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.
It's a well known fact that sex workers face discrimination within healthcare settings that limit their access to safe care. Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago's College of Nursing have recently published a paper demonstrating how patient-centered care for sex workers could be implemented. The paper entitled "Feeling Safe, Feeling Seen, Feeling Free: Combating stigma and creating culturally safe care for sex workers in Chicago" describes the project as one designed to inform how communities may develop "empowerment interventions for sex workers by understanding their self-management, health promotion and harm reduction needs." Researchers conducted and analyzed in-depth interviews with sex workers in Chicago which is a huge step in the right direction. Check out the full article on Medical News here, and the full medical journal here.
For many sex workers and strippers, or "accountants" and "skrippas," TikTok initially was an exciting new space for us to make each other laugh, share advice in unique ways and talk about shit that was harder to communicate on other platforms. The Irish Times spoke to a few strippers from cities like Los Angeles and Des Moines, Iowa, who experienced almost instantaneous internet fame from a few viral videos that featured, to most strippers, every-day locker room talk, but to civilians, it was a look into a whole new world they would most likely never experienced. While experienced sex workers are using Tiktok to destigmatize, give real advice and show pros and cons of the work, there are also a lot of real dangers instigated by the app, such as the misinformation being spread by young women trying sex work for the first time and even more censorship that leads to deplatforming. For more coverage, read the full article here.
Another day, another article published attacking pornographers in the name of “protecting children.” This week’s latest sex worker hate-a-thon comes in the prestigious pages of The Atlantic from Pulitzer prize-nominated Christian socialist Elizabeth Bruenig. Bruenig launders far-right Christians’ anti-sex worker talking points in a feature debating the best way to educate teenagers about porn. Read the full article by Cherie DeVille on the Daily Beast where she debunks many of Bruenig's flawed logic and anti-sex worker rhetoric here.
"For many months I existed in this weird, precarious online space in which the promotion or even just existence of any of my work threatened the rest of it," writes Tilly Lawless in an essay for The Gaurdian, in which she discusses the harsh reality that was her experience transitioning from in-person full-service sex work in brothels, to relying on platforms like OnlyFans to survive the pandemic. Lawless discusses many nuances and oxymorons of existing in the digital sphere, including how OnlyFans doesn’t like in-person sex workers, because it doesn’t want to be held responsible for people soliciting prostitution. Read the full introspective piece here.