The most traumatic day of my life was finding out I was HIV positive. In my life I have survived sexual abuse, a gamut of gay social exploitation, and a series of mental health issues that have taken me to the edge more times than I’d like to be reminded. This moment was the roughest and all others pale in comparison. I gave up my Hollywood starlet life, in order to focus on a calmer and healthier existence. I moved back to the home I once so desperately escaped to breathe and adjust. After a year of picking up the pieces and healing from the demands of my new found positive status I felt it was time to move on with my life. I felt a change of scenery was in order so I decided to take a job in a new city. The big “D” lured me in with its promise of a new beginning, but my fresh start turned out to be more disturbing than I ever could have expected. It eventually paved the way for me becoming gay porn star Rex Cameron.
Settling into my new city and job was distressing from the start. Picking up my HIV medication for the first time under my new insurance broke my heart. That was the moment I discovered my insurance did not cover my HIV medication. No help from my employer and not even the slightest amount of compassion from my insurance company. I was shit out of luck and have never felt more alone. Six months of daily fights with my insurance company and employer led me nowhere. When you fight your employer over HIV medication coverage it puts an illegal target on your back—and that’s that. I was able to get one month HIV medication coverage through the local LGBT resource center after that I was on my own. Five months later, Gilead the pharmaceutical company that made my HIV medication, stepped in to help. After hearing my story, Gilead paid in full my medication for a year. They swooped in and became my angels. No one has ever shown me compassion on that scale. I was humbled.
The final nail in my coffin came as a direct result of my openness. I’m somewhat of an ‘atomic cowboy’ a wild and unfiltered character that has been sharing his life with the world for years. I wrote an article about Ryan White and the onset of the AIDS epidemic in America for a local LGBT newspaper. In the article I outed myself as being an HIV positive gay man. To the ire of my conservative colleagues and bosses I found myself being asked to resign from my job; so I did. The greatest pain didn’t come from losing my job; it came from losing the man I was dating at the time. He was that rare guy that I genuinely had feelings for. Too proud, embarrassed, and bewildered to fill him in on my struggles so early on I stopped talking to him. I was protecting myself from any more hurt, but I didn’t realize that losing him would be a pain that would remain. He was the only man that ever made me believe that Superman existed. Little did I know our story would have a second chapter.
I found myself at the ultimate “fuck it all” moment. I wanted to give up—it was all too much. I had become a poster boy for HIV awareness; which wasn’t exactly all my choice. My thoughts shifted to not wanting this to be how things stand or allowing it to silently happen to any other HIV positive individual. I wanted to use my voice and experiences to inform or be a resource for others and I wanted to protect youth from ending up HIV positive. The question “how do most gay boys learn about gay sex” kept bobbing around in my brain. Finding myself sans job and really pissed off I took an offer that I had refused for years; that offer was to become a gay porn actor. I had a lightbulb moment, most gay boys learn about gay sex by watching gay porn. Signed, sealed, delivered I was on my way to getting pounded on camera.
I became a porn STAR before I even filmed my first scene. The pressure to live up to the hype surrounding me was constricting. Little did I know the obstacles that would be thrown my way. No porn actor would have survived an entrance to the scene like mine, but I did. For some ungodly reason I became a big name; my unconventional and all. Just because one films a porn scene does not guarantee being hired ever again. So the decision to do porn is not an easy one to make and porn is a forever reality. The offers began to pour in and I decided on a devilish first scene; a kinky Christmas themed gangbang filmed in front of a live audience of a few hundred men. I got so much hell for the scene, but of all the scenes I have done I am most proud of that one. Talking about sexual fantasies openly is a stigmatized subject and one of the root causes so many in the community end up HIV positive and exposed to chem sex. Fulfilling fantasies on the down low is more detrimental than most are willing to give credence to. I wanted to be a small force changing that. If I can film my fantasies then you can openly talk about yours without being vilified or given the stigma ‘scarlet letter’.
