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March 3 – International Sex Workers Rights Day Picnic

7 Mar

The 3rd of March is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The day originated in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival. The organizers, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a Calcutta based group whose membership consists of somewhere upwards of 50,000 sex workers and members of their communities. Sex worker groups across the world have subsequently celebrated 3 March as International Sex Workers’ Rights Day.

History of March 3rd, International Sex Worker Rights Day http://www.swopusa.org/March3/

SWOP-LA member Lindsey enjoying a hot dog fresh off the grill

March 3rd, 2012 was a perfect day for a picnic. Los Angeles is beautiful in the spring, and this past Saturday it was 85 degrees and sunny down in MacArthur Park. Throughout the afternoon about 35 sex workers, partners, and allies came down to celebrate the struggle for sex workers’ rights with donuts, hot dogs, and good company. It is a day where we not only recognize our local achievements as a community, but also stand in solidarity with sex workers and sex work activists across the world.

While there was political talk and coalition building, there was also a lot of discussion about professional development among the sex workers present. Resources were traded, industry tips were shared, and it was a great opportunity for people to meet new colleagues and friends. But above all, we had fun hanging out with each other in a casual and friendly environment.

It is our firm belief that building a strong community is at the heart of our activist efforts. And that means celebrating our lives, struggles, and triumphs. It was thrilling to see everyone come out and connect with each other on Saturday afternoon, and we are happy and proud to contribute to the movement for sex workers rights.

Serene Sin, Anthony, and Jessie Nicole proudly wear their SWOP-LA t-shirts at the picnic

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SWOP-LA at OccupyLA – Huffington Post Interview

12 Oct

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/intimate-look-occupy-la_n_1004342.html

Check out the video of Jessie Nicole interviewed by the Huffington Post at OccupyLA.

SWOP-LA Tables at Slut Walk LA

16 Jun

SWOP-LA table (and hot ladies)

SWOP-LA wants to say a big thank you to everyone we had an opportunity to speak with about what we do and out next event at Slut Walk LA. We love that you took the time to not only attend this important grassroots event but that you took the time to talk to us about sex workers and the challenges they (we) face. It was really great to see all those people turn up and let their voices be heard. Slut shaming and rape culture needs to stop and sex workers are often easy and frequent targets. SWOP-LA is dedicated to ending the stigma and violence against sex workers so having a table at this event was very important to us. We loved the interaction and loved being there along side N.O.W. Yep that’s right N.O.W! The speakers were moving and inspiring although listening to how someone was violated isn’t always easy to hear, listening to how someone over came their personal adversity is something we can all benefit from. Plus a sexy dance party broke out, who doest love that!

Transgender Day of Remembrance Brunch + Memorial

12 Nov

We’re doing brunch – and doing it right! From there we’re going to march on down to West Hollywood City Hall to join the Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial.

We are building a safe space where we can let it all hang out, talk, support, laugh, share, & create much needed community! We’re brainy, bawdy and bad ass folks of all different backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender expressions and lines of work. This event is a safe space for all 18+ adult sex workers and allies, regardless of gender, age, race, orientation, or expression. Once we are fed and energized we’re going to march down to West Hollywood City Hall and join the Transgender Day of Remembrance to show our support and solidarity.

We will be simultaneously making a banner that morning to march under at the memorial, so if you’re interested in helping out with that let us know. I’ll have a couple vegetarian brunchy dishes, including homemade muffins, but everyone is encouraged to bring food/drinks of their choice to share.

To rsvp, kindly email swoplosangeles@gmail.com.

If you can donate a couple dollars to help cover the cost of materials it would be extremely appreciated! It’s absolutely not mandatory- so please don’t let it be a prohibiting factor for you to attend.

Date- Saturday November 20, 2010
Time-10:00am-4:pm
Location- West Hollywood (RSVP for exact location), and then West Hollywood City Hall starting at 1:15

Hope to see you there!

xoxo
SWOP-LA

http://www.transgenderdor.org/

EROTICA-LA 2009 report

19 Jun

a very diverse crew indeed! photo by Rancy DeTroit

a very diverse crew indeed! photo by Rancy DeTroit

Well, after many hours of gruelling work, we pulled in about $490 after feeding ourselves for 3 days, parking and other basic incidentals.  I was totally stoked after the show closed because lots of vendors were throwing me sex toy and DVD donations and I was getting a good armful of booty to raffle off at future SWOP-LA fundraisers.

BUT SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENED!

