Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-04-14

FAT SEX WEEK XXL: Interview with Cinnamon Maxxine

Welcome one and all (who are knowingly entering into this adult-themed conversation)! This is Fat Sex Week XXL, the second edition of QueerFatFemme.com Fat Sex Week where I explore many facets of fat sex. Named for Magic Mike XXL, which was even better than the first Magic Mike, I’m hoping this edition is louder and fatter than ever before! Check this tag for all of the posts!

When I say stripper if you bring to mind a White, cisgender, feminine presenting and seemingly straight thin woman, there’s so much more to the world available for you. Just like people, excellent strippers come in all shapes, sizes and presentations. If you are a regular consumer of stripping entertainment and you assume most of the people performing in the club are straight and they are cisgender, you haven’t read my blog long enough. Gender doesn’t have anything to do with your perception of a person’s presentation. It is a personal choice that requires an ask. (And a whole lot of queer folks are strippers.)

It’s the White Capitalist Heteropatriarchy that is keeping strip clubs so homogenous. And sadly, the Unionized strip club in San Francisco, The Lusty Lady, is no longer. But there are still lots of strippers of all different shapes and sizes out there, performing their hearts out for the audiences lucky enough to see them, even if they don’t perform in clubs. (And if you know about clubs that have size diverse strippers please leave a comment!)

I saw Cinnamon Maxxine perform last summer at the Desiree Alliance conference and they were magnificent. Seriously, one of the best strip performances I had ever seen and I’ve produced a lot of shows. There’s a magic and charisma a person has on stage when they are really enjoying it and know how to engage their audiences. I wanted to interview Cinnamon for Fat Sex Week to find out more about their stripping performance, and self care.

Photo of Cinnamon from my friend Amanda Arkansassy‘s project Femme Space. Read Cinnamon’s statement to go along with this piece at the Femme Space website.

The basics: What’s your pronoun?

They/Them

What was the conversation about sex like in your family and community growing up? How do you think it’s helped or harmed you becoming your authentic self?

We didn’t talk about sex growing up. My mom didn’t really offer up those conversations readily. When it came time for sex ed in school, my mom wouldn’t sign the forms. So the next time sex ed came around, I went to my dad and it took a little convincing, but he signed it.
I feel like the lack of openness around sex only led to me feeling really shy, scared, and self conscious in my own private sex life. Yes, I’ve done porn, yes I’ve done sex work, but that’s all performative and it’s very different than what sex is like in one personal life.

How did you get started stripping, porn performing and doing sex work? How has it evolved for you?

I started stripping because I needed a job. I also figured it would be fun. I figured I would be able to perform a little bit and that was appealing to me. I got hired at the Lusty Lady and loved it. From there I met other sex workers and got involved in other types of work. Once you’re in, it’s easy to find ways into other types of sex work.

I started doing other sex work in 2008 and porn in 2009. When I started escorting, I kind of just jumped in and went for it. Then from there I started doing private parties and events. That turned out to be my jam. I love private parties and events. I have the most fun doing that type of work and I’m not terrible at it and I also make money. It’s a win win win.

I’ve continued to do events and private parties, however, I haven’t really done any escorting for a few years because I was really burned out and my mental health couldn’t take it anymore. I always figured I would get back to it eventually, but right now, I’m taking a break for as long as I need.

In your bio for the Desiree Alliance conference after party show you said that stripping is the thing you love to do most. What is it about stripping that brings so much joy for you?

I think I love the performance aspect for sure. I also enjoy having a crowd to perform for. Performing while fat and black is really empowering for me as well. I’m also incredibly shy normally, but being the center of attention for anywhere from 5 mins to a few hrs is really amazing.

What are some numbers you have in your repertoire in case anyone out there books shows or special events?

The acts I get most requested is the one that’s a little more performance artsy where I hand out love notes to the audience and the act where I pull pearls out of my pussy.

Cinnamon you once told me your ritual before you perform in a stripping competition, would you share it with my readers?

