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Why We Don’t Vet Stories, Sources, and Contributors The Way Traditional Reporters Do

Image via Sebastian Wiertz (flickr user wiertz)

Because the barriers preventing sex workers from being heard are already high enough.

Writers have professional training in one arena, sex workers have professional training in another arena. Sex workers aren’t always equipped with the skillset to pitch to traditional editors. TAS functions as the middle ground, bridging that gap.

Traditional publications interested in publishing sex workers have frequently leaned towards the salacious (and only quite recently has that started to shift). TAS is a space for covering the everyday minutiae of our work.

Because sex workers are also often members of other marginalized communities that are also systematically denied agency and disbelieved as common practice.

Victims of rape, victims of police violence, positive workers,  the working poor, intravenous and street drug users, trans identities, street workers, black bodies, and “no human involved”s are all members of the greater sex worker community.

Because, until recently, the smell test hasn’t failed us.

We regularly reject pitches from contributors that sound fishy. The outing of “faux ho” Alexa DiCarlo is an example of what a sex worker that doesn’t pass the test looks like. Lily Fury was able to embed herself because 99% of her life added up. She was indeed a street worker, an escort, and a heroin user, just as she wrote, with a sex worker community pedigree going back to the Suicide Girls. She has bylines in a variety of publications and, until then, she had verifiably positive rapport with many sex working activists and writers.  She worked hard on her digital blackface. By the time we first interacted with her invented personas, they too had many sex workers who vouched for them. We, until recently, had a positive working relationship with her and no reason not to trust her.

Because we don’t want to be the gatekeeper of who is or isn’t allowed into sex worker spaces.

That’s why we don’t ask for “reciepts,” a video chat, or verification from a second party. That kind of monitoring could create a slippery slope in which those with the most social capital oversee who can access our spaces.

Because we don’t want to know your legal or professional identity.

As it states in our General Submission Guidelines, we actively encourage our writers to use a pseudonym. Sex workers mask their identities for a variety of reasons—mainly that the social penalties for being outed are high.

We, of course, will protect the privacy of our writer’s identities as best we can, but the less we know about your legal or professional personas, the less information we will have to submit should we be subpoenaed or audited.

Meet Our New Editors

hookers wanted-1It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce Kate Zen and Josephine have joined the Tits and Sass editorial team! Kate will be our news editor while Josephine will be focusing on television and film reviews. With more hands on deck, we can bring you more posts. Plus, they’re awesome, and just generally fun to have around.

Speaking of expanding our breadth, how about sending us a pitch or submission if you haven’t done so already? The more voices we feature on the site, the more relevant we are, and without relevancy we die inside.

Currently, we’re looking for:

  • reviews of Don Jon, Afternoon Delight, Lovelace, The Frozen Ground, ConcussionYoung and Beautiful, as well as commentary on the role of sex workers in TV shows like Game of Thrones, Justified, Masters of Sex, House of Cards, Mad Men, and especially Strip Club Queens: Atlanta.
  • strippers from the south to weigh in on local conventions
  • submissions for what will hopefully be our most monster group post of all time, “The Most Shocking Thing(s) A Client Ever Told Me.” You’re not limited to narrowing it down to only one!
  • current event pieces for Kate: What do you think of New York’s new prostitution and trafficking courts? Equality Now’s campaign to keep sex work criminalized? Possible criminalization/adoption of the Swedish End Demand model in France? The exclusion of Kenyan gay sex workers from that country’s HIV treatment agenda?
  • good old fashioned comedy. How about a satirical take on a first person report from Sweatpants Boner Man? Or a parody of a TER review?
  • first person brothel experiences, in the United States and abroad.
  • book reviews, always. Want to let us know what you thought of Melissa Ditmore’s Sex Work Matters anthology? Or, maybe you can tell us how you weigh in on the depiction of Victorian brothel workers in The Crimson Petal And The White ? How about your take on Monica Mayhem’s porn memoir or your analysis of Susan Dewey’s research in Neon Wasteland: On Love, Motherhood, and Sex Work in a Rust Belt Town or Cynthia M Blair’s I’ve Got To Make My Living: Black Women’s Sex Work In Turn of the Century Chicago?
  • what you’re looking for. You can always email us questions for Dear Tits and Sass, or drop us a note with topic ideas. Tell us what you need to read about and we will do our best to oblige.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to publicly affirm our commitment to showcasing diverse viewpoints and striving for inclusivity. Sex workers are already left out of so much, including public discussions about our own lives, and we don’t want to replicate that exclusion here in any way. Please know we are going to work hard to have the site reflect the variety of people who come to the sex trade in terms of skin color, gender identities, national identities, and sexual identities. You can help by continuing to hold us accountable and encouraging every sex worker you know to contribute. Those who don’t feel like writing a full post on their own can submit images, conduct interviews, or participate in roundtables. If you’re willing to share it, we will figure out a way to include your perspective.

