Elizabeth's picture

Cross Posting: Call for Applications: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker


I just read this announcement at Waking Vixen and it fit so well here. Since it ended with the words "Please circulate this widely," I'm doing exactly that. (You will also recall that I posed in a calendar that is being sold as a fundraiser for Sex Work Awareness, the group that is sponsoring the workshop described below. You can donate here and for $10 you can have your very own 2009 NYC Sex Blogger Calendar. I'm December.)

From Audacia Ray at Waking Vixen 

Along with some former $pread Magazine staff members, I’m the co-founder of Sex Work Awareness, an organization that works toward the destigmatization of sex workers. Our work is partly focused on creating better information and resources about sex workers for the public and for journalists. Our online project Sex Work 101 is the tip of that iceberg. Sex Work 101 has been dormant for a while, but I’ve got some content for it now and will be updating it once a week. Last week I posted an answer to the question Does the average sex worker practice safe sex?

Click here to read more

Elizabeth's picture

Help make December "Sex Work Awareness" month!

Originally posted on Best Sex Bloggers


red umbrella with text "only rights can stop the wrongs"We are exactly 9 days away from December 17, International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. I’d love to suggest that we dub December “Sex Work Awareness Month,” and spend as much of our blogging time in December focusing on the violence and stigmatization that sex workers face, and also on the good that sex workers do in the world. And just as there is much of the former, there is also a great deal of the latter.

At Sex In The Public Square this month Rebecca Deos told her story about being outed as an escort, and discussed the harm done emotionally and financially not just to herself but to her husband and kids, and she also talked about how the experience brought them together as a family. We also posted a brief piece about the Women’s Institute Lady’s Guide to Brothels. We’ll be posting more this month about legislation in the UK that will increase the stigma on sex work rather than decrease it and about the banning of “extreme” pornography in the UK. And of course we’ll certainly be highlighting the December 17 events.

Sex work is a pretty common theme at Sex in the Public Square, and there are sex worker blogs that address the issues of sex workers in their own voices and with great power and eloquence. But equally important is the support that comes when people who are not necessarily sex workers speak up on their behalf. Not to talk over sex workers’ own voices but to support them by adding many more. Audacia Ray, in a post on Bound, Not Gagged, wrote about the Sex Work Awereness fundraising calendar project:

The vast majority of the people who posed for the calendar and are buying the calendar are not sex workers, but they are expressing solidarity with sex workers and putting their faces, names, and dollars on the lines to support the efforts of a sex worker advocacy organization. And this is a great thing.

I posed in that calendar along with some pretty amazing writers. I’d like to ask you each to consider adding your voices to ours by helping to promote Sex Work Awareness this month. Here are some ways you can help:

Chris's picture

Your Dose of Irony For the Day

Los Angeles Protests Stop Mormon Marriages
It's one of those odd twists that leaders of the Mormon Church probably never saw coming. Whenever opponents of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that eliminates the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California, protest outside a Mormon temple, they effectively stop church members from getting married, according Levi Jackman Foster, an ex-Mormon who lives in West Hollywood.

"A temple is the only place (Mormons) can get married," Foster says, "if they want to get sealed to God."

A Mormon temple, in other words, plays a vital role in a religion that strongly promotes marriage among its members.

Chris's picture

Bitch Magazine Needs Help

This item  seems to have become so well-distributed since I saw it yesterday that it feels almost redundant to write it up, but for those of you who haven't seen it yet: Bitch magazine is in severe economic straits. They need to raise $40k by October 15 if they're going to put out the next issue of the magzine.

It's kind of stating the obvious that feminism right now would look a lot different if Bitch hadn't been around for the last twelve years. Ms. Magazine has, in my opinion, been irrelevant and out of touch for years, and even though I still sometimes find a certain bourgeois priggishness towards sexuality in some of their articles, Bitch in general has been indispensible in keeping a vital, accessible discussion about gender, politics, and pop culture going. It would be a shame to lose it. Read more here and donate here.

Chris's picture

The Price of Pleasure

A new anti-porn documentary, The Price of Pleasure, has just been released and is being promoted via a few small showings across the country. There's been some buzz on this one for a while; Chyng Sun, the director, has written about the work in progress in left-wing outlets such as Counterpunch for several years, and I've seen allusions to it by both Robert Jensen and Gail Dines. For those of you who have either seen or heard about Noam Chomsky's recent anti-porn statements, that video apparently comes from this scene. As iamcuriousblue points out, there seems to be a huge divide in how the film is presented in its press package and the tone set by the trailer and clips on the website. The press synopsis explicitly makes the film out to be one that looks at porn through a filter of calm, unbiased rationality:

Elizabeth's picture

Del Martin, 1921-2008

"The sex act itself is neither male nor female: it is a human being reaching out for the ultimate in communication with another human being." -Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

Del Martin

I learned from Jessie Daniels on Twitter and then from the San Jose Mercury News that Del Martin died today. Del Martin was a lesbian feminist author and activist. She was a founding member of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first out lesbian on the board of the National Organization of Women, and a key organizer in the efforts to decriminalize and demedicalize homosexuality. She dedicated much of her work to fighting discrimination and violence against women.

She and Phyllis Lyon, her partner, were the first couple to be married in San Francisco when same-sex marriage became legal in California on June 16, 2008. They were 87 and 83 respectively and had been together for more than 50 years. Lyon was with Martin when she died today in San Francisco.

Guest Book for Del Martin


Elizabeth's picture

Sex Worker Activism: Grind the Vote!

What are the political issues that matter to sex workers?

Quite often the ones that matter to most people: Affordable housing, health care, labor rights, immigrant rights, day care, reproductive rights, violence against women, and protection of privacy and civil liberties.

It's no surprise then that sex workers are taking on the "Rock the vote" model and putting on their own voter registration and mobilization efforts, and we applaud and support that grass roots work. Want more information?

From $pread Magazine:

grind the vote info

From Sin City to the Big Apple, sex workers are organizing for political and economic justice. It's time to organize our sex worker electorate ito a political force and "Grind the Vote"!

Elizabeth's picture

Help SC students resist rules requiring parental permission before joining GSAs

Co-optation and bureaucratization are great strategies for squashing attempts to create social change. There are some kids in South Carolina who are facing exactly that problem right now. They fought for and won the right to have a GSA in their school (the Irmo High School principal announced his resignation last month after the district ruled that the GSA must be allowed) but their victory might have some unintended and negative consequences.

The school board for District 5 of Lexington and Richmond Counties is now considering new rules regulating "student-initiated noncurricular clubs" that will "allow" GSAs but make them difficult to form and will hinder their effectiveness.

Elizabeth's picture

"Kentuckiana" Anti-Porn Campaign

I was shocked when I saw this billboard on I 65 near Jeffersonville Indiana. (Jeffersonville about two hours south of Indianapolis and across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky). The photo above isn't mine - I wasn't quick enough - but is an image of the same billboard from the sponsoring organization's web site. The organization is called Reclaiming our Culture (ROCK) and their mission is to fight adult businesses in southern Indiana and north central Kentucky ("Kentuckiana" in their parlance).

The ROCK web site explains:

The focus of this billboard’s message is the threat pornography and the sex industry pose to our most vulnerable citizens – our children.

As you might expect, their web site offers no specific evidence of harm to communities and no specific data on porn addiction.

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