LOL, I don’t get to do this much anymore because I’m far more broke and I kind of miss it.
But it went like this:
I’d wake up and spend an hr or so planning my day and figuring out everything I needed for the competition or work event. Usually my first stop was the wig shop, followed by picking up an outfit. Sometimes if I had a little extra money, I’d go to Foxy Lady on Mission st, otherwise I’d hit up this random clubwear store, I think it was near 18th and Mission. If I couldn’t find anything there, I’d stop by Fabric Outlet and get material to make my own outfit. After Fabric Outlet, I’d treat myself to lunch, then get my nails done, then pick up some jewelry, then head home. This literally took most of the day. These things are all pretty time consuming and I was also taking public transit.

What has the process of coming out as gender non-conforming has been like for you?

I think I’ve always just been where I’m at in any given moment about my gender. And those around me, excluding my bio family, kind of always just accepted me where I was at. I don’t think that any formal coming out was necessary. I also didn’t have any words for what I was feeling gender wise. When I started working at the Lusty, I was meeting new people and through that I was able to find some words for what I was experiencing.

But the biggest hurdle wasn’t necessarily coming out, but finding words to even do that.

Can you share the affirmation you do every morning?

I’ve had a lot of those! Right now, I’m telling myself Something my grandmother always used to say, “ Everyone is just doing the best they can.” Which I don’t always believe, but it helps sometimes.

A sign from the Desiree Alliance protest, an annual part of the conference where folks attending march in protest with signs. The attendees are current and former sex workers, businesses that work with sex workers, direct service organizations, sex worker’s rights organizations, policy makers and creators, and academics who study sex work make up the diverse conference. The next conference is in 2018.

What is your self care practice?

I love video games, hamburgers, bacon, mac n cheese, and making art stuff. I’m also learning how to speak up for myself. I’ve had a really hard time doing that in the past and it’s really taken a toll on my mental health. It’s not a fun part of self care, it’s been really hard, but it’s really made a difference in my life and how much I respect myself.

You are a person who is really great at asking for the help you need. Are there any tips you can give to folks about how to feel more confident asking for help?

I don’t feel confident! I’m always really scared about asking for help. However, I know it’s really hard, but just do it. It’s so much easier said than done to literally just ask for help, but you have to. Talk about it with some close friends or family first if you feel like that might help. You can sort some thoughts and figure out what kind of help is going to be most, well, helpful, and then put that out there to the universe. I often use Facebook, but you don’t have to.

What are some of your fat sex tips? Favorite sex toy?
I love sex with other fat people. I really enjoy grabbing other people’s fat.
My favorite sex toy was my Hitachi, but it was stolen some years ago and I haven’t been able to replace it.

Links to current projects and links to how to paypal/venmo to support you.

I use Venmo and that’s the best way to throw me money just for existing.
Cinnamon Maxxine / @CinnaMaxx on venmo

I also have a Patreon that, however, I don’t post that often, but I do still appreciate patrons and followers.

I’ve also been raising money to save toward an RV because I’ve been homeless off and on so much in the last several years. I feel like an RV is my best bet in my current situation for some sort of housing stability. I’ll be putting up the link to that fundraiser on my Facebook. You can follow me on Facebook.

Thanks so much for contributing to Fat Sex Week, Cinnamon!

2014-12-05

Black Lives Matter–Aggregating Information and Resources for White Folks to act in Solidarity

I’ve been feeling really impotent around the recent injustice where white policemen killed unarmed black men and grand juries failed to indict them. This is not a new story. There has been systemic killing and imprisonment of Black folks for a very long time.

IMG_20141205_125422From the Instagram feed of Mx Justin Vivian Bond at last night’s NYC protests.

Two songs keep running through my head the last week since the Ferguson grand jury failed to indict, the verse of the 1983 Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel song White Lines that goes “A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time/He got out three years from now just to commit more crime/A businessman is caught with 24 kilos/He’s out on bail and out of jail/And that’s the way it goes/Raah!”

And the song by Le Tigre, Bang Bang! where they count the bullets that police shot into unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo in 1999, I just keep counting to 41. “There is no fucking way this is not about race./Who’s gonna call 911/When they can’t tell a wallet from a motherfucking gun?”

