The Week in Links

 

 

Marcia Powell, RIP (Photo by Gary Millard, 2008, courtesy of SWOP-Phoenix)

Marcia Powell, RIP (Photo by Gary Millard, 2008, courtesy of SWOP-Phoenix)

The often brutal side effects of Truvada, or PrEP, as well as general lack of adherence to medical standards, may be the undoing of widespread PrEP use. Studies have shown the prophylactic may be too flawed to work, in fact, “a public health disaster in the making.”

A Brazilian sex worker has been forced into hiding after speaking out against a brutal and illegal police raid on May 23rd of this year.  The worker and her family have received threats; there is a campaign to raise funds to help them here.

After being arrested for prostitution, Marcia Powell was left in a cage in the Arizona sun and she died later that same day. PJ Starr’s documentary, currently in funding stages on IndieGogo, tells her story, and examines the sex work and prison policies that caused her death.

One of the prizes for donating is I Was a Teenage Prostitute, which, despite/because of the salacious title, looks amazing.

In a glorious paradox, Susan Pattonthe “Princeton Mom” who urged young female coeds to go to Princeton to get a husbandis currently outraged by another Princeton alumni who used the alumni listserv to advertise her documentary on sugar babies and daddies.  The commentary her hypocrisy inspired is maybe the best part:

“Susan, you, of all people, have a problem with this? I mean, shit, you’re the one telling us not to give away the milk for free while simultaneously harping on our youth and attractiveness to men as our primary assets in finding a husband who will (hopefully) support us (financially) for life,” wrote one alum. “I swear, you can’t write this stuff.”

I can’t.  Maybe Curtis Sittenfeld.

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(Christy Mack’s dogs, who miss her. Photo via Mack’s Instagram)


Christy Mack, who was brutally beaten by her ex-boyfriend last week, inspiring this week’s series on domestic violence, now has a fund to help cover medical and recovery expenses.  Donate if you can, and share!

Vice’s food column this week features an entertaining interview with lesbian stripper and sugar baby Jacq.

Ruth Jacobs does a brief interview with Tara Burns on writing.

Brooke Magnanti, formerly Belle de Jour of book and Showtime fame, explores what decriminalization would look like for the UK.  Safer, for one, allowing workers to work together and share flats without being charged with pimping or trafficking.  She also brilliantly and succinctly illuminates the economic fallacies of the Swedish model:

The economic arguments are rarely taken into account by those who support the ‘Swedish model’ (or End Demand). By mistaking services for products, they imagine fewer customers would result in fewer sex workers. But this is unrealistic – the assumption that the number of clients and the number of prostitutes is necessarily linked is in itself faulty. If fewer people ate at fast food outlets, would the minimum wage workers there be better off without having to do anything else? Exactly.

In nearly the same vein, the Daily Beast tells us why it’s time to legalize prostitution.  Their reasons are all solid, but would apply more to decriminalization, an option many people apparently don’t understand is both different and better than legalization.

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(Selfie of Peechington Marie, courtesy of Peechington Marie)

(Selfie of Peechington Marie, courtesy of Peechington Marie)

Related to an earlier Tits and Sass post this week, “Actually, My Hand Feeds Me,”  here’s more on the Annie Sprinkle kerfuffle.  For anyone who’s a little behind, Fornicatrix goes in depth over the context of the whole weekend before getting to Sprinkle and Peechington Marie added her beautiful two cents in “Be Careful With Your Hand, You Don’t Want it Bitten Off—Annie Sprinkle, Fantasies That Matter, Sex Work, and Erasure of People of Color.”

The Rose Alliance has begun a Change.org petition calling for the Swedish and Norwegian governments to care about the health and safety of sex workers, and to admit the dangers to sex workers that they gesture at but attempt to gloss over in the August report on the success of the Swedish model.

Porn performer Christy Mack was beaten horribly by her ex-boyfriend, Jonathon Koppenhaver (AKA: War Machine), last Friday, who then fled the scene, declaring via Twitter, “It wasn’t me.” Mack’s injuries, while not life-threatening, are severe. Unrepentant and high on the entitlement of an abuser, Koppenhaver tweeted, “She’s my property and always will be.”

The UK’s highest-paid sex worker has announced he’s A) paid more than the Prime Minister and B) out to end stigma against sex workers.Flaunting one’s income in an austerity economy sounds like a sure-fire way to do it, yeah.

The Barton Street East Neighborhood has an innovative way of dealing with the sex worker population amongst them: acceptance and support.

“The women are not a blight on the community, they’re an asset,” Braithwaite said, adding that the committee is not working to get rid of the women, but rather to work with them and make them feel safe…

“This community is not about gentrification, not about stopping (the women),” she said, adding that they are all “fibres of our community.

