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Bank On It!

June 28, 2017 3:43 pm0 commentsViews: 49

Boomer_BanksBoomer Banks Hits Provincetown for the Fourth of July

by Steve Desroches

There were a variety of clever protest signs at the Equality March for Unity and Pride a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Some were direct and to the point with messages that had “Shame” written over Trump’s face or “Impeach,” but done so with artistic flair. Others were comedic in approach with sly quips like “Drink Your Covfefe Shelby” or “You Know You’re F**king Up When This Many Gays Skip Brunch.” But gay adult film star Boomer Banks saw one sign in particular that to him spoke directly to the times we are living in and the work that still needs to be done within the LGBT community. It read: “If Your Profile Says: No Latinos, Blacks, Asians, Fats or Fems Then You Shouldn’t Be Here.”

Banks posted a photo of the placard on his social media feeds, which went viral, swirling up an intense debate among his followers and garnering the attention of the Huffington Post.  He shared the message as he’s noticed that, while the LGBT community is facing attacks from various external forces, there’s an increasing tension within in regard to issues of gender, race, and other aspects of identity. Just as with feminism there is increasing criticism that the LGBT rights movement focuses largely on the wealthy and white.  Scholar and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality, meaning race, gender, sexuality, class, and so on are not mutually exclusive, but intertwined parts of one’s identity.  And that was Banks’ point. As a community we have a responsibility to equality, period, and not just to those that are like us. And there is also a need to acknowledge white privilege.

As one of the most popular stars of gay porn today, Banks realizes the role that the industry has in gay culture, which goes beyond erotic entertainment. As with any form of media, the messages and imagery presented in porn are an opportunity, but in some cases they do little more than reinforce racial stereotypes, as is the case with mainstream films. So taking o n racism within the LGBT community is important to the Mexican-born star as the gay porn industry faces a growing criticism for its role in perpetuating racism and not hiring actors of color, unless its in a role that fetishizes them for the pleasure of white viewers.

“Going in I was one of the only men of color, and I said to myself, ‘I will make sure I’m going to be treated equally,’” says Banks. “And I didn’t feel I was being fetishized because I made sure I wasn’t. I didn’t care to be the token anything.”

Having previously been with Falcon and Raging Stallions studios, Banks is now with Cocky Boys, a deliberate move to a studio with more diversity among its actors, he says. In an industry that is fickle and facing increasing competition from the proliferation of porn on the Internet, Banks has stood out as a star with staying power, well on his way to become an icon. In part, he says, it’s about just showing up and doing the work, focusing and learning about the business of making porn, and dropping any ego. He knew how to have sex, he says, but he didn’t know how to do porn. That had a learning curve.

While porn (and those who make it) faces a tempest of judgment and opinions, Banks sees it as an expression of sexual and personal freedom, especially as it relates to gay men. Banks doesn’t bother with “butching” up his voice or demeanor, or trying to fit someone’s idea of what he should be as a gay man. And porn has given him a platform from which to speak. He adds, after a few months of being the new star on the scene, people will eventually lose interest if you have nothing to say or are looking for shortcuts to fame.

“They want to be an icon and a legend in porn, but they don’t want to do the work,” says Banks. “Most people want the whole status of being a porn ‘star,’ but I make jokes. I say I’m more of a ‘porn octagon,’ as stars are so overrated. I just embrace who I am as a queer man because people identify with that. Being unattainable or unreachable might be attractive for a while, but it fades. Icons of porn are attainable.”

For decades now Provincetown has been host to many gay porn actors of varying degrees of fame, with many other superstars and icons being seen along Commercial Street like Al Parker, Johnny Hazzard, Spencer Quest, Tom Judson, Jeff Stryker, and representing women in porn, Annie Sprinkle, who wrote her PhD thesis while she lived here.  And this week Banks will co-host a couple of parties with New York drag queen Maddelynn Hatter at the Crown and Anchor as part of their Independence 2017 celebration.  It’s a return to a place he’s fallen in love with.

“It’s an all inclusive situation there,” says Banks. “It’s the complete opposite of Fire Island. In Provincetown you celebrate all aspects of the community with all these different events, which in one way is weird as we should all be together, but still, Provincetown welcomes everyone. I first went four seasons ago and I was sold. It’s not at all toxic like Fire Island is. It’s much more accepting.”

Prior to beginning his career in porn, Banks followed his passion into fashion design, something he continues to pursue. He recently showed his first collection and is working on a second, and while he primarily worked in women’s fashion, through porn he developed a male fan base, and is branching out in his design aesthetic and pursuits. His success in porn has also lead to other opportunities like walking the runway during New York Fashion Week for Marco Marco.

Just last week he attended the Str8Up Gay Porn Awards at Stage 48 in New York, hosted by Sandra Bernhard with performances by RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Detox and Trinity Taylor. Banks chuckles when he reveals he tied for “Best Cock.”  And indeed that is one aspect of Banks that makes him stand out as a gay porn star as his size is startling, to say the least.  He demurs when asked about the role this part of his body has played in his life and in a culture where such a natural anomaly is an attractive attribute. “The way I always explain it is that people with a large appendage usually rely on it and you don’t have to wonder as they’ll always tell you,” says Banks. “With me, no one ever knew, as I never lead with it. Sometimes I’d be with someone for the first time and they would say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me!?’ Why would I? It’s just a part of me. I’d rather be known for my couture and gowns than that.”

Boomer Banks will co-host the Trade pool parties on Sunday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 4, 12 – 4 p.m. with New York drag queen Maddelynn Hatter and music by DJ Chris Racine at the Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St., Provincetown. Passes for the Crown’s Independence 2017 events are available at the box office and online at onlyatthecrown.com. For more information call 508.487.1430.