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“86 the Violence” performance celebrates UPR Recommendation 86

We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution, as this recommendation suggests.

The above language, derived from Recommendation 86 of the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review is now an official part of U.S. human rights policy thanks to the efforts of hundreds of activist groups. It’s a huge, heartening step towards affirming the rights of sex workers.  While Tits and Sass is not an activist blog, one of the reasons this site exists is because there is a need to publicly state that people who accept payment to have sex, talk dirty, have sex on camera, strip, masturbate in front of a webcam, provide sensual touch, or pose for adult photos are not disposable and are not a special class of people who are fair game for violence and crime because of what they do for money.

Historical Wardrobe Malfunction

This is kind of neato—The Star Tribune has a blog called “Yesterday’s News” where it digs up old-timey newspaper articles, photos and ads. This week’s feature made the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune on May 9, 1953: Darlene LaBette Varallo, an “esoteric dancer”, was jailed for disorderly conduct. Two follow-up articles detail the handling of the evidence (“two little rhinestone-studded cones, a few lengths of gauze, a fringe and a pair of black net tights”) and the trial, which was complete with a lie detector test and testimony where the defendant explains that she was only guilty of a wardrobe malfunction:

SHE DESCRIBED her dance as a “can-can” plus a mixture of “a shuffle, ball hop, kick, twirls.” She denied Sullivan’s charge that she had bent over and shaken parts of her anatomy at the audience.
“You can’t bend over when you dance or you lose your equilibrium,” said Darlene, who testified she has danced since the age of 3 and was an Arthur Murray instructor for two years.
She said she certainly was wearing state’s exhibit F (the brassiere) when she began to dance but had to discard it because a strap broke. She also denied removing the state’s exhibit E (a tasseled fringe) from its original position around her – ah – middle.

The Week in Links: March 18

There were almost 600 crimes committed against sex workers in Ireland last year.

A (belated) article on SWOP-LA’s International Sex Workers’ Rights Day Celebration.

Amber Rose, model, radio personality, and former Kanye girlfriend, says she was a stripper at age 15.

Here’s a list of the 10 Best Prostitute Movies—but, ahem, it’s already been done.

The legal battle continues in the attempt to convict Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for sex with a 17 year old prostitute.

A (former) Boston prostitute won $200,000 in damages after her successful case against a police officer who regularly extorted sex acts.

The Week in Links: March 11

On Charlie Sheen’s partners: “A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded.”

Ottawa’s government lawyers will argue that prostitutes choose a risky life and therefore don’t deserve state protection. But tell us how you really feel, assholes.

There’s a new book on the British man who murdered three prostitutes.

Kansas looks poised to ban lapdancing while Oregon keeps working to pass anti-strip club bills.

A St. Louis high school teacher has been fired because of her past in porn and in England, a nurse was fired for her former work as an escort (which is legal) after prostituting while on sick leave.

NYC’s Naked Cowboy tried to sue a (now former) stripper.

The Week in Links: March 4

Studies are being conducted to evaluate whether some lubes might increase risk of HIV transmission.

Louisiana currently requires citizens convicted of having oral or anal sex in exchange for money register as sex offenders. But the law is now being challenged. (Deon Haywood, who is quoted in the linked article, spoke on this very same issue at last year’s Desiree Alliance conference.)

A baby was born in a strip club parking lot. Nice try, baby, but if you want to be a true badass, you’d have been born on the strip club stage.

On health & safety regulators and the porn industry.

Indianapolis man sues for damages after being hit by flying stripper shoe (definitely watch the video, which includes vaguely douchey footage of the plaintiff, a visit to a stripperwear store to look at shoes, and a comparison to the President Bush shoe-throwing incident)

Missouri strip clubs are finding ways around a recently passed law that attempted to ban nude dancing.

The Giggles Comedy Club turned Jiggles strip club owner is still fighting the city of Seattle.