Leo Forte on Bringing Latino Pride to the Adult Film Industry and What He Considers Meaningful Sex
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The short film En Cuatro features some very steamy scenes with adult film performer Leo Forte. Directed by Leo Herrera and also featuring San Francisco drag sensation Grace Towers, the film explores queer Latino sexuality.
Forte describes himself as “perpetuating the radical political movement of gay porn every day of my life as a model, director, producer — keeping alive an industry that has been taking critical hits since the internet made it’s value sink.”
We sat down with Leo Forte to discuss his experience of taking part in the film, as well as his thoughts on Latino sexuality, the current state of the gay porn industry and what meaningful sex means to him.
HORNET: What was your experience making the film En Cuatro? Why was it important to be a part of it?
LEO FORTE: My experience was grand getting to work with Leo Herrera. I’ve been a fan of his work for many years now, and to be able to be part of his project was stellar. It’s important to me, this project, because I feel the Latin community, as well as most POC, are vastly underrepresented in media at large. Anytime I get the chance to flaunt my Latin pride, I take it.
For over 35 years queer Latino sexuality has been entangled with disease. How do we express Latino sexuality in the absence of disease?
I don’t see an absence of disease. It’s still prevalent, even if at a much slower rate. It’s more so the stigma attached to being non-heterosexual that’s the disease. So long as the world at large sees homosexuality as a sin or unexpected, we will be seen as dirty and untouchable. All I can honestly do is exist and express myself as I am today and not worry about the liabilities.
How is sex between Latino men different — if it is — than with other men?
The mechanics are the same, but I find two different influences. One is the suppressed sexuality of Latin men. They are not as comfortable trying new and experimental things in bed. Especially since being in bed with another man is already past most of their comfort zones. The second is the passion freed from with in. When a Latin man is able to free themselves from the psychological fetters, it’s like a wild beast going in for the kill. Wild abandon for what one truly wants and desires: passion.
How can we express Latino sexuality in adult film in a way that’s authentic and empowering as opposed to prolonging racial stereotypes?
Latin sexuality is expressed by simply being clad in yourself — not trying to hide behind a European name or whitewash your on-camera persona. I’ve allowed myself to be a Latin man in gay porn. I’ve not tried to be anyone else, and in doing so I find the ability to express what that means to me on camera. I get feedback from fans saying that they appreciate the presence of a person of color in positions of authority or success, because even if it’s not the standard of beauty, it’s a move toward the positive.
How do we get more queer men of color behind the camera in adult film?
I’ve been asking how can I get more Latin men and other POC in front of the camera for years! Part of it is that most are shy and don’t really see themselves in that situation. They fear that family will find out and cast them out, or something in relation to that. The second part is the producers and directors, who are very conditioned to look for Caucasian men as the standard of beauty; they overlook POCs for roles and positions.
What makes a sexual connection meaningful to you?
It’s meaningful when I can live in that moment with that person or persons and not think about anything else in the world. When I can get lost in the moment and situation and truly live, eyes wide open and all senses in tune.
We’re living through a fiercely anti-Mexican, anti-immigrant and anti-queer administration. How is queer Latino sexuality a form of resistance?
It’s a radical political movement to be openly queer and Latin, because when the powers that be sanction that you are to be garbage, they expect you to run and hide in fear. When you don’t, and boldly show your face and exist in the same space as they, you’re fighting their rules and regulations. Being visible is the biggest stain on the white cloth that has blanketed the land.