Radical Vixen Interviews Amanda Brooks

Sex Worker Solidarity: Amanda Brooks

What do you think is the best way to promote solidarity with fellow sex workers?
Since every sex worker has their own pet issues, it’s important for all of us to step back and view the big picture. The truth is, every sex worker faces the same basic social issues – only the degree and intensity changes. Those who work in criminalized fields face additional legal and social issues which are essentially the same regardless of what “class” the sex
worker belongs to.

Promoting solidarity isn’t hard with blogs, discussion forums and real-live groups. When you start to feel a sense of belonging with others who understand your obstacles, it’s easy to present a united front in public even if you have disagreements in private.

Sometimes the distance of the Internet backfires and we splinter into arguments over things that matter only to us. Then it’s important to remember what I said above: we all face the same basic issues.

Promoting solidarity comes from every sex worker reaching out to another on an individual level. We’re all people-persons; otherwise we wouldn’t be sex workers. But feeling involved requires that we learn the individual. Sex workers aren’t going to feel loyalty to someone whom they only know from a mass e-mail (like current mainstream-marketing wisdom suggests). Meeting the individual sex worker isn’t hard to do and it isn’t difficult. But since there are so many sex workers it’s going to take a long time to reach everyone!

I have to add, this series is a great starting point for introducing an audience to sex workers we haven’t met before. I’ve contacted a couple of your interview subjects because of their interview here.

Memory Lane

I have a book shelf that has old notebooks from school, day planners and such. I recently decided that it’s time for a major purge so I’m sorting through all of it and throwing out what I don’t need.

Going through the pages of one of the day planners I came across one of my first web-based sex work experiences. Scribbled on the back of a printed email is the name of a store and cross streets in San Francisco. That was where I met him at- across the street from his apartment. And his phone number, just seven digits, because everybody in SF has a 415 area code.

He had posted an ad on craigslist.org seeking a student who’d be interested in mutual masturbation. I was about 20 or 21 years old. At the time I lived outside of San Francisco. I had been a dancer, but there weren’t many dancing opportunities in the town I’d moved to. So I sought out sex work opportunities in the Bay Area because it was the nearest city where the sex industry was easily accessible, but it certainly is not the only city where the sex industry is easily accessible.

So I replied to his ad. Sincerely able to say “I’ve never done this sort of thing before.”

The idea of going to a man’s house and letting him watch me masturbate really turned me on. Getting paid for it was even better. But obviously, I had safety concerns. Was he really going to respect my boundaries and not touch me? What if he was psycho? I didn’t really know what to expect, but how would I know if I didn’t just drive into the city and find out?

He asked me what sort of porn I like to watch. I told him girl-girl porn because I was mostly into girls around that time. I took all of the safety measures that I could think of. I gave the address and his phone number to a friend and promised to call her when I left his house and when I got back to my place. I did call her when I left, but I forgot to call her when I got home. I was so tired I just fell asleep. A mistake that I will never make again. It’s not fair to leave people who care about you to worry. Especially when they’re being supportive of your choices and helping you be safe.

So after many emails and phone calls I finally felt safe about going to SF for the meeting. I was excited all the way there. It was one of the most outrageous decisions I’d ever made. But I felt prepared and equipped to make that decision. I felt very safe after some investigation and planning with friends. If I had been driving into the city with nobody looking out for me I may not have been so confident. Having a friend who knows what you’re doing is so valuable.

I didn’t even have a cell phone at the time. When I arrived at the store he was there to show me where to park. He was in his mid-30’s, balding a little bit, about 5’10”. A little over-weight, but not obese. I could tell he was nervous, which somehow made me feel relieved because I wasn’t nervous at all. I think in that moment I understood that I was the one with the power, even if I couldn’t articulate that feeling at the time.

So we went up to his apartment. It was a typical one-bedroom in San Francisco: wood floors, tiny kitchen with tiny bathroom that hadn’t been updated in at least ten years, a decent sized bedroom and a living room. He was a bachelor working for some tech company that was probably later bought out by Microsoft or Oracle.

