bast

Bast rolling in the green. I wanted to wrangle Sekhmet for this shot but it was too hard to catch both cats. —Lu Garoux

Sex workers, submit pictures of your furballs and funds here.

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Courtney Stodden. (Photo courtesy of JPAvocat)

Courtney Stodden’s “sex tape” got released early, but really, as Dr Chauntelle Tibbels points out, it’s porn, making this the most official sex work Stodden has ever done.  The 20 year old got married at 16 to that creepy guy from the X-Files and won all our hearts with her unabashed gold-digging ways.  Welcome to the club, Courtney.

Attention, New Zealand workers: A sex worker was attacked in Christchurch last week.  In a heartening example of what legal rights can do, the Prostitutes’ Council was able to issue an alert to its members and police are investigating the crime.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief: noted sex worker hating, transphobic academic Sheila Jeffreys is retiring.

A couple of DEA agents were busted for illegally running a strip club in New Jersey. They didn’t disclose their purchase of the club to the agency, which said that the club made the DEA a potential target for blackmail.

Alex Tichelman was sentenced to six years in prison after she pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the heroin overdose death of her client, Google executive Forrest Hayes; the criminalization of both drug users and sex workers were contributing factors.

rabble.ca has decided in favor of retaining Megan Murphy’s writing on the site and using it in the future, finding that it is not actually too violent against sex workers, transphobic, or racist.  They’d know better than we do, I suppose.

In the latest update on 8 Minutes, Ariana Lange reports on the interactions between the show’s producers and the overburdened, unequipped Houston resources they sent sex workers to. Elijah Rising’s Cat French told Lange of Kevin Brown “…he went off the goddamn rails.”

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Monica Jones and Derek Demeri in the United Nations Gardens in Geneva. (Photo by Derek Demeri, courtesy of Penelope Saunders and Derek Demeri)

Monica Jones and Derek Demeri in the United Nations Gardens in Geneva. (Photo by Derek Demeri, courtesy of Penelope Saunders and Derek Demeri)

On May 11th, American sex workers’ rights activists Monica Jones and Derek Demeri met with the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva to advocate for protections for sex workers, in preparation for the Council’s quadrennial Universal Period Review of the US’ human rights record that same day. The following interview was conducted with Demeri, of the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, via e-mail and edited for clarity and length. 

What were your goals in making recommendations to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council? If the Council absorbed just one point from your presentation, what do you hope it was?

Ultimately, we want people in positions of power to hear and recognize the struggle that sex workers have been facing for centuries. Sex workers and their allies know all too well the violence that comes at the hands of the police and [those in] other positions of authority. We know how deep stigma runs in society when sex workers can face eviction from housing or termination from employment for past experience in the sex trade. We know how the government has completely failed to aid sex workers against the HIV epidemic that continues to sweep the country. Our community knows these things, but we need to let the world know.

Unfortunately, there were no specific recommendations that sought to protect sex workers during this UPR [Universal Periodic Review] round of the United States. There were several recommendations that encouraged the United States to do more to end human trafficking, which we of course know means more policing of our communities and public shaming for our work. However, Thailand made a recommendation to have “more holistic monitoring” and “evidence based” research when combating human trafficking, which we can use to support sex workers. Many countries also made recommendations regarding ending racial profiling, torture in the prison system, and ending police brutality, which are all important for our community.

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As an indie-listening escort, I was surprised by the content of August Alsina’s 2014 medley/single, “Grind n’ Pray/Get Ya Money”: “Wait a sec, is this actually an ‘I’m a sex worker’s partner and I understand the economic uncertainty we both suffer because I’m a member of the lumpenproletariat/grey market too’ song?” Most strippers will probably be familiar with Alsina from his track “Porn Star” from the same album, Testimony, but I’m still just discovering the R & B genre and realizing just how much I’ve missed—neither Belle and Sebastian nor the Magnetic Fields are going to be writing a slow jam about the perfect love of a stripper and a drug dealer any time soon.

But Alsina is here to save the day and provide everything the hipster musical canon doesn’t in the touching underclass story this track tells:

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April Brogan (image via @brogan_rebecca)

April Brogan (image via @brogan_rebecca)

Melissa Gira Grant’s story about April Brogan’s death from withdrawal complications while in jail is a heartbreaking look at how little regard the justice system has for sex worker lives. Our Caty is quoted on the double stigma drug-using sex workers face.

A woman running an underground brothel in Germany has been busted; her workers, undocumented Chinese migrants, will be deported.

A new Cambodian study reiterates what the Lancet already proved: further marginalization and criminalization of sex workers, even in the guise of ending trafficking, only puts us more at risk.

Sex workers don’t owe you any answers” is a sharp, smart, and sadly necessary reminder by Alana Massey that we do not, in fact, owe you answers.  Not to friends, not to teachers, and definitely not to sad little clovers on the internet:

“The best thing sex work taught me was that men will take every opportunity to demand things they feel entitled to,” Bruiser told me in a direct message on Twitter. “I literally owe them exactly nothing.”

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