[CW: post contains nudes]
It has taken a lot of big highs and fucking awful lows for me to get this blog to where it is at today. For those who have been following my writing/blogging from back in late 2011 when I started writing about flat track roller derby at Derby Frontier, through the Tumblr nude posts of 2015/2016, all the way to now, you’ll know that a lot of challenging shit has come up over the years.
At times, it likely looked like I was going to throw in the towel, and believe me I was close to doing just that on more than one occasion. But I’m glad that I worked through it all as staying at blogging has brought profound personal, emotional, romantic, social, and professional growth into my life.
There is, I feel, a lot to share from my experiences so far, which I hope can help others looking to start or grow their own sex blog. So, I finally decided to sit down and reflect on all that has happened these last few years by writing it all down. All the good parts, all the bad parts, and all the just fucking shitty bits.
For those interested, here’s the messy back story of Mx Nillin, all starting with:
My first venture into sex blogging happened sort of unintentionally. I had just retired my roller derby blog, Derby Frontier, and was looking for something new and exciting. In late 2015 I started a Tumblr page called The Battlecorn, which I was only semi-public about at first. I mainly used it to post about gender stuff and vent about dysphoria feels through sharing a bunch of trans positive memes as well as queer art, photography, and webcomics. But the longer I spent on Tumblr the more I found myself wading into the sexually explicit accounts and I was surprised to find that unlike mainstream porn there was a LOT of sexy, affirming, empowering stuff out there that I had no idea existed.
Like, there were all of these trans, queer, non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid content creators, as well as crossdressers, sissies, and femboys, just owning it and carving out spaces for themselves and each other. Each of them was in some way embracing who they were, exploring what brought them pleasure, and learning to love their bodies in radical ways that I had not been exposed to before. And I loved it.
Before long, I started to explore those aspects of myself as well. I felt invigorated, even liberated, and for the first time ever I was actually acknowledging needs, desires, fantasies, boundaries in healthy, positive ways. No more self-hatred. No more internalizing all that queerphobia and transphobia I had been exposed to for most of my life. I was gonna fucking own myself too!
I even started creating and sharing sexual content myself by uploading the occasional nudes and speaking openly about the whole process of learning to practice self-love.
It was all about reclamation really. Reclamation of my body, my gender, my sexuality, and my autonomy in general. And I hoped that by seeking this reclamation publicly I could help embolden and encourage others to do the same in whatever ways felt most comfortable to them.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last…
Fear and Slut Shaming in Moose Jaw
Small town talk spreads fast and when word got out about Nillin being naked on the internet, and talking about sex… well… that just couldn’t be, not while I was also involved in the board of Moose Jaw Pride. Turns out that some Moose Javians were concerned about the influence my sexual liberation would have on the city’s youth. They worried that I might walk into a school to do a presentation and that the school kids would search me on their phones and GASP… see sex/body positive content and pictures of my unmentionables.
So, it was your pretty typical case of sexphobia and slutshaming. People discovered that a semi-public queer figure dared to be naked and sexual on the internet and the community, which totally doesn’t enjoy sex or porn themselves or anything, freaked the fuck out about it and immediately painted said person as some soul corrupting, town destroying, fuck devil.
Because, you see, our acceptance in communities like this is often conditional. You’ll get your support so long as you don’t make TOO much of a scene. You have to be queer and trans quietly. You can’t be too loud, or too crude, or too outspoken. You can’t be too anything, really.
And it wasn’t any better amongst my fellow queer peers and allies. For days, behind the scenes discussion around my involvement in Moose Jaw Pride was dominated by questions regarding whether or not I could continue as a member of the board at all, whether I could be around youth, or if I could present diversity education in schools any longer. Now that my nudes and sex blog had been discovered, I was a risk to the organization because I represented a type of queer that cishet conservatives couldn’t possibly accept.
Through much of this period I felt consistently as though I was being treated as a sexual predator, like a liability, and as though I was being asked to keep aspects of myself closeted if I wanted to remain in any sort of leadership role. It was around this time too that i was in consideration for the position of Chair and it was made pretty clear to me that I couldn’t do that if I continued with The Battlecorn.
So, I deleted it all. The whole fucking thing. Every post, every image, every trace of it that I could find until The Battlecorn was no more. One had to go, and at that time I thought that it had to be the blog.
“You have to meet people where they are,” I was told as if that was some sort of reassurance (it wasn’t); which of course suggested that the work I was doing wasn’t right for this community. It was too abrasive. Too loud. Too open. Too, dare I say, queer.
