mgg_logo_full_white

Melissa Gira Grant is a senior staff reporter covering criminal justice at The Appeal and the author of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Verso). She has been a contributing writer at the Village Voice and Pacific Standard, and her work has also appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, the New York Review of Books, and the Nation, among others. Her essays are collected in Best Sex Writing, The Feminist Utopia Project, and Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo. She lives in New York.


Featured 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.

  • Journalism

    Feature reporting and criticism, from criminal justice to sexual politics.


  • About Her Work

    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.

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

    Melissa Gira Grant can be quite scary.


    Recent Work

  • The Appeal: Louisiana Strip Club Dancers Fear More Crackdowns As “Anti-Trafficking” Law Goes Into Effect

    Friday, December 21, 2018

    “What is happening is almost exactly as I predicted it,” said Lyn Archer, a dancer and organizer in New Orleans. ATC is taking a leading role in policing strip clubs, and Archer sees their enforcement methods as proof the agency wants more clubs to close and more dancers out of work. “They know that we don’t believe our work should be a crime, and they do believe that it should be,” Archer told The Appeal.

  • The Appeal: In “Amazing” Verdict, Jury Awards Transgender Woman Punitive Damages Against Suffolk County Jail

    Friday, December 07, 2018

    When Jessica Sunderland was incarcerated in Riverside Correctional Facility in Suffolk County, New York, she expected to continue the hormone treatment that her physician had prescribed. But Sunderland, a 32-year-old Iraq War veteran convicted of burglary in 2013, got nothing but excuses over the 16 months she was at the jail: They were waiting for her medical records, or they needed to consult outside experts. Without hormones, Sunderland was essentially forced to detransition.