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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2010

Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2010

It’s not news that mainstream and queer media alike are sorely lacking in positive images of trans women. Taking matters into their own, capable hands, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Fay Onyx, and Ronan Joy created Handbasket Productions, a print and video production company that creates and distributes oppression-aware and sex-positive media. The trio’s first full-length video, Doing it Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project, is truly a game changer. The first of its kind, this body-positive porn features trans women owning their sexuality, enjoying their bodies and representing themselves the way they want to be seen. First-time director Hill-Meyer won a Feminist Porn award for the production, and we’re betting she’s just getting warmed up. Handbasket Productions also publishes thought-provoking print media exploring complicated identity issues, sex work, racism, and other topics.

4. Prison Yard Hunk - Heather Cassils, Performance Artist

Performance artist and body builder Heather Cassils made history this year when she inflamed the pop culture landscape (and many of us at Velvetpark) with queer masculine desire. Famous now for playing a prison yard leather daddy and making out with Lady Gaga in the music video for “Telephone,” Cassils’s performance art installations continued to queer the boundaries of the art world in 2010 with pieces like Tiresias and Hard Times, which explored the physicality, spirituality and iconography of the transgendered body. Cassils’s critique of queer and mainstream cultures, and the places where the two collide is especially timely at this juncture in queer history: “To be queer is to be on the outside and to be on the outside is to be a force of resistance,” she says. “I think of my body as that, and I think of it as armature… It's not about just being accepted—it's about opening up people's brains a bit.”

5. Dyketacular - Barbara Hammer, Filmmaker

For fifty years Barbara Hammer has been at the helm of experimental film. As one of the first to radically depict lesbian sexuality on screen, Hammer produced a visionary body of work characterized by smart politics and revolutionary style. This year her avant-garde work was honored with a month-long retrospective at MoMA, and Hammer toured the country giving talks in promotion of her charming historical memoir, Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life (Feminist Press). In its depiction of inspired international travel, leather-clad motorcycle road trips, and a lifetime of lesbian bed-hopping, Hammer! offers a poignantly profound view of lesbian life across the decades and showcases one of the most cherished voices of our community in all of its spunk, intelligence, and sex appeal.