Reaching out and connecting with outdoor (street-based) sex workers.

Hi everyone, myself and a few friends of mine that have a bunch of outdoor (street-based) sex work experience decided to do some training for all of you that are interested in the street-based economy, and how to offer support.

Specifically we drafted two documents, How to be an ally to outdoor(street based) sex workers and how to outreach to outdoor (street based) sex workers, the short version.

My favorite is the how to be an ally document, and it’s short, so I’ll repost that here below.  This is not intended to replace the more general version sex workers put together earlier, but to augment it:

  1. Don’t push yourself on me in the name of help if I don’t want or need it. I have the ability to make decisions for myself. Honor my decisions even if you don’t agree with them.
  2. We have lots of people offering us “help,” but most are NOT actually meeting our needs. Meet my needs, not your desires. If you don’t know what my needs are, it is ok to ask.
  3. If you offer help and I accept, follow through on your promises. Do not lie to us or give us a false sense of hope. Be real about how much you can and will help.
  4. If you offer help, I want it to address my immediate needs! Not something that will help me 5 years from now. For instance, if I don’t have food, a place to sleep or my fix, then scholarships for school have very little relevance in my life.
  5. Some people are happy in this life. Thinking I require help OUT of this life is bad thinking on YOUR part.
  6. Don’t assume I’m strung out and need help kicking. Maybe I’m not strung out or maybe I have no desire to quit.
  7. Don’t pity me or feel sorry for me. Remember, anyone can end up in a rough place in life. When someone pities you, it makes you feel “less than” or ashamed of your lack of ability to get yourself out of the rough situation you found yourself in. Remember, it could be you standing here working next to me later!
  8. If you want to help, make yourself available and perhaps offer options. Let me choose the type of help I want/need, not what you think I need.
  9. Don’t judge me! If you are judging me, you are not in a position to help me.
  10. Don’t tokenize me. Street-based workers come from all different races, genders, religions, socio-economical backgrounds and education levels. Don’t assume that just because “Pretty Women” is your favorite movie, you know me.
  11. Be patient if I need help. Chances are I’m in survival mode, and you need to respect where I am, not where you want me to be.
  12. Respect me. Don’t be afraid to look me in the eye.

‘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.

Continue reading

Sex Work Issues — SE Asia and China

Here are two videos I found today via Facebook. Compare and contrast:

http://www.lauraagustin.com/migrant-sex-workers-in-china-massage-parlours-hair-salons-hotel-rooms (though this one is from 2007, the scene is still the same)

Outdoor “street” work question answered.

I get asked a lot about street work, or as I like to call it Outdoor work.  These are my experiences and understanding, and may not be the same as someone else’s.

Briefly my experiences:  I’ve worked outdoors for a while, once while homeless, and more recently I’ve worked in front of grocery stores and the like.  I have done the ‘stroll’ type work, but only in small cities and towns, never in larger cities like LA or SF.

Experiences in larger cities, I can only speculate on, or share from friends/family that have done that type of work.  Also, I’m trans* not cisgendered, and that makes a difference in experiences as well.  I’m not trying to say these conclusions or thoughts below are always correct, but that from my perspective at this time, they seem correct.  My goal is only to help people realize that:

1) Not all outdoor work is unsafe (and that you can do any work safely)

2) It’s not like the stereotypical 3am drug addicted street walker who spends their entire career trying to avoid rape and get high, while avoiding physical abuse from their pimp, like in the movies.

