The Public Believes in Sex Workers' Right
This last week, a stunning report was released which points to new polling data showing that 52% of voters support decriminalization [the New Republic] of both buyers and sellers of sexual services. The issue now is garnering support akin to other progressive topics such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
Cheers to another tool in the arsenal for those long fighting for decriminalization, decarceration and divestment for abusive systems of state violence.
The Super Bowl Happened
Every year, we see one of the great American pastimes:
Using fear mongering and ignorance to fund and increase policing tactics (which are much more about social surveillance and violence than anything else). And this year's Super Bowl LIV did not disappoint with manufactured arrests cultivated through expensive sting operations on the sex trade [The Appeal] (28 of those were consensual sex workers charged with prostitution). Noah Berlatsky breaks down the myth and the harms [mic.com] surrounding the event that come every single year, and an op-ed recently came out which notes the other important point: Arresting sex workers doesn't stop trafficking [Sun Sentinel].
This Super Bowl and especially its halftime show, though, highlighted – even more than halftime shows of the past – that state violence, life, art and touchdowns are not completely removed from each other. This year's halftime show was headlined by two fairer-skinned Latina artists, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who fully embraced their heritage with the multi-lingual performances. They also made a point of highlighting the issues at the border, with an art installation of kids in cages, and issuing a subsequent statement [Syracuse.com].
But all of this was set against a backdrop of pro-policing, pro-ICE, and specifically anti-Black racism that is simply a part of the DNA of the current NFL.
In support of Colin Kaepernick, both Cardi B and Rihanna (two Afro-Latinx artists) turned down the Super Bowl halftime show, which has brought important conversation about JLo and Shakira's decision to take it on [Mother Jones]. Quarterback and Nike spokesman Kaepernick gained attention, and almost decimated his career in the NFL, for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence against Black communities [NFL.com].
Sex workers know better than anyone that the Super Bowl is a week long excuse to dump money into policing, and that sheriffs and federal agencies like ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are eager to get in the game. So while sex workers were outside being rounded up (and continue to be de-platformed) [Huffington Post], JLo specifically called back to her amazing Hustler performance this year to perform pole tricks during the set [Billboard].
States Begin to Move Again
As the year opens again, many State legislatures are beginning to re-open and consider different options for legislation. Each state's calendar is different (some have two year sessions, some only a few weeks), but it's time to keep eyes peeled for what might be popping up locally.
In addition to a full decriminalization bill [the Slixa Blog], Vermont is considering a good Samaritan bill which would grant immunity from prostitution charges for those reporting victimization and establishes a committee to study the impact of changing criminal legal approaches to the sex trade.
While I don't often read Dan Savage's column, this week's is worth reading. A mom who used to work at the Lusty now has a daughter who's a cam girl. And no matter her experience, she still has fear and hesitation - which come from a pretty natural parenting-placed. Coming out to family might be really hard, even under the best circumstances, and this letter lays out a lot of the fears that you might be faced with - ones that don't come from hatred or shame, but from fear and wanting your kid to have the best life. Earnest letter, solid response.
And for this reminder that Sex Workers and sex work are actually Magical spaces of fantasy and transformation, Mistress Marley talks financial domination [PAPER], the Black Domme Sorority, and taboo, and Dua Lipa and Lizzo are the new dream club customers, replacing Usher, who has held the title since way too many of us were the new girl on staff.
And in the new year, it's always a good time to think through your screening and protocols again. This thread might have some new tricks and tips:
Back to the grind. One month down, eleven to go.