When we got into his apartment $200 was sitting on the counter. He just sort of waved toward it then offered me a drink. I asked for water and slipped the cash into my purse. Then I used his phone quickly to check in with my friend.

I was happy and enthusiastic. It was obvious that nothing was going to happen if I didn’t initiate it. So I jumped right in.

“Let me check out the movies you got!”

“Oh, they’re in the bedroom,” he said in a mumble. Now I was starting to have sympathy for him. He was so nervous! I wondered how long it had been since he’d had a girl in his apartment.

I went into the bedroom and chose from three videos. I opted for a dvd with a three-girl scene. Why not? He put in the video and then said, “Uh, I got you some toys too.”

“Yay!” I was genuinely pleased about that.

He handed me a package that had a little mini-vibe plus additional attachments. Perfect.

I didn’t see any reason for making conversation. It would have just put more stress on this socially awkward guy. He wanted to hang out for a while with an adventurous woman who would show him a good time. So I did.

The girls in the movie were hot and it had some elements of kink with boots and riding crops. I liked having the movie there for both of us to look at in order to avoid awkward interactions with each other. But what I really got off on was being watched, and knowing that he was getting off on watching.

So we masturbated for each other while watching porn. Nothing too kinky or unusual. He was very respectful. He didn’t make any unwelcome advances. He seemed to understand that if I felt comfortable that I would take the experience to a fun place that was pleasing to both of us.

As we watched the movie and played with ourselves I got more and more excited. I took one of his hands and placed it on my right breast. I turned so that he was directly in front of me and placed one foot on each side of his body so that I was straddling him, spread eagle with a clear view of my pussy while I massaged my clit with the mini-vibe and fingered myself to climax. I felt him squeeze my tit harder as he moaned and came into his own hand.

“Wow! That was fun!” I wanted us both to feel good about the experience. I knew that his pleasure was reflected in my pleasure. And I genuinely enjoyed myself.

He was shy, but clearly happy. He offered me a clean towel if I’d like to have a shower. I accepted and quickly rinsed off, sure to take my purse and all of my clothes into the bathroom with me. He seemed nice, but I was still protective of myself and the money I’d just earned.

When I came out he had a bottle of water for me and smile. He thanked me for coming with a shy giggle. He was sweet and I was happy to have shared the experience with him. I used his phone quickly to say I was heading out the door. And I left.

On the way home I stopped for gas and realized that I was standing at the pump with a huge grin on my face the entire time. It was kinky and fun, and I’d just made in one evening what I was used to making in a week. Suddenly, so many options were available to me that I’d never had access to before…

NY Times Makes Attemp at Correction

Editors’ Note: March 30, 2008
An article on March 16 profiling three sex workers in the wake of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation after revelations that he patronized prostitutes misconstrued how two of the women, identified by the pseudonyms Faith O’Donnell and Sally Anderson, said they earned a living. The resulting misrepresentation of the two women’s work included a headline that referred to them as “high-priced call girls” and a paragraph that said they practiced “the 21st-century version of the oldest profession.”

The reporter who interviewed them, one of two who worked on the article, never explicitly asked the women whether they traded sex for money or were prostitutes, call girls or escorts; he used the term “sex workers,” a term they used themselves that describes strippers and lap dancers as well as prostitutes. Though Ms. Anderson advertises herself as a “dominatrix with a holistic approach,” he did not ask her whether that meant she also performed sex acts for money, nor did he ask Ms. O’Donnell what her work actually was before characterizing it. He and the editors should have explored whether he had determined these things precisely.

After the article was published, both women contacted The Times and said they do not perform sex for money; Ms. O’Donnell refused to be specific about what she does.

Because of an editing error, the article misstated the political work of the New York chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a group in which Ms. Anderson is active; it advocates the decriminalization of prostitution, not its legalization, arguing that sex work should be regulated through labor law like other jobs but not subject to additional restrictions. Another editing error changed the meaning of Ms. Anderson’s observation that “no one” had come to an event she had helped plan to highlight difficulties faced by prostitutes; Ms. Anderson meant that no journalists had attended.

