Author Archive

Women’s March 2019

The original Women’s March two years ago was at first embracing of the rights of sex workers, and then became a contested space in a painful–if temporary–exclusion of sex workers from the event. Since that moment, some local manifestations of the event have made efforts to include sex workers and communities of people affected by criminalization of sex work and public space. This year our partner organization New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance (NJRUA) and GenderFabulous are official hosts for the WOMEN’S MARCH ON NEW JERSEY 2019 and are on the Steering Committee. NJRUA leadership has asked us to share this news with groups far and wide and to note that it would be, “powerful if we sex workers and allies could show up and out together.” Please join us in New Jersey!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-womens-march-on-new-jersey-tickets-52964136157/amp

Bus.com is offering service to and from the Women’s March on NJ. To explore departure points and pricing, please visit them at https://www.bus.com/events/womens-march-nj.

Puta Dei Week in NY and NJ

June 2 is International Whores Day and we are supporting/attending a series of events in the spirit of the day. In the 1970s sex workers occupied a church in France to raise awareness of their rights. In Brazil this day is called “Puta Dei.”

The celebration of Puta Dei Week will kick off with a Yoga Fundraiser on Saturday May 26, 2018. Join PJ Starr, Monica Jones and Munah of Munahology for yoga for MonicaUmbrellaDownTown2013_byPJStarrbrunch and brunch in Morristown, NJ. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support PJ Starr’s upcoming film about Monica Jones, who will attend the event as a special guest. The funds gathered from this event will be used to produce a film trailer and a work progress sample, in addition to helping Director PJ Starr raise awareness and advocate for this project within the film industry. The documentary follows Monica Jones and her four years within the higher education system following her arrest for speaking out against police brutality. The inspiring film details Monica Jones’ experience as she lives through and confronts the violence imposed on transgender individuals and overcomes institutionalized systems of power.Resistance Redux Instagram 1

This Monday, end your Memorial Day at the . Held at the Love Shack in Brooklyn the event is free and open to all sex worker community members and allies. The Love Shack is a unique and unusual space that resembles two, life-size doll houses. Among some of the films featured will be She’s A Bitch, (2018, USA), Puta Mestiza (2014 Spain), The Honey Bringer (2012, UK), Raising Red Umbrellas in Africa (2016 Kenya, and What You Don’t See (2017, Brazil).

Next, join the Black Sex Worker Collective at Dorsettbk (677 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11238) at 9 pm on Thursday, May 31st for the Essence of Koffee Burlesque and Variety Show. The event will be feature many special guests, including master twerker Jantina, spoken word artist Rude Bwoy, illustrator and author Jacq the Stripper and burlesque darling Audrey Loved. Hosted by the founder of the Black Sex Worker Collective (and “beast of burlesque”) MF Akynos, the Essence of Koffee Bar Burlesque and Variety Show will support the Black Sex Worker Collective in their efforts to provide a welcoming and open space for black sex workers. In an era of violence against people of color, sex workers and transgender individuals, the event comes at a time when it is imperative to lift the voices of black sex workers up. In addition, the Essence of Koffee Burlesque and Variety show during Puta Dei Week aims to raise awareness for and push back against the new FOSTA/SESTA legislation that further marginalizes sex workers.  To learn more about the event and RSVP, visit the facebook event page.

Lastly, if you are a fan of performance art, a sex worker community member or ally, or looking to take BSWC_June2Eventaction, head to Washington Square Park to join the Black Sex Worker Collective as they and supporters storm Judson Church on June 2nd from noon until 3 PM. Puta Dei Week was created in honor of the work that French Sex Workers did in the 1970s.  This event will play particular homage to the protests of French activists in church, as it is a protest at Judson Church in New York City, which has a long history of supporting sex workers. The event will feature what is being dubbed “Whore in a Box.” As an exhibition of performance art, it will feature someone within the sex worker community in physically constraining space. Attendees will be able to ask question of the “Whore in a Box” as well purchase Whore Merchandise. Join us for this, and all the aforementioned events, to celebrate Puta Dei Week this year.

