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Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker.

She is is a staff writer at The New Republic; the author of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Verso); and the co-director of They Won't Call It Murder. She has reported on violence against massage workers in Flushing; attacks on trans rights across Texas; resistance to police killings in Columbus, and the global movement for sex workers' rights. Her forthcoming book, A Woman Is Against the Law: Sex, Race, and the Limits of Justice of America (Little, Brown and Company), uses narrative journalism and original archival research to offer a feminist indictment of the criminal legal system, drawing on 150 years of women’s attempts to appeal to the law in search of safety, accountability, power, and freedom.


Featured Work

  • Playing the Whore / English, Korean, German editions

    Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work

    Playing the Whore redefines the politics of sex work, placing sex workers at the center of the story. A Village Voice favorite book of the year.

  • Feature Reporting

    Narrative and longform journalism, for The New Republic, The Village Voice, and others.

  • 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.