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DC Hearing on Prostitution Free Zones

24 Jan

For everyone who missed this morning’s live twitter extravaganza from the hearing over “Prostitution Free Zones” in Washington DC, here is some of the commentary that you missed.

We think that it’s important to watch how these debates play out in other cities, as these ideas are often contagious. We saw it with End Demand campaigns, and PFZ is set in a long tradition of “drug free zones” and the like that historically either simply displace the problem being addressed, increase racial and gender profiling, and don’t actually address any underlying issues. But they also sound enticing to the public, and enjoy enormous popularity. Sadly, this could become a trend that sex workers rights organizations have to face across the country.

More info:

Article explaining a bit about the DC situation: http://wamu.org/programs/metro_connection/12/01/13/dc_cracks_down_on_prostitution

Short documentary about how “Prostitution Free” zones affected sex workers and trans communities from 3 years ago http://vimeo.com/4652102

Excerpts from the DC Trans Coalition (@theDCTC)’s testimony against Prostitution Free Zones http://dctranscoalition.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/our-testimony-in-opposition-to-permanent-prostitution-free-zones/

The “Move Along” report from the Alliance for a Safe and Diverse DC, which shows some of the direct impacts of the enforcement of DC’s commercial sex policies (both new and longstanding) on people involved, or perceived to be involved, in the sex trade http://dctranscoalition.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/movealongreport.pdf

Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance petition against PFZ http://www.glaaforum.org/glaa_forum/2012/01/please-sign-petition-opposing-prostitution-free-zones.html

DCist Report from December: http://dcist.com/2011/11/dc_now_more_prostitution_free.php

Rheality Check from January 2010 about how bad these policies are: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/01/03/washington-dc%E2%80%99s-punitive-sex-work-laws-endanger-women%E2%80%99s-health-safety

Here are the tweets from a couple different people who were live-tweeting the hearing today. The only editing I’ve done is to put them in more of a paragraph format, clean a couple typos, and did not include some of their tweets that were direct responses to other people (or retweets of each other). I also removed the hashtag #PFZ because I figured if you’re reading this, you know what they’re talking about already. While these are interesting, and helpful to read, I wanted to keep this recap as straightforward as possible. I definitely recommend spending some time sifting through the links and ongoing conversations though!

Also – this will undoubtedly be updated as this debate rages on. So keep your eyes out. More to come!

*Important note. You’ll see a lot of tweets directed @CMYMA. That’s the twitter handle for Yvette Alexander, the Council Member for Ward 7 who introduced the bill to make “Prostitution Free” zones stronger

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Help Out Cucci!

23 Jan

One of the best parts about organizing for sex workers rights is meeting and working with other groups concerned with sexual health and social justice. Cucci partnered with us last year to help produce our Sex Toy Fashion Show + Film Screening for International Sex Workers Rights Day. What most people probably don’t know  is that Cucci’s agenda is far more comprehensive than just selling sex toys. Cucci aims to:

 

 

 to facilitate sex-positive, body-positive, honest dialogue about sex; to build knowledge and excitement about our bodies and pleasure physiology, and promote sexual wellness; to leverage the best of the sex industry and bring it to a safe space – out of the local xxx outlet and into our communities

This takes shape in a myriad of different ways. It can include workshops for people to explore their sexuality in a safe space and with new tools. Honestly, this is radical enough for just about any population. But Cucci takes it further, emphasizing the need for resources and sex education for low-income, people of color, and queer and trans communities. It can also include workshops about sexuality and pleasure for survivors of sexual abuse and/or assault.

Right now Cucci is fundraising for their latest round of training for a new class of sex educators.

Access to sex education and a safe space for sexual expression is extremely important, and this training will greatly benefit the Los Angeles community.

Learn more about Cucci: http://www.ilovecucci.com

Go HERE to donate: http://www.indiegogo.com/House-of-Cucci-Extravaganza#_=

In The Business of Community Building

17 Jan

I wrote this months ago, intending to submit it to Tits and Sass. They (rightly) asked me to expand the topic to include other ad companies because this comes off kinda sounding like an ad for Eros. Unfortunately for everyone, I got busy and kept putting it on the back burner until it was far too late and I got incredibly caught up in other projects. But I stand by what I wrote. The folks from Eros will be back in LA in February (more details of future events to come) and will be hosting a Meet & Greet for sex workers and vendors to discuss their business needs. I’m pretty excited for it. One thing I forgot to mention is that Eros has been extremely responsive to feedback from sex workers, and goes out of their way to solicit opinions from their customers. The “what are your needs and what can we do to help you?” model is one that I think all allies (ourselves included) should follow.

-Jessie Nicole

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