Coming Out Like A Porn Star
Book By Jiz Lee
Reading this book was a serious emotional rollercoaster. From heartbreak and villification to unconditional love, this book has stories that will make you laugh, cringe, weep and everything in between.
What I admire most about Jiz Lee compiling this book is their hands off attitude. It’s one we try to foster in book club: just show up with your history, your experience and your ho-pinion. Jiz did such a beautiful job creating a platform for the person behind the porn persona. The essays were just so genuine that it was impossible to feel like a creepy voyeur (a frequent hazard of reading/writing sex work memoirs). As a stripper, customers are always questioning my authenticity and at the same time clawing to “get to know the real me.” When the “real” porn star gets to tell their story, I can’t help but fall in love. And I just have so much gratitude for the stars who shared their stories for the general healing of the profession and public at large.
This book moved me intensely and helped me solidify my thoughts on coming out: being yourself is the most radical act a human can accomplish. AND being officially “out” is not the only way to be your radical self.
Admittedly it was a little emotionally exhausting to read story after heartbreaking story, and at the same time, I was so grateful for each brave and unique storyteller. The raw feeling it left me with is just part of the ever-present risk of staring wide open at the world, hoping to find something real.
In my dream world I would come out to my parents by giving them this book. Thank you, Jiz Lee.
This collection of porn star coming out stories edited by Jiz Lee was really eye-opening for me, particularly as someone who has never done porn (so far). As a personal anecdote, I’ll say that when the Lusty Lady was closing, I had casually agreed to do shoots with friends who were aspiring porn actors/directors/writers, and while nothing ever panned out, this book gave me a wake up call to how serious a commitment it is to pursue this type of sex work. I forgot as a stripper that I’m typically safe and anonymous in my work, and this book gave me a greater appreciation for the people behind the sexy scenes we see on our screens. I also enjoyed reading the stories from my own friends and acquaintances that I might not have heard or asked about previously.
This book is not for the faint of heart; even the lighthearted stories were balanced out by a decent amount of heavy stories, which of course is to expected given the topic. I read most of the book but couldn’t finish the whole thing; perhaps I’ll come back to it at some point. I couldn’t help but wonder what a non-ho would think of all these stories, and if they would be as enthralled in these stories or not.
I noticed that most of the stories included were from Bay Area queer/indie porn actors, but I was curious if more “mainstream” LA actors were asked to submit and how that might have changed the overall tone and perspective.
Which story did you relate to the most? The least?
Are any of us out and do we want to share our stories? What was it like coming out to:
Current and potential lovers
Did reading this book change how we look at porn or our decisions to do porn? How so?
Did this book change our feelings around coming out at all? How so?
This book had so many wonderful, challenging and emotional chapters! So it was nice to have a custom book mark to keep our place :) We used stickers, scraps of beautiful paper, tape, glue, markers and colored pencils to make these darling keepsakes that we now use book after book!