[Note: this wouldn’t be the last time that locals would try to weaponize my blog against me, earlier this year somebody attempted to get me fired from my day job after they found my site.]
Burning All The Fucking Bridges
I regretted deleting The Battlecorn almost immediately. Even as I was voted in as Chair, there was a lingering sadness over feeling like I had compromised my identity, my values, and everything that I stood for and I wasn’t even sure if that was worth it. Unfortunately, over the months that followed, I slowly came to realize that it wasn’t.
As a last ditch effort to find some kind of compromise, I created mxnillin.wordpress.com. This was intended to be more “professional”, more “acceptable” and more, as you’ll remember from before, “meeting them where they are.” While I harbored a deep bitterness about censoring myself and writing for the sensibilities of the very sort of people who found me so unsavory, I took a deep breath and figured it was for the best.
The posts I made on the WordPress site were… muffled. I reviewed some LGBT positive TV shows, talked about the Canadian census’ lack of options for queer and trans folks, and wrote about anxiety using public bathrooms as a non-binary person. I mostly stifled my opinions and feelings, opting for a more neutral voice that pandered more to conservative readers than to my previous marginalized followers. But even then, sometimes my true feelings on topics would come out and my writing would become passionate. This usually upset my cishet acquaintances who generally disengaged when shit got too real for them. They only wanted to interact with this sunshine and rainbows version of the LGBT community that doesn’t really exist, but that media still tries to push out.
I don’t remember exactly what led to my breaking point, but there came a moment when I realized that enough was enough. I didn’t like who I was becoming. I didn’t feel good about the direction the organization was taking or about all that had happened before in regards to the “damage control” approach from my peers over my Tumblr blog. I felt completely deflated about having undone so much work that had made me feel really good, to instead serve as a glorified check signer.
Barely 6 months into my tenure as Chair I tendered my resignation and fully removed myself from all of Pride’s activities to focus on getting back to where I was at with The Battlecorn. I then began the hard work of reclaiming mxnillin.wordpress.com, making it into a pleasure focused, kink friendly, consent guided sex blog explicitly written with queer and trans folks in mind. I slowly found my voice, got back to engaging with other marginalized folks, and let my slut flag fly hard.
Just as I was getting into the full swing of things though, I was hit by another crushing blow.
WordPress Hates Your Nudes
Fact: WordPress is NOT an ally to sex workers, sex bloggers, or anyone who produces sexually explicit content of any kind, be it artistic or not, especially should you rely on said work for financial security.
So, what happened? Well, like most everyone else out there, I didn’t read WordPress’ ToS or their Mature Content Policy. Turns out that they are explicitly against any people using their platform to share and host any sort of content that is “sexually explicit” (I had reviewed The Crash Pad Series and written about sex comics), and prohibits ads to adult affiliate programs (of which I had one). My bad.
So, some good samaritan out there took it upon themselves to let the fine folks at WordPress know that I was peddling the pron and I was shut down. Fine.
After my initial breakdown and subsequent panic, I took a deep breath and, with help from my partner, began the arduous task of transferring everything over to self hosting. And thus THIS site, mxnillin.com, was born!
Turns out though, that this would be the absolute best thing to happen for me. In just under a year the site has grown in profoundly positive ways and I am now free to write and post as lewdly as I wish.
From this I have found an empowering and fulfilling sense of purpose, as well as an amazing community of queer, trans, and generally radical people all across the world.
Fact is that “free” blog or hosting sites, as well as most social media platforms that allow content creators to feature their work, are generally extremely sexphobic, sexist, and queerphobic in their policies and rules. Whether it’s a ban on female nipples (like Facebook and Instagram), or crackdowns that render all adult blogs invisible to the general public (thanks Tumblr), or rules that allow sexually gratuitous art but no lewd photographs of any kind (looking at you Fur Affinity), these sites tend to cater to and appease a very white, hetero, cis, and conventionally minded base.
Where Am I Going With All of This?
To all queer & trans bloggers, writers, artists, & creators: your work is beautiful, powerful, important, and we need it now more than ever.
I know that it’s hard, that it’s scary, and that it feels like there’s more stacked against you rather than in your favor; but your work matters. I need it, and so do countless others.
Empower each other. Enrich each other. Uplift each other. Promote each other. Tell your story & help those unheard tell their stories too. Especially the most marginalized among us.
This post was featured in Elan Morgan’s 416th Five Star Blog Roundup on October 4, 2017.