Our email address is still info at titsandsass dot com. Let’s get started.

The Ten Most Popular Tits and Sass Posts of 2015

Bringing you the sex worker coverage you and your cat want to read since 2011. (Photo by jit bag via Flickr)
Bringing you the sex worker coverage you and your cat want to read since 2011. (Photo by jit bag via Flickr)

10.”How Sex Work Got Us This Far In Gay Liberation” by Hawk Kinkaid, 7/29

9.  “Having The Option: Alissa Afonina/Sasha Mizaree On Her Case And Being A Disabled Sex Worker” by Caty Simon, 3/16

8. “The State Is A Trafficker: Why Alaska Arrested Amber Batts” by Tara Burns, 7/17

7. “A Tunnel, Not A Door: Exiting Conditioned, Generational Sex Work” by Lime Jello, 1/13

6. “What The Hell Is Going On With Backpage? Part II” by Caty Simon, 7/21

5. “A ‘Whore’ By Any Other Name Is Still A Rose” by Kenya Golden, 2/23

4. “What The Rentboy Raid Tells Us About The Gendered Rhetoric of Trafficking” by Morgan M Page, 8/26

3. “Did 8 Minutes Lie To Sex Workers?” by Lane Champagne and Bubbles Burbujas, 4/27

2. “Why You Shouldn’t Study Sex Workers” by Lime Jello, 4/16

1. “Seems Legit: Authenticity, Performativity, and Sex” by Kitty Stryker, 2/03

 

Call For Contributors

We here at Tits and Sass would love to expand our roster of smart and witty writers. If you’re interested in joining the team as a regular or occasional contributor, send a bio along with a completed post that could serve as your first post on the blog (500-800 words is a good length) and/or writing samples of your previous work to: info at titsandsass dot com. Please be sure to stipulate what name you’d like to use, what site or blog or Twitter account you’d like linked to, if any, and an image that can be used as a userpic. All disclosures of current or past sex work will be kept completely private.

Here are some regular features we’re always accepting reader submissions for:

Stripper Music Monday
Are you a strip club stripper? Consider contributing here. You could post a playlist with commentary, write about one specific song, review something new you think strippers would be into, talk about your all-time favorite stage set, about the music at your club if it’s different from what people think about when they think about “strip club music,” whatever you feel like doing. Maybe write a little about the atmosphere and clientele of the club and how that plays into your choices, how much freedom you have to play what you want, that sort of thing. But as long as it’s about the music you play at work, we’re happy! The rest is up to you.
Stripper Music Monday submissions should be sent to bubbles at titsandsass dot com

Stacks and Cats

See above for examples. Pictures of your cats (or dogs, or fish, or whatever) with your sex-work-earned cash. Just email us a photo with proper attribution.

Check Out Our New Call For Contributions

comeoneWe are always seeking to add new writers to Tits and Sass, and to spur along contributions, we’ve put descriptions of what we’re looking for here. Check it out, and consider writing one of these for us. We rely on the volunteer work of the sex work community and would love to have more of you join us.

Reviews

Naked Music Mondays

Cats and Stacks

Dear Tits and Sass (Work Q&A)

The Week In Links

Tourist Report Reports

Ask A Pro (Health Q&A)

Tools of the Trade/Tricks of the Trade

I Couldn’t Do It

Hall of Game

Hall of Shame/Enemies Spotlight

Activist Spotlight

Hooker Purse

My Sex Worker Role Model

Where I’m Going From Here

Email us at info at titsandsass dot com. We can’t wait to hear from you.