gay jobs? We should have gay men in there doing that, not straight men doing it for the money.”

Very recently, Bang Bros tweeted something that sounded anti-crossover performer. It said something to this female performer like, “Fuck those haters, fuck sugar daddies and fuck crossover dick.”

In fairness, the person running the Twitter was trying to be nice to a woman in porn who was getting bullied for sucking a guy’s dick who wasn’t in the talent pool. She sucked a guy’s a dick and was tweeting about it, or tweeted a picture or something, and people got on her case. Like, “Oh my God, you’re fucking outside the talent pool! You’re endangering all of us.” As it turns out, I guess the guy actually had a test, and she’d seen it. Also, the risk with blowjobs when it comes to STDs is so low. Anyway, the whole thing was silly.

But why say, “Fuck crossovers”? It was so random.

I know people say crazy shit on Twitter all the time, and there’s no point in trying to make sense of it. But this is Bang Bros, and people respect them. They’re one of the only hiring companies in Florida, which is what made me mad. If you’re male talent in Florida, you need Bang Bros to hire you or you can’t work. And if you’re a female performer reading that tweet, you’re like, “I was about to do a scene with a crossover guy, but I guess I shouldn’t.” If you see the company that pays most of your bills saying, “Fuck crossover dick,” you’re going to rethink shooting with a crossover performer. Lastly, if you’re an agent in Florida, you’re going to read that tweet and be like, “I was just about to book my girl with Lance Hart for his own production, but I probably shouldn’t do that crossover thingie, because Bang Bros doesn’t like it.”

For the record, Bang Bros has some really cool directors and to say Bang Bros hates crossovers isn’t accurate. Plus, they apologized. Whoever handled Twitter during that hour simply fucked up.

Other than that, I really only think about it when I’m at the AVN Awards or XBIZ Awards. I’m friends with a lot of the guys who do the big, award-nominated movies, and they always seem like they’re having so much fun. Plus, they get to be big stars by doing those kind of movies. I, however, can’t do them because I’m a crossover. I’m not sure exactly who makes that decision, but there’s always someone in the chain who says, “No crossovers.”

On the flip side, I make a lot of money. I don’t want to say I make more than the straight guys, ‘cause I don’t know for sure, but I most likely make three times as much. My Sweet Femdom site is girls doing guys in the butt with strap-ons, and girls being a little dom-y. They’re not tying guys up and whipping them; they’re just being a little mean. They’re really hot fitness chicks doing that to hot guys. The site makes so much money.

Meanwhile, if I were a mainstream guy and started my own website where I just shared videos of me and my friends having straight, mainstream sex, I wouldn’t make that much money ‘cause there’s plenty of that on the internet already. But when I put out two releases a week that are full of strap-on stuff with girls or whatever other femdom-y stuff I do, there’s not much competition. So I try to think about it this way: If the stigma were gone and I could go work in [famed director/producer] Axel Braun movies and [mainstream performer] Robby Echo could work in my femdom movies, my market would probably be saturated, too, and I wouldn’t make as much money.

When I get mad at the stigma, I remember that. I bought a brand-new truck a couple months ago just because I felt like it. I couldn’t do that if it weren’t for the stigma.