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Michael's picture

Rhode Island: The next step

In writing our letter to the Rhode Island legislature in July of this year, we were forced to depart from our usual position of building and bridging communities by the political realities. Nor was it easy for us to explain to the politicians how the bills` supporters conflated and generalised information from one sector of a highly diversified activity without appearing to privilege the indoor market.

As it so happened, our decision to send a letter from the academic community was reasonably effective. Predictably we were attacked by the extreme right wing as perverts and pedophiles.  We now need to move on to the planned second stage, a letter from the rest of the community involved in sex work, and also an opportunity for those who were unable to sign the first letter.

Elizabeth's picture

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

     RIRepbulican.com

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

Providence Daily Dose: (author is a state rep)
http://providencedailydose.com/2009/08/03/50-academics-oppose-prostitution-bill/

Boston Herald:
http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view/20090803academics_oppose_banning_indoor_prostitution_in__rhode_island/srvc=news&position=recent_bullet

WJAR 10 Providence:
http://www2.turnto10.com/jar/news/local/article/academics_oppose_ri_banning_indoor_prostitution/20964/

US BRK:
http://www.usbrk.info/court/professors-oppose-rhode-island-banning-indoor-prostitution-143.html

WBZ Radio (Boston):
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/R/RI_HOOKER_LOOPHOLE_RIOL-?SITE=WBZAM&SECTION=SPORTS&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

News on Feeds:
http://www.newsonfeeds.com/article/9625277/Academics%20oppose%20RI%20banning%20indoor%20prostitution

Newstin:
http://www.newstin.com/tag/us/136879572

USA Today:
http://content.usatoday.com/topics/article/Places,+Geography/States,+Territories,+Provinces,+Islands/U.S.+States/Nevada/0dH13jL9I8fiL/1

Breakingnews.com:
http://www.breakingnews.com/story/professors-oppose-ri-banning-indoor-prostitution


Elizabeth's picture

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.)

Elizabeth's picture

Queers for Economic Justice seeks Executive Director

 Queers for Economic Justice header image

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

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.
 

Laura Agustín's picture

Cultural studies and commercial sex: a form of liberation

Much of what is said about the sex industry revolves around a single question: Is it okay or not? This question can be phrased in many ways: Is it okay that prostitution exists? Can street hooking ever be a real job? Is everyone who sells sex exploited or free? To address this question, most people talk about their own experience or that of the people they know personally or did research with, after which they extrapolate to a bigger group. But in the end it’s a question with different answers for different people in different places and moments in their lives.

Elizabeth's picture

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:

Elizabeth's picture

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:

ERV's picture

Microbiology and Abortion

RU-486, or mifepristone, was approved for use in 2000 in the US, for medical abortions.

Shortly there after, something weird started happening. A handful of women who used RU-486 were dying from sepsis, caused by a really rare bacteria, Clostridium sordellii. Like, these women didnt have AIDS. They werent meth addicts or recovering from cancer. They were previously completely healthy 18, 22 year-old women dropping dead.

To pro-lifers, the message was clear: Abortion kills women.

Planned Parenthood's recommendation to use the abortion-causing drug Misoprostol vaginally rather than orally has led to fatal infections according to a research study released by the University of Michigan.
...
"This study shows Planned Parenthood not only disregards the lives of babies in the womb, but the lives of their mothers as well," said American Life League's Jim Sedlak. "This is scandalous, if not criminal. It's time people stopped viewing Planned Parenthood as a responsible healthcare organization and saw it for what it is -- a money-making, social engineering group that plies its trade of sex and abortion without regard to human life, born or preborn."

To rational people and scientists, there is a different puzzle afoot.

Michael's picture

Coordinating research and informing policy in sex work

We have previously written about the need for the sex work research community to influence the overall research agenda to ensure that resources are directed to research that is responsible, responsive to need and that informs public and social policy.

Caroline's picture

Sex workers and the media

Here's an interesting blog I've found via Dolly. Rebecca Dakin, author of The Girlfriend Experience, is blogging about getting "back into 'normal life' after a whirlwind exciting 9 years of escorting". She wrote it, in her words, "to educate people about the infamous 'girlfriend experience' and challenge peoples views on escorting". So, what's interesting - she's been writing about how the media have portrayed her and her book. She writes,
I was trying to understand why I have been so upset about newspapers printing stuff that's in the book. The thing is I wrote the book to try and show people that there was so much more to escorting than what people think, which is that men only pay for sex. Since the press want to just discuss and print all the graphic sex making me out to be a convent girl and sex crazed loon that became a hooker, it's a little frustrating to say the least. Because the things they printed are taken out of context it doesn't really achieve what I wanted it to achieve. I'm trying my best to think that any publicity is good publicity but I'm having second thoughts (no good now I know!) now as to whether I have done the right thing by putting my face and name to it.
Check out the "I went from convent girl to to hooker" story in the News of the World and file under typical. It's a new blog, so you can catch up very quickly. Do be sure to read her posts News of the World... and More Press.

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