This essay argues that certain print pornography featuring “crossdresser,” “transvestite,” and “transsexual” subjects was, counterintuitively, part of a distributed information and care network by and for US transfeminine people between the 1970s and 1990s. While this genre of “transploitation” magazine did reproduce transfeminine bodies as fetish objects, transfeminine individuals themselves also used the adult magazine and bookstore market to distribute clandestine information on hormonal, sartorial, and social self-fashioning and support. This symbiotic relationship with the pornographic allowed information about transfeminity to circulate to individuals with little economic means as well as to reach people who did not have regional or cultural access to the respectable “CD,” “TV,” or “TS” community media of the era. In this way, these magazines formed part of a social safety network: a shadow system of circulating subcultural knowledges within mainstream media in order to survive legal censorship, medical exclusion, and economic abandonment.

You do not currently have access to this content.