Filming the Christmas gangbang scene was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. By the end I was curled up in the fetal position, shaking, numb, and alone. I desperately tried to feel empowered, but I’m not the person who can trick himself into feeling something he doesn’t. I want to make it perfectly clear that how I felt had nothing to do with filming, it was me. I was treated with respect and care by all involved in the production. It took some courage to film that scene, but it also was a tremendous burden knowing the “talk” that would be awaiting me within the community. Filming an extreme scene leaves one vulnerable to judgment and as strong a person as I am I still was terrified of reactions. I knew the firestorm of judgment that I was in for. I had a difficult time justifying my decision to film it as a way to address the issue of gay sexual fantasies with that of how I felt after filming. I didn’t utter a word, not a sound the rest of the night after filming. I showered then laid on the bed, eyes open no blinking. I woke up the next morning in the same position. Some fantasies can be destructive emotionally and physically; talking about those in particular might take power away from the lure of extreme fantasies, at least that is my hope. I will forever be proud of the scene though because it represents my strength. It certainly took balls to film and to have dealt with reactions.
I didn’t let my unease over the gangbang scene deter me from filming again and my vanity is to blame. I had the distinct honor of being paired with every popular ‘top’ pornstar. I racked up an impressive fuck list that would make any bottom jealous: Ryan Rose, Trenton Ducati, Billy Santoro, Sean Zevran, Sebastian Kross, Austin Wolf, Dato Foland, Logan Moore, Sonny Colluci, Arad WinWin, Michael Lucas, Leo Forte, Adam Killian, Joey D, and Kayden Gray. Not to mention my lone top scene in which I buttered the biscuit of Ken Rambo. I have quite literally slept with the sexiest men in the world on and off screen. Each scene was special to me because the dynamics of each shoot were always different; meaning the chemistry I had with each individual scene partner was never the same. I fell hardcore in love with a few of my scene partners and I also went thermo nuclear war on a few others.
Not every shoot can be enjoyable. You won’t always have great chemistry with your scene partner. Imagine trying to stay hard for up to eight hours. Bottoming for shoots can be unimaginably difficult not to mention the ever-present fear of ‘did I clean out good enough’ and tops sometimes get catered to when it comes to comfort; a lot of demands are placed on the bottom. You also worry about your “performance” and your mannerisms. What else can I moan beside “ahhhhh fuck.” You pray to God that you look good and give good face. One word: hemorrhoids. With all that said, filming is an intense experience. Sometimes you get lucky, and you are left with an experience you will never forget.
My scene “The Trainer” from Hot House/Falcon Studios, with Sebastian Kross will go down as one of the most memorable days of my life. We were two peas in a pod and bonded instantly. Before the scene, we hung out in the dressing room, and he talked to me about his passion for music. He took his laptop out and taught me all about mixing songs. One detail that should not be omitted was that we did all this while fluffing ourselves for the scene. It was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life for the humor in it and because it was just two guys bonding over music and beating off. During breaks from filming Kross would stay inside of me, hold me, and kiss me; a beautiful experience.
Not every scene was as memorable. Filming one scene in particular was quite the challenge. My scene partner walked in ever so the diva. It caught me off guard and rattled me because I had been so excited to film with him. He waltzed in with nothing but complaints flying out of his mouth and a bad attitude on backup. We had little interaction on set before filming so when we began to film the atmosphere was uncomfortable to say the least. I am quite disciplined when it comes to dealing with negative people; I can hold my tongue quite well, but after the umpteenth time he referred to me as princess my patience began to wear thin. Bottoms are quite frequently filmed in difficult and uncomfortable positions add in taking huge dicks it can be a grueling experience for a bottom. During my scene “diva” top kept kicking my feet to give him more room and would bark at me to make positions easier on him. I was over him and my mouth soon let him know. After the tongue lashing I gave him not another complaint came out of his mouth, he also never spoke to me again. Although a tough shoot the scene turned out nothing short of sexual napalm.
