Decriminalize Prostitution Initiative on San Francisco Ballot

Thank you to everybody who worked to get this initiative onto the ballot!  Here is information I received:

 

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced that the 
measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and 
prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal 
protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 
500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 
80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San 
Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like 
homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in 
a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said 
Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. 
“We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s 
tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San 
Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally 
and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 
4:00 p.m. July 22 in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with 
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a 
signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with 
two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the 
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task 
Force were implemented, ” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. 
“Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of 
violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted 
measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on 
the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with 
many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

The Latest Bestest Idea on Sex Worker-Media Realtions from Desiree Alliance

A note about Desiree Coverage:

I’m just talking about things that tickled or interested me particularly, or workshops I personally attended, this is not meant to be comprehensive and anything I write about is only a minute glimpse of the many amazing things happening here right now. Also I am leaving out names of anyone that I don’t personally know or I know to be public figures in an attempt to respect privacy. I’m sorry if this means that only the same 3 or 4 people get mentioned by name, please feel free to comment and take credit for anything you said or did that I didn’t attribute to you.

A group of well spoken media whores from SWANK/SWOP NYC are in the middle of a panel presentation called “Sex Workers and Mainstream Media: What We Learned from “Spitzergate”-Tools and Inspiration for Progressive Messaging” moderated by Audacia Ray.

They have explained some of the trials, horrors and hard-won victories against the New York Times that came from the media frenzy surrounding Spitzergate. So the issue of media accountability and how to handle mainstream media is a major topic of conversation. A fucked up interview can really do a lot of harm, one of the presenters lost her job based on misrepresentation from a New York Times interviewer. However after 2 weeks of hard work and legal threats to the editor they succeeded in getting a retraction printed; a major win in terms of realistic representation and the ability of sex workers to create their own image. Audacia has a helpful guide for talking to the media on her blog Sexwork 101, but the fact is that most of the mainstream media does not care enough to veer from their pre-existing concepts of what sex workers do and think (like the assumption that ‘sex worker’ means prostitute), and of course sensationalism sells papers ad gets clicks.

Ok, this may be redundant, there are very eloquent accounts of sex worker response to Spitzer all over this blog and many others.

But KittenINFINITE came up with a brilliant new tool to watchdog the media and train them to treat us respectfully and portray us realistically: a white list and black list of media contacts, widely posted and updated. So anytime a reporter does a story with fair and accurate representation of sex workers their name and contact is added to our media ally list, and anytime a reporter fucks up or drops the ball, they get added to the Hall of Shame. A key point to help encourage compliance would be that if someone googled the reporters name there place in the Hall of Shame would pop right up. A perfect addition to BNG, I think.

Stacey then followed with her own brilliant idea: A National (or possibly International) Sex Workers Speakers Bureau to create a collected resource of media savvy and ready sex workers who are willing to speak publicly on a variety of subjects. An intensive media training conference could be arranged, and there would be a variety of speakers with different core interests and back-grounds to address whatever demographic or issue the mainstream media was covering.

The call was then put for people to “bottom line” these two projects (New York terminology cracks me up.) So who wants to compile the media info and let us know who is worth talking to and who to avoid?  And who wants to work on organizing a media focused coalition of sex workers….Veronica Monet? Are you out there?

Just a personal note: the sex worker activists from New York always impress the pants right off me. They present such an organized, smart and dedicated face to addressing sex worker issues and needs. They can pull off the air of professionalism often required to get the lay world to listen and take us seriously, while retaining and conveying a broad scope of information and the interests of diverse communities of workers. I love the variety of styles of activism our community encompasses, and the $pread and Swanks of this movement play a key role.

Working Hearts: Blog for Sex Workers and their Partners about Unpaid Realtionships

Hey all,

Consider this your official invitation to Working Hearts: www.workingheart.blogspot.com,

the blog I recently started to create conversation and support for sex workers and their personal partners around sex workers’ unpaid love/sex relationships.

I would absolutely love it if any of you wanted to write a blog post, please just send me an email and write “post starts here:” right before the part you want me to publish.

Currently the blog has a few posts from a couple of different people and some informal polls, the current poll is about trying to leave the industry and the factors behind the decision to leave.

Partners are also welcome to post, eventually I will probably create a separate site for partners, but for now I’d love this to be a place to discuss opinions and experiences around relationships, answer each other questions and help support each other around this important topic that to me seems crucial to our health and quality of life as a community.

Audacia Ray interviewed me about Working Hearts for her Village Voice blog  Naked City in the interview series Four on the Floor, if you’d like to read more about why I’m doing this and what my thoughts are on the subject, check it out.

Desiree Alliance 2008 Liveblog

The 2008 Desiree Alliance Conference starts today in Chicago! The Desiree Alliance conference is different from most academic, activist, or community conferences in that we screen all participants and close the conference to outside media. That doesn’t mean we won’t be making our own media. For participants who want to cover the conference by blogging, sharing photos or videos or audio online, by using Twitter or other online messaging services, or on social network sites, we’ve established some guidelines to maximize participation by everyone at the conference, so that everyone may feel free to speak without being spoken for. We want to collaborate in sharing our experience with those not in attendance, and to document our community from the inside.