Part of making them feel safe is looking for support services, food, and health outreach spaces that the workers can access, as well as shelters where needed, and continuing with community education, so that residents are aware of issues facing the women.  The police force is also involved, having changed its focus from one of persecution to one of support and safety planning. [READ MORE]

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Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox in Arizona backing trans and sex workers' rights activist Monica Jones' appeal against false charges of "manifesting prostitution" (Photo via Monica Jones'Facebook)

Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox in Arizona backing trans and sex workers’ rights activist Monica Jones’ appeal against false charges of “manifesting prostitution” (Photo by Leah Jo Carmine, via Monica Jones’ Facebook, courtesy of Monica Jones)

Laverne Cox supports Monica Jones’ appeal against trumped up charges of “manifesting prostitution”! We couldn’t have dreamed up a more exciting celebrity cameo in our wildest activist dreams. Catch up on Monica’s case by looking through Tits and Sass’ Monica Jones tag, and stay tuned for an exclusive Tits and Sass update on her appeal by her SWOP-Phoenix comrades.

Coverage of the Portland Cupcake Girls’ Spa Day in the local press had a few of our readers writing in to us and other venues, infuriated. Apparently, neither the Oregonian nor the Cupcake Girls understand that strippers are not all unloved waifs and that actually, they can make themselves up and even (gasp!) pay for their own salon visits without the group’s charity. In fact, they do so consistently in order to work in a field in which their appearance must be immaculate. Read Red’s longform piece on shadowing the Cupcake Girls for more on these well meaning altruists’ fundamental misunderstandings about the sex industry.

Despite the fact that the former head officer was sexually assaulting the very women he was supposed to be helping, the Hamilton trafficking unit carries on, making fake dates with workers through online ads and attempting to rescue them. No charges have yet been filed in the past year and a half, though the former head, rapist Derek Mellor, faces a continued disciplinary hearing in September.

Sex workers in Jakarta have returned to work with the end of Ramadan, a fact that the Public Order Agency finds less than thrilling.

“We will address the issue soon. We hope both streets will soon be free of sex workers,” he said.

Sounds like he has a solid and not at all abusive plan.

The Economist makes an argument for decriminalization that, essentially, boils down to a pro-gentrification (“get the seediness off the streets”) point.Worlds collide when the interests of white male privacy and sexuality come up.

Margaret Corvid writes about some of the prices incurred by the loss of the fourth wall, as internet presence and accessibility becomes mandatory for many sex workers. Tighten your privacy settings, y’all.

MediaUpdate pays tribute to Nokuphila Kumalo, the sex worker assaulted and murdered by South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa.

Without even a photograph of her, it is difficult to put a face to her name. Access to the fragments of her life prior to her murder is also hindered by the stigma associated with sex work. Although the oldest profession in the world (apart from politics) it remains shrouded in secrecy and shame, criminalised in most countries and regarded with contempt by mainstream society. 

Mthethwa’s trial begins in November.

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Catwoman annual #2, via pennyredful’s Instagram

For sex worker comics fans disappointed by Sex Criminals, Capes and Whips made this highly comprehensive and excellently illustrated run-down of Catwoman’s canonical career as a sex worker (with links to her backstory for those unfamiliar), covering almost 20 years and discussing the differing styles of writing, illustration, and approaches to sex work taken by the various authors in charge of her story.

Bay Area sex workers are calling for decriminalization with a strength and energy fueled by the closure of MyRedbook and the loss of safe advertising and screening space.

Melissa Gira Grant and Stoya have a thoughtful conversation with Dazed Digital about sex work, safety, and the way sex workers are silenced and spoken over; watch out for Stoya’s referencing of Tits and Sass.

Like Canadian sex workers, Scottish sex workers are being kept out of discussions of Nordic-style legislation.  SCOT-PEP is protesting their recent exclusion from a meeting:

A sex worker called Cat said: “It’s outrageous to hold a meeting to discuss sex work and to specifically exclude sex workers and sex worker-led organisations.”

Ms Grant said: “The planned meeting is for those who support the principles of criminalising the purchase of sex and as SCOT-PEP have publicly stated their opposition to this, their inclusion wouldn’t be appropriate at this time.

Is that so?

Taking a very different tack, the mayor of Bogota met with Bogota sex workers Wednesday as a part of his ongoing effort to include marginalized populations in conversations that affect them.

Offering corroboration to last month’s piece by David Henry Sterry, “Why Prostitution Can Make More Sense Than Working At Walmart,” Lara Michelle agrees: yes, working in the sex industry can make more sense than working at Walmart.

The Trafficking in Persons report (TIP report) system is not working in Thailand, and hasn’t been for a very long time.  By contrast, the International Labour Organisation has a new strategy which, by not focusing exclusively on trafficking and instead focusing on labor issues, appears much more promising. [READ MORE]

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