I feel really impotent because I don’t really believe the system is going to change and I don’t know what to do. Some people take to the streets and protest. I get really freaked out in huge crowds, especially protests. So while other people are taking to the streets to protest I’m wondering what to do to act in solidarity with Black folks and talk about the fact that Black lives matter and the disproportionate imprisonment of Black folks and the killing of Black folks by police officers is genocidal and it is wrong.

I think “justice” system is a misnomer. This shit has happened again and again why is it still happening? Why are the prosecutors who work with the NYPD all the time responsible for grand jury indictments? Why aren’t we addressing systemic racism in the police force? Why aren’t these police officers being imprisoned for murder? This article kind of sums up how I feel about the “justice” system, with the exception that I took criminal law and it made me sick to my stomach to realize criminal prosecution is basically a chess game where people’s lives are at stake.

What seems different now is that there is more more public outrage than ever before and more movement. Yesterday I saw a white plus size model I follow on instagram post about her outrage about the Ferguson grand jury and the Eric Garner grand jury results. I realized that by not saying anything I was not doing anything. So I needed to at least say something.

Something I know that I have the ability to do is signal boost, so here are some of the writings, actions and movements that have meant something to me that I want to bring to my readers. It’s important to keep reading and staying engaged in things, even when we feel powerless. There are still things to do. Maybe the system won’t change but we can open up people near us. We can call in folks who are doing and saying racist things, especially right now.

As Chris Rock tweeted, “Just found a new app that that tells you which one of your friends are racist. It’s called Facebook. #FergusonDecision”

December 18thHealing Justice for Black Lives Matter: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha started this by deciding to donate all of her proceeds from tarot readings the day of December 18th to the Black Lives Matter movement. She has catalyzed healers from all over the US to do the same (now they’re up to 50+ healers, in NYC, Toronto, Chicago, Oakland, Minneapolis, etc…). Check out the ever evolving event page to connect with folks in your town or who are offering herbal medicines, etc… to benefit this cause.

Read the Herstory of the Black Lives Matter Movement: It was started by three queer Black women and has since been twisted and co-opted. Know the herstory when you use the hashtag.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

10835209_827282524012516_9146511200801306480_oFrom the Humans of New York Facebook page.

Check your language, and speak out even when it’s scary: I like when folks remind us that Stonewall was a “rebellion” not a “riot”–language matters in these movements and I think that the Ferguson protest was/is a rebellion. I also think it’s important to continue to signal boost Black lives matter. Sure, every human is worth dignity, but right now Black folks are being targeted, and we’re acting in solidarity with them.

Read 12 Things White People Can Do Because, Ferguson: “I am challenging white people to consider carefully whether failing to speak out or act because of those fears is justified when white silence and inaction mean the oppression and death of black people.”

Stand-With-Monica-Jones-web-lrg1

Read about Monica Jones: Monica Jones is a Black transwoman who was arrested last year just for walking down the street by two undercover cops. The cops decided that because she was a Black transwoman she was soliciting sex work. This article breaks down “Walking while trans” as “a succinct summation of the interconnected biases against trans women (and trans people more broadly, sometimes called transphobia) and against people who trade sexual services for money or other things (sometimes called whorephobia) and bound up in that special sauce of racism.” Further, it talks about why it’s so important that Monica Jones is fighting back.

She was just deported this week by Australia when she arrived for a speaking engagement in a way that seemed clearly pre-meditated by Australian Immigration Officials.

Read about why our “justice” system is not about justice. If you’re feeling apathetic about what is going on, it should rile you up.

If you get freaked out about talking to people about racism, confronting folks or calling them in, read this masterpost about talking about Ferguson. It’s dense and full of info, and you need to give it some time, but it could really help you have these conversations that are scary and hard. It’s important to confront racism when you read it (on facebook) or hear it (at work/in your family/etc). As white allies, it is important to not just say we’re allies but do the work.

We want to give you tools to support that work and that dialogue. If you’re facing tough questions from friends, family, colleagues, or even perfect strangers, we hope this will help you answer them. We need to collectively build support and awareness to build a better society, and part of that means challenging those who assume “we are already there,” exposing those who would further marginalize already disenfranchised communities, and educating those who do not see why any of these things are issues in the first place.