AIDS2018: Not Your Rescue Project Film Session

The Not Your Rescue Project film session–proposed by PJ Starr with Monica Jones and J Leigh Brantly–was accepted for the forthcoming International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam (July 23-27, 2018). This screening session will highlight videos celebrating the fierce activism of sex workers as they fight to defend their health, rights and address HIV/AIDS. Whether it is by taking to the streets in protest, delivering vital services to our fellow workers or simply reclaiming our stories and our lives, sex workers are transforming communities and having our voices heard in the struggle to address HIV/AIDS. The session will include 50 minutes of short films and then “meet the filmmaker” Q and A with local sex worker filmmakers and international attendees.

The advocates are looking for films to screen, to keep opening the way for sex worker made films and good films made by close allies to have a forum. In order to apply please send both PJ Starr (starr@rocketship.com) and J Leigh (j.leigh.brantly@gmail.com) a screener link. If you are able to attend the AIDS conference in Amsterdam and would like to be considered for the Q and A pls send them a few sentences about why you would like to speak about “films from the sex worker rights movement, reclaiming our stories, addressing HIV/AIDS.” Deadline to apply for consideration is May 27, 2018 Midnight European time at the latest.

FULL TITLE: Not Your Rescue Project: films from the sex worker rights movement, reclaiming our stories, addressing HIV/AIDS

LENGTH OF FILM SCREENING: 1 h 10 min

PROVISIONAL TIME AND DATE OF FILM SCREENING*: 10:45-11:55 on 7/26/2018

PROVISIONAL LOCATION: Film Screening Room

This screening session highlights videos celebrating the fierce activism of sex workers as they fight to defend their health, rights and address HIV/AIDS. Whether it is by taking to the streets in protest, delivering vital services to our fellow workers or simply reclaiming our stories and our lives, sex workers are transforming communities and having our voices heard in the struggle to address HIV/AIDS. The session will include 50 minutes of short films and then “meet the filmmaker” Q and A with local sex worker filmmakers and international attendees.

Who will be harmed by this “Sex Trafficking” Legislation?

On Wednesday March 21, 2018, the US Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, the counterpart to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act that passed the House last month. The legislation is now headed to Trump for signature.

While the titles of the bills would lead the general public to believe that this legislation is to protect “victims of sex trafficking,” the intent is to shutter “websites that promote and facilitate prostitution.” Section § 2421A of the house bill, for example, states that “Whoever uses or operates a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or attempts to do so with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.” An aggravated offense in regards to any entity that “promotes or facilitates the prostitution of 5 or more persons” is tied to 25 years imprisonment. This legislation intends to target online venues where sex workers are thought to advertise.

A couple of weeks ago in a conversation with several advocates for the rights of sex workers, it was noted that we still do not know how this legislation will be implemented and that is even more worrisome. While it is true that not all is known, based on all the history of the implementation of criminalizing legislation pertaining to “sex trafficking” and anything relating to sex work, the following pattern emerges.

  1. Law enforcement efforts to implement this legislation will focus on people of color, specifically African Americans, routing them into jails and prisons. Low income women of color will face the harsh penalties associated with “facilitating” prostitution. To read more about how this has happened before, pick up a copy of Invisible No More by Andrea Ritchie.
  2. Transgender people, specifically transgender women of color, will be targeted with law enforcement efforts. The spaces where transgender people of color congregate online for any reason will be policed and in some situations transgender women will be misgendered as men in order to facilitate their arrest and demonization. This is already happening, as per observations made by Monica Jones, about the closing of sites since the passage of the legislation.
  3. These new laws will be used to police and surveil immigrants, leading to their deportation under the guise of ending sex trafficking.

The work for us now as advocates for the rights of sex workers and for the rights of trans people and other communities targeted by law enforcement, is to bring our knowledge of how racism, xenophobia and transphobia fuels the implementation of this kind of legislation. And to be ready to support those who almost certainly will be harmed. People of color, trans people, immigrants, young people and sex workers of color.