Stoya Decries Sex Worker Financial Discrimination

NEW YORK — Global business news site Quartz published an interview last week with writer and semi-retired top performer Stoya about financial discrimination against sex workers.

“I’m sitting in an apartment in Brooklyn,” Stoya told Quartz. “To get this, I had to hand over 12 months’ worth of rent. That was paying upfront for the last eight months of the year-long lease. Four months of that was a deposit. So complicated. Why? Well, because I’m a sex worker.”

Stoya explained that being frozen out of the credit system by virtue of her job resulted in her not having “the credit history that landlords want to see. So if they hadn’t decided to do this because I’m a sex worker, then they would have checked my credit and they would have gone, ‘Oh, you don’t interact with the credit system much.’ So I probably still would have ended up having to hand over some large amount of money. Lots of sex workers in New York handle this by having other employment. At this point in my life, I would say I’m a columnist for Slate. Other sex workers get through it by subletting or being the roommate of someone who does not do sex work.”

Stoya also described the situation of having to navigate mundane real world scenarios as a sex worker that “civilians” (aka, non-sex workers) would not have to think about for even a second.

“Years after all banks were required to have a chip in their cards, I would be, let’s say, at the airport McDonald’s at 6 a.m. trying to get breakfast before I get on a flight and they’re like, ‘Yeah, just stick your card in the machine.’ And I’m like ‘I can’t stick my card in the machine.’ And they’re like, ‘Why don’t you have a chip?’ And I’m like ‘I’m a sex worker.’ I have to use a small bank that’s willing to do business with me that promised to give me a heads up if the Department of Justice makes them close my bank account — instead of just sending me a check for the balance, like many sex workers found out their accounts had been closed during Operation Choke Point [an Obama-era crackdown on money laundering that caused banks to close the accounts of many adult performers] several years ago. So it’s the big stuff, like moving. And it’s a little stuff, like paying for my Egg McBiscuit. Now I finally do have a chip, but now everyone’s on those like WiFi things that you just wave over the top.”

Stoya also discussed in detail her experience during the recent OnlyFans back-and-forth regarding sex workers and sexual content.

As for advice to other sex workers and content creators, Stoya recommended that “whatever you think your standard of living can be, take that down three notches and keep an emergency fund. Keep a nest egg. You have all of the content that you’ve already put on OnlyFans. That is yours. You can take that to another platform or to multiple platforms.”

To read “Porn shows how financial firms are the new gatekeepers for the creator economy: An interview with Stoya,” visit QZ.com.

Main photo: Stoya at the 2014 XBIZ Awards (photo: Gustavo Turner).

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