Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist and author, covering sexual politics, criminal justice, and human rights. She is a contributing writer for Pacific Standard and the Village Voice, and a writer in residence with the Fair Punishment Project (a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute). Her feature reporting has been published in the Guardian, BuzzFeed, VICE, and The Nation, and her commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, and Jezebel, among other publications. Her latest book is Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.

Recent Work

  • Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work

    Her latest book Playing the Whore dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, while criticizing both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization.

  • See Where the NYPD Arrests Women Who Are Black, Latina, Trans, and/or Wearing Jeans (Village Voice)

    Interactive map of the top neighborhoods where police target women for "loitering for prostitution" arrests.

  • The NYPD Arrests Women for Who They Are and Where They Go — Now They’re Fighting Back (Village Voice)

    Feature investigation into New York's anti-loitering laws, and how they are used to profile transgender and cisgender women of color.

  • An Escort Killed Her Client In Self-Defense — Then Came The Aftermath (BuzzFeed)

    Feature profile of an escort whose act of self-defense drew headlines, amateur sleuths, and would-be do-gooders seeking to make her story their own.

  • How Stoya took on James Deen and broke the porn industry’s silence (The Guardian)

    Feature story on sexual assault and relationship violence in the porn industry, and how porn performers are challenging myths and stigma about porn and abuse.

  • Journalism

    Reporting and commentary on sex, tech, and politics.

  • About Her Work

    …Grant weaves her way through sanctimony and hypocrisy with wit, eloquence, insight, and a dose of necessary outrage.

    Underneath Grant’s strategically inclusive argument lurks a harder political critique of the transformation of politics and economics since the 1970s.

    Her work has been hugely influential in how I think about sex work and outright changed my mind on a number of points. She’s a must read.

    Melissa Gira Grant can be quite scary.

    Learn, listen, take heart—this is the real deal.


  • The Guardian: ‘Secrets aren’t really a thing that I do’

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    "That chorus of voices that followed Stoya’s shook the porn industry. They reverberated, and now the public is hearing, perhaps as loudly as ever, about the particular structural problems the porn industry contends with, and the persistent and pernicious idea that sex workers are by definition unrapeable. So what change has Stoya’s intervention made – and what remains?"

  • RH Reality Check: How Sex Workers’ Rights Made the Mainstream

    Friday, September 11, 2015

    Rentboy was a website where men sought sex with men, and as such, media and advocacy groups who don’t typically bring a political analysis to sex work responded to the raid primarily as an anti-gay attack, while also calling for an end to the policing of sex workers. Some American LGBTQ organizations in particular have […]