I was extremely proud to have been an openly HIV positive gay porn actor. I welcomed the opportunity to show undetectable, HIV positive men as sexually viable and to contribute to the ending of HIV stigmas. I became a top gay porn star with a substantial following. My videos all did quite well and I assumed it would be easy for studios to hire me. That was not the case; through no fault of my own, the industry, or the porn studios. Laws, advocacy groups, and federal regulations are air tight in some states, while being less strict in others; these protocols can prevent HIV positive individuals from engaging in porn work (even condom adhering studios). This severely limited my opportunities to film for mainstream gay porn studios, the majority refuse to hire HIV positive porn actors. This was a frustrating aspect of the gay porn industry that I simply couldn’t wrap my head around. When an individual is HIV positive, but undetectable there is zero chance of spreading the virus. Add in the use of condoms and one could infer that undetectable, HIV positive porn actors would be a safer bet than self-proclaimed HIV negative porn actors, who in reality may not know their true status. I owe the porn studios who took a chance by hiring me a debt of gratitude. They believed in me, supported me, and never made me feel less than or stigmatized. Not all HIV positive porn actors are as lucky and most are relegated to doing sketchy bareback extreme scenes for little pay. I understand the reality of bareback sex and it’s not the demon it is made out to be. Getting real for a minute, the majority of gay men engage in bareback sex, whether due to the community turning condoms into a joke or because it’s a natural instinct for gay men. Bareback happens and when stigmatized as unnatural or the root cause of HIV it only further leads to risky hush-hush sexual experiences, the true origin of HIV transmission. The point that few make is encouraging EVERY gay male to receive their HPV, Hepatitis A and B vaccines, and to adhere to their PrEP regimen. When bare backing one is vulnerable to STI infections, but when proactive and not shying away from the reality that the majority of gay men engage in condomless sex individuals can better protect themselves and in actuality rediscover the sexiness in actually using condoms.
I am no stranger to the world of escorting and I started long before I became a pornstar. My mainstream starlet days living in West Hollywood exposed me to financial arrangements. I was a member of one of the most exclusive gyms in the world and I worked out with the A-list. I became friendly with some of the most famous men in the world to put it lightly. You aren’t paid necessarily for sex, but for your discretion. My lil’ black book may be the envy of all. Most pornstars are escorts and the stigmas associated with escorting should be put to rest. It has been strangely flattering to have had so many men want to spend time with me because they were fans of my sex videos or followed my social media. Superstars, self-identifying straight men, beautiful young men with crushes on me, and successful men with money have been the majority of my clientele. I have never tried hiding the fact that I have escorted and clap back anytime someone feels the urge to judge. I see in gay communities’ older gay men spending money on young gay boys for their “attention.” Financial arrangements are not limited to escorts; they are normal occurrences in gay culture. Judgments are hypocritical when you consider the hook up and bathhouse “slumming” nature of the gay community.
Social Media Stockholme Syndrome is an honest to god reality. Either someone is presenting their life as perfect and respectable or one will complain about acquaintances social media while continuing to troll them heavily. I am not the person who can cover up or smooth over any socially messy aspect of my life. It would have been easy for me to have played into being the dumb boy next door who never said anything alienating or not easy easily socially digestible. It would frustrate me to the umpteenth power seeing posts so blatantly reaching for likes; the ones you just knew someone stewed over for hours trying to come across witty. Some would post selfies in the ubiquitous “awe shucks” manner in an appeal for maximum likes and attention. I decided “fuck that” ya’ll are getting my crazy and challenging. So many tried calling me out over my posts, the message I was getting out, or because I simply shared my life without fear. I frequently was told “you can’t do THAT!” My response; Just watch me! I earned every like, share, and comment the hard way. Posting anything about my porn work drew the ire of many, but I didn’t let the criticism bother me. I figured their lazy ass social media paled in comparison to mine anyway. Checkmate.
Rex was a role, a character I created to deliver a message. The humor in that is I am terrible actress who couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag. Rex was always me. I perfected the role of being me. I think that’s why my scenes became so popular. My emotions were always real. I have no clue if my gay porn image helped any of the LGBT social issues I hoped to address. I hope in the very least that it has even in the smallest way destigmatized pornography and sex work in general. I am hopeful that it helped change some minds when it comes to respecting the humanity of HIV positive individuals and the struggles they encounter. Even in the simple thought of letting people know that its ok to talk about their sexuality without fear of stigmas was worth it all for me. Becoming Rex Cameron was one of the greatest experiences of my life and for what it’s worth I have never been prouder of anything I have ever done.