YAY! On to the show and tell then:

Outdoor or (street) work is a very WIDE and BROAD subject, just like indoor work is.  People just assume the worst whenever I speak of outdoor work.
First, while 3AM walking the street in the worst neighborhoods does happen, it’s not as common in street or ‘outdoor’ work as one might think. (it’s much more common in BIG cities), but in smaller cities and towns it’s much less common.  (I’ve only worked in smaller towns and cities).
So, in outdoor work, there is homeless work, where you are always working, and your clientele is of the lower income variety.  (I’ve done this work), it’s mostly a lot of trade for sex work, and not a lot of actual cash.
Another type of work is opportunity work, i.e. someone hits on you while you are out doing your normal routine.  Most every woman has had the beginnings of this experience but few turn it into an opportunity to make money.
Another type is daytime work.  This can be waiting where people tend to congregate. Malls, grocery stores, big chain stores, stuff like that.  (I like grocery stores myself).  Obviously this is only valid during the day, and evening.  Trying to work from these places at 3AM is pointless as there is no foot traffic.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the varied outdoor work environments.
As for safety, some types of outdoor work can be unsafe, especially if you don’t know your fellow workers.  But to last out there you form relationships with as many as you can, and try to create a safe situation for yourself and others. Also the other difference is you get to look the client in the eyes, well before you agree to anything.  (unlike with indoor work)  All types of work require a ‘screening’ as we call it. Where we check the client over and get a feel for them as a person.  Some people do this better in person, and may be better situated for outdoor work, vs people doing this via email or telephone.  So
I wouldn’t say that it’s a LOT less safe, I would just say it’s a different type of safety.
For me, I love being outside, and would spend time out there anyway, so if there is an easy way to make a few dollars while hanging out outside, why shouldn’t I take the opportunity?

I’ll just wrap up and say one more thing about outdoor work (but also important in any work), boundaries are crazy important.  Think about and set hard firm boundaries of what you are willing and not willing to do.  Your boundaries WILL get tested, and you WILL get asked crazy ridiculous things.   Will you do Anal? Will  you do blowjobs? Condoms? Fluid Barriers for blowjobs or facials? These questions are the tip of the iceberg.

If you have experience (directly or indirectly) I’d love your thoughts and comments on what outdoor work is like for you.  I think the better we can share our experiences, the more people will come to think of street or outdoor work as not something ‘BAD’, but just different.

Desiree Conference 2010!!

Desiree Alliance

In conjunction with BAYSWAN, Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), Center for Sex and Culture (CSC), International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education (ISWFACE), St. James Infirmary, SWOP USA, SWOP Tucson, SWOP LV, SWOP Chicago, SWOP NorCal, SWOP Santa Cruz, Harm Reduction Coalition, Sex Work Awareness, and $pread Magazine

Presents

Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics

July 25 thru 30, 2010 in Sunny Las Vegas, NV!!

Join us for the Academic and Policy track. Network with established and developing scholars who are engaged with research, theory, and methods that impact the formation of policy and applied practices concerning sex work and sex workers. Academics have the opportunity to give back to the communities they study and create careers upon by participating in this dynamic space of diverse sex work scholar colleagues and diverse sex workers. Sex workers will have opportunities to interact with scholars who concern themselves with our issues while also sharing your own—and needed—perspective regarding where sex work scholarship has been and where it should be going.

We understand that within the Activism and Advocacy of Sex Work, there is such a huge range, from organizing national marches, decriminalization propositions, to organizing you and one other Sex Worker to come together and talk about your rights and safety. All are forms of activism. Coming out to a friend, meeting a fellow Sex Worker and being able to talk about your work can be a HUGE form of activism for some that have been hiding in the closet so long! Join other activists in a safe space to discuss and learn about activism and activist leadership in the sex work community!

Arts, Entertainment, and Media: From beautiful burlesque, to majestic music, to powerful poetry, various art forms have been important parts of sex worker justice advocacy, and art is also a great way to highlight the diversity of talents so many sex workers have. Sex worker artists have in fact had a vibrant face on this movement and have been a unifying element in resistance campaigns across the globe. Join us at the Desiree Alliance 2010 Conference to explore, learn about, experience, and create sex worker art, media, and entertainment!

