How Transgressive a Transsexual? The Contradictions in Transgression and Conformity Within Transfeminine Print Erotica

  • Chris Aino Pihlak University of Victoria


Mainstream transfeminine porn was the central element shaping mid-century American cultural understandings of transness. Despite this representational importance, the study of transfeminine erotica is a niche field. This paper helps fill this gap via analysis of eighty-six issues of erotica from the late 1960s to early 1980s. Pihlak demonstrates the contradictions in transfeminine desirability in these works. Despite overwhelming bodily normativity, the presence of a penis invariably led to models being framed as lurid, transgressive erotic objects. Pihlak’s findings demonstrate the insufficiency of the concept of normativity. Then and now, the smallest breach to normative white cisfemininity renders one’s claim to womanhood unstable. While this instability has material consequences for trans femmes, for many this precarity is solely an alluring invitation, to take a walk on the wild side.