Secondhand Rose interviewed by Radical Vixen

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Radical Vixen, whose blog tagline I adore (Porn...peace...politics) responded to this past International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers by starting a Sex Worker Solidarity Series on her blog. What a brilliant idea. It's an interview series asking sex workers important questions about social change, feminism, and most of all, building solidarity within the ranks of workers. I'm a union junkie at heart and can't think many things more important in achieving social change than solidarity and organization.

Gracie, our newest correspondent, just tipped me off to the new interview with Secondhand Rose. This is the third interview in the series, and I hope you'll go over there and read it. It's fantastic. In it, Secondhand Rose discusses things like what's missing in feminism, why it is so hard for sex workers to have solidarity with one another, and why parallels between the gay rights movement and the sex worker rights movement give her a sense of optimism. One quote, just to tempt you into going over there and reading the whole thing:

With all due respect to publications and organizations which purport to support sex workers, I have to say that I think they’ve put the horse before the cart in many cases. In order to salvage what little appeal I (may?) have at the moment, I’ll focus on how I think we can get the cart behind the horse — and get more horses pulling it too.


We need to focus on fundamental matters which affect the majority of sex workers. These are the issues sex workers have respect for &/or concern regarding, even if only out of fear. Issues of general sex & reproductive health; civil sexual rights; matters of poverty, race, & safety, especially as ‘used’ in court, are the basics. If we can’t come to any sort of consensus on these most basic issues — issues which are at the heart of getting the general population to give a damn about the rest of our issues — then that’s pretty sad. Ditto if we can’t forge relationships with other groups with the same goals. Sex workers shouldn’t make strange bedfellows, nor hop into bed too soon; but we need to start participating with society, rather than accepting the small corner relegated to us.

I think this framing of sex worker issues as issues that affect not only all sex workers, but most people in general, and especially women, is a really important strategy. The stigma that sex workers are burdened with is maintained partly by the belief of nonsex workers that they are somehow completely different. The ability to maintain a clear "us/them" is based on that assumption. By framing sex worker issues as issues of basic human rights -- things that "us" and "them" all need, it is harder to keep that boundary in place.

Read the rest of the interview here. It's well worth your time.

And see the other parts of the Sex Worker Solidarity Series, too:

And look for an interview with our own newest contributor, Gracie, in the not-to-distant future. I'm told she's also been interviewed for the series.