As a sex worker, opting out of politics, current events, updates to social media platforms and the status of laws and legislations isn't an option. Our work and day to day lives are, unfortunately, heavily affected by changes in all of these areas. The sex working community has been rallying for decriminalization on a local, national, and even global level for decades, long before I even stepped into my first whore heels. Now there's a push for progressive action in not only decriminalization, but active rights and protections, potential unions, accurate and beneficial media representation, less digital censorship and for moving the power and profit gained from the industry directly into the pockets of those doing the work. Weekly, we'll be gathering some of the latest political and pop culture headlines making waves in the community.
In this piece for Ny Mag's The Cut, 5 creators of varying incomes, experiences in the industry, and background weigh on OnlyFans recent decision to ban pornographic content; the very kind of content that skyrocketed the platform to incredible success over the last year. The digital subscription site saved many sex workers from falling into poverty, losing all their income with zero eligibility for government assistance when the pandemic hit in March 2020, and offered an alternative to traditional porn sites with it's uncensored features, and personal interface. Now, like many of us in the industry predicted, OF is erasing sex workers from the platform in order to get financial backing from major credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard. None of this is unfortunately shocking, and sex workers have been warning others, especially those new to the industry, of the dangers of FOSFA/SESTA, and it's continued impact. These creators share their thoughts, opinions and fears, while also offering a snub at the platform; will OnlyFans fumble the bag and be the next Tumblr? Read more here.
Houston dancer Chanel Nicholson is standing up against a the blatant racism that continues to occur in all strip clubs, not just those in Houston, Texas. Nicholson filed a civil rights lawsuit under an 1866 federal law that gives everyone the same ability “enjoyed by white citizens” to make and enforce contracts. The defendants in her lawsuit are Ali and Hassan Davari, two brothers who own a string of clubs where Nicholson regularly experienced racial discrimination throughout the six years she worked as a dancer: Cover Girls Houston, Solid Platinum Cabaret, Centerfolds Houston and Splendor Gentlemen’s Club. It's all too common for hiring managers, and other staff alike, to favor white dancers over Black dancers, despite skill, looks, or overall qualifications, and it's something that desperately needs to be addressed. Chanel Nicholson is not only brave to pursue a lawsuit against these large corporations, but also to relive the trauma that she has experienced that led to taking action. Read more details here.
This is a painful one to talk about. The naked body of Nicole Flanagan, a 42-year-old NYC-based escort, was found stuffed in barrel on a New Jersey street after being carted out of a luxury Wall Street apartment. I can not stress enough; stigma and criminalization kills. Sex workers continue to be vulnerable targets for violent men, from police, even from your unsuspecting neighbor. Nicole Flanagan should have returned home to her sons. All the Black Trans sex workers should have walked home safely. Nicole deserved more justice than a headline that described her as not a human woman, but simply as "escort body." Language kills. To be dehumanized posthumously is telling in itself of society's hatred towards sex workers. Read the full story here.
Andrew Wallis, the CEO of Unseen, a UK-based charity in England that has worked to end human trafficking and modern slavery since 2007, discussed what he really thinks about attempts to introduce Nordic-style legislation in Britain with Open Democracy. Andrew also addresses why so many anti-trafficking organizations, including Unseen, do not take an explicit stand on sex work, and what the consequences of that non-position might be. Read the full interview here.