lexi laphor is the digital mermaid battling trolls online

We caught up with the url babe to talk online safety, queer identity and the importance of Tumblr.

by Hannah Butterworth
30 March 2016, 5:15am

Photo by Luci Crystal

Chances are if you're a club kid, queer, or into the alternative fashion and art scene in Melbourne you've heard of Lexi Laphor. She's the neon-locked digital mermaid otherwise known as @femmeasfuck; although she personally refers to herself as a sassy-slutty-queer-femme-cyber-girl-freak. Lexi has been making waves across the cyber-sphere pretty much since Tumblr became a thing, creating a unique spaces where "femmes, queers n grrls unite n rein!"

Online and IRL she's played a considerable role in forming a new wave of queer porn in Australia. Forever sex-positive, her work in the industry has fuelled her love of counterculture and seen her collaborate with artists and designers across Melbourne, New York and Berlin. Behind the likes and reblogs there lies a staunch commitment creating safe spaces on and offline. i-D sat down with the cyber-femme to talk privacy and the importance of backing yourself in the face of adversity.

We're going to talk about a lot of important stuff, but can we start with your hair? How do you maintain such a vibrant colour?
It's quite easy because I use hair extensions, and I've been dyeing it for so many years now the colour tends to stay. I don't mind spending the hours on it anyway because it's all about making time for self-care!

Photo by Marina Fini

What's your favourite platform?
Instagram is my main platform because it has the largest reach; but the platform I love the most is Tumblr which I started maybe four or five years ago—it was the best thing I ever did! I felt so lonely as a new queer, and so unable to keep up with partying. Tumblr has helped me carve out a space to be femme, queer, really expressive and to get this visibility I didn't feel like I had in everyday life.

Tumblr is an place of exploration and support for young people.
Porn and sex worker wise there was a really strong community on Tumblr because Instagram and Facebook and things like that are censored. Because you can have articles and links, Tumblr was really good for information about different things to do with your own queer identity.

As platforms like Tumblr have grown, a lot of people have turned to closed Facebook groups—but even they have security issues. What are your thought on sharing personal information and experiences online?
Everything is about context: if you post something in a certain context, you trust people and know there's a code of that group—well, it sucks when it happens. I've been involved in Facebook groups that just get so big it's really hard to make sure people aren't sharing images and what's being said [outside of the group].

Photo by Parker Day

Knowing all this, should we assume a level of risk when posting online, even in private spaces?
Expressing myself through photos and art online has given me so much joy and empowers me so much it makes my everyday reality better— so for me, it's still worth doing. I wouldn't want to live in fear. With everything I post I'm like, "okay this could you know reach people I don't want it to reach." Hopefully that doesn't happen but if it does, I'm ready to have those conversations.

Have you personally experienced this kind of online backlash?
The first porn shoot I ever did was immediately shared around my ex-high school and gossiped about in my hometown. But also to an extent it was a bit of a relief because I was like, okay cool, now I can pretty much do whatever the fuck I want, because you know the most awkward scenario has already happened. Haters suck on the Internet, but I feel like I'm equipped to deal with the negativity because it doesn't outweigh the positivity. It kinda just pushes you to keep on being you and keep on doing you. It gives you that little bit of fight that fuels you and empowers you, bring it!



Text by Hannah Butterworth

lexi laphor