Bust It Open: Sex Work, OnlyFans, And Three Black Queer Men Who Are Killing The Game
Dennis Hardy says that as a kid growing up in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York, one of the first jobs he remembers wanting to have was as a stripper, but he knew not to tell anyone. He received the message very early that stripping was not a respectable profession, so he kept quiet, and eventually landed a job as a postal worker, but that didn’t extinguish his desire to enter into the adult industry. Today, Hardy is an Atlanta resident, a graduate student in women and gender sexuality studies, and a self-described “professional hoe,” who in addition to creating adult content on the popular subscription-based OnlyFans platform, also works as an escort for a growing clientele. Hardy says his interest in the profession first peaked after suspecting that a close friend was working in the business.
“You always have money, but you never go to work,” Hardy said referring to his friend. So either you’re a scammer or you’re an escort. And I knew he wasn’t a scammer. At the post office, I’d have to work five or six days a week, 60 hours a week. And the money I’d get paid for two weeks [as a mailman], I made over the course of four days working a total of 7 hours. I said, `This is where I’d rather be.”
Hardy, who grew up in New York City’s ballroom scene and exclusively dates Black trans women, tells The Reckoning that the power and allure he witnessed in Black trans sex workers further cemented his desire to participate in sex work. They had control, they were desired. And that really spoke to me,” he said. “I was adopted and I was told that I wasn’t wanted, and here are these women, and it seemed like everyone wanted them. Of course, it lacks the complexity of how people wanted them and what they wanted them for,” he pointed out.
Yet, for Hardy, there was nothing complicated about his decision to leave his respectable job
as a federal employee and dive into sex work full-time, which has raised the eyebrows of many people who wonder why someone on the cusp of holding an advanced degree is laying it low and spreading it wide for nearly 40,000 followers on freak Twitter alone and OnlyFans.
“What kind of classist argument is that? Do we only assume people without options only want to do sex work? Obviously not,” said Hardy. “There are people who have Phds, who have masters, who have a plethora of different things. People get involved in sex work for a variety of reasons. And for me, that’s the path that I wanted my life to go in. I enjoy doing sex work. I enjoy seeing clients. I really enjoy the luxury of being able to travel and having that freedom. For me, it was a little bit of an anti-work politics; traditional work kinda sucks. I can do my own thing, make my own money, live better than I would if I had some other job, and be able to do what I want. For a lot of people, doing sex work is desirable. And for me, it has always been desirable. I wish to grow in it,” he said.