Meet the real me

Posted at 11:00 on 4 Oct 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: coming out, gender politics, genderqueer, non-binary, personal, queer

Blake, Pandora

This year has been one of great transformation. At times it's felt as if my whole life has been thrown into the air, and I've been waiting to see which bits would land. As if all the things tying into my sense of self have been laid out on the table, and are up for examination to see whether they still serve me and whether I want to keep them. It's been a time of great positive change, and a time of loss. Healthy loss - letting go of things I was attached to which weren't working any more - but still, it's added up to a lot of upheaval.

One of the things that's been going on for me this year that I haven't talked about here is my gender.

A year ago, I came to the realisation that I am non-binary.

Here's what that means to me.

I don't identify as female; I'm not a woman. That means I'm transgender, in that I don't identify as the gender to which I was assigned at birth.

However, I also don't identify as male; I'm not a man. I don't feel the need to take hormones and undergo a medical transition. It wouldn't make me any more at ease than I am at present.

My gender is ambiguous. It's somewhere in the middle. I'm genderqueer.

Clothes maketh the human

There are days when I feel very much like a boy. A queer boy; a subby twink boy. A nerd. Someone wrapped up in his code, in his books, someone who keeps himself to himself. Someone's who's horny for his Daddy, who likes to be dominated and roughly fucked.

There are times when this queer boy wants to go out and dress up, wear glitter and bright colours and tight clothes and be fabulous. I identify as a femme. I like to wear pretty things, I enjoy my body and I like to show it off. I like going to the effort of styling my hair, putting on eyeliner, choosing my clothes carefully so that they flatter me. The plain clothes and blocky cuts of male fashion bores me: I like being a peacock.  

Some days, I feel like being butch; to look dapper in a smart suit and waistcoat. And many days, I don't really feel like I have any gender at all; or if I do, it's something else, something that doesn't feel at home in masculinity or femininity, but is something beyond the two. My gender expression is a work in progress.

I don't want to change my body. I have a good relationship with it which I've nurtured over many years. It has been a struggle at times, and now we're in a good place. It's hard for me to look masculine or androgynous with these curves. When I've wanted to present a polished appearance, to look professional and smart, I've often turned to femme clothing that's cut to flatter my form. But now I'm finding myself hungering for more masculine modes of self-expression; clothes that don't prompt people to misgender me as female.

Non-binary and feminist

I'm not a woman, but I have over thirty years of being treated as one. I've experienced sexism and misogyny first-hand. Some of that lived experience has been trans experience; I deal with my share of dysphoria, and the lurch and stutter of being misgendered, feeling out of place, feeling unseen. But I also feel a commonality with people who identify as female. As someone forced to live in that box for three decades, who has identified as a woman at times, I share experience with women - and a sense of political solidarity.

So where does that leave me? An androgynous twink in a womanly body; a femme boi who finds butch boring; a queer peacock struggling with self-expression. An outgoing introvert who has limited spoons for emotional labour, but loves social contact, intimacy and connection. A trans feminist who wants to disrupt the oppressive gender categories so all of us can be more free.

I'm genderqueer. I don't fit into the male/female binary. And after a year of living this truth in my private life, it's time for me to come clean about it in my public one.

Call me 'they'

"Pandora Blake" no longer feels like an authentic self-expression. Now that I'm finally being honest with myself about the fact that I'm not a woman, having to perform as a woman at work is becoming exhausting for me. Called Pandora, people assume I'm female. It's time for something new. 

And yet I have eleven years of connection with this name. It feels very me. Apart from the gender associations, I don't really want to change it. 

So here's what I'm asking, and what I'm offering.

I prefer the neutral pronouns they, them, and their. Please use them. 

If it's hard for you to remember not to call me "she" or "her", I understand; it might not be easy to get it right straight away. But I would really appreciate it if you would make the effort - especially if we're friends. 

If you're a client or customer, and you're paying for my services, then you know what, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. But if you are paying attention and trying to get it right, it will endear you to me.

Gender, fantasy and realness

I know that for many people sexual desire is highly gendered. Our fantasies are often informed by the cultural categories we grow up with, and a lot of us are attracted to very masculine, or very feminine, archetypes. I get that. And so I don't mind playing those masculine or feminine roles in adult roleplay; in fact I actively enjoy it. It's an outlet for two facets of my complex gender identity. 

In my work as a spanking provider, I don't intend to stop playing feminine roles. If you'd like to book a session with me as a mummy, an aunty or headmistress, a babysitter, teacher, governess or some other feminine authority figure, please go right ahead and ask. I will be delighted to continue to play these characters for you, and they won't be any more or less real than they ever were. I'm not in fact any of these things, but I've always enjoyed acting.

I am also going to start offering some new roles. If you'd like to meet a bratty schoolboy, a naughty nephew; or be caned by a dapper headmaster or strict Sir, then I would be delighted to show you my more masculine side. 

Or perhaps you're interested in meeting the real me, and want to get to know my true queer self, without any artifice; the one that enjoys playing with all these categories, but doesn't fit into any of them. Either way, I'd like to offer you an invitation.

If it puts you off, knowing that I'm trans, that's okay. I understand that as a non-binary sex worker I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I'm making this post in the full knowledge and awareness that it might lose me fans and customers. But I've always tried to be authentic in my porn and sex work persona, to show you aspects of myself that are real. And it's reached the point where only showing you my femininity while hiding the rest of me feels inauthentic, and I'm not willing to fake it any longer.

This isn't a total break from the past. I'm not stopping being Pandora. But I am introducing a new way of interacting with me: Blake.

Introducing Blake

I am Pandora. I am also Blake. I am Pandora / Blake.

I'm looking forward to being Blake more often. When I'm performing in queer porn, shooting videos for myself or with friends, when I'm speaking at events or running workshops, I'm eager to show you my authentic self. I answer to both names, and I'd invite you to use whichever seems to fit how I'm presenting. And if you want me to fulfil your fantasy, and book a session with a request about what you would like, then multiple options are available to you.

If you have any questions, let me know. I realise this might be a big deal for some of you, and it might not matter at all to others. After all, I'm still me. My masculinity and my genderqueerness have been behind the scenes of everything I've been doing over the last couple of years. Its been there all along, even if I'm only now making it visible. 

If any of you would like to talk to me about this, I'm going to be available on Google Hangouts at 6pm BST on Saturday 7 October, and I'll gladly answer your questions. 

This is a scary and vulnerable moment for me - not knowing how you'll react, whether you'll hear me and respect me. I'm not here to receive any transphobic abuse, and any harassing comments will be deleted. But I'm open to sharing my world with you, talking about my gender identity; and maybe, who knows, hearing you talk about yours.

Yours in queerness,
Pandora/Blake

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