Carta Monir, an author, publisher, and pornographer, maintains an amateur archive of vintage queer erotica: zines, comics, porn mags, classified ads, and other ephemera. “I think it’s really valuable to preserve and read these artifacts,” she says, “like people speaking to you from the perspective of the way that their community was at the time.” One of her favorite marketplaces for finding these materials is eBay, where she can consistently find a variety of old erotica for fairly cheap.
But starting today, Monir’s access to these materials is significantly reduced. eBay announced last month that it would be removing the “Adult Only” category on June 15th. Under the new policy, sellers aren’t allowed to list “items containing nudity and displays of sexual activitys” on the site.
The policy makes exceptions for a few mainstream titles, including Playboy, Playgirl, Mayfair, and Penthouse, as long as the listing doesn’t contain nude images. eBay has already expanded that list to include several gay and lesbian magazines, including Playguy, On Our Backs, and BUTT. But by and large, the policy has the effect of wiping out pornography from one of the internet’s biggest storefronts.
The new rules at eBay echo policy changes over the years at other sites, including Tumblr and Patreon, which have banned or limited adult content. According to Monir and others, those policies tend to have the harshest impacts on queer communities and especially queer people who produce or buy erotic content outside of mainstream porn.