OnlyFans, Queerness, and the condescension of Sex Workers – Gay London Life

It’s a new year and to me, psychologically, it always feels like a fresh start. As corny as it may seem, I’ve always enjoyed the ‘marker’ of a new calendar year and the ability to set goals and work to a timeline. Maybe because I love working and making lists, or maybe because I love the satisfaction of achieving goals? Possibly a bit of both. The Christmas and New Year period is a precarious one for the queer community. I know that lots of us have fractious relationships with our born family due to our identities, which is both devastating and nauseating. I don’t know whether to cry about it or scream and flip tables. I come from an Irish Catholic family so loyalty and respect are both incredibly important to me; and the idea of being disrespected for something as boring as my sexuality drives me wild and frustrates me to the core. Some of us don’t celebrate at all, some have chosen families, and some like me, are lucky enough to have that strong family unit to rely on. And I don’t take it for granted, nor do I want to brag. I just wanted to go into this new year acknowledging the privilege of being accepted and having a support network — and hopefully give hope to some people reading this, that it’s not all bad.

The last year of my life has been complete chaos, exposing; and has been emotionally exhausting. Butm also very successful. I unknowingly fell into a deeply committed relationship with someone that I had never expected to, I was consistently booked and commissioned, I saw best friends get married, I travelled a lot, I went through Monkey pox, my dog died, I had my apartment fully renovated, I decided to end my podcast, and I launched OnlyFans. Which has caused such an interesting mix of responses from people including hate and judgement – and most surprisingly, from the queer community.

Considering the LGBTQIA+ rights movements owes so much to sex workers and so much of our scene is about unapologetic sexuality. A huge percentage of our campaigning is about safe sex, HIV education, PrEP, and equal sex ed for queer people – you’d be surprised at the amount of judgement that’s been cast upon my decision to begin creating content. Even I was surprised, to be honest – and I am used to being dragged left, right, and centre by cis queer men. To the point where I was scared and deeply suspicious of gay guys until I started working at Clonezone. The worst things that have ever been said or done to me, have unfortunately come from within our community – so for years I had by back up.

I had always seen OnlyFans as a natural progression for my work, especially considering the context of it. I’ve worked in adult toy and BDSM retail for 15 years, I’ve had sex toy review columns, I developed all of this into sex education work, and also work alongside loads of brands on the developments of products etc. I always knew that ‘content life’ would be on my path, I just wanted to be absolutely ready to commit myself to it. If I was going to do OnlyFans, I was going to really do it and properly. So I did it. I jumped in hard, expressing myself, and really inviting the subscribers into my bedroom.

“Queer people are allowed to be colourful, shopping partners, be comedians, the shoulder to cry on… but we aren’t allowed sexuality. We aren’t allowed to actually love pleasure.”

Topher Taylor

It’s not often I worry about what people think. Which wouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know me well, as I have an instinctive need to rebel. A need that gets me into trouble, and often. But I did have a little concern about what my family and straight friends would think. The public-facing queer community is very intertwined with sex work, so it’s not that provocative to us. Or so I thought.

The first surprise was the comfort my family and friends had with it. My parents were like ‘we don’t want to know, as we don’t read any of your work anyway, why would we want to know about our son’s sex life’ – which made sense and was reassuring. My female straight friends loved it, and it led to a few confiding in me their preference for gay porn which is fabulous. But it was gay guys who gave me the eye-roll response and the insinuation that I was reducing myself in some way. The main allusion was that it was below me and I’d reduced myself to some desperate-get-rich-quick-scheme. Some decided to post patronising responses to my promotion of content, some gossiped through my friends and colleagues — and someone even said to my face that they were laughing at me ‘shaking my ass for cash’.

“Some people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” – Madonna

I find it fascinating, just how much of this negative response came from how we are shaped by society as queer people, which was evident in the language used towards me. I wondered how many of us have this internalised sexual shame that is so deep-rooted that it encourages us to resent overtly sexual gay men – as we are somehow letting the side down and not keeping the straights happy. Like your pissed aunt at a wedding, showing the family up. As queer people, we are allowed to be colourful, shopping partners, be comedians, the shoulder to cry on… but we aren’t allowed sexuality. We aren’t allowed to actually love pleasure. I did a little sex-positive documentary for Channel 4 during lockdown number one and the abuse I received was overwhelming so simply enjoying my body. I’ve never been a fan of ‘pick me’ queers who worry so much about ‘letting the side down’ that they quite literally abuse their own. The cis gay male TERFS are very much like this, one labelling me as ‘Londons Premier Cum Dump’ – which I would like on my gravestone.

I’ve always been an unapologetic slut. I adore sex and I am really enjoying documenting my fantasies. I have a very healthy relationship with sex. Sex helped me grow in confidence and understand myself, as well as understanding my relationship with men as a whole. Sex gave me an avenue to unapologetically be myself and make up for lost years of confusion and FOMO at school – where I’d have to stand on the sidelines and watch my classmates mature – where I felt trapped as a child, desperately waiting to be released into the world. I’ve never felt ashamed of being sexual as I knew I’d earned this right and I am educated enough to understand the sacrifices made by those who came before me to fight for my freedoms. Sex work is work, whether you agree with it or not – and trust me, I have the tax bill to prove it. So, I will continue to enjoy my body and express myself — and if I can cash in on it too, then hey…lucky me!

Happy New Year.

From my GayLondonLife ‘TOPHER TALKS’ column.