The following article touches on issues related to depression, anxiety and addiction. Certain topics of discussion may be triggering.
At the 2019 XBIZ Awards this January, host Stormy Daniels was carried to the stage atop a glittering palanquin held by gay porn studs in jock straps and attended by a phalanx of drag queen nuns — nonprofit activist organization The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Daniels took the stage in a deep blue gown, jewels sparkling, blonde tresses aglow in the spotlight. The ballroom was packed with adult’s best and brightest. They applauded and cheered as she began her opening monologue and paid tribute to the night’s honorees. And then she came to a moment in her speech that brought the clamor of the crowd down to a low hush:
“In a year when sex workers were turned into political props — you may have seen my own name in a headline or two? — and in a year when the adult industry came under attack, yet again, from politicians who can’t quite seem to grasp the concept of free speech, we continued to innovate,” she said. “We kept pushing the national conversation on vital issues, from consent and personal agency, to social media etiquette and individual responsibility. We don’t always get it right, but we get it started. Tonight, we celebrate. But in the days and weeks to come, let’s remember to continue to honor each other. Let’s remember we all belong to the same family; a rising tide lifts all ships. We won’t always agree with each other. But when one of us wins, we all win.”
Earlier that week at the XBIZ L.A. tradeshow, a standing-room-only crowd attended a panel on consent. And it was the performers themselves who voiced their questions and concerns, their fears and their wish list for best practices among their industry colleagues. Time and again, XBIZ heard performers echo Daniels’ words and repeat the concerns voiced in the XBIZ L.A. panels: “Listen to us,” they said.
We’re taking their advice.
XBIZ reached out to industry advocates from various sectors and asked them to talk about mental health and self-care among performers.