Look’s like we’ve got a regular reader here….

Immediately after the BNG post calling for responses to the 20/20 story, came this post over at the blog “Feminist Reprise”:

From Melissa Farley:

Please pass this on asap to feminists who are web activists against sexual violence. Friday March 21, Diane Sawyer did an excellent job in a 2-hour 20/20 special on prostitution in the US. She laid bare the emotional damage that prostitution causes.

As of noon on Saturday, the pro-pimp lobby is flocking to the Comments section of the ABC News site online.

Anyone who can post will help ABC News staff and others in the mainstream get a better understanding of what prostitution is.

Post in comments section here and pass it on.

Comments about the “pro-pimp lobby” notwithstanding, it like somebody follows this blog pretty closely.

Twitter, iPhones Let Sex Workers Spread Their Gospel

By Regina Lynn at Wired

When the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal heated up headlines earlier this month, every media outlet in the country suddenly began scrambling to talk to a sex worker.

The downfall of Spitzer, the New York governor who resigned after his private sex life unexpectedly became public, generated an enormous amount of interest in the escort industry and in Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the woman he had been seeing.

But the whirlwind didn’t catch sex workers and activists lying down. They organized a media blitz through blogs, Tumblr, Twitter and shared Google Docs. They kept tabs on which reporters approached the topic with respect and which didn’t. And perhaps for the first time, they made their voices heard in mainstream venues like Fox News and CNN — organizations that cannot be dismissed as fringe or adults-only media.

More…

Live on Blog Talk Radio XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network 5PM Eastern Saturday 3.29.08

XBN Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Please join XBN at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Listener Call in number 646.200.3136

Join sex workers and sex worker rights activists in media created and driven by us!

Upcoming Guests

Guest Carol Leigh! Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot Unrepentant Whore published by Last Gasp Carol Leigh,

3/31/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171865]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest to be determined

4/1/2008
8:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest to be determined

4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet porn performer, sex workers rights


Everyone 4/3/2008
9:30 PM
60 Minutes [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com
ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.comht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights. internet, jill brenneman XBN, Melissa Gira, sex work, sex workers, sex workers outreach project, swop, swopeast Politics Progressive
Mature 4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes

All previous shows are available for playback or download at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Previous Guests include:

Veronica Monet

Constance Sisk

Stacey from Desiree Alliance

Maxine Doogan

Amanda Brooks

And a live call in show after a Presentation by Jill Brenneman at William & Mary, this program hosted by Amanda Brooks, features many live calls from the presentation audience from the Brenneman presentation who stayed and joined XBN’s live broadcast which was being simulcast over the auditorium. This presentation was in response to the significant protest and backlash against the organizers and supporters of the Sex Worker’s Art Show Appearance at William & Mary and protests against the Sex Workers Art Show themselves. As the show demonstrates there is a lot of support for the Sex Workers Art Show at William and Mary.

Many outstanding guests are being scheduled, please watch for updates! If you would like to be a guest on this revolutionary project bringing sex workers voices to the media please contact www.swopeast.org

If you are a sex worker or sex worker rights musician and would like to make your music available to XBN, please contact us as we are in need of both theme music and would love to feature and credit sex worker and sex worker rights musicians.

XBN: Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Many Thanks to The Naked Heroes for letting us use their awesome music on XBN! Please check them out and support them!!! http://www.myspace.com/thenakedheroes

Add XBN: The SWOP East Broadcast Network to your blog or website by inserting this code. <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast”><img id=”btn180×60″ border=”0″ alt=”Listen to swopeast on internet talk radio” src=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/img/180×60_wht.gif”/></a>

Spitzer linked to most recent NYC bust

Woman arrested by NYC Vice still no legal consequences for Spitzer…

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From Gawker:

We never thought we’d see the day when the Governor of New York’s illegal sex trysts would give us only a renewed sense of ennui, but: Okay, we get it. The guy liked hookers. If the Post keeps this up, lots of other valuable yellow journalism will fail to make the front page.