A box with all the t-shirts we just ordered, my $350 video camera and my neon open sign was not put into the car and was lost, stolen or forgotten at the LA Convention Center.

we were just at the break even point for the table (the non profit rate was $500) and did okay with the amount of contacts that we made at the show.  About 25 mailing list additions were lost on a clipboard inside that same box..  People who were supporters, as always, are usually pretty passionate about the subject of decriminalization.  Those are the ones that buy the t-shirts.  we average about 6-10 shirts per any event.  The rest of our $$ comes from hustling donations in a jar!  This time however the “Granny Tranny” Adult stars candy and Annie and I were all giving back rubs on a massage table with oil!  $1/minute!

I was extremely proud of our crew and all the work that we put in.  It’s a shame that we lost the most important box..The tradeshow was great experience for Candy and Annie and we met Randy DeTroit who is a long time TS/TG photographer and videographer and is quite connected to the TS/TG activist community that I am already involved in..

Working with Annie, who is 62 years YOUNG was a sheer delight, HoneyBuns candy seems to have a fan following in the adult world as she sold her used and dirty panties for $80 in the adult auction..!  Even if we hadn’t lost that box with everything of value in it, I’m not really sure if it would be worth it to do again unless we had a grant that specifically alotted $500 for us to do this kind of outreach without the pressure of having an overhead to meet…It was excellent leadership and team building experience for all of us.  If some tradeshow would give FREE booths the way they do at the Global Village at the AIDS conferences…(100% profit from your product sales..unbelieveable).

we are all depressed about the loss so if you are reading this and can donate, now would be a great time.  Even donating screenprinting, blank t-shirts, a broadcast quality 3 chip camcorder…wishlist…wishlist…

Whore-A-Palooza Fest featuring SWOP-LA members

17 Jun

Mommy Fiercest and Mariko Passion takin over El Rio SF for Whore a palooza.  Camera work by Honeybuns Candy!

our booth at Erotica LA

6 Jun

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We have a booth at Erotica LA this weekend…We have about 3 tickets to sell that would help to benefit the organization better than having people work for $8/hr at gay pride..we have 3 former adult stars at our booth doing photos and signings..We did Adultcon in September of 2007, and it is a similar venture.  Mostly adult film stars but LOTS AND LOTS OF MALE CONSUMERS OF SEX WORK.  As well as porn stars who we would like to have join our movement…Will we see you there?

Yes, we have some SWOP-LA members that currently will do and have done between 27-300 movies to their name, but now their primary income is through “illegal” sex work that doesn’t include a camera and 10 people watching.  We are at this convention to talk to the consumers of sex work, but also to outreach to those that feel like because they are LEGAL ADULT PERFOMERS that they are NOT sex workers, or because the LAW does not consider porn work as sex work or even prostiution (because of a famous 1971 lawsuit), SWOP-LA does want to bridge the gap between illegal and legal workers and support all of them in the similar issues that we do share regardless of our legal status.  We understand and acknowledge the many adult performers who are marketing themselves SECRETLY as escorts or have a few select clients because their contracts will not allow them to do illegal sex work, so most have to go on a gruelling feature stripclub tour to make the rest of their income while they are NOT shooting videos.  And if they don’t want to strip, can’t dance or are simply not that kind of performer then they are expected to not escort?  I have even met some adult industry people in videos and web think that for some reason (referring to that 1971 Friedman lawsuit) they are “real” sex workers and we are not..(just prostitutes, which they are not).

Candy will be auctioning off her “granny panties” and starting off the auction that they are going to be doing..

If you want to see the debauchery that we got involved with check out the adultcon video on our blip video site:

www.swopla.blip.tv

and look for the adultcon video.

Madness.  Testosterone.  Fundraising and Advocacy. Join us…

Mariko’s TRIP DIARY: Sex Worker Fest DAY 1

2 Jun
Annie Sprinkle, Mariko Passion and our adopted migrant worker doll "Janey"

Annie Sprinkle, Mariko Passion and our adopted Kumjing migrant worker doll "Janey"

If the names Carol Queen and Annie Sprinkle ring a bell for anyone out there, then yesterday’s Belle Bazaar was where you wanted to be.  It was a tabling and craft fair for artists and photographer who wanted to clean out their closets and sell their own or the work of someone else, get in the swing of the festival and donate to CSC.

