Almost one month ago, DC became the first jurisdiction to have a hearing on a bill to fully decriminalize the sex trade. The hearing boasted 14 hours of testimony, including power testimony from local sex workers and one crying English woman talking about pleasers as "shackles", but looks like it will not go for a vote this session.
But that hasn't stopped more supporters from coming out in favor of decriminalization. At the hearing the president of the National Organization of Women declared herself the voice of all chapters of NOW, and said they were against decriminalization, and went on to say that sex workers "need to investigate their motives."
Well, that doesn't sit well with Chapters of the organization who have clear autonomy in making decisions on policy matters. The DC chapter recently announced their support for sex workers, sending in testimony in support of the bill:
And it certainly hasn't stopped SWAC - not by a long shot:
Conference Season (so, travel ads?)
On Friday, sex workers came together to present Hacking/Hustling, a day-long conference that explored tech, trafficking, SESTA/FOSTA and social change and it's worth spending as long as it takes to go through what was shared:
Also last week, the Drug Policy Alliance held their biannual Reform Conference, which discussed the present and future of drug policy reform. The Conference also brought up issues of sex workers, both as a shared community and parallel decriminalization movement. Activists including Tamila Spellman, Justice Rivera and Bella Bathory attended and shared their wisdom with audiences:
Art Imitating Life
In the UK a new play opened entitled No Bad Women. The piece is based on the 25 year old case of two sex workers who sued their rapist after law enforcement refused to prosecute.
Another art opening which highlights similar themes is No Human Involved, out of Portland, Oregon's PICA. The show is co-curated by StrollPDX's Kat Salas and Matilda Bickers and runs through December 14.
Trans Day of Remembrance
Wednesday, November 20 is the Trans Day of Remembrance. Each year, the day holds space and time to remember those in the trans community who have lost their lives to violence. The rates of anti-trans violence have been called an epidemic, and at least 22 people have been murdered in 2019, mostly Black trans women. Events are happening across the country including the South Bay LGBTQ Center in Torrance CA, the William Way Center in Philadelphia, the Moab Arts and Rec Center in Moab, UT.
Beyond the Shadow Ban
With the recent announcements of Instagram and Facebook cracking down on their anti-sex worker policies, more and more sex workers are both speaking out and seeing the repercussions.
Additionally, the organizing group @ActualSexWorker recently lost their Instagram account, which was dedicated to building community and sharing information.
Also banning sex workers now? Web clothing company ASOS. Weird flex.
Stupid Shit in Anti-Trafficking
Miami is already starting to kick up its war on sex work disguised as anti-trafficking efforts, pre-Super Bowl. Despite the myth of the Super Bowl trafficking swell being a Snopes-level sham, the city is wasting valuable resources on an "awareness" campaign.
Never to be outdone by Florida, Ohio is trying to pass a new trafficking law which would both create a crime of receiving money that you know was received through prostitution, as well as a public registry for clients and third parties.
And if you're looking to fight back against laws and policies like this in your local community, SWOP-USA has opened up its grant process for Advocacy Mini-Grants to local sex worker-led groups.
Based in New York? SWOP Brooklyn wants to connect with you.
On November 30, Red Canary Song will hold a vigil to remember Yang Song, a worker in a Queens massage parlor who took her life during a police raid of her workplace.
Weirdest Gig You've Ever Had?
And want to support the movement in new ways? SWOP-USA is hiring a Chapter and Bookkeeping Associate Director. One more week to apply!
And never a bad thing to remember...
Aaaaand back to the grind.