Lawyering and Organizing for Sex Workers’ Rights

CUNY Outlaws presents

“Lawyering and Organizing

for Sex Workers’ Rights”

Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 6pm

CUNY Law School Auditorium,
6521 Main St. in Flushing Queens

Join us for Dinner and the Film, “A Safer Sex Trade”, to be followed by a discussion that addresses how criminalization and stigmatization of sex work affects both our clients as well as our work as attorneys.
Speakers include:
Sienna Baskin is a CUNY law alum and Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Worker project. Sienna’s work with SWP combines organizing, legal services and impact litigation for and by victims of trafficking into prostitution. Her work will include family law and criminal law remedies for women trafficked by their boyfriends and husbands, as well as immigration representation through the T and U visas. Sienna will also work with former victims to develop a collective voice to contribute to policy efforts around trafficking. Finally, by litigating for victims of trafficking who remain excluded from the U.S. for their acts of prostitution, Sienna will ask the courts to question the hard line between “bad” sex workers and “good” trafficking victims.
Eliyanna Kaiser is the Executive Editor at $pread Magazine (www.spreadmagazine.org), a quarterly publication produced by and for sex workers and those that care about their rights. She is also the co-founder and a Board Member of Sex Work Awareness, a new non-profit dedicated to public education and advocacy for sex workers.  Eliyanna has worked in public policy for the New York State Assembly for over 5 years. She lives in New York City with her wife.

Ruthie Doyle is a Brooklyn-based artist, activist, and trained doula who has advocated for labor and human rights, as well as for better public health policies domestically and abroad, especially as related to gender and sexual rights. She has worked advocating for sex worker rights in New York and internationally. 

Moderated by Professor Ruthann Robson. Questions may be directed to: alanachazan@gmail.com

Co-sponsored by the CUNY Labor Coalition.  Any donations may be made to CUNY Outlaws.

East Side Madam with America’s Largest Black Book Busted

Yesterday afternoon a 32-year-old woman was busted for running a prostitution ring on the East Side of Manhattan that charged $900/hour for its services. Kristen Davis (no relation to the Sex and the City star…probably) operated four websites, sending her gals to one of two apartments she kept for the illegal trysts (the magic apparently happened at both 229 East 53rd Street and 533 Third Avenue).

More at Gothamist

In (Partial) Defense of Eliot Spitzer

by Tristan Taormino the Village Voice

When news of Eliot Spitzer’s link to a prostitution agency first broke, “Why Do Powerful Men Cheat?” stories sprang up all around us, from morning shows to the nightly news. Within the framework of the cheating-husband narrative, no one made the distinction between employing a sex worker and having an affair with a “civilian,” except to emphasize that Spitzer cheated and broke the law. I think a distinction should be made about his choice of sex partner. When someone cheats with a civilian, he usually spends more time on courtship than between the sheets: There are text messages, e-mails, phone calls, secret rendezvous, whispered sweet nothings, gifts, even romantic dates. When someone hooks up with a sex worker, while some of those elements may be in play, they are a lot less likely to be part of the equation.

Melissa Gira Grant (melissagira.com), a reporter, sex worker, and sex-workers’ rights activist, says: “Some men go to sex workers for closeness and intimacy—they want to cuddle, and that’s what they are not getting at home. But for others, it’s not emotionally therapeutic at all, it’s the same as getting a deep sports massage.”

The world is not ready for THE SONGS of THE WHORE REVOLUTION! (Or perhaps, maybe Ashley Alexandra Dupre will lead the way?)

