Sex Workers in the Media

Portrayals of sex workers in the media have been shifting in the last few years. After decades of un-nuanced portrayals, sex workers have started making more noise, and making our own content, and it is leading to new conversations about representation. A new documentary from Louis Theroux has led to sex workers coming out and saying the producers manipulated the narrative. In HBO's Euphoria, while some are excited about the positive portrayal, some are critiquing the film for still being part of the male gaze.

Apparently it also has One Direction slash fiction.

Sistaaz of the Castle, a book of photographs of trans sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa, was released this week. The book shows the women modeling a co-developed clothing line of the same name. You can see some of the stunning photos and clothes here in a video from 2016's Amsterdam Fashion Week. Also, in South Africa, local sex worker group Sisonke wrote about why decriminalization is about human rights.

And one band has taken on the issue of sex work in their new video:

Tragedy in Australia

On Tuesday, an individual went on a violent spree, taking the life of 24-year old Michaela Dunn. Because Dunn was a sex worker, there has been just as much conversation about her death as her career. One author wrote about the erasure.

LGBTQ Sex Workers Speak

The concept of code-switching is one that sex workers are familiar with – the idea of changing your language or persona to shape how people read and respond to you – is part of sex work. LGBTQ folks, including those who trade sex, talk about how code switching shapes day-to-day lives.

While many campaigns are focused on decriminalization, it is also part of the on-going work of wider culture change. For LGBTQ workers in Brazil, where sex work is legal, the recent pro-police, pro-"family values" and anti-gay President has brought fear to the LGBTQ community. Fernanda, a tattoo-lover who identifies as a gay cross dresser, talks about her life working in Salvador, and how things have changed.

At this year's Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit (of which Slixa was a key sponsor), there was an entire track of panels on issues facing sex workers. One specifically on the needs of Black trans sex workers called for organizations and communities to do more:

Local Progress

The city of Minneapolis is looking to pass a city ordinance supporting labor rights for dancers.

Feeling the Bern

This week Bernie Sanders released his platform on criminal legal reform. Activist and DecrimNY member Jessica Raven shares some thoughts on the lack of consideration for people who trade sex in the platform.

Increased Criminalization Abroad

Ethiopia is looking to criminalize street-based solicitation and panhandling. Currently sex work is not criminalized in the country, but a push to "clean up" the country's image is leading lawmakers towards prohibition.

In Ireland, parties are calling for the review of the prostitution code, specifically the ban on "brothel keeping" which has turned into a ban on sex workers working together.

Final Thoughts

This meme is everything:

Back to the grind.


Read more Kate's Account columns here.