Redistribute wealth: If you have means and want to redistribute wealth to help the grass roots folks on the ground, this google doc has info on various 501(c)(3)s mobilizing to help.

I was really moved by what the widow of Eric Garner had to say about the officer’s “apology” for killing her husband. So far the video has already got over 5 million views. If you can’t watch a video there’s a transcript here.

“No, I don’t accept his apology. No, I could care less about his condolences,” she continued. “He’s still working. He’s still getting a paycheck. He’s still feeding his kids, when my husband is six feet under and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids now.”

Marianne Williamson wrote a great article about the deficit America has regarding race relations after the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson.

We need to apologize, and we need to make genuine amends. America needs to pay long overdue war reparations, and until we do, we will not move forward in any meaningful way. America needs more than forgiveness; we need genuine repentance, and restitution for our national sins.

A black person is killed by police every 28 hours. We need to do something. Confronting racism in our workplaces, families, communities, everywhere is something we can do to begin to create change.

In the words of my friend Mizz June, “Fight darkness with light. Combat rage with love. Unexpected reactions create change.”

If you have other articles/resources that have things white folks can do about racism, please post them in the comments.

2013-12-17

Link Farm: Marriage is not a Coupon to Redeem, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Supporting a Loved One through PTSD

I have three things to share with you today that I’m pretty excited about. The first is an article I wrote for Autostraddle to celebrate the launch of their fancy new redesign! It’s all about marriage rights for queers and how marriage isn’t our only option.

“Marriage is like a chlorinated community pool that we now have access to. I think that people forget that queers have been swimming in the ocean the whole time. We have always had to be creative about how we create our love relationships and, now that we don’t have to be creative, I hope we still can be.”

Check it out on Autostraddle!

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This dress is the closest thing I have to a wedding gown right now and I love it so deeply. Gratuitous shots of two of my favorite people and heroes, Barbara Carrellas and Kate Bornstein. The documentary about Kate is available to tour to schools and festivals, get in touch with Sam the director–I saw it last weekend and it is phenomenal.

The second thing is that it is December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. It’s a day of remembrance and solidarity for folks lost this year. Sex work is work, and it can be extremely dangerous as media, laws and other social constructs create a society in which sex workers are not seen as people who deserve protection and are disposable. Working to legalize sex work is something I’ve been interested in since I was in law school over a decade ago. Right now I work with Desiree Alliance, an organization that brings together harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers.

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Me and Jacqueline at the Desiree Alliance Conference last summer. The next one is in the Summer of 2015.

To borrow from my friend Fancy Feast, who says it so eloquently:

I would be nowhere without the sex workers in my life. Today and every day we need to be doing what we can as allies and advocates to make their work safer. That means all sex workers everywhere, not just the white ones, not just the cis ones, not just the ones with college degrees. Every. Last. One of them.

You can learn more about December 17th events and projects here.

The third link I wanted to share was this article about Supporting a Loved One Through PTSD or Panic Attacks. I’ve been going through a lot lately both on my own level with many deaths (three in total) and then also as a caretaker and supporter of a person with breast cancer. As of this morning, I’m maybe going through the process of putting down my other cat (I put down Bear six months ago). It’s a lot! And the last three weeks have been kind of a huge emotional roller coaster. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a difference in care and support and I liked this article and thought it might be useful for folks who look at someone going through a hard time and wonder what to do. For me, right now, it’s just folks being there and being willing to listen.

Often in the midst of the episode, the distressed person doesn’t necessarily have their full vocabulary and can’t articulate exactly what they need in that moment. Afterwards, they may avoid talking about it out of embarrassment, fear, or a desire to preserve the peacefulness of the present.

So how do you learn what is helpful?

If you’re like my partner, mostly through trial and error. However, this cartoon inspired me to draw up a list of tips, taking from my own preferences as well as those of some friends. They’re not universal, but they’re a starting point, I think, for the right mindset.

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My friend Avory cuddling ALF on Friday night.

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