It's March! And since we're not big basketball fans here at Slixa.com, we've dreamed up our own spin on March Madness, and made it a way to help give some cash to a couple provider-support organizations who are working to improve all of our lives.
For the month of March, any contributions made to either the Desiree Alliance or the Black Sex Worker Collective will be matched by Slixa.com (up to 1,000USD), with no strings attached. All you have to do is share with us your proof of donation (an email with a confirmation number will do just fine), and we'll match your contribution, dollar for dollar. You don't have to buy anything and won't be subscribed to anything.
Let's learn a little bit about our featured organizations!
Based in New York City, the Black Sex Worker Collective was begun in 2018 as an effort to provide community and direct support to current and former providers, particularly women of color and trans women. The BSWC works to provide education, legal assistance, help with healthcare resources, and help with finding affordable housing opportunities.
Their work is largely focused on day-to-day issues faced by sex workers of color, but more broadly it also strives to validate and elevate the voices of black sex workers, which are often ignored or removed from larger discussions about prominent issues facing this community.
We had the chance to talk about the Collective and their work with the groups's founder and Executive Director, the legendary (and mononymous) Akynos. Here's what she shared:
It’s a really important time for businesses involved in all facets of adult entertainment (the service provider community obviously included) to find ways to use their platforms to elevate NFP organizations and amplify their messages and work. Thank you so much for being part of Slixa’s efforts to try and do that!
Thank you so much for doing this. It's important for an advertising platform such as Slixa to not ignore what's happening in the industry. Traditionally we get ignored by the other entities that work in adjacencies to the Work. So this is a big step.
Pretend I’m someone who has never heard of your organization before: who do you help?
BSWC helps current and former sex workers. We focus on centering the voice of Black womyn, Trans people, disabled people, and immigrant populations.
And (I’m still someone who’s never heard of you), how do you do that? Maybe just broadly?
We do so by offering financial help. Working on different campaigns and events that center these voices. And offering other means of support from an ear to listen to, [health care or housing] referrals, or friendship.
Who are your members (not each, specifically, but who makes up that group)?
The group is made up primarily of current and former sex workers. As well as other members of the community that work close to these populations. This can be in legal, health or other support services offered within the city.
Each person has a unique skillset or professional arena in which they work in order to provide critical input or services that would benefit the sustainability of the collective.
Tell me a little bit about the unique needs of providers of color, and why your organization focuses on them?
Providers of color are at the margins in the sex industry. Because it is a very white dominated space we are always at the brink of never making ends meet, or falling behind financially because of how racist, ableist, and classist sex work is. Because of how the Black and Trans population is targeted by law enforcement, we are also positioned to be vulnerable to systematic abuse. So that always has us in a position of vulnerability.
We need to have spaces that support us in many ways. Since law enforcement and other legal entities target us in the first place, we need to have systems in place that are there to hold our hands if we find ourselves in a situation that could change our lives dramatically. Advertising can be a financial barrier, time consuming, and working doesn't always mean a good financial outcome; so we need to hold space for our Black and Trans communities in these times of need.
In the fight for sex worker rights, it's easy and common for the history of Trans and Black people to be washed out as everyone is vying to be "the first" or position themselves as the leader of this change.
BSWC is here to serve as a reminder and to say "hey, we have people who we are representing and you need to hear us."
What are 1 or 2 ways you think the passage of FOSTA/SESTA makes your advocacy or community work more difficult?
Firstly, they can easily say that we are supporting the community illegally with how they are defining "trafficking" and sexual labor. With how loose these definitions are, there is no telling what these anti-sex (work) zealots will do. So we have to be careful with our wording, how we provide assistance and support, to how we even assemble or gather.
We have to be a step ahead with whatever we do so we don't fall into their trap and do unnecessary harm to our community.
Do you think that groups advocating for FOSTA/SESTA were aware that its passage would arguably put community organizers or service organizations in harm’s way?
Of course. These people are so obsessed with sex they will do anything to try and keep people from having it. It's some kind of mental disorder with them. They do not want womxn (let alone people), having sex in any way that disrupts their religious ideologic bullshit. They want to claim that this is for the good of the people, but really it's a means to control those at the bottom from living freely; both financially and sexually.
Who should follow BSWC on social media and what should they expect there?
Everyone who cares about labor rights, doesn't believe in respectability politics, and has a basic understanding of the ways people use their bodies to make a living.
So as long as these people believe that any work that does not violate children or takes advantage of any humxn being should be a viable choice of a person and wants people to have the power to care for themselves and their families, they should follow us.
It was refreshing to see @theblackswc share a counter narrative to the Super Bowl Trafficking stories this year. How much should anyone rely on media coverage of “trafficking?” Is there ever a circumstance where sensationalized reports like those that surround the Super Bowl each year are accurate?
What I am hoping to do for 2020 is have funding to do a counter commercial, because this is bullshit. I see no other way this will change unless the heaux community tackles this by the throat.
I’d love to know about some of the art that appears on the BSWC site. Anyone you’d like to shout out for that work?
Molly Crabapple, one of my oldest friends, did the logo. She has done so much for me and a lot of groups at the margins over her career. She is amazing and I love her forever.
Her boyfriend Fred also did our art for the first tshirt campaign with our #sayhername shirts. Amazing people.
Now we have Meeks Baker out of California that just helped us with new bad ass earring designs that say things like h'or and heaux shit and super slut. And newly added donated art from the amazing artist Danielle Ellis out of Texas with Brassfly Studios. Amazing womxn doing amazing things to support a community they are not directly involved in.
There’s plenty of people who might be on the side of providers already, ideologically. What’s the best advice you can give someone who is interested in supporting sex worker rights, but maybe doesn’t know where to start, or what is safe to say/share?
Listen to us. There is a lot of our work to be found online so people can stop repeating textbook conversation, it makes them sound really stupid when they do that.
Give these groups or people money. Allow them places to stay if need be, or other forms of support.
Support doesn't have to be money. It can be an offer for a regular service such as making meals, reposting our information, offering a skill which can help push us forward. You know how many times I've needed someone to layout text on photoshop just so we can get some t-shirts done! Those things are priceless.
Pushing for sex workers to lead in spaces where we are left out, such as teaching sexual health workshops to youth. Or speaking at colleges/universities. Too many times we are the subject of these radical studies/stories/research. And we are never at the receiving end for the financial gain or even the recognition.
Push more for sex workers to take up space in the most untraditional spaces because we are here and everywhere and it's time we stop acting like we are just underground hookers who do things out the norm.
But when in doubt go in your pockets and shut your mouth.
And lastly, why do you think it’s important for someone who is in the industry (in whatever capacity) to support an organization like yours? Even if it’s just sharing or signal-boosting?
It's important because we are the only kinds of people that seem to be left out of the broader conversation of everything. You'd think we were some sort of aliens with 10 heads and pussing herpes sores.
Instead we are as normal as can be, and in order for people to understand labor, and patriarchy, and consent, and work, and sex, and money, and business management, they need us. They need to see how amazing it is to be able to do all of this without batting an eye.
It's the only way our lives can be "normal;" by treating us with the respect and honor we deserve.
And we shouldn't have to victimize ourselves to be heard either.