This is from a performance I did at an open mic that I thought was an open mic, but ended up being an open CHRISTIAN MIC. So the guy on stage next to me ends up PRAYING FOR ME ON STAGE in front of the audience after I was done. It was a shocker. But I got a taste of what it was like to be used as an example of redemption and fallen woman without my consent, like Kristin. KEEP ON KEEP ON, REMEMBER WE SAID THIS IS THE DAY THAT I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS THING HAPPEN. That’s a song I wrote and realized it’s totally dedicated to my girl burning at the stake, but if it were me, I’d be storming out of those flames like a SEXY PHOENIX ready to be the motherfucking 50 cent of prostitution, the TUPAC OF WHORES!

Terminology: Sex Work

People bristle at the term “sex work.” They feel it’s too PC. They often argue because prostitution is illegal it’s “not a job.” Or they over-think the term, usually in a lame attempt at humor (exemplified here). Even though these pontificators have nothing to do with sex work — at least not publicly admitted — they argue and attempt to define “sex work” for sex workers.

Everyone ignores that sex workers themselves freely use the term in self-identification. In recent years, gays and blacks have gained the autonomy to identify themselves how they want. Being gay used to be illegal (and technically still is in some states). Being black was essentially illegal for a long time.

Yet somehow sex workers are still not seen as human enough to deserve the autonomy to identify themselves with their own language, even though “sex work” has been around for more than 20 years.

NYT: “The Double Lives of High-Priced Call Girls”

The New York Times actually did pull off a very good article during Spitzergate. While one should not ignore that sex workers inhabit a wide range of social classes, I’d say based on sex workers I’ve met, the article describes the lives of indoor prostitutes pretty accurately (avoiding both the jetset demimonde and the Farley-esque degraded whore caricatures), even if it does go off into the headline-grabbing “high-priced call girl” shtick.

Check it out

Shame on Diane Sawyer

As sex workers, allies, and activists, we are deeply concerned about the “Prostitution in America” report that aired on “20/20″ hosted by Diane Sawyer.

Although prostitutes are the people most strongly affected and harmed by existing prohibitionist policies against prostitution, the report did not feature prostitutes’ perspectives on the legal status of prostitution. The only person interviewed whose perspective was featured on this issue was a reporter for the New York Times who promoted the Swedish model, even though Swedish prostitutes have denounced this legislation. Yet, their perspectives were not represented either.

Furthermore, we also found it highly offensive when Sawyer denied the perspectives of an independent, indoor sex worker just because her perspectives differed from Sawyer’s. Sawyer invalidated this woman’s perspective based on her own bias against sex workers. This is a violation to the women that she interviewed and to sex workers of all different backgrounds. Similarly, there was no legitimate reason for Sawyer to ask if the sex worker had any mental or emotional problems. Sex workers have the right to define our experiences for ourselves.

Just like any labor force, sex workers are a diversity of people with a variety of experiences and perspectives on our work. When reporting on sex work, it is important to respect this diversity as well as the sex workers. It is also essential to allow sex worker voices on public policies such as the legal status of prostitution, which affect not only our livelihood but our safety, dignity and human rights.
“Diane wrapped-up the program with another mention of the Christian holiday and a quote from the bible; the one about being the first to cast a stone.

I guess the irony of a sinning journalist stoning another profession was lost on ABC.

But not us.

The stigma of sex, especially as it is in this country, clouds the thinking of most people; we just didn’t expect the clouds to render Diane Sawyer free of her journalistic integrity; indeed, of any rational thought.” Gracie Passette via Sex In The Public Square

Reaching the media, Sex Workers Against Rape

We’ve briefly touched on this as a topic in various forums but never really gone forward with it.   This is a hard topic but one I honestly believe we have to put forward.  The media couches our movement, our efforts at social justice behind the myth that we are a very small fringe of all sex workers that both have not suffered violence but also are rich, affluent, spoiled brats making way too much money or in denial about what we have and do deal with and suffer.

