Editor Jiz Lee has put together a fantastic collection here. They have acknowledged that they didn’t manage to hit all the possible demographics and aEditor Jiz Lee has put together a fantastic collection here. They have acknowledged that they didn’t manage to hit all the possible demographics and all the potential perspectives, but I can’t believe this is for lack of trying. This collection, while tied together under the theme of “coming out”, covers much more than just whether or how the contributors told their families about their porn careers. For the most part the essays come across as authentic and personal, crossing generations, ethnicity, and gender identities (though trending a bit towards current and younger performers), and including the experiences of photographers, film makers, academics and educators whose lives in porn don’t necessarily include (or include anymore) taking their clothes off and having sex for the camera themselves.
Only a few essays are listed as outright anonymous, though one essayist wrote under the pen name Jaffe Ryder (a Dharma Bums fan, perhaps?). Most authors submitted under their porn names, a few under their given names, and another few under both. The Name is a big topic because whether a chosen porn name is part of the fantasy come-on (Jack Hammer or Denali Winters) or a plausible alternative (Connor Habib or Dale Cooper) most of the essays that touch on privacy touch on the issue of The Name as a thing that serves, however tenuously, as a veil against being stalked or outed. Being stalked, being at the mercy of someone who objects to pornography enough to willfully attempt to threaten performers’ jobs, housing, or child custody is a thread that cuts through a majority of the essays and colors why and how people have made their decisions to “come out” and to whom. And, in a very similar story to what LGBT+ people have long said, there’s never just one instance of “coming out”… it’s something that happens repeatedly as they travel amongst different groups (family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, employers, and on and on) and the more labels that can be applied, the more “coming out” opportunities present themselves.
Coming out like a porn star is a first step toward dismantling some of that age-old shame behavior and I’m all for it. Bottom line: I highly recommend this book....more