CA moves towards Improved Safety
In California, the bill which would offer immunity to sex workers reporting victimization and violence received a hearing last Tuesday and was unanimously voted out of committee after picking up two new supporters as it moves a step closer towards becoming law!
And on the industry-side of things to improve consent practices in porn, Kink.com has released its shooting protocols - a worthwhile read for folks looking to hop in front of the camera.
You know you've made it when you're hated by the right people.
DC proved that this week when Congressional Republicans tried to torpedo the DC Decrim bill out of the gate. Rep. Quigley (IL-4) and the Democrats on a panel overseeing DC Affairs pushed back and defeated the attempt, so if you're in the 4th District in Illinois, call and say thank you - they like that and it matters. (And if you're in the first District in Maryland, it was Rep. Andy Harris who tried to kill decrim in the District so call and tell him that he's on the wrong side of history.)
This Week in Whorephobia
A UK law student had to drop of school because of harassment after other students found out she had been a porn performer to support her studies. But in better news, viewers and fans have shown her support.
ACAB, even in India
And a reminder that little has changed since the protests which drew over a hundred sex workers to occupy a church in Lyons, sex workers in Pune, India are protesting police raids and crackdowns of their workplaces. Sex workers from the local red light district, Budhwar Peth, say that this has led to working in unsafe locations for less money, and is putting them in danger, and saying this is due to misuse of the country's trafficking laws.
This last week also saw a scene we are too familiar with: a rally calling for action after another tragic passing. Rallies in New York are calling for #JusticeforLayleen, a 27 year old Afro-Latinx trans woman who died in solitary confinement at Rikers' Island on Friday, June 7. Layleen's passing touches on so many areas of social injustice, and begs us to look beyond the decriminalization of sex work.
In 2017 Layleen had been arrested on soliciting charges by an undercover. In New York, everyone facing prostitution charges goes through the "Human Trafficking Intervention Courts," and are supposed to be diverted to services instead of receiving jail time - but not without the threat of punishment hanging over you. Layleen was sent to services, but missed a follow-up court date and the services she was sent to didn't work out. The court issued a warrant for her arrest when she didn't show, which was still open. In April of this year, Layleen was arrested following an alleged assault and sent to Rikers Island. While those charges were dropped, the open warrant and charge from 2017 was still there with a $500 bond, which she couldn't afford to pay in order to get out on bail. She had been held since April waiting to deal with the 2017 charge, and despite corrections' staff knowing that she had a medical condition, they placed her, unsupervised, in solitary confinement as a punitive measure. It's fucked up every step of the way.
Beyond decriminalizing sex work in New York, there are so many places to plug in: closing Rikers prison, ending cash bail, learning about the myriad problems with New York's (everyone's... they're garbage) prostitution diversion courts, ending solitary confinement, and not the least of which is that trans women of color face levels of violence, both interpersonal and institutional, that should stop us in our tracks.
Layleen was a member of the House of Xtravaganza ballroom collective and we should all take a moment to hold that we lost royalty.
Upcoming Events and Meetups
Interested in coming to the Sex Worker Institute at this year's Woodhull Freedom Foundation Summit but need support to attend? SWOP-USA's scholarship application closes June 21!
And if you're in Hawaii and looking to have some sex worker community, check out this event on June 22.
South African sex worker activist Ishtar Lakhani shares the importance of humor in movements, and how they got to dance with Elton John.
And poz.com profiled HIV activist Dee Dee Chamblee, who was one of the co-founders of Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaPCo, putting all of our acronyms to shame), which was formed to fight the increased policing of sex workers in Atlanta.
And if you're like me and one of the million people reading Pleasure Activism right now, these last two articles are reminding me that while we often advocate together in the face of harm, we cannot stop organizing from a place of joy and love.
Back to the Grind.