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

stoya-the-guardian-melissa-gira-grant

On 28 November, she tweeted: “That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.” And then: “James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”

Then she logged off.

In what may have felt like Stoya’s silence, reporters, critics and fans wondered for her: what did this mean, this public rape story told in 55 words, involving two of the world’s most high-profile porn performers, who were once in a very public relationship with each other? (James Deen posted some tweets of his own, denying Stoya’s story. A request for comment from Deen was not returned by the time of publication.)

That silence was filled almost immediately by other porn performers, some with allegations similar to Stoya’s, and about the same man, and saying that, despite what the reporters and critics and fans might have been wondering, yes, no matter what you see on screen, a porn performer has a right to her boundaries, on-set and off – and that yes, they believed her. 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?

‘Secrets aren’t really a thing that I do,’” by Melissa Gira Grant for The Guardian

Announcing // w4m.club //

What is w4m.club?

A website. A one-woman research collective. An outlet for gathering and creating and working material for the long haul. A subscription service to my desk, my outboard brain.

An exploration into the infrastructure and displacement of sex, involving a number of bodies, cities, and what happens to us between rail stations, phone calls, and packet switches. Recorded from somewhere in America. Available by subscription, telephone and through correspondence.

Subscriptions available now.

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

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 rallied around the political nature of the raid—in a way women’s rights groups in the United States, when women sex workers are targeted in similar raids, have not.

In fact, it might be the relative silence of women’s rights groups on the Rentboy raid that has provided space for sex workers’ rights to become the main focus of the story.

How Sex Workers’ Rights Made the Mainstream, by Melissa Gira Grant for RH Reality Check

VICE: How the Feds Took Down Rentboy.com

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents were there with the Rentboy defendants Tuesday afternoon at federal court in Brooklyn. The agents sat shoulder to shoulder, filling two front benches. They outnumbered the attorneys. They wore T-shirts and jeans, badges on their hips, looking relaxed and confident against the murmur of suits and ties. One agent stood and turned to us, the press and families and advocates in the back benches, and we could read the slogan on his shirt: “Vindicated—Justice Will Be Done.”

“You sure you brought enough guys?” one of the defense attorneys spoke into the air.

How the Feds Took Down Rentboy.com, by Melissa Gira Grant for VICE

The Nation:  Amnesty International Is Finally on the Right Side of the Sex Work Struggle

Amnesty’s announcement refers to sex workers as “one of the most marginalized groups in the world,” but today it is especially worth underscoring the resistance of sex workers. Sex workers have organized against police violence, HIV/AIDS, and punitive laws for decades—and did so while facing exclusion from feminist and human rights organizations.

Amnesty International Is Finally on the Right Side of the Sex Work Struggle,” by Melissa Gira Grant for The Nation

The Nation: Amnesty International’s Long-Due Support for Sex Workers Rights

This pressing on and clamoring for laws that put sex workers at risk might seem unique, but it recalls anti-abortion groups who express their opposition to abortion by deliberately chipping away at abortion access. Though these campaigns say they are concerned with rights and safety, the end game looks the same: create so much danger around something that you condemn in the hopes it will just go away.

Amnesty International’s Long-Due Support for Sex Workers Rights,” by Melissa Gira Grant for The Nation

VICE: Young, Black, Trans, Arrested: How Women Like Meagan Taylor Are Made Invisible

Meagan Taylor has bright red hair. She takes cute selfies. She went to Iowa two weeks ago, a trip from her home in Illinois cut short with an arrest. Her name became a hashtag. She is black and transgender and young, and in a month that has seen at least five black women die in American jails, last Wednesday, Meagan Taylor left her cell alive.

Young, Black, Trans, Arrested: How Women Like Meagan Taylor Are Made Invisible,” by Melissa Gira Grant for VICE

VICE: This Tech Startup Is Helping the Cops Track Sex Workers Online

…there’s a good chance that if you’ve placed an ad online in the last two years for escorting, massage, BDSM, stripping, private modeling, nude housekeeping, selling your underwear, or any other permutation of the various sexual services people can put on offer, Rescue Forensics has a copy. And because Rescue Forensics has a copy, so do their users in law enforcement.

This Tech Startup Is Helping the Cops Track Sex Workers Online,” by Melissa Gira Grant for VICE

VICE: Why There’s No Uber for Sex Work

Prostitution 3.0 is just another male fantasy. It hardly engages with current global debates around prostitution policy, or the realities of criminalization, or the notion that sex workers may also have demands. But that’s not why it’s a hot topic: That’s because someone at Forbes tacked the word “Uber” onto the story.

Why There’s No Uber for Sex Work,” by Melissa Gira Grant for VICE