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Brea Bennett at Twistys

November 16, 2015 10:55am
Coming Out Like a Porn Star
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland

Coming Out Like a Porn Star "Coming Out Like a Porn Star" by Jiz Lee - Book Review by Rich Moreland

Despite its seductive title, Jiz Lee's Coming Out Like a Porn Star is not an expose. Rather, it is an intimate inside look at people whose sex worker choices are in their own words.

A collection of essays from a wide sampling of adult film personalities, the stories are wrapped around issues such as stigmatization, feminism, gender preferences, and fetish proclivities. They are filled with varied emotion, some contributors hint of anger, others steeped in humor. All are literary volunteers with a sense of accomplishment that refuses to succumb to shame.

Lee contributes the first essay and from there acts as editor, sorting and arranging the contributors who willing offer what they do and why.

At its most fundamental level, the Coming Out Like a Porn Star is a lesson in social behavior and prejudice. Frustrations, resentment, and shame often resulting from religious upbringing and family disapproval, are crushing negatives. But they are subdued by the power of community and sex worker activism. In fact, the writers celebrate the pride, joy, and sense of strength that their decisions give them.

Here's a quick sampling.

Casey Calvert talks about how porn has given her "amazing new friends" while "strangers on the internet think I'm beautiful," she says.

In their respective essays,"Queer identified trans woman" Drew Deveaux and performer Connor Habib question what's in a name. Deveaux draws on a larger issue, noting that our culture is "reflected and reshaped" via the "medium" of porn.

Company owner and director Courtney Trouble's moving account of conversations with her father expresses familial love while bondage star Denali Winter recalls that the adult industry as a community saved her when family difficulties seemed insurmountable.

The reader can choose preferred essays or take on the book cover to cover. Each point of view is unique though limited, as Jiz Lee admits, to personalities of recent generations. The exceptions are legendary voices such as Nina Hartley, Annie Sprinkle, and the late Candida Royalle.

Regardless of how the book is tackled, two essays are a must-read. Lorelei Lee's finely crafted statement on "Naming" is balanced cleverly with Stoya's humor in "Noooooooodie Girl."

In fact, Lee's essay is the book's linchpin. She speaks brilliantly of her empowerment. "Naming a thing makes it real," she says, pointing out that "slut, whore, sister, freak, artist, wife — all of it is truly, wholly me."

Her upshot? "Whatever name I choose, that is my real name."

My only criticism of Coming Out Like a Porn Star is minimal. Feminism in porn today is tilted toward the San Francisco queer porn community (Jiz Lee's artistic home) ignoring to a degree the changes Porn Valley is experiencing. Feminists, like the previously mentioned Nina Hartley and Casey Calvert, are making their voices heard in the Southern California scene. However, there are others whose stories are not included, like Jackie St. James, Tasha Reign, Jessica Drake, Dana Vespoli, Mason, Ela Darling, and the recently retired Bobbi Starr, to name a few.

Nevertheless, Jiz Lee's work is a five star winner.

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