We advocate fighting oppression, fighting violence, fighting discrimination, fighting coercion, yet this is missed by the media and very well played by the prohibitionists as exclusively their domain.  We are repeatedly blown off with these ridiculous terms as “pro trafficking”.  No one is pro trafficking other than traffickers and I don’t know anyone who is pro trafficking.  Is there anyone in our movement that wants someone coerced into the sex industry?  Is there anyone in our movement that wants to see a sex worker raped, assaulted, or harmed?  No.  Those are the very issues we are fighting against.  While our reasons for fighting for social justice for sex workers are many, I have never been part of a more inclusive, more united, more willing to be respectful of diversity group of people in my life than the sex worker rights movement.

Thus my thoughts whether popular or unpopular within our movement here they are.

We have to speak out against violence that we suffer, that we have suffered.  Obviously no one should be expected, forced, anticipated or even remotely pushed into outing their past suffering.  But those that are able and willing to do so.  We need to.  It is easy for reporters to slot audiences against us when they are able to portray us in the light of the never victimized high priced escort.  And yes there are many of them and yes their voices are just as important as anyone’s.   I’m not denying the importance of the voices of sex workers that were never harmed.  We all have very important voices.  But some of us are victim/survivor, however one self defines of various forms of harm.  We need to present this part of our movement too.  When a victim/survivor of trauma from our movement comes forward and says yes, I suffered this in the sex industry, or as a child, or both, we become much more accessible to people who would otherwise miss us and flock to those put forward by the prohibitionists.  That some of us come forward and say yes, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry which is why I advocate for sex worker rights, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry, as a child, whatever, BUT prohibitionist/end demand ideologies only make things worse, people have a much harder time dismissing us.  Or putting us into the slots that the prohibitionists so want us to be in.

I am the one in six childhood abuse survivors, I suffered violence in the sex industry, BUT, I advocate sex worker rights.  I do it by choice, I am aware of the various other ideologies, I’m not brainwashed by some monolithic pro porn movement as critics charge,  I’m not rich, I live paycheck to paycheck, worry about bills, am happy when I come home from work and the dog hasn’t gone potty on the floor,  in other words I’m human.  Just like 20/20’s viewers.  I don’t want to be glamorized, pitied, studied, or rescued.  I left the sex industry in 1995 because I chose to.  Not because I was running from it, not to beat an addiction, but because I wanted to do something else.  The same reason I have left many other jobs.  The same reason others leave their jobs.

When I did need help, when I was facing violence and coercion in the sex industry, none of the current anti trafficking measures would have applied or helped, I couldn’t go the cops or the justice system because in the US being a prostitute is illegal,  the clients getting arrested,,, so what???  Great so the whole thing which was underground in the first place just moves farther underground.  Not to mention I went into the sex industry for a reason.  To make money to survive.  I didn’t need the clients arrested because they were clients, I was there to make money to eat, to live, there was a need for the clients.   I needed the ones arrested that beat the shit out of me, or raped me, or forced me to do things without my consent.  I needed them arrested for rape, for assault, not on some minor misdemeanor that they could wash away with a visit to “John School” in some lame ass plea bargain.  I needed labor and human rights so that an abusive, sadistic pimp, didn’t have criminalization to use against me to keep under control.  As long as the whole thing is illegal the cops were more his allies than they ever could have been mine as I was more afraid of being arrested, or worse, being blown off because I was a prostitute and sent back to him to face a very angry pimp.  I needed human rights.  Not more than the rest of the world should get, but not less either.  Perhaps what people don’t like about the sex worker rights movement is that we want to determine our own course.  We don’t want to be rescued, or be research guinea pigs, or stereotyped.  We are individuals and human beings.  We are hugely diverse.