Business Development: Increase your confidence and your bottom line by attending workshops taught by people who excel in their fields! Learn new techniques for increasing your earnings, using the tools of your trade, and improving your business model. You will find valuable tips to improve your business regardless of the area you work! From workshops on web design, advertising, and networking to health and safety, and tax-saving tips especially relevant to cash-based earners just like you, this conference will be an opportunity for you to improve your business and your cash flow!

Harm Reduction and Outreach: Whether your expertise is the street corner, the classroom, or the clinic we are looking for you to show us what’s wrong, what’s right, and what can come to be the future of Harm Reduction and Outreach Services for Sex Workers. Come share your innovative ideas or learn how to provide outreach services. Be a part of an event that will inspire and pioneer a fresh perspective on how harm reduction and outreach services can be fine tuned to the ones that need it the most. Enjoy workshops and presentations from the best and brightest giving their unique take on harm reduction and outreach services to sex workers.

Registration is open!
We are accepting Proposals for Presentations! Hurry- deadline for submissions is March 1st.

To get involved, go to http://www.DesireeAlliance.org/conference.htm or email: Desiree2010@desireealliance.org

We’ll See You in Sin City!!

Sex Workers and Unpersons.

I haven’t written here in a while.  I spent the last few months in a wheelchair, and then healing from being in the wheelchair, and now being sick the past month and finally getting treated for pneumonia.  But I’m coming out of that now, and I’m moving forward.  These experiences has given me so much to be thankful for!

I’m thankful that I’ve had the privilege of making more friends that do disability activism, so that I can learn from their community, and their amazing strengths.  I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to really experience being in a wheelchair, however briefly, and how much I truly loved being an non-person, versus being less than a person. I’m thankful that I had the experience of being violated from their good intentions and grabbing my wheelchair and pushing me across the street without my permission or desire.

But really, I’m thankful for the huge amounts of self growth and new relationships I’ve been able to form.  And I’m so so so very glad I got to watch this video:

The video is all about being an unperson.  I was amazed at the similarities that Sex Workers share with Amanda Baggs’ experience of being an unperson.  Some of the quotes I really resonated with:

“Being an unperson means being at the mercy of the theories other people have about you”.

“An unperson can’t tell about beatings, rape, torture and murder, if  she does, she will not be believed”

“An unperson knows that the law will never come to his aid, not the way it does for real people”.

But, for all the similarities that we have, we have some very strong differences, one is that we can be selectively “unpersons”.  We have the choice of being in the closet about our Sex Work, and when in the closet, we don’t have to face being an unperson.  (Unless you get arrested by the police and they paste your picture all over town, or put you on TV like they have been known to do.)

I’m thankful for learning about my fellow brothers and sisters who are struggling for basic human rights.  Our struggles are different (and sometimes vastly different), but we have similarities and I hope that all of us can come together around the things we have in common, and respect each other’s differences.

Help get tranny-alert.com taken down!

Via gudbuytjane.livejournal.com, reposted from feministing

Call for action: www.tranny-alert.com
From http://www.tranny-alert.com . This is not just appropriative or transphobic, it directly threatens the safety and privacy of trans women:

Our site cannot survive without your submissions!
Spot a tranny or suspected tranny around town? See a hot tranny mess? Observe a guidette in New Jersey with tranny style? Notice trannies on TV/Radio/Billboards? Find yourself at a Lady Gaga concert? WE WANT TO KNOW!

Remember, if you spot a tranny: snap your fingers, snap a pic, and e-mail those photos to: mayday@tranny-alert.com !

In light of the murders of trans women such as Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata and others, it is indefensible to run a website that requests readers submit photos of trans women (or people they’ve read as trans women) without their consent and publicly out them. This site threatens the safety of every person they post a photo of. Please spread the word and take action.

Please contact http://www.tranny-alert.com and let them know this is NOT okay.
The site appears to be hosted via Blogger, so please enter a complaint against their hate speech and endangerment of the lives of trans women.
Please Twitter about it with the #trannyalertfail hash tag.
Please send complaints about their Facebook page .

