Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist and author, covering sexual politics, criminal justice, and human rights. Her latest book is Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. 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.

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.


  • What Was Sex Work Twitter

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    But what didn't get published in Lynn's story was how wrong I got sex work Twitter. How, when I joined Twitter in December 2006, it was never my goal to use the service to promote my work doing anything but writing. How that led me to believe that other sex workers at the time would make the same choices: after all, were clients really hanging out posting blurry photos of their highly-branded, tech-chasing lives?

  • Can a Feminist Be A Prohibitionist?

    Saturday, March 11, 2017

    Part two in an ongoing series re-writing mainstream feminism. In an alternate universe, Katha Pollitt asks: Is there such a thing as prohibitionist feminism? In January, a reference to supporting sex workers' rights was briefly removed from the website of the Women’s March on Washington. “Intersectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement,” said Bob Bland, one of the event’s co-chairs. “We must not just talk about feminism as one issue...”