Stopping the Stigmas of Sex-Work

Originally doing adult performance to support his undergraduate degree, for Enby Jupiter, it has become so much more. What was once a hobby has now blossomed into a passion, filling him with confidence and allowing him to inspire others. Describing himself as politically-driven, his new stage show From My Bedroom seeks to fight the stigma against his work with particular focus on the empowerment of minority groups. We spoke to him about the show and discussed where it all started for him and where he imagines it going.

 

What came first for you, online performance or stage performance?

They merged at roughly the same time for me. I began my career as a sex worker when I turned 18 which was also the year that I started my theatre course at University of Chichester. As I studied, I found links that combined my online life and my theatrical life, so becoming a performance activist came naturally on the way.

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There is a stigma against sex work and adult performance – how does that manifest itself in your experience?

As I work online only rather than offering personal meet-ups, my social media is my job (and in some ways, my life). It’s very easy for people to hide behind the anonymity of the internet and hurl whatever abuse they want – people will critique anything and everything about you, so you develop a thick skin pretty quickly. The block button is your friend, however there are those that take it further. Internet trolls and bullies will try and infect your real life too and expose your information and work to those who you may not want to find out. I’m very lucky in that my parents know about my performance – as do the staff at my vanilla job – and are nothing but supportive!

 

How did you get into adult performance?

I initially started camming in my tiny box-room at university to earn some extra money and support myself. I was quite clueless to begin with as I thought it would be simple – that’s the most common misconception, I think. I would go on cam every couple of nights and get a maximum audience of ten people. It was frustrating, but I was freshly 18 and hadn’t done much research into the work I was doing. Then I realised I had to make an important decision: if I wanted to pursue this and go from using sex work as a hobby to creating a successful career, I would have to treat it like an actual career. It was going to take endless research (I have many notebooks filled with scribbles and notes), persistent posting and confidence – even if I had to fake it to begin with. I was also aware that if I decided to go ahead, it would stay on the internet forever. I knew becoming a sex worker would mean the end of some paths; I could never become a teacher, for example. I knew I might lose some friends or even family along the way. Finally, I decided that adult performance was what I was passionate about, so I joined a few clip sites and made multiple social media accounts to establish my brand and grow my audience, and I’ve never looked back.

 

Has it helped you with body confidence?

Absolutely, getting to explore my body and presentation throughout my gender transition has been a great experience. I began performing online before I started hormone replacement therapy and surgery and it allowed me to play with gender expression without any pressure from people who knew me in real life. When I was a baby sex worker, I was often concerned that I wasn’t dressing masculine enough and that my gender would be invalidated because of how I like to present myself and the clothes I like to wear – I never worry about that these days. For every hateful comment, there’s a mountain of support from both fans and other sex workers alike. I wouldn’t be as confident with myself today if it wasn’t for the strength I’ve found in this community.

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Have people underestimated you as a performer, or indeed as a person, due to your disability?

Almost constantly. I use a cane full-time and a wheelchair part-time which people seem to take as consent to do and say the weirdest things. I get asked a lot about how I do daily tasks, as if there’s only one way to do something. I don’t usually mind answering questions, but it gets to the point where I get so tired of it that I will go out of my way to appear more able-bodied (which often causes harm to myself) so I can avoid the invasiveness. I want people to understand that we adapt and get on with life – it’s what humans do best!

 

Do you think labels are helpful in 2020?

For some, it can be empowering and help them understand parts of their identity, but I think it depends entirely on who is using the labels and what they are. Labels on things such as sexuality can help people feel less alone and can create specific support for them and the struggles they may face, that others can’t relate to. I have noticed points however, where labelling suddenly becomes toxic. Rather than uniting and affirming people, it is used to separate and exclude. The labels SWERF (Sex work exclusionary radical feminist) and TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) were initially created by queer folks and sex workers to warn others about hateful behaviour of some who claimed to be feminists, and some exclusionary feminists now use this label for themselves and have created a community around it based on hostility and resentment. As long as you’re not using your label to hurt others or trying to reclaim a slur when it never applied to you to begin with, they can be very useful.

 

What’s the ultimate goal for From My Bedroom?

From the very beginning of the creative process, I’ve known that I want this piece to be a way to raise awareness of sex work, and what it actually means to be a sex worker. Despite being one of the oldest professions in history, many people are still clueless as to what actually happens and how hard we work, which then leads to the rampant whorephobia and misunderstanding in society. Ignorance seems to be the root of a lot of hatred and – like any other topic – it needs to be talked about to educate others.

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What are you reading, watching and listening to right now?

I’m reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, one of my favourite artists of all time. I’m watching, Tuca & Bertie on Netflix. There’s something about existentialism that gets a lot easier when you watch it in the form of cartoon birds. I’m listening to Mother Mother’s entire discography on repeat.

 

What else are you working on?

After performing the scratch at Camden People’s Theatre, I’d like to keep developing From My Bedroom into a longer performance and look more in-depth at the industry. Whilst my performance does celebrate the freedom and joys of sex work, there are many negatives and dark secrets that can’t be swept under the rug and need to be talked about.

 

Enby Jupiter will be performing From My Bedroom at And What Festival 23 March

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