Elizabeth's blog

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50 academics spoke up. Can you amplify their voices?

Last week 50 academics signed on to a letter written by Ron Weitzer and myself. It was a collaborative effort and required compromise and you can read the letter here. Today there have been several news stories about this letter. If you support the overall mission of keeping prostitution in RI from being criminalized please comment on the stories listed below, or blog about the same. Here are some links:

Academics oppose banning indoor prostitution in Rhode Island

     Boston Herald - Boston,MA,USA

Academics urge RI to keep indoor prostitution legal

     Providence Journal - Providence,RI,USA

Professors Oppose Rhode Island Banning Indoor Prostitution

     FOXNews - USA

Rhode Islands Future: Politics & Culture:: 50 Academics Sign ...

     By BrianHull 

Press release: Prostitution law reform bills


 Update: More news coverage! Please comment on these stories if you can!

Providence Daily Dose: (author is a state rep)

Boston Herald:

WJAR 10 Providence:


WBZ Radio (Boston):

News on Feeds:


USA Today:


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Sneak Peeks at my Sex Blogger Calendar photo shoot

I'd been planning a sexy personal essay to accompany this post but I'm writing from the my mother's hospital room where things might well be personal but they are not sexy. Still, I wanted to share a few sneak peeks at something that is both personally important to me, and I hope sexy to you.

You probably know all about the 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar. The purpose is to raise money for Sex Work Awareness, a very important organization that assists and trains sex worker advocates in media work and other advocacy skills. The theme for my photo shoot was "At your own risk". We shot the photos on Frying Pan, an historic lightship that is currently part of Pier 66, a floating bar and grill on the Hudson River. Frying Pan is a beautiful piece of maritime history and the kind of place where people are trusted to enjoy themselves without being told "don't touch that" and "don't go there." The whole ship is open for exploration, and a tour of the ship reveals its evocative contradictions. It is neither land nor sea. It is not wholly safe but it can be enjoyed safely by people who exercise good judgment, it is beautiful and it is falling apart. The ship defies easy categorization and offers many surprises. It is in many ways an excellent metaphor for my own sense of sexuality.

Click the "Read More" link to see the four short video clips from the photo shoot. (Yes, sometimes I enjoy being a tease.)

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Queers for Economic Justice seeks Executive Director

 Queers for Economic Justice header image


Executive Director

Queers for Economic Justice seeks an experienced, creative, mature, visionary, progressive leader to fill the position of Executive Director (ED). This position is full-time and located in New York City.   (Check out our website at www.qej.org/jobs for more details including a full job description)
Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) is a progressive multiracial, multi-classed and multi-gender non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation. We are committed to the principle that access to social and economic resources is a fundamental right, and we work to create social and economic justice through grassroots organizing, public education, advocacy and research. The organization has a staff of five, many dedicated volunteers and a committed board of directors.

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An academic response to criminalizing prostitution in Rhode Island

Several weeks ago, first in the Providence Journal and then here, Ron Weitzer, a professor of criminology at George Washington University, debunked myths about prostitution that were being circulated during testimony and press coverage of Rhode Island's attempts to recriminalize the private exchange of sex for money. Donna Hughes, a Women's Studies professor at University of Rhode Island, wrote a commentary piece for the Providence Journal in which she continued to promote those myths and the moral panic they fuel, and in the process also ridiculed sex educator a Megan Andelloux and $pread, a magazine by sex workers for sex workers.

It has been easier for a small but vocal group of academics to ridicule the sex industry and condemn it with deeply flawed research and tired stereotypes than it has been for a larger more reasoned group to publish honest examinations and advocate for evidence-based policy. In light of the steps that Rhode Island's legislature is taking to criminalize legal sex work, Ron Weitzer and I, with organizing help and feedback from a Michael Goodyear (Dalhousie University) and Melissa Ditmore (Editor of the Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work, and research consultant at the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center) decided to coordinate an academic response to the irresponsible attempts to promote moral panic and bad policy under the guise of protecting women and communities.

That effort resulted in a letter to be delivered to the Rhode Island State Legislature and to Rhode Island media outlets. It is a letter that involves compromises, as all collective efforts do. The letter does three important things:

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Queer and Rebel Days - Halifax

Queer and Rebel days flyerThose of you in Halifax are are in the middle of Queer and Rebel Days and I'd love to hear about them.

From the web site:

Queer and Rebel Days 2009 is a week of performances, discussions, food, and workshops in Halifax, NS, running from July 10 - 16, 2009. All events are free, trans and queer positive, and childcare is available upon request. Most events are based at the Roberts St. Social Centre, 5684 Roberts St., Halifax; see the Event Details page for more info. 

