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Sophie Pezzutto (she/they) is a researcher, consultant, and peer worker based on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra, Australia). Sophie's PhD in Anthropology at the Australian National University is the first ethnographic study of the transgender pornography industry in the world. As part of her research, she lived in Las Vegas where she learnt about the economics of the sex industry, the nature of online sex work today, and online marketing strategies such as self-branding. Sophie has written for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, The Conversation and AG: About Gender. Her research has been featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed, and Mother Jones. She regularly speaks about a wide range of issues at universities and government departments. Driven by a desire for impact, Sophie has taken her research skills and knowledge beyond the ivory tower and works as a research consultant and peer worker for various not-for-profits across Australia. Sophie works for A Gender Agenda, a small not-for-profit that advocates for the rights of trans, intersex, and gender diverse people on Ngunnawal Country. She also works for the Sex Worker Outreach Project as a peer educator and outreach worker, and is an active neighbourhood organiser for the ACT Greens. She is fluent in German, English, and French.

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Current Projects

(Detailed CV Upon Request)

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Australian National University

PhD Candidate: Anthropology


A Gender Agenda

Peer Support Worker

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Sex Worker Outreach Project

Peer Support Worker



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PhD, Australian National University

2017 - 2024

Ethnographic study of the trans* pornography industry in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.


  • 2018 Australian National University's (ANU) Vice Chancellor's Travel Grant.

  • 2017- 2020 Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship.

BA (Hons.) Asian Studies

2015 -  2016

Thesis title: From Max Weber to Lee Kuan Yew: A discourse analysis of Confucianism and economic growth.


  • First class honours.

BA Economics, University of Western Australia

2009 - 2012

Majors: Money & Banking, Asian Studies.


  • 2011 Sir Harold Bailey Memorial Prize in Asian Studies.

  • 2011 Japanese Association of Western Australia Prize in Japanese Studies.



Home: Experience

Academic Publications

“Introduction”, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Trans pornography issue (eds. Sophie Pezzutto, Dr. Lynn Comella), 7.2 (Spring 2020).

“Professionalism, Pay, and the Production of Pleasure in Trans Porn” co-written with Korra Del Rio, Transgender Studies Quarterly, 7.2 (Spring 2020).

“From Porn Performer to Porntropreneur: Online Entrepreneurship, Social Media Branding, and Selfhood in Contemporary Trans Pornography”, AG: About Gender, vol 8, No. 16, pp. 30-60 (2019).

“Confucianism and Capitalist Development: From Max Weber and Orientalism to Lee Kuan Yew and New Confucianism”, Asian Studies Review (04/2019).

Conference Talks

“The fakest of them all: Reflections on fame, friendship and ethnographic practice in the trans pornography industry”, Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Panel on Queer Anthropology (Convenors: Katherine Giunta, Sophie Pezzutto), Australian National University (December 2-5 2019).

“Fame and Loss of Self in Las Vegas: Social media and capitalist subjectification in trans pornography”, Far West Popular Culture Association Conference, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (February 22- 24 2019).

Anthropology in transit conference, University of California Irvine, Conference title: Facing/Framing failure: New perspectives on anthropological practice, Paper presented: “Rethinking Embodiment in Anthropology through Trans Subjectivities” (February 9-10, 2018).

Popular Press

"Trans Pornography 101", AdultTime Blog (2022).

The rise of the ‘Porntropreneur’: even hustlers need side hustles in the gig economy”, The Conversation (2020).

"I did it for the data", The Familiar Strange (2019).

Why Adult Video Stars Rely on Camming”, The Conversation (2018).

"My friend the PhD grad and trans escort", Bossy Magazine, ANU Women's department (2017).

Speaking Engagements

"The University of the Future". Panel + Q&A featuring Senator Mehreen Faruqi (NSW Greens), Dr. Tjanara Goreng Goreng (ACT Greens) & Dr. Lachlan Clohessy (NTEU) moderated by Dr. Tim Hollo (ACT Greens). 14th Feb 2022.

Conversations in Transgender Studies: Transgender and Work. University of Melbourne, School of Social and Political Science. 14th May 2021.

"The Transsexual Experience" Documentary Screening at the National Sound and Film Archive (NSFA) Panel discussion with Tate McAllister (AGA) + Q&A. 31st March 2021.

IDAHOBIT discussion panel, “Alliances through solidarity”, Australian Taxation Office. May 2018.

UWA Pride Week discussion panel, “Out in the workplace”, University of Western Australia. August 2016.

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