Sophie Pezzutto completed her Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Asian Studies at the University of Western Australia, Perth. She was the recipient of the 2011 Sir Harold Bailey Memorial Prize in Asian Studies and the 2011 Japanese Association of Western Australia Prize in Japanese Studies. She was also a recipient of the University of Sydney, Southeast Asia Centre’s Interstate Travel Grant to attend a workshop in relation to her honours thesis and has visited the National Central University’s Centre for the Study of Sexualities in Taiwan as a visiting researcher from September 2016 – December 2016. She is currently on a three year full-time government scholarship to fund her PhD research at ANU. She speaks fluent English, German, French and Italian and is in an ongoing project of learning Mandarin.
My research looks at transgender sex workers who are engaged in the adult entertainment industry in California. Despite the apparent size and popularity of transgender pornography, there has been no academic research that has focused in depth on these people’s lived experiences and the industry they are in. This project wants to examine the apparent contradiction between the popularity of trans pornography and the social marginalisation of transgender identity. My project wants to understand how this cultural medium shapes transgender bodily practices as well as the broader transgender imaginary. More generally speaking, this project seeks to understand the intricate relationship between the erotic and the phobic and how so-called ‘erotic economies’ shape our relationships with our bodies. Understanding these relationships may not only provide us with a better understanding of those working in this industry, but will also help us better understand transgender identity, sex work, and sexual minorities.