I performed an emotional monologue and blues set, and so did Ckiara who was a new spoken word artist who read from her book, “Song of Men Slaves.”  Rock band Lipstick Conspiracy was also there, and SWOP-LA was able to represent by selling some shirts.  I sold artwork to one of my mentors in “post porn modernist” artifact making Annie Sprinkle, who I am standing next to.  I sold her a piece from my 2001 collection for a giveaway price of $50!  Indeed, cleaning out the closet and selling artwork for any amount of money is STILL just as satisfying as always, reminding me that I am actually a part of San Francisco’s sex activst culture and that I need to continue making work!   Art is a clear and obvious way to connect social movements and causes where our vocabularies and language barriers cannot do the job..I marched in the May 1-May Day march in downtown LA and wished I had thought to take Janey there…

Janey is my adopted friend from Empower, a harm reduction worker led theatre troupe in Bangkok, Thailand who is one of a series of 100 infant sized migrant worker dolls that will be adopted and installed in new lives and locations of fellow activists that Empower has befriended along the way.  Empower is a sex worker led education group that I had the privilege of finally meeting in the International AIDS conference in Mexico City last year.  I decided to take my Kumjing to San Francisco, and especially to make sure she was able to meet Annie Sprinkle!  My Kumjing has changed her name to Janey, and I will be blogging the adventures of the 3 LA representatives that have made it to this festival.  Candy is an intersex, 55 years old streetworker and adult movie star, and is from our Skid row needle exchange group “Tricks of the Trade.”  She read about the festival in a $pread magazine that I gave the group as an incentive and called me on the 877 line to ask me about it.  I was able to fund her one way ticket to SF using the Tides Grant that was intended to build leadership and motivation for sex workers who are injecting.   This is what SUCCESSFUL OUTREACH looks like!  SWOP-LA and $pread magazine making it happening in that barely funded revolutionary grassroots way that only we know how to do best.  Exposing new activists in the movement and having them want to be a part of the action without you having to push them in the right direction.  She’s very excited about the trip, to say the least.

***Skid Row Stroll OUTREACH team***

10 May

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putting the O in SWOP-LA!!!

putting the O in SWOP-LA!!!

Armed with bags of lube, different types of condoms, candy and snack packs of chips (yes candy, East Coast outreach orgs have given us this tip…especially sexy lollipops are very popular).  We also had in the bags the flyer for our bi-weekly needle exchange sex worker group, which last week, when we weren’t giving away the free phones had only 1 person…Hopefully, this Monday, we’ll have more than 1.  SWOP-LA has a worker only support meeting on Sunday, and I am going to ask some of the people there if they want to go out and do some more outreach.  Most everyone was excited to see us.  We decided to do our first outreach mission with big OUTREACH signs on the sides of our cars and rolling up on the workers like we were clients.  We had a a team of college students from CSULA, Pasadena City and some new SWOP team members who heard about what we do on the meetup and has become quite active right away!  It was very successful considering for most of us who had no experience doing night outreach or outreach to the Skid Row population.  Staying in our cars, and occasionally getting out to hand out kits and talking to the workers was great.  I know many had anxiety about going and were concerned about our safety, but we notified the Central Station Watch Commanders office that we would be going out, and they sent out an “Attention All Units” message over the CB they said!  Just like Hill Street Blues!!

We want to do this weekly so that they start to get to know us.  Some of the homeless were laughing at our signs, and one of the women on the street was misconstrued as working girl and got angry at us for thinking that…

OUTREACH at DOM-CON 2009

10 May

menkarinWe are once again doing outreach at DOM-CONLA, the convention and shopping spree for BDSM and fetish enthusiasts and their slaves.  We’re here fundraising and outreaching to pro dommes for our worker support group that happens once a month.  We are trying to build the bridge between pro dommes who may not see themselves as sex workers, or see themselves as “not breaking the law” and therefore protected.  SWOP Chicago and New York chapters have a lot of members in the BDSM community.  This year our table is much smaller because it is donated by Leather by Danny, who makes amazing leather craft for harness holders, collars, ankle and wrist restraints and paddles.  He has a laser engraver that can custom laser engrave any jpg imge..he even sells bondage teddy bears with custom made ankle, wrist restraints, faggy leather daddy cap and blind fold!  Mommy Fiercest scored this booth donation because of course, she is a sultry and sexy hustle mama for the cause!  Friday was very slow for most weekend convention vendors, but it was especially slow for us.  However, on the second day of the show, people started to support the cause more.  Lots of whore and decrim shirts were sold and people were now donating a few bucks in the cup.  One more day to go..

I played my drag marine character “Sergeant SemperFi Fong” complete with Mexican gangster mustache and strap on dildo worn to promote our new fundraiser, libido enhancement pill “Performax.”  There were so many other gorgeous femme dommes there in military uniforms that I thought it might be fun to genderfuck it up a bit, since in my escort life, I usually have to loose the beard…

Every sale of Performax pills from this link yields a 30% donation to SWOP-LA!  30% goes straight to SWOP-LA!They work for 24 hours and they’re all natural.  click and order!