‘No Humans Involved:’ Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers

Updated: Today the Gay City News, which is the most widely circulated gay weekly in the United States, published this editorial entitled “No Humans Involved’: End Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers.” I’m linking it here, because I didn’t just write it for the ‘gaystream.’ I also wrote it for the sex worker movement, which produced some very nontrans ‘woman’-centric statements for the Day to End Violence. The fact is that queer and transgender sex workers, especially people of color, low-income folks, and homeless persons, have long been targets of cops and serial killers. In response to some of the comments this post has already generated; acknowledging this fact does not in any way ‘fragment’ the movement and it doesn’t ‘blame’ or ‘scare off’ some ‘invisible majority’ of sex workers that would somehow tip the scales of public opinion in our favor.

In any case, if acknowledging that racism and homophobia and transphobia are all tied up in the policing of sex work is frightening your ‘majority’ off, that’s because of racism, homophobia, transphobia and internalized whorephobia itself. It’s absolutely criminal that you are accusing people organizing around their identities, and this editorial itself, of being ‘fragmenting’ for the movement. Read it yourself. Tell me again why I should shut up and let the ‘majority’ keep flapping their gums about this supposedly universal ‘good girl’ whore. Tell me again why you need this rotten ‘respectability’ in order to lure the straights and the Republican strippers and the property owning madames who would sooner take her 50 percent than give a damn.

What’s more, acknowledging our differences can strengthen our alliances with other movements. The fact that this editorial was published in a major ‘gay’ publication speaks to this possibility. This is a small step in the direction of remembering and reclaiming the names of those who have died but who have been ignored by us: like the young hustlers who faced death alone in the cold arms of heartless killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy, Jr., but also those of us who have been raped by the police, kicked out of our homes, incarcerated, and abandoned by our families.

‘No Humans Involved’: Ending Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers

To mourn the victims of murder, incarceration, and intimate partner violence in their midst, this past December 17, sex workers, clients, and allies filled New York City’s Metropolitan Community Church and marked the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The Day was honored by more than 27 cities this year, from Nairobi to Hong Kong. Here in New York, the high-ceiling room of the church reverberated with the names of the dead.

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On June 6th in NYC, Sex Workers Take the Stage for the Sex Worker Cabaret

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Doors: 7pm
Performances: 7:30pm to 10pm
Tickets at the door: $10 – $20 sliding scale (Ages: 21+)
Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street, New York, N
New York, NY – Sex workers take the stage to tell their diverse stories through burlesque, comedy, narrative, contortion, aerial performance, and more. Producers Sarah Jenny and Rachel Grinstein are proud to present an evening cabaret showcasing some of the most vibrant creative talent in the sex worker community. The cabaret is in homage to Annie Oakley’s Sex Workers Art Show (1997-2009) and will take place during LGBTQ Pride month, a time to reflect on the importance of community. Come bare witness as sex workers eloquently, and at times raunchily, speak their truths.

The Sex Worker Cabaret will take place on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 7pm at the Slipper Room located at 167

Orchard Street, New York, NY. The event will be MCed by Go Magazine‘s 2010 Readers Choice Award “Best MC” winner Sarah Jenny and DJed by DJ Sirlinda (Hey Queen!, Rumours, Gayface)

. Go-go dancers Calvin Clamdigger, Essence Revealed, and Violet Noxx will grace the stage during intermission.

Matthew Lawrence

Matthew Lawrence

Performers:
ANNABELLE XAAH
Annabelle Xaah is a Renaissance whore, who likes swinging from ropes, naked, singing and playing the mandolin. Her performance entails rope-swinging burlesque with original badass beats.

DAVID HENRY STERRY
David Henry Ste rry was a boy ho, has written 12 books, and performed with everyone from Michael Caine to Will Smith to Zippy the Chimp. He will perform his minute piece from the New York Times lauded anthology,  Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: “Can You Imagine, 82-Year-Old Pussy Tastes Great!”

ESSENCE REVEALED
Essence is a dual degreed, former lap dance engineer of the upscale gentlemen’s club scene, from NY to Vegas and sweet, sticky places in between. Essence innovates a dance form she calls “stripperlesque” in an excerpt from the finale of her solo show, Essence Revealed.”

GERRY VISCO
Gerry Visco is an illegally blonde writer, performer, photographer, and fashionista, who regularly covers events and the arts for New York Press.

INBRED HYBRID COLLECTIVE WITH LOGAN STEVENS
Inbred Hybrid Collective’s mandate is to stimulate a consciousness of the external factors affecting our human existence. Inbred Hybrid Collective will perform a musical conversation between hustlers in Times Square.