ETA: To enter a complaint at Blogger, follow this link: http://help.blogger.com/bin/request.py?contact_type=hate_speech&blog_URL=http://trannyalert.blogspot.com/ (Thanks queersubversion!)

ETA2: TrannyAlert’s response on Twitter : “Wow people really need to get a fucking sense of humor.”

ETA3: If you have access please post about this on LJ trans communities, as this account isn’t a member of any of them (and will have to wait for approval to post, etc.).

– gudbuytjane

You can go here, http://tinyurl.com/n34flk

to file a direct complaint to Blogger against this blog, you can also do it as many times as you like so please try to do it as much as you can so as to draw attention! Thanks!

They’re funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.

A month ago, I was riding my Empowerment Vehicle (motorcycle) home from a friends house at 2AM one Sunday night.  I had a lapse in judgement, and ended up flying over the motorcycle, landing on pavement, sliding across an exit ramp, and landing in the bushes.  This obviously wasn’t planned, or wanted.  I have no health insurance, and it hasn’t been overly pleasant.  I’m temporarily in a wheelchair, and will be for another month it looks like.

These life accidents happen to all of us at one time or another. I’m blessed to have many good close friends who care about me, and are doing their best to help me navigate life from a disabled perspective.  And I’ve been lucky enough to put a positive spin on this, and see it as a great learning experience about experiencing life on 4 wheels instead of 2.  But I want to talk about savings (or the lack there of).

It’s the loss of income that’s really sucked.  I haven’t been able to work much at all! Provided there are no more unexpected expenses that rise up, it looks like I’ll pull through this ok financially, and end up with a manageable debt of about 5-6 thousand.

I know that I’m really blessed in this way, I’ve had many friends who have gone thru unexpected life changes that have altered their income, and raised there expenses and are still trying to recover.  It doesn’t take much.  For me it was about 30 seconds all told, and will lead to 2 months of wheelchair time, and lots of asking for help, and lots of brand new expenses!

This has made me think about how to save and plan for these events.  They WILL happen in your life, they happen to all of us in different degrees, but how we manage to plan ahead for these, and how we handle them when they come up make a world of difference.

Lots of Financial experts(cause I was off searching about this) will say we need 3 months of living expenses (but they really want us to have 6!) in a Money Market or Savings account just lying about, and banks give you huge deals and love  you WAY more when you are able to have that kind of money it turns out.  For me three months is only about $3,500.00 or so all told (I live cheaply), but even this is a big number to have laying about!

Financial experts seem to always come across like we can easily come up with this kind of money, but so many of us already live directly off of our income, and have no wiggle room.  But even if we can only put 10% of a single call a week away, it will add up.  The hardest part, is deciding what constitutes an emergency to go spend that money.  For me, it’s the new motorcycle protective gear, so I can go feel empowered and graduate once again from 4 wheels to 2.

P.S. If you can tell the author of the title of this post, you’ll know one of the smartest people I know in all the world!!

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

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?

Press Conference: Protest Prostitution Charges against Activist

It would be great if the folks in the San Francisco Bay area could show up to court in support of Shelly Resnick, who was charged with prostitution.  Here is the press release:  
For Immediate Release: Jan 24, 2009
Event: Press Conference: San Francisco Transsexual Activist Falsely
Accused of Prostitution
Location: 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco Hall of Justice
Date: Monday January 26, 2009
Time: 8:30 am
Contact:  Acire4SWOP@gmail.com

In an act of harassment by the San Francisco Police Department, Shelly
Resnick was falsely charged  with solicitation of prostitution. Later, the District Attorney trumped up the charges and claimed that Shelly engaged in the actual act of prostitution.

 “These charges are completely false.” states Shelly as no such act took
place. Shelly strongly disputes the content of the police report as
patently false. “This is harassment and discrimination.”
 
Shelly was set up on a police sting. She did not solicit and nor did she
agree to any act of prostitution, but she was cited anyway.

