Tobi Hill-Meyer’s new Patreon page funds “Doing it Online”

In a time when trans sexuality embodies the unspeakable, Tobi Hill-Meyer has been singing arias from the mountaintops. Her work in the fields of pornography and erotica has played a major role in shaping what has come to be known as “queer porn,” and in particular granting new and more widely open roles to trans women interested in sex work before a camera.

She brings an entirely different gaze to trans pornography, one that lets trans women be themselves, that allows other unspeakable bodies to be fully present and erotic on screen—people with disabilities, for example, or fat women—all while producing a profoundly sexy body of work that both titillates and pushes boundaries.

Now she’s turned her attention to finding funding models that are both sustainable and facilitate access, while also exploring alternatives to pornography-as-such. Her latest series, Doing it Online is an erotic documentary that explores the meaning of sex and sexuality to trans women, granting utterance to the hitherto unsayable. As she explains:

Doing It Online is an ongoing erotic documentary series focusing on the issues and concerns affecting trans women, our partners, and our communities. The aim is to paint a holistic portrait of trans women’s sexuality by delving in to what is important to each individual on the series and not shying away from explicit sexuality.

This award winning series seeks to give trans women a voice about their own sexuality and any issues that intersect with it. In addition to conversations about relationships, dating, and sexuality, previous episodes have included discussion about being a survivor, about immigration policy keeping bi-national couples apart, about police profiling, playful expressions of sexuality through art, and many other things important to trans women, our partners, and our communities.”

Most subscription-based media sites have expensive subscriptions available to potential patrons, a cost that is very often prohibitive to the community Hill-Meyer is trying to reach; trans people, people of colour, and low income queer folks. We are on intimate terms with penury, in other words, and Hill-Meyer has taken a new approach to reaching us with her work. She has launched a Patreon page, which allows patrons to provide monthly support to creators’ projects, from a dollar on upwards. The funding is not only important for supporting Hill-Meyer’s creative work itself, but also funding the performers who make it happen. Pay for sex workers is an ever pressing issue and doubly so for trans people whose incomes disproportionately depend on this labour.

Her new Patreon page’s primary purpose is to create sliding scale memberships for her documentary, starting at three dollars a month, well below rates for most such websites. The hope is that this will support an economy of scale whereby large numbers of low-income people can support Hill-Meyer’s new erotic documentaries at rates affordable to them, in this case 36 dollars per year. It’s a bold and worthwhile endeavour that makes good use of a tool that has seen many people (your correspondent included, in the interest of full disclosure) make a living off of crowdfunding their work. Perhaps it can revolutionise the sale of queer/trans porn as well.

Katherine Cross is sociologist and Ph.D student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City specialising in research on online harassment and gender in virtual worlds. She is also a sometime video game critic and freelance writer, in addition to being active in the reproductive justice movement. She loves opera and pizza.

Sociologist and Unofficial Nerd Correspondent.

Read more about Katherine

Join the Conversation