If you would like to be a part of the Conference Live Blog at Bound, not Gagged, a sex worker group blog, please email boundnotgagged@gmail.com to be given an account. If you have your own blog, email us the link so we can add it to our blogroll. If you tag any blog posts, podcasts, photos, or videos with “desiree alliance 2008” so they can be featured here on Bound, not Gagged. If you post any audio or video, send us the link and we can also embed it here.

N.Y. Struggles to Aid Child Prostitutes

Posted on request:

Bill Would Divert Girls to Social Programs; Opponents
Say Threat of Jail Is Needed
By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 13, 2008

NEW YORK — The girl is very slight, pretty, with
glasses, nervously fingering the blue and gold beads
on a bracelet she made herself.

She seems like a typical shy high school kid. Little
about her suggests the tortured story she tells: At 14
she ran away from sexual abuse at home and met a
24-year-old guy who seemed like he wanted to be her
boyfriend — until he told her he wanted to be her
pimp.

“I was like, wow,” recalled the girl, now 16, though
she looks younger. She was shocked, but desperate, she
said. “At the time I needed a place to sleep, so I was
like, ‘Fine, I’ll go along with it.’ ”

On and off for the next two years, she said, she
traded sex for cash, under the control of several
different men who took most of the money for
themselves. Her work as a child prostitute caused her
to be arrested in March and placed in detention.

“The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach,” said
the girl, who did not want her name to be used, like
several others who worked as prostitutes and gave
interviews for this article. “Most of the time we do
not have the right to say yes or no.”

Now New York is struggling with the question of how to
treat young girls who are involved in prostitution.
Are they criminals — or child abuse victims?

Continue reading

Dear Jessica Van Sack of the Boston Herald…

Hello Jessica!

I read your “article” entitled “Undercover ‘John’ takes on trannies, pimps” on the website for the Boston Herald. It was widely circulated after you succeeded to piss off the LGBTQ community starting with your opening line “James Fong has been trapped inside houses of ill repute by giant naked trannies… ” And the transphobia didn’t stop there.

Geez, Jessica? Could this article be anymore terrible? It’s salacious and ignorance portrait of sex work and transgender sex workers, I feel like I am reading a tabloid. Or the NY Post! Did you not realize as you typed away you were being lascivious and derogatory? Hard day at the office? Do you have a repressed sexual desire you want to share with the group?

“Fong arranges a meeting through a pimp who’s inevitably at the other end of an ad. The pimp will direct him to an apartment or hotel, wherever the call girls have set up their brothel. ” I mean… COME ON! If you just wanted to use the words “pimp” “call girls” and “brothel” in the same sentence, you have other options besides this sentence. Did you realize a huge percent of your readers might have had experiences soliciting sex, and might be laughing at your attempt for 101? Did you realize the Boston Herald might have advertisers who identify as queer, transgender, or have half a brain to see your article is tasteless and trash?

I understand you are new to journalism, and I am sure you are frustrated with a journalist entry level job as a court reporter. I am sure you cannot wait to get out of this low rung staff job, and I can see you are willing to write anything to do it. I ask you, how low are you willing to go?

Listen Jess… can I call you Jess? You are cute, I see your little picture up there next to the article. You are young, blonde, you can write (when you aren’t spreading transphobia I think you have real talent), I am sure you have a huge student loan to pay off…. ever consider sex work??? I don’t think you belong in newspapers.

You could channel your pseudo erotica into your advertising, or write a revealing tell-all book about your life as a call girl after you pay off your loans in six months. I think you would like it. It’s safer than court reporting, you don’t have those bosses at the Herald who grope at you, and you can make your own hours so you will have all the time in the world to do what you really want to do…. write. Think about it. You don’t have to listen to police scanners to see an accurate portrayal of the work. Just open your eyes to the world.

One more thing: Stop disrespecting our transgendered sex workers by making a mockery of their viable career choice. You only wish transgender sex workers were cop drama extras. In reality, they have more suitors, more money, and more femininity than us bio girls can muster. So stop hating. You of all people should know “a girls got to make a living”.

Love, kittenINFINITE

______________________________

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) are encouraging people to contact the Boston Herald and ask editors to apologize for the paper’s offensive slurs and sensationalistic coverage of transgender people and sex workers.

See the full press release here.

CALL THE BOSTON HERALD!

Boston Herald Contacts:
Jessica Van Sack
City Reporter
jvansack@bostonherald.com
(617) 619-6461

Joe Dwinell
City Executive Co-Editor
jdwinell@bostonherald.com
(617) 619-6177

Kevin Convey
Editor in Chief
kconvey@bostonherald.com
(617) 619-6403

New Hobbyist Blog

I’ve been following this guy’s blog, Sexhobbyist.com, for a little while and he seems to divide his time fairly evenly between escorts and strippers.   There’s an insightful interview with an escort in it this week.  I think he should be added the Hobbyists Blogs list.  I like it when clients use the head located on top of their necks.