“The police have no evidence of these charges. In fact they claimed to
have an audio recording which they say they are unable to locate,” says

Acire Roche of Sex Worker Outreach Project.
Sex Worker Outreach Project joins Shelly in support at her hearing,
protesting this discrimination and misconduct. “Ms. Resnick filed a
complaint with Office of Citizen Complaints on November 19th.

Transgender Day of Rememberance is Today:Duanna Johnson RIP

In LA, my desire to reach the transgender community has been met with some resistance by transfolk who are angered at being profiled wrongly of being prostitutes-but I say to anyone who is outraged at being profiled as a prostitute should resist state violence which occurs to those who are criminalized for prostitution.  Being transgender and crossdressing is no longer a crime, and in states like CA are protected (not that laws or being a lawmaker or law enforcer stop people from brutality and violence).  PLEASE light a candle, tip a 40, burn an incense, smoke a bowl or whatever for all of our TG sisters and brothers who we have lost in the struggle for justice or livelihood…

Proposition K on RH Reality Check

SF’s Proposition K: Changing the Landscape for Sex Workers

Sienna Baskin and Melissa Ditmore on October 28, 2008 – 8:00am
Next week, San Francisco voters will vote on Proposition K, which would prohibit the use of public funds to enforce laws criminalizing prostitution, and mandate that police investigate crimes against sex workers. The passage of Proposition K would change the landscape for sex workers in San Francisco in critical ways. First, by removing police officers’ power to arrest sex workers, it would reduce sex workers’ vulnerability to all of the abuses of that power sex workers currently experience: police profiling and harassment, sexual harassment and assault, rape, and extortion of sexual favors under threat of arrest by police officers, and entrapment.

Continue reading

Move Along

Last week, I was reading over “Move Along: Policing Sex Work in Washington, D.C.”. I expected to find a post about the report up on BnG, but alas, there has been no mention as far as I can tell. And that’s a shame.

Released on May 1, 2008, the study is “the product of a year-long community based research project.” “The project is the result of work by representatives of communities affected by policing in the District including sex workers, transgender people, and immigrants.”

Key findings in the study include:

Survey respondents who had interactions with police reported negative experiences six times more often than positive experiences during those interactions and when locked up. These experiences included confiscation of condoms and other safe sex supplies by police, assault, strip search, being asked to provide sexual favors to the police, verbal abuse, discrimination and false arrest because officers profiled the person as a prostitute, and anti-immigrant discrimination.

Latinos, transgender people and youth and young adults were disproportionately subjected to police mistreatment and abuse “They attacked me instead of helping me,” said a young Latina transgender woman when describing the police reaction when she called for help after being sexually assaulted.

Communities affected by policing of prostitution want to see the District change its approach to the issue of commercial sex, including considering stopping prostitution-related arrests, holding police accountable for abuse, changing prostitution laws, increasing resources for services, and supporting sex workers and others to organize to defend their human rights.

To read more, you can view the Executive Summary and the full report
on the Different Avenues website. (Both documents are in pdf format.) The Executive Summary concludes with a list of Key Recommendations that BnG readers will appreciate!

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!!!)

 

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!

We Can Do Better Than This

Ummmm…. so, I’m hearing that some of my trans friends are having trouble connecting into both formal and informal safety networks!?!?!?!

WTF???

I’ve been hearing (second-hand, of course) that people are saying: “We don’t have the same kind of clients that you see” or “If you were born a man you are not welcome here.”

So what, now we’re following suit with the feminists? “You are not us, so you have to fight for yourself.” Uh-uh, nope. I’m not down with that strategy.

In a conversation with a dear friend tonight we discussed how violence translates into individual’s lives in relation to their gender and we concluded that we, as in us, ALL of us, are on the same team here. Does anybody actually think that they can keep themselves safer by engaging in the very same gender discrimination that violates female born (whatever fucking difference that makes when it comes to SAFETY) sex workers??? I mean really, can somebody make a case to me as to why it’s alright to exclude our trans sisters in the name of our own safety? I’m really not buying it.

