I attended the return of the GayVN Awards as a guest speaker this past weekend to speak during the ceremony on matters of race in the gay porn industry and the LGBT community. What was a truly humbling and unexpected honor is the industry seeing fit to recognize my achievements this past year with 2018 GayVN Awards ‘Performer of the Year’. While this is an honor to be sure, what is even more of an honor is being given the opportunity to speak on behalf of my fans and people of color in the gay porn industry and the LGBT community.
I’ve spoken in front of large crowds before, yet never have I felt such immense pressure to get the words exactly right so that they may have a lasting impact not just on the people in attendance, but with the major power-players of the gay porn industry, gay media, and the influences that have an impact on gay culture. This event was being live-streamed on several media outlets. In short, I didn’t want to fuck this up. This was something unprecedented in a major awards show for our industry, insofar as I’m aware. I wanted to do right by my fans and the gay community. Now, I don’t know whether I succeeded in this, or even if it’ll have a significant impact, but I did my best and said what I thought needed to be said. Here is a copy of my prepared remarks:
Good evening, everybody.
For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Sean Zevran. I’m a CockyBoys exclusive, and I’ve been a part of this industry going on six years now. In fact, I’ve worked with many of you in the past. I see a lot of familiar faces here tonight—a lot of stars, a lot of directors, a lot of producers…a lot of artists! Tonight, we come together to celebrate all the blood, sweat, tears, and…I guess, jizz, that we’ve put into this industry. Indeed, tonight is a celebration of sex!
We don’t get many evenings like this, and I thank AVN for bringing back the GayVN Awards. As many of you are aware, this is GayVN’s return after a seven-year hiatus. Tonight is a special night, more so than the regular AVN Awards, for this is more than a celebration of just sex and our accomplishments in the industry; it is a celebration of gay culture and the progress our community has made around the world.
However, GayVN’s return was not without some controversy. After all, what would we gays be without our drama? If you’ve been following industry events closely, you know that GayVN caught some flak for initially including a “Best Ethnic Scene” in its list of categories. Two of my own scenes were nominated for “Best Ethnic Scene.” Many were accusing GayVN of racism and of fetishizing racial minorities. This is something that’s been an issue not just in porn, but the gay community in general. At least one performer even went so far as to boycott the GayVN Awards by declining all of his nominations.
This has always been a controversial topic in our industry and the LGBT community, one with mixed feelings that we’ve always struggled to address. At first, I thought following suit and declining my own nominations might be the right thing to do to get people’s attention; that it would help spark a conversation about racism in porn and the gay community.
Consequently, GayVN eliminated the “Best Ethnic Scene” category and pooled its nominees into “Best Duo Scene” in an earnest attempt to make everyone feel included, welcome, and as though we could all equally share in the joyous celebration of sex.
Unfortunately, I felt this only scratched the surface of the problem. I knew that, and GayVN knew that. I reached out to GayVN. I wanted to get their perspective on things. It was heartwarming to discover that they care as much about this issue as do the people of color in our industry and in our community, hence why I was given the privilege of speaking before you all this evening.
Now, I didn’t come here tonight just to give everyone a lecture like one of my Facebook posts. This issue is much bigger than words. It’s much bigger than an awards ceremony. Personally, as a biracial performer, I’ve been very fortunate in this industry. I owe my success to my wonderful fans and all the talented people with whom I’ve had the honor of working, but let’s be real: the darker or more Asian or “ethnic” you appear in this industry, usually the more challenging it is; the less work you’re given; the less chance you have of standing on this stage. Too often, Black and Asian performers, and Black and Asian members of our community in general, are either shunned or fetishized. The truth is, we don’t all share the same experiences in this industry and our community. We don’t all get to celebrate sex with the same feelings of joy and kinship, and it’s important that we recognize this and that we continue to talk about it in a meaningful way.
Now…I don’t know whether my words tonight will have made a difference. Hell, I don’t even know that after you’ve had a few drinks and gone back to your rooms to suck a few dicks and fuck a few holes that you’ll even remember my words. But I do know this much: here, tonight, in this room, there is power. We have some of the most powerful names in the gay porn industry, both performers and producers alike. I know many of you personally. I speak with you often. We’re even friends. The art we create has an impact on our fans and our consumers. It has an impact on our community—the LGBT community. Whether we like it or not, our art is about more than just having an orgasm. It defines a community and a culture. As we continue to create art, I ask that we all remember this, and that we take pride in it. Tonight has been one amazing show so far, so let us continue having a kickass night! Thank you all for your time!
I’ll have a video of the speech posted as soon as it gets forwarded to me, but there is the text of the speech. For those of you wanting a little backstory of events leading up to the GayVN Awards, I suggest reading my article published by EFNIKS.com, “Race, Porn, & Naked Honesty“.
I didn’t expect so much to happen in just a single weekend. A few weeks back, I didn’t expect to be giving a speech or receiving an award. A year ago, I took home XBIZ Awards 2017 ‘Gay Performer of the Year’. I assumed that was my 15-seconds of fame and that was it. Of course, I’ve continued working hard in this industry and being as vocal as ever about the industry, politics, and other topics, but it’s always hard to gauge how much of an impact one really has in this industry. I’ve always loved this work, being in this industry, and being a part of gay culture. For me to be given this privilege and honored in this way, words can’t adequately express the gratitude I have toward my fans and the industry. Thank you all so much!