NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Saturday night (or, more accurately, Sunday morning) saw the third annual Tranny Awards presented at the Blue Moon Nights nightclub on Lankershim Avenue, and the crowd of about 100 seemed almost evenly split between transgendered performers and their many admirers.
"The event went better than I'd hoped, and the plan is to use this as springboard for something bigger next year," said the show's creator, Steve Grooby of Grooby.com. "This was the first year we had so many sponsors involved, and some new ones have already committed to next year."
Post-op TS Danielle Foxxx began interviewing attendees on the club's "red carpet" shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, and for the next two hours seemed to have no shortage of willing participants.
The show, which began slightly after midnight on Sunday, featured TS Michelle Austin (of sisterdickradio.com fame) as Mistress of Ceremonies, ably assisted by the Muppet-like Taylor McGhee, who looked on admiringly (or are we reading too much into a puppet's expression?) as Michelle belted out her opening song.
Awards were handled AVN style, with a presenter reading the (often long) list of nominees, then opening an envelope to reveal the winner. The first award was for Best Free Website, with tall, lithe Delia TS handing the statue to a representative of HungAngels.com—but Delia wasn't off the stage for long when she was called up by Krissy4u to receive the award for Best Independent Website.
Jessie Flores, who's busy these days promoting her toy line from California Exotic Novelties, presented the Best Non-TS Performer award to popular straight performer Angelina Valentine, who beat out not only fellow porn gal Hollie Stevens (now based in San Francisco and looking great) but also such TS-movie stalwarts as Tom Moore and Christian.
Technically, the presenter of the Best DVD award was popular TS performer Hazel Tucker, but she took the stage in the company of fellow actresses Amy Daly and Olivia Love, so once the star of Morgan Bailey's Bad Day joined them to receive her statue, we were reminded of the ChiChi LaRue-instigated talent mash that used to signal the final awards at the AVN Awards show.
Most of the awards were voted on by members of various TS-related websites, but a few were wholly sponsored by one company or another. Such was the case with Grooby Productions' Lifetime Achievement Awards, which went to Joanna Jet, who only recently was allowed to travel into the U.S. from her home in the U.K.—look for a story soon on AVN.com regarding her fight with U.S. immigration officials—and also top TS photographer/videographer Tony Vee, whom Steve Grooby described as "on the shy side," but who's worked with some of the top trans models then just entering the business, including Ashley George, Allanah Starr, Chrissy Snow, Danni Daniels, Carmen Cruz and Amber Vaughn.
The intermission which followed left the audience entertained by the beautiful Yasmin Lee, a frequent nominee for AVN's Transsexual Performer of the Year award, who danced around the stage and the audience, even briefly lapdancing this reporter.
When the presentations resumed, it was time for the Shemale Strokers Model of the Year award to be presented by rising star Domino Presley. The winner, who was chosen by members of the shemalestrokers.com website, turned out to be tall brunette Britney Markham, who, in true Jenna Jameson fashion, announced to the audience that she wouldn't be "spreading her legs" on video anymore since she's apparently retiring from the adult industry. Britney's mom, whom she brought to the ceremony, apparently looked on approvingly.
Another rising star, Mia Isabella, next took the stage with good friend Vaniity to present the Best DVD Director award, and although the nominees included such popular lensmen as Joey Silvera, Sam Mancini, Wendy Williams, Jon Sable and Tom Moore, the prize went to Grooby Productions stalwart Buddy Woods, whose movies are also frequent AVN nominees.
A Grooby-sponsored award came next, the Shemale Yum Model of the Year, and Morgan Bailey mounted the stage once again, with Natalia Coxx at her side, to present it—and the $1000 prize that went with it, courtesy of Shemale Yum—to Domino Presley, who later won yet another grand thanks to having also been voted Best Up & Cummer. The evening's single ethnic award, the Black T-Girl Model of the Year as decided by members of the Black T-Girls website, was presented next to busty Sheeba Starr, who's returning to porn after a six-year absence.
Another intermission brought several t-girl gogo dancers to both the main stage and the three or four mini-stages around the edges of the dance floor, after which the final five awards were given out.
Mandy Mitchell took home the TgFlix.com-sponsored Best Solo Website award, though she had to bend over to receive it from the diminutive Taylor McGhee.
The winner of the Best DVD Performer award fought hard to distinguish herself from a bevy of popular t-actresses that included Hazel Tucker, Jesse Flores, Mia Isabella, Morgan Bailey, Celeste, Domino Presley, Vaniity and a few others, but the surprise winner of the trophy (and the $1,000 prize sponsored by SMC's T-girl Network) was Jessica Fox, star of just 11 movies over the past three years.
Another hard-fought contest was for Best Website Model, and voters had to sort through a long list of nominees that included most of the same contenders for Best DVD Performer, as well as Kimber James, Joanna Jet, Natassia Dreams, Amy Daly, Danni Daniels and 19 others. But the trophy (and its $1,000 prize from Tranny Access) went to newcomer (and tireless self-promoter) Bailey Jay. And not that Bailey's performances were in any way soft, but the following award, for Best Hardcore Website Model, was snagged by Las Vegas' own newcomer Celeste, who's been seen this past year in several Goodfellas Productions.
Asked later by interviewer Peter Berton what she thought was the significance of the Tranny Awards, star Amy Daly said, "I think it’s very important, not only for the girls, but for the transsexual side of the adult industry as a whole. For the girls, it’s going to give us much-needed press and recognition that can help drive sales for things such as our personal websites, DVDs, toy lines, cam rooms, and even get us more work."
"Transsexuals are often swept under the carpet and hidden away from the spotlight in most aspects of the adult industry and even our personal lives, so not only will it help drive sales for us, but it gives us that recognition that we deserve," she continued. "We bring in a lot of revenue to the industry, and we have to work harder at our craft than our female counterparts. I’d like to see some of the female performers try to get hard for some gross camera guy or gross male performer while on hormones and be expected to stay hard and cum at the end of the scene. We are like Rodney Dangerfield: We get no respect—no respect at all. When TS girls get recognition and treated with respect, we will generate more sales, which means everyone gets more money out of us in the end and it’s good for everyone."
The show lasted until almost 2 a.m., and attendees were encouraged to stick around for more dancing and socializing. Though we staggered home shortly after the show's end, it seems safe to say that a good time was had by all—and show-runner Steve Grooby promises even bigger and better things next year.
Photograph of Mia Isabella and Girls and Corpses deaditor Robert Rhine at Tranny Awards courtesy of Gordon/EMMreport.com. For more photographs, see the photo gallery on AVN.com.