Bridging the Divide

BUCK ANGEL descends on Big D to spread his emancipating gospel. The F-to-M stud wants to liberate us from gender and sexuality labels that impede the ability to define ourselves.

Near the Ervay and Main Street crosswalk in downtown Dallas, a disheveled man approaches Buck Angel and asks for spare change. Reaching into his back pocket, Buck fishes a dollar bill from his handsome leather wallet.

“Get yourself a cup of coffee. You. Need. A. Cup. Of. Coffee,” Buck crisply articulates each syllable.

The man accepts Buck’s kindness and bows his head with deep respect.

“I used to be homeless,” Buck says while crossing the street. “One dollar won’t buy him any coffee, but at least I’ve planted the idea. That way he might not spend it on alcohol.”

Buck had different name during his homeless period: Susan.

YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY: Buck Angel (then Susan) was signed to Elite Model Management as one of the agency’s hottest androgynous faces.

In the mid-‘80s, Susan was an androgynous high-fashion model represented by Elite Management — the agency that exploded with success after discovering Cindy Crawford. While photographers loved Susan’s androgyny, the profits went right up her nose.

She self-medicated a painfully unresolved gender dilemma. After cocaine destroyed Susan’s promising fashion career, she bound her chest with Ace bandages and wore baseball hats to perform $20 blowjobs to score crack, which quickly led to homelessness.

Almost 30 years later, Buck Angel can speak lightheartedly of Susan’s tragic past. While drinking coffee at Porta di Roma’s outdoor patio near the Neiman Marcus flagship, Buck scrolls through photos of Susan on his iPhone. While discussing the image that accompanies this article, I mention that the freckles and smile make Susan look happy.

“You think?” Buck asks. “I see sadness in the eyes.”

Susan eventually found sobriety and corrected her gender conflict. Almost 25 years later, Susan has morphed into an undeniably smoking-hot muscle-daddy known as Buck Angel, the female-to-male porn legend. As an award-winning performer, Buck straddles a number of erotic genres: leather-kink gay, lesbian, transsexual and even “feminist porn.”

At 51, Buck now lives in Mexico’s Yucatan region with his legally recognized wife, Elayne.

Buck recently visited Dallas to deliver the keynote at the 22nd annual Beyond Vanilla conference. His speech was a sold-out success — a first in Beyond Vanilla history.
“It was incredible. After my talk, people cried while thanking me because my message affected them so much,” Buck recalls.
What’s his message?

“Deprogram yourselves!” Buck says.

“The source of so many problems is when people try to force themselves into some type of box: Gay. Straight. Bi. Transgender. Man. Woman … People box themselves in so they can relate to the world. Because that’s what society understands.

“I’m really happy with my body because I’m a man with a pussy. I’m proud of my pussy. But I identify as a man — not because it’s society’s definition. I’m my own man.”

[one_half]“I’m really happy with my body because I’m a man with a pussy. I’m proud of my pussy. But I identify as a man — not because it’s society’s definition. I’m my own man.”[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buck was raised in a hyper-masculine household. His dad was a runningback who earned a living playing for a professional Canadian football team. His mom, however, served as a demure and dutiful wife.

“To me, my femaleness was a weakness. I strived for strength. My dad raised me to be a fighter,” he says.[/one_half_last]

At around 10 years old, Buck was caught wearing his father’s underwear. And if a family occasion called for the girls to wear skirts, a fierce tornado of rebellion would erupt.

Buck says his family is supportive and loving, and that his two sisters weren’t at all surprised by Susan’s manly transformation.

Buck’s transformation, however, continues. His focus is shifting away from performer and towards being a messenger. However, his message is one that’s unrestricted by political correctness or having to represent a particular group.

“Listen, I do not identify as a ‘transman.’ And in no way whatsoever do I represent the transgender community. I think the transgender community needs to deprogram itself,” he says.

“The transgender community has made some great accomplishments. But I feel they’re boxing themselves in with their rigid use of labels. GLAAD and militant transgender people have criticized me for using the word ‘tranny,’ which I totally disagree with. But I don’t speak for anyone other than myself,” Buck says.

Perhaps Chaz Bono enjoys being a GLAAD-sanctioned celebrity. But Bono has announced that he’s pursuing penis-construction surgery.

“If you want that, more power to you. But I don’t think the procedure is up to par with my expectations of perfectionism,” Buck says.

 

[one_half]Buck recalls a trans friend who underwent phalloplasty — where a penis was constructed from an arm tendon and tissue from his backside.

“He ended up with, like, a sock of flesh that had stitching marks down the middle. Somehow this was attached to his body. Then he spent six months in pain recovering from the skin grafts, which left him covered with scars,” Buck says.

[/one_half][one_half_last]

He ended up with, like, a sock of flesh that had stitching marks down the middle. Somehow this was attached to his body. Then he spent six months in pain recovering from the skin grafts, which left him covered with scars,

[/one_half_last]“Before my friend killed himself, he told me with tears in his eyes, ‘If I’d met you beforehand, I would have never had the surgery.’”