Our goals are:

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Swimming naked: A declaration of independence

 elizabeth swimming

It's almost Independence Day weekend in the United States and so I am making my own very specific declaration of independence. In  honor of "the personal is political" and in honor of Independence Day (and because I happen to have a very recent photo of me swimming naked near an American Flag) I want to make a simple declaration: I need to be free to swim naked. I dislike the confinement of swimsuits. They cling and bind and besides, other than wet t-shirt contests, why would anyone put on clothes specifically to get them wet? We take off wet clothes! Why put something on to go in the water?

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Two small but important steps forward for same sex couples

I hesitate to make too much of small things. On the one hand i don't want to blow them out of proportion. On the other i don't want to jinx a process that might be just in its early stages. But despite those two concerns I am excited by two recent policy changes that the Obama administration has made which seem to indicate at very least a less restrictive interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act and perhaps more than that: perhaps a slow chipping away at the act itself. 

First of all, today the New York Times printed an AP story reporting that the Census Bureau would in fact count same sex married couples as married. That reverses a Bush administration policy that I wrote about here explicitly stating that these couples could not be counted because DOMA prohibited the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages in any way. Apparently the Obama administration disagrees. Then again, the Obama administration also understands the need for accurate research and solid data when making policy decisions, and data provided by a census that did not count such marriages would be inherently flawed.

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Support Sex Work Awareness by looking at sexy photos

Sex Blogger Calendar logoSex Work Awareness logo

For the second year in a row I'll be posing in the Sex Blogger Calendar, a fundraiser for Sex Work Awareness. Sex Work Awareness (SWA) is an organization dedicated to building capacity and media skills for sex workers. In addition, they are involved in important research projects like the Exploratory Research on Internet and Sexaulity (EROTICS) project.

Last year SWA used funds from the calendar sales to put on a media training for NYC-area sex workers. That training resulted in Calico's having the skills necessary to record many of the Sex 2.0 presentations and distribute them online. The training materials themselves are available on the SWA web site. You can see that by supporting SWA you are helping to make information and educational materials available to a worldwide audience.

This year's calendar involves twelve different photographers and more than a dozen models collaborating on images that illustrate sexual freedom. (Yes, if you're doing the math that means there will be some group shots!) I expect it will be provocative! I'll be working with Vito Fun. I won't tell you yet where we'll be shooting but we're working on a very cool location that is memorable for its old machinery and stunning waterfront views.

The photographers are donating their time and their skills. The models are donating the use of their images. All we need is you. You can help us by purchasing a day on the calendar and placing your own message there. Promote yourself or your project. Say happy birthday to someone. Send a message about what sexual freedom means to you. 

Use the buttons below to buy days on the calendar or to buy days and preorder a calendar.

Buy a calendar day Buy a day for $10.00.

buy a day and a calendarBuy a day and a calendar for $30.

Sales are hosted at Audacia Ray's Waking Vixen store. Audacia Ray is one of the founders of Sex Work Awareness, and is also author of Naked on the Internet, director and producer of The Bi Apple, adjunct professor at Rutgers University, and social media guru for International Women's Health Coalition


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We're renovating. Excuse the dust!

We've upgraded our Drupal installation and that's caused us to make some other changes around here. Please pardon any glitches while we get things sorted out. We hope you like the new changes, including:
  • A new color scheme and layout
  • Sections, to better organize content (see them across the top menu bar, and note we're having to catalog the site, so do be patient)
  • Better use of images
  • Gravatar and OpenID integration
  • Other cool stuff.

    Please let us know what you think as we continue to develop the site. Use this contact form.
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Sex In The Public Square Turns Two!

This year my partner and I both missed our anniversary. A week after it had passed, as we were talking on the phone while I was in my mother's hospital room, he said to me: Do you realize our anniversary was a week ago? I had not. And in a similar way I almost missed the second birthday of SexInThePublicSquare.org. Yesterday on Twitter CatalinaLoves said to me "So I read on the @NYCSexBlogCal that SITPS turns 2 tomorrow? RU Celebrating in some way?" I had specifically put the birthday on the calendar so that I would not forget it. And what happened? I forgot it!

It is hard to believe that it's been two years since Chris Hall and I launched this site. In that time we've welcomed new regular contributors (Lou FCDMichael GoodyearCaroline) and have been honored by the contributions of guests (Lorraine KM. P. Clark, Lolita, LisaVNYC, Rebecca Deos). We held a very productive forum on sex work, trafficking and human rights, and we've created a space for the stories of outed sex workers who want to speak out.

Click here to read more about our past two years and get a glimpse into the future!

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