But we are fighting for social justice, we are fighting against oppression, we are fighting for human, civil and labor rights for reasons and those are often being missed by the media or the messages are being hijacked by the prohibitionists and their misguided conflagrations and stereotypes.  Prohibitionist researchers who were never sex workers and know little about them other than their 2 hour interviews with loaded questions slanted for desired results.  I’ve been to the big prohibitionist conferences and the biggest topics tend to be the number of stars of the hotel rating, how disappointing the eggs were at the continental breakfast or that their hotel suites had bad color schemes.  I’ve been to their conferences and been given the list of prohibited words, phrases and ideologies that will be stricken from the record if used and/or lead to expulsion from the conference.  These are some of the reasons I left that movement in 2002.  I’ve never seen that kind of garbage at sex worker rights meetings conferences, events, even if those same events are nothing more than a meeting at an unheated, poorly lit space that some other org is letting us borrow, with no meal service other than what we bring for ourselves, but we are there because we are working on issues, social change and fighting oppression.  Not because we are being funded by the USDOJ to stay in Washington DC Hotels after having to suffer the “indignity” of flying in coach because the Government wouldn’t agree to pay first class as some of the suffering prohibitionists did in 2002.

I’ve never known a more passionate, tolerant, empathetic, and authentic group of people than I have met in the sex worker rights movement.  There is a great amount of humanity in our movement.  Let’s make sure media sees that.   Yes I suffered in the sex industry and as a child.  But I want to choose my own path, my own career choices, and determine the propriety of my own experiences not have them reframed as some prohibitionist based projects would do for me.  We don’t need to be rescued, we need fucking rights and the people who best know this are the sex workers themselves, not the politicians, not the researchers, not the media.  But we have to be heard and people have to see us as three dimensional human beings and sometimes that means risking exposing our vulnerabilities.  For those who can do so we should.  Let Diane Sawyer argue with the sex worker who says yes I was harmed in the sex industry BUT I don’t want SAGE to rescue me, I want the same rights as Diane has as my path to not being harmed by my industry just as she shouldn’t be harmed in hers.

 

Kristen’s Mom

kristins-mom.jpg

…she wasn’t worried about her daughter after news erupted that she was the prostitute Spitzer slept with, causing his fall from power. “She is a very bright girl who can handle someone like the governor,” she said.

NY Post 

Has anybody been able to find interviews with Spitzer’s parents?

Awesome interview at Feministe

Holly interviews Sienna Baskin from Sex Workers Project.

The barebacking thing is slightly different, because its about a client asking for an experience that could be physically unsafe for the sex worker. My experience has shown me that this is very unusual. Sex workers who have access to safe sex stuff—and the power to use it—universally do. Even in very poor countries, where sex workers are really working to put food in their mouths, if they have unrestricted access to condoms, they are enforcing their use, educating their clients, and really leading the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Music Biz and The Moral High Ground

Jay Smooth. Intelligent and cute!

Call to Action: 20/20 Report Demands SW Responses

As an active sexworker, longtime sex worker rights activist, and member of SWOP and this board, I urge anyone and everyone who viewed Diane Sawyer’s “Prostitution in America” on 20/20 last night to write to ABC in one of two ways (or both):

1. Seen something? Heard Something? Know something? Please let us know — by being the reporter yourself. If you have facts or information to add to the story, fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you. You have a 2000 word limit to add your own story about your reality as a sex worker.   Make sure to link back to either boundnotgagged.com or your local SWOP chapter.

2. You can also leave a comment about the story on the ABC site.  Again, make sure to link back to either boundnotgagged.com or your local SWOP chapter.

Blog comments on this board can be found here.

Sex 2.0 is April 12th!

Come join us in Atlanta!

Sexing Up Social Change & Social MediaMelissa Gira and Stacey Swimme

The non-profit web, it’s so hot right now. But what of us sex activist outlaws — working queer politics, throwing feminist actions, laboring for sex worker rights, and promoting sexual health uprisings? Many of our community members are super web savvy, from gay teen YouTube celebs to third waving bloggers to podcasting porn stars, so doing outreach, advocacy, and organizing online makes complete sense (especially in frequently cash-strapped organizations). Then what does it take to do social change with social media strategically? How do you know when you’re doing effective work vs. just messing around on MySpace? And is there funding out there for online activism? Drawing on examples from international campaigns and peer-led trainings I’ve supported, I’ll run down free tools we can use now, brainstorm how we involve our communities in peer-based advocacy online, and facilitate discussion on how to launch a campaign.

Full Schedule

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