Buck keeps tabs on advances in bottom surgery.

“But if you look at the results of procedures performed today, the pictures look exactly the same as they did 20 years ago. On top of that, 50 percent lose their ability to have an orgasm,” Buck says.

Buck says those remarks have caused the transgender community to label him a “trans misogynist.”

“Listen, dude,” Buck says. “I don’t have a penis, and I’m the happiest man in the world.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/hannah.danielle.12 Hannah Danielle

    Fuck that guy.

    • Buck Angel

      Nice response:) Shows how much more work we have to do..Hannah-ever see that movie “Idiocracy”? People hate hearing the truth.

      • http://www.facebook.com/hannah.danielle.12 Hannah Danielle

        Buck, I’m the fuckin’ PARAGON of truth.I actually agree with a lot of what you have to say. Your problem is that you keep appropriating and abusing trans people’s experiences to suit your own ends and frankly, I, like many other people, feel that you should shut the fuck up about other people’s experiences when you haven’t lived them. You have a lot of good messages, but they tend to get tarnished when they’re accompanied with throwing people under the bus and not listening to people when they try to explain how you’re being harmful. Ya got no class, kid. Clean that up and maybe you’ll get more support from trans people everywhere. Until you’re able to do that, I, for one, will continue to point out to people who bring you up just how shitty you can be.

        • Buck Angel

          Hannah, good for you for thinking that your making a difference by pointing out nothing but your hate for me:) in the end all that matters is that I have saved many lives and help many people feel great about themselves. Wonder why it is ok for you to “point out ” things that you feel are wrong but when I do it I am “shitty” . You should actually grow up buddy. I have LOTS and LOTS of trans fans and it just keeps growing. So just make sure you spell my name right because there is no stopping me. I have a big voice and will continue to make a big difference.

          Have a great life because I sure do.

          Peace.

          • http://www.facebook.com/hannah.danielle.12 Hannah Danielle

            …and you’re still doing it. Whatever, Buck.

          • August

            What exactly is the transgender male community so pissed off about? What are YOU so upset about Hannah? I’m a transgender man and have never understood where all of this animosity towards Buck is coming from and the fact that it’s coming from the very community that Buck is trying to help and support is BEYOND me! smdh

            What exactly has he DONE to offend you or the transmale community? Will somebody PLEASE educate me???? Are you ALL offended because he is comfortable being a man with a vagina? Or is it because he makes adult films? Which is it or is it both? Honestly from what I can see, the fact that he doesn’t hate his vagina which is apparently expected, is clearly the REAL issue and what you all seem to be the most afraid of. The irony of it all, is that many of the very same transmen that you are defending and who seem to take issue with the fact that Buck is comfortable being a man with a vagina, go around shouting from the roof tops about how what’s between your legs isn’t what makes you a man and then in the very same breath, can’t seem to deal with the fact that Buck has a pussy and is just fine with it (throwing my hands up in the air). News flash Hannah, he isn’t the only trangender man who is comfortable with what’s between his legs. There are many in the community who like Buck, consider themselves men though and through, but who are quite comfortable with having a vagina. Buck just happens to be brave enough to come forward with how he feels on a very public level that many of us could never do and I for one am VERY proud of him because in doing this, he has helped so many. Oh and incidently, those transgender men who would like to be more comfortable with their bodies and who aren’t, are finally getting there and it is because of Buck.

            Unfortunately our community is filled with hypicrits. It seems to me that these men have body issues of their own that are unresolved and as a result, are taking it out on Buck and that really is sad. Instead of supporting him the way that he continues to support us all in the community regardless of how shitty he’s been treated by his brothers, they would rather turn their backs on him and put him down by spouting hate just as you are, when all he’s tried to do and tirelessly I might add, is to empower thousounds of not only transgender men, but many in society outside of the community as well, by encouraging freedom of expression and acceptance of self through not only his adult film work, but through his many lectures and speaking engagements. Buck is a genuine soul with a loving heart and I for one will continue to support him and his message and if you and the ever critical and frankly ignorant transmale community cannot get around your narrow minded purist selves and open your eyes to the important work that Buck is doing for not only the present transmale community, but for future generations who might otherwise grow up hating who and what they are, but for Buck’s positive message, then I truly do feel sorry for you.

            God bless you Buck and ALWAYS stay strong and remember that you are NEVER alone. You are this transman’s hero and a bad ass trail blazer! My friend, the world is a much better place with you in it.

            -August

  • Rodd Gray

    Buck I absolutely agree with you about labeling! I’m so tired of being politically correct knowing very well I’m not pleasing anyone by calling them the label that they prefer today…… We are all one world and the sooner we stop using labels we will become one world! You are awesome!

  • Felicity

    One of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. Good job Buck! So proud of you.