Book Review – Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star [Meghan Chavalier]

Confessions_Meghan_Chavalier
Chavalier, Meghan Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star Bloomington: Author House, 2007.

Reviewed by Una, 27 October, 2013

Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star is a self-published autobiography by Meghan Chavalier, which tells of her life to age 38 when she finally has mostly retired from the business.

Born in small-town Wisconsin in 1969, Meghan’s early life was the most interesting to me because of all the parallels with my own life. In each of the many trans biographies I’ve read I find something of myself in there – but I’ve never found so many things in common with my life as Meghan’s life up to about age 16. Meghan’s early life is one plagued by an incredibly dysfunctional family, with the centerpoint being a violently abusive father. Her emerging gender identity disorder only makes brief appearances during her childhood – in fact, her gender identity is pretty much downplayed through most of the book.

Like many transwomen she joins the military, but manages to wash out very quickly. At this point we enter a very lengthy part of the book where Meghan details the wildness of her 20’s. On page 88 she states she is proud she was never a thief, but instead she’s just a mooch or sponge of epic proportions. For years she drifts along from one friend’s apartment to another, begging spare money and drugs from them, occasionally working short-term jobs which she drops at no notice, and always wiring her mother for money when all else fails. One gets almost dizzy reading of her perambulations back and forth across the country, living with this friend, doing drugs with that friend, etc. She enters the gay/drug scene of the 1980’s and we don’t see much sign of her gender identity emerging until she hits New Orleans.

In New Orleans she starts performing in drag on the stage, working hard and perfecting her technique, and eventually becomes a star of the drag show at Papa Joe’s. She bounces from relationship to relationship madly, and at this point becomes a hooker. Typically, her boyfriends don’t care that she’s having sex for money as they take her money for drugs and live off her.

An arrest for prostitution puts Meghan on the path to California, where by chance she ends up posing in some porn and fetish magazines. This leads to some small-time gigs in transsexual porn films, and as her popularity grows she eventually becomes a big name, becoming the first transsexual porn star to be under contract to a studio.

The rest of the book concerns the winding down of her career, and is pretty much a hundred pages of her having sex as a hooker/escort, taking dozens of boyfriends, having dangerous and bloody catfights with girlfriends, and always, always moving from place to place. She drops annoying hints of her having had sex with Eddie Murphy, Charlie Sheen, and one other famous Hollywood personage who I can’t identify (she says on the back that she will tell-all, but uses abbreviations as a code in the text). Her internet porn business booms about the time that accumulated illnesses, including poisoning from pumped silicone and a nervous breakdown triggered by 9/11, effectively end her film career. The book ends with her retired in Indiana with her ex-Marine significant other, running her porn sites and considering a writing career (she has written one other work under the name K.J. Siirila, The Mystical Journey: The Book of Elandor.)

My critical review of the book is that it’s, well, a little annoying. The worst part of the book was that being self-published it was in dire need of an editor with a firm hand. I stopped counting major grammar errors after the first 20 or so, and Meghan seems so averse to using commas that at times it’s difficult to tell the subject and the object of a sentence. This makes the book an unnecessary effort to read. The second issue is that the story is more rattling off names and places, rather than talking about feelings and her evolution as a transwoman, or the feelings and emotions of the other transwomen. Finally, one is left with the same impression one has after reading the autobiography of April Ashley – namely that Meghan is not a very nice person at all. By her own words she is a manipulator and user, who would think nothing of calling you her best friend while stealing your boyfriend behind your back for an affair. You spend a large part of the book thinking to yourself not “wow, what an interesting person,” but rather “wow, I’m sure glad I never ran into her.”

I hate to not recommend a book by another transwoman, but I confess it’s difficult to recommend this one. It gripped me in the early chapters, despite the grammar issues, but then lost me completely later on. I suppose I’d recommend it if you’d like some insights into the porn industry, but even there the details are somewhat sparse.

3 thoughts on “Book Review – Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star [Meghan Chavalier]

  1. Pingback: New Book Review – Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star [Meghan Chavalier] | Transas City

  2. chebear

    As one who has been in a relationship with a transgendered woman for 4 years now, (3 at the time of my reading it), I found Meghan’s autobiography to be a very helpful tool in understanding. It helped me to understand better not only the struggles experienced by the one I was in a relationship with because of her transgenderism, but also allowed me to see some of the ways my own attitudes and actions have been less than helpful. Meghan talked about emotions and experiences difficult for my girlfriend to talk about and this in itself provided insight to me. I came to Meghan’s book expecting just a pornographic account, but was pleasantly surprised at the understandings it was giving me. I recommend the book to anyone seeking to better understand transsexuality, its difficulties, emotions, challenges. I feel I am able to love better my girlfriend because of it.

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