JODI SH. DOFF
How did a nice Jewish girl wind up spending a decade naked in Times Square? Writer Jodi Sh. Doff presents a peek from her one woman show.

LORELEI LEE
Lorelei Lee is a student, writer, and porn performer based in Brooklyn. She will read a work of autobiographical fiction.

LYDIA LOVE
Lydia Love mixes movement and spoken-word into performances of sincerity and sensuality. With candidness and complexity, Lydia will perform dance and spoken-word.

MATTHEW LAWRENCE
Matthew Lawrence is a writer and curator from Providence, Rhode Island. He will tell tales of why he wasn’t a very good escort.

NICOLETTE DIXON
Nicolette is a theatrical know-it-all, muse, and barstool philosopher with a feminist bent. She will perform a series of monologues and a burlesque routine about lap dancing.

Profiles of male escorts

Men for men

Men for women

Whore Lover: Sex Workers Queering Love

Whore Lover sepia 2SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 18th, 2009 – 8PM. Stories of romance in spite of social stigma, as told from both sides of the bed. Turns out it’s not actually true that sex workers are incapable of feeling love; or too generous, greedy, humiliated or gold-hearted to pursue it. Likewise, the city hosts hordes of humans who love whores. In fact, many of those who have turned a trick or courted a courtesan are luminaries of queer arts and performance.

<p>Whore Lover is a multimedia showcase of the art of balancing between erotic work and play; and establishing long-term intimacy with those of us who charge by the hour. Tales of love, lust and lucre, straight (but not narrow!) from the talented mouths of porn stars, hookers, rent boys, strippers, Dominatrices, and the lovely folks who love them. Featuring art, films,  and performances by: Sadie Lune, Kirk Read, Mariko Passion, Ed Wolf, Lorelei Lee, Ginger Virago, Seeley Quest, and Madsen Minax. Curated by Sadie Lune, and presented by the National Queer Arts Festival with support from the Creating Queer Community program.

<p>

Whore Lover: Sex Workers Queering Love
The Garage Theater
975 Howard St. @ 6th
June 18, 2009 @ 8:00
Tickets: $12-$20
Buy Tickets on-line:
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/66151

415-885-4006

For more information please visit: http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest09/WhrLvr.html

Mariko Passion sings “Decriminalize Me” in PSA for Sex Worker Fest

It plays when you come to the site, http://www.sexworkerfest.com/

You can download it here! http://www.sexworkerfest.com/PSASexWorkerFest2009.mp3

New French sex worker union founded

Just to make sure people know about last week’s events in Paris, which included the founding of a new sex worker union. It’s easiest for me to post links to the abundant media coverage, many of which have photos. I hope this is okay.

(Posted by Laura; edited for formatting by Melissa, who apologizes her French is so slow)

Pompeo, Stirring up the Kettle on Rent Boys and Methheads

After being given ample content on rights work, the relation to workers of other genders, and the ins-and-outs of racist and sexist discrimination and policing by a number of New York’s working boys, Joe Pompeo pulled a Jessica Pilot  in the New York Observer with “The Hipster Rent Boys of New York.” Not a word on racial discrimination, or the use of video peepshows, strolls, or the few last-standing hustler bars, and not a word on organizing.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the comments section wasn’t crammed full of those nasty little “diseased,” “Narcissistic,” “drug-addicted,” “meth-head” accusations that complete the very definition of an Internet article about us whores and those whoring regardless of gender.

But that’s enough raving. In other news, the Freakonomics guy (and Columbia sociology professor) Sudhir Venkatesh keeps getting quoted in what I think are questionable articles. He’s the guy who wrote a piece for Slate Magazine citing the 40 percent figure, as in 40 percent of sessions don’t include touching or sex. Maybe I should invite him on a work date?

Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment

Melissa Ditmore’s latest on the anti-prostitution pledge at http://www.rhrealitycheck.org:

Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment
Melissa Ditmore on October 9, 2008 – 8:00am
Recently on RH Reality Check, I examined the damaging effects on sex workers of a new law against prostitution in Cambodia. The perception on the ground is that the law was passed so that Cambodia could avoid sanctions associated with the US Traffic in Persons report.
This is not the first time that sex workers have been sacrificed at the altar of US funding. Anti-trafficking funding and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) deny funding to any organization that does not have an explicit policy against prostitution and sex trafficking. Outwardly, this seems innocuous, but the restriction has been used in ways that seriously undermine public health and anti-trafficking efforts in the developing world. Denying services to sex workers is counter-productive in both areas.
In addition, the terms of the restriction have been left ambiguous, allowing some self-appointed experts to act as “police” for the US government in watching aid recipients for alleged missteps. CHANGE released an updated policy brief detailing the ways in which sex workers have been adversely affected by this restriction.