Maybe this conversation doesn’t need to happen in-depth here at this blog- but this does need to be discussed further- somewhere, I’m open to suggestions. I know that the vast majority of people actually engaged here at BnG are of many different genders and are already in solidarity with trans workers. So I wanted to post this here and invite some positive input. I really do think that this is an issue that can be addressed and resolved among us with education and awareness.

I don’t think this is a whole-heartedly evil discriminatory thing. NO disrespect is acceptable and ignorance is not an excuse. However, I do think that as trans allies we have to reach out to other workers to inform them that ‘yes, we do share the same clients with trans workers’ (and it’s often fun when we are literally sharing them 😉 and ‘one’s gender when born does NOT exclude them from the right to BE SAFE’ C’mon women, we do get that don’t we?

All the best,

Karly

Please Take Action

From Kitten Infinite:

SWOP/SEX WORKER media outlets, please forward to your chapters and list serves and pick up the phone or shoot out an email.
The media constantly find ways to degrade sex workers by prefacing their identity with some sensational thing like “drug addict prostitute” or in this case “cross-dressing prostitute”.  Be an ally to trans sex workers and all transwomen who experience degrading identifications and contact Bob Ellis and tell him his attempt at grabbing people with headlines is offensive to even his readers.

I emailed Bob and said this:

Hi Bob!

I was forwarded a story titled “Body of cross-dressing prostitute found” and I am offended by your media outlets attempt at grabbing headlines.  The body that was found is a human being whose identity has not yet been determined.  I find it disrespectful to acknowledge anyone, dead or alive, with gender identity without an individuals own self-identification.  Forward thinking communities have a better sense of this self determination within the LGBTQ community, and so do your readers.  The term “cross dressing” was left behind with the J. Edgar Hoover Era.

Also, as I am sure your readers gravitate to the word prostitute even without the sensational prefix of “cross-dresser”, but a more appropriate term is “sex worker”.  This is a term that has been accepted by media for over a decade, and the term “prostitute” is commonly used only when the effort to degrade a sex worker is deliberate.

Please know that is is not lost upon your readers that this is only an attempt to work these awful insults into bold print upon your magazine.  The story was incomplete except the title, and people understand the implications involved when identifying a murder with sensational language and nothing else.  The “article” is just lazy reporting, capitalizing off of the deceased.

Thank you for reading,
K. Infinite

Take some time to call him if you can, you don’t have to be as mean as I was;)  The story can be found here.  Literally three sentences.

And Bob’s information is below, forwarded ala Sarah Kennedy from GLAAD.  Thanks Sarah!

Bob Ellis 313-222-0541, bob@clickondetroit.com

SWOP East Int. Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Two Part online event

**Please Distribute Widely**

 

For Immediate Release                              Media Contact: swopeast@gmail.com

December 13, 2007                                               

                                                             
Sex Workers Outreach Project East

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Two-Part Online Event

1) Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects/Pictures/Events …and…

2) Live Online Vigil

Who: Sex Workers Outreach Project East Two-Part Online Event

What: Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects and Live Online Vigil 

When: Repository begins Saturday, December 15th, 5:00 PM EST and continues through Monday;

Live Online Vigil Monday, December 17th, 5 – 11 PM Eastern (2-8 PM Pacific)

Where: http://www.swopeast.blogspot.com/

Beginning Saturday, December 15th, at 5:00 PM EST, the swopeast.blogspot.com will be available for posting pictures, events, comments, summaries, reactions, etc., to events related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Please post any comments or artifacts that you’d like to share and visit our blogspot to view happenings related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers from around the world.

On Monday, December 17th, beginning at 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM EST SWOP East will be holding a Live Online Vigil. Please join our virtual community to share your stories, mourn our sisters and brothers, and work toward a space where this violence is no longer tolerated.  

For questions or more information contact swopeast@gmail.com

 

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