Sammy Nickalls
June 27, 2016 12:01 pm

Stoya is undoubtedly one of the most famous porn stars of our modern age. However, in November of 2015, her name was all over headlines for a heartbreaking reason — she had publicly announced that her ex-boyfriend, fellow adult film actor James Deen, raped her when they were together. Now, Stoya is making it her mission to make the porn industry a safer and more accepting place for women.

In NYmag.com’s The Cut blog, Stoya recounted anecdotes of working in the industry that made it clear that workers were not respected as humans. “I was expressing to the producer on Digital Playground sets that no, I don’t want to work with this person who is not on my ‘yes’ list,” Stoya said about the list that adult performers keep of other actors they will or won’t work with. “And he was like, ‘Well, I mean, you could be working at Walmart.’”

Stoya subsequently called her lawyer, who “told me exactly where my loopholes were on my contract, and of course the biggest one was: It’s the United States in the 2000s, you can’t make me have sex.”

That’s what prompted her to start progressive porn site TrenchcoatX with co-founder Kayden Kross in 2015. “[We’re] trying to make better porn, trying to make porn that isn’t total shit,” she explained.

Additionally, TrenchcoatX’s tags are respectful of gender identity, such as “pubic parts: mostly external” and “pubic parts: mostly internal”, and they allow users to customize their own preferences by designating topics as “squick” (not into it) or “squee” (very into it).

“What I don’t want is for my entire career and therefore entire life to be all about James and what he did to me,” Stoya said, adding that she is still seeing her therapist and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Has my life not been all about James and what he did to me for long enough?”

Now, with TrenchcoatX, she is taking a stand and aiming to redefine the industry. Though at the beginning of this year she sold her shares of the company to her co-founder, she ultimately decided she was back in. Why?

“Because right now the only things standing out about porn are the garbage,” she told The Cut. “And I know you don’t fix something by walking away from it.”

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