WSWM ranch, Heidi’s stud ranch and male priviledge

I started my day by day blog of Bellas and will continue it on my personal blog: marikopassion.wordpress.com so i’m not going to talk about how my first day went here, but I just have to comment about male priviledge in not only the old boy network of brothel owners and in sex work in general.  What Heidi Fleiss is and has been doing is really really phenomenal even though I’ve not met her and she could be a rotten bitch but on the whole “The Stud Ranch” is a groundbreaking concept.  As it has so far been explained to me, the Nevada brothel system is NOT ever due to expand to other brothels in Nevada state legislature any time in the future and all but 2 of them (Bellas and one other) are owned by old boys.  If you were at Desiree 1 you got an idea of what kind of men owned these places and what their blatantly unfeminist views were.  According to conversations I’ve had with Rachel Whotton from Scarlet Alliance, the same is true for brothel owners in Australia.  In Oz, they have become a political lobby and are speaking out against any non brothel sex worker, trying to convince parliament that if a girl were to not work in a brothel there would be no way that she could keep herself safe or clean. This is the overall belief from many people in the general public, and it is the legacy of male priviledge in all its ugliness.

However, in talking with Aunt Deb who helps run Bellas, the woman/family owned and run brothel and she talks about her frustration with working with so many girls whos minds are stuck at the age of 14 and who need so much repetetive direction around basic things.  Anyone who has ever tried to manage an escort or stripping agency probably knows what she is talking about.  I opted to convert my energies from a dying escort agency in LA in to SWOP-LA because I could never possibly profit babysitting the women that I was trying to have on my staff and keep my sanity.  They neeeded guidance and outreach and that was what a sex worker advocate does willingly, not a business person who wants or needs to profit.  These are the women that unfortunately find themselves in the “stables” of abusive pimps either on the streets or in brothels.  It is a continuation of a pattern of abuse many of these women have become accustomed to, perhaps since childhood and it would take serious mentorship and time to guide someone out of that, which is not only not a profit model, but often is draining to even non profits doing advocacy.

An MSM ranch? There is an MSM ranch of sorts in every major city of the world.  They are called bathhouses, public parks or gay.com.  MEN as a whole, do not need any help seeking sex–either for pay or for free.  But because of the legacy of male priviledge (for MSW escorts)  and the decriminalization of homosexuality, male escorts do not get to charge as much as females.  Male strippers doing bachelorette parties is totally socially acceptable, but only in the context of marriage. I have had sex with female clients, but only in the context of when a husband or boyfriend pays for my services.  I can find casual hot sex with women in a sex spaces, but only in a BDSM play party (which may not be the sexual experience I was seeking) or a swingers party where I would either have to fend off all the client types from trying to fuck me for free or put on a show for the husband or sometimes convince him to go away, although in swinger spaces like Hedonism and such bisexuality with women is fine, but NEVER between the men.  Men who want to have sex with men can open any newspaper and find a public outlet do a google search and find what they are looking for or at least go to a venue where they might be able to find it and women either hetero or queer do not.  You see what I’m getting at?

Male prostitutes, johns targeted in D.C. police sting

News about an ongoing operation by D.C. police aimed at arresting male prostitutes and the male customers who seek their services surfaced last month when a male undercover officer posing as a hustler arrested the mayor of District Heights, Md., for allegedly offering him $40 for sex.

read the rest…

 

William Rockwell Posts about NPR Experience

NPR: “Behind Closed Doors”

I was hosted recently by Michel Martin on “Tell Me More,” a program on National Public Radio. Juhu Thukral from the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center and Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus also participated. The segment is titled Behind Closed Doors: The Reality of Prostitution, a bit gimmicky, it’s true, but, hey, it’s not like they needed my opinion…

I had several problems with the interview. I had long, drawn-out series of conversations with the NPR folks about “legal” issues surrounding my use of a pseudonym, and, in the end, they decided to broadcast that I was going solely by William because I was “in fear of arrest.” The most disturbing point being that NPR failed to credit the organization I was representing, Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK). This went down as both the Sex Workers Project and Hookers for Jesus were represented in a strong way. I guess sex workers currently working in the business are too busy in the alleyways shooting up, so how could they be organized, right? I tried to make up for it by referencing SWANK quite a few times.

