Mainstream celebrities took to twitter this week to show their support for sex workers rights and a lot of people lost their minds:
Sarandon was quickly followed by model, radio host and activist Jameela Jamil:
Celebrities pushing for social change using their platform can be incredibly tricky and double-sided. When high-profile people who are not impacted by their behavior and uninterested in hearing from those who are (Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, I'm mainly looking at you, but there's so many people who can fuck off) are lofted for their opinions, it contributes to the idea that impacted folks are not the ones to listen to. Of all the experts Congress called to testify on trafficking in persons and pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Demi Moore (guys, she was in Striptease) was a voice given weight. But we can't write off these celebrity platforms or the weight that they carry, and some celebrities have used their platforms in incredible ways:
Neville Southhall regularly lets sex workers take over his Twitter for AMAs
This Week in Fighting Back
This Oregon mom and student recent went through what so many folks fear - after being outed for a previous career in sex work, instructors at her school began targeting her through comments, and fucking with her grades and assignments. Now, Nicole Gililand is going to be the first person to sue for discrimination using use Title IX (a federal non-discrimination protection law which covers educational institutions) protections, typically used for sex and gender-based discrimination.
The expanse of non-discrimination protections is a big question right now, especially for LGBTQ folks, and particularly for trans folks. While Title IX covers education (it's part of the 1972 updates to the Higher Education Act), Title VII covers employment protections, which is a part of the larger Civil Rights Act, which tackles everything from voting to discrimination in public places. Under Obama, guidance was issued from the administration that yes, these provisions extend to trans folks, and case law was in support (with federal law, sometimes if there's a question in the world isn't clear from the law itself, different federal agencies can put out directives that shed some light on how they interpret it). Trump's administration, though, re-wrote the guidelines and specifically left out trans people, re-opening the question and taking away basic protections for trans students. In the years since, case law has been trying to concretize this protection (and others), and this week, the Equality Act is getting a vote in the House. Which means it's a perfect time to Call your Representative in the House and say:
"As a member of/ally of the trans community and a voter in your district - please vote YES to pass the Equality Act."
They'll probably ask some detail about your address to make sure you're in their district, and then thank you for calling and hang up.
Nearly 200 performers and models have signed a letter pushing back against the overly broad and vague guidelines on Facebook and Instagram which is resulting in bans on their accounts.
Harm Reduction Hawaii is pushing for decrim, bringing in Dame Catherine Healy to talk about New Zealand and her work to push for the policy.
And Doctors without Borders discusses why sex workers are on the front lines of fighting HIV, and how expanding health care and services, and addressing stigma, are essential for improved health outcomes.
Have you been discriminated against at a Marriott?
In New York, over 100 sex workers and advocates went to Albany to hold a rally in support of two different bills, including one to pull Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution off the books in the state and it was beautiful and might make you cry a little:
And to find out more, scroll through the threads of one of my favorite NY Activists, Bianey Garcia:
The fight to pull the loitering statute in New York is not a new one, and this would be a huge step in that fight. Loitering for the purposes of prostitution is often a profiling-based crime, where the a law enforcement officer can include in evidence for arrest things like what you're wearing, behavior including being too long on a street corner, or simply being in an area known for prostitution to arrest someone. A few years ago the Legal Aid Society filed a suit against the city for profiling, as 85% of all arrests were made of Black and Latina women. You may also remember the case of Monica Jones, a sex worker rights and trans rights activist who was arrested for the Arizona version of the statute, and eventually had her case dismissed after it was taken up by the ACLU. May this bill repealing the New York Statute be only the first.
In Portland, OR:
In St. John's (Canada):
In West Oakland, CA:
In San Francisco (but I think it's open, geographically):
And recent sex worker Mama Maxine Holloway (Congrats!) talks to Lotus Lain, Chiara Rose, and Gia DiMarco on working for two.
Aaaand back to the grind (and to Pose on Netflix. Far more suitable than Bonding).