The next bits are mostly my fault: I compared the reproductive right of abortion in poor economic circumstances, which I called a “choice among limited choices,” to the “choice” of doing sex work. Not the happiest of comparisons

Full Post

The Other Professionals: Men & Transwomen in Sex Work

I wanted to link to this over here…and ask, if possible, in comments if anyone with information on Sex Worker Outreach, as it pertains to transwomen and men, could please post it in the comments?  I’m trying to gather some serious information on this, as well, I think it’s an important and sometimes way too over looked subject.

Thanks-Ren

(saving up for Chicago!!!)

 

CNN Report: Japan’s “Geisha Guys”

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/04/07/japan.geishas/index.html

This isn’t a date, though. It’s business.

The woman, a successful executive, has joined a growing number of professional women in Japan in forking out from $1,000 to $50,000 a night for male companionship.

They meet their “hosts” in hundreds of clubs that have sprung up around Tokyo – the industry says only compliments are exchanged. The women pay for a man to lavish them with undivided attention.

A reversal of the typical ‘girlfriend experience’?

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>

We Must Interrupt This Scandal To Announce…

Registration for Pulling Back the Sheets: Sex, Work and Social Justice is officially open!

Wondering if you should attend the conference? Check out Red Light Radio Podcast #2

In this podcast SerpentLibertine interviews kittenINFINITE about her introduction into the sex industry and sex work activism, we discuss the meaning of the term “sex worker”, the difference between whores and sluts, the formation of SWOP Chicago, how to get involved in sex work politics, the 2008 Desiree Alliance sex work convergence, and the importance of properly screening clients.

If you would like to submit a proposal to present a workshop or an academic presentation or any other suggestions for activities and programming for the conference in Chicago, the deadline is this Friday! March 21st!

We want to see you in Chicago and we want to hear what you have to say and what you care about hearing at this conference!

Sorry Your Grandmother was Mugged…

International Harm Reduction Conference, Barcelona, Spain 2008

In May 2007, sex workers and advocates gathered from across the globe
to attend the 18th International Harm Reduction Conference in Warsaw
Poland. Last year was our first time at this event and it was quite a
success. Rachel Wotton from Scarlet Alliance- the Australian Sex
Workers’ Association-was our plenary speaker and we held sex worker
lead panels and living room sessions.
http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/sharp/events/conference_200705
24/agenda.pdf

We also had a booth that we took turns working daily during the
conference. Our topics ranged from outreach to law reform and we spoke
with hundreds of people during the conference. Now it is time to do it
again, this time in Barcelona Spain May 11th-15th, 2008.

We have been invited to create sex worker lead panels and sessions
from abstracts submitted to IHRA for 2008. We encourage
representatives from all the sex worker networks to put in your
abstracts and to keep us in the loop so we can do our utmost to get
your abstract accepted.
Please do the following two things:
1. Submit your abstract directly to the International Harm Reduction
Association (IHRA) http://www.ihra.net/ by November 14, 2007
2. after submitting your abstract to IHRA, please send us a heads up
note including your abstract and any other information about the sex
worker organization you work with to swopusa@yahoo.com and
psaunders@bestpracticespolicy.org

All entries will be notified of acceptance by Dec. There is limited
funding and please be sure to apply for an IHRA scholarship when you
submit your abstract too.

Need help shaping your abstract? Never done an “abstract” and feel
like its not for you? Contact swopusa@yahoo.com and
psaunders@bestpracticespolicy.org by Nov 1 and we’ll connect you to a
fellow advocate who can help you brainstorm your idea and shape your
abstract. Remember that there are all kinds of different roles and
venues to present at IHRA-you don’t have to have studied at University
or be a “researcher” to present about sex worker issues at this
conference.

Sincerely,

Sex Worker Harm Reduction Panel Participants

Press Conference- Sex Workers’ Outreach Project protests entrapment and costly prosecution of male escort in Fremont, CA

What: Press Conference-SWOP-USA (Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA/NORCAL) protests entrapment and costly prosecution of male escort in Fremont, CA

When: Thursday 12 Noon, Nov 1st
Where: Fremont Municipal Court, 29439 Paseo Padre Parkway Fremont California.
Contacts: Carol Leigh 415-751-1659; Veronica Monet 888-903-0050, Robyn Few SWOP-USA-877-776-2004

Website: http://www.swop-usa.org; http://www.swop-usa.org/drupal/node/30

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