Today is #blackout Friday, and gorgeous performer and Tits and Sass contributor is representing for us! (Photo by Jose Antonio Contreras, courtesy of Essence Revealed)

Today is #blackout Friday, and gorgeous performer and Tits and Sass contributor Essence Revealed is representing for us! (Photo by Jose Antonio Contreras, courtesy of Essence Revealed)

In California, ESPLER (Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project) have filed a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, and four district attorneys. The plaintiffs, three sex workers and one client, maintain that their constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of association, and substantive due process right to earn a living are violated by CA’s prostitution laws.

Let’s get hysterical! Where there’s sports, there will be sex trafficking. This time we’re supposed to panic about the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Seriously though, why is there no Uber for men that ask stupid questions?

The story of how evangelical Christians imported sex trafficking hysteria from feminists is a good illustration of why we should be suspicious of any cause that unites conservative Christians and radical feminists in.

A study led by Leeds University found that the majority of sex workers are pretty darn satisfied with their work, over 1/3 have college degrees, while over 70% have worked in healthcare, education, or non-profit work.

And in response, the Independent asks, “Why should we find that surprising?

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I work as a stripper in Melbourne, Australia. I made this in a night. As I use an alias for stripping and discussing sex work on the internet, I think it’s only fair that my cat should get one too. Let’s call her ‘Saphire.’

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

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A couple $pread magazines.

A couple $pread magazines.

In honor of International Sex Workers’ Rights Day, the Feminist Press is releasing a retrospective anthology of $pread Magazine today.  Current and former Tits and Sass co-editors got together to write about our nostalgic love for the magazine and the way it’s inspired our work.

Bettie, Tits and Sass founding editor emeritus: $pread magazine was walking (gracefully) toward its end when I was a bouncing baby ho, but, gee, what an amazing lil era. For a generation of workers who were lucky enough to see it begin I imagine it felt like what starting Tits and Sass felt like: Exhilarating, frustrating (deadlines are for nerds), and always eye-opening.

Sex worker-created media is a fascinating thing. It’s a lot like us, right? Sometimes hard to pin down, intelligent, always changing, and steady spilling tea you didn’t even know you were thirsty for. This book is as important as the magazine itself and I wish you could still get back issues! $pread existed to remind us that we have to keep telling our stories. No one else can do it for us. Even if they are constantly trying.

Also, $pread taught me that I should pay my taxes, so thanks for keeping the IRS off my ass.

Catherine, Tits and Sass founding editor emeritus, former $pread editor: I remember the first time I heard about $pread, in an article in Bitch, during an era when feminist publications didn’t cover sex work politics with nearly the frequency they do today—or, at least, didn’t include sex workers’ own voices, rather than speaking for us. I had already begun stripping in San Francisco, but was somewhat unfamiliar with the term “sex worker” or the burgeoning media movement. The Bitch article had me fascinated, and I soon found my own copy of $pread in my local indie bookstore. [READ MORE]

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Monica Jones this February. (Photo via the Support Monica Jones Facebook, courtesy of Monica Jones)

Monica Jones. (Photo by PJ Starr, via the Support Monica Jones Facebook, courtesy of Monica Jones and PJ Starr)

In May 2013, sex worker and trans rights activist and Arizona State University social work student Monica Jones was charged with “manifestation of prostitution” in Phoenix after accepting a ride from an undercover cop.  Her arrest ignited a firestorm of protest against Project ROSE, a prostitution arrest diversion program run by the ASU School of Social Work and the Phoenix police that utilized arrest sweeps; transphobia in those prostitution arrests; and the potentially unconstitutional “manifestation of prostitution” statute under which she was prosecuted. The ACLU, SWOP-Phoenix, and other sex work and GLBT activists stood in solidarity with Jones as she gained international attention speaking out against her charges. 

“The reason why this law [the manifestation of prostitution statute] is so unjust is because it gives the police the credibility to say who’s a sex worker, who’s not a sex worker…it violates our [our First Amendment rights]—just to walk down the street, our freedom of speech,” Jones explained to us. Since her arrest, Jones has gained prominence as an eminent activist, been interviewed by dozens of media outlets, met Laverne Cox, and traveled to Australia for public speaking engagements and study, all while working towards finishing her social work degree.

In November, Jones told Best Practices Policy Project that Project ROSE had been shut down, a crucial victory for the movement in Arizona. And though Jones was initially convicted, her January 2014 appeal was successful and the conviction was vacated. We spoke with her just before the announcement was made; below is a condensed and edited version of our interview, originally conducted via video chat.

Recently, your conviction was vacated. What does that mean for you? What’s next?

I got a call from the court yesterday evening saying that the prosecutors are not going to retry me. So right now we’re looking to see if it’s with prejudice or without prejudice and will it still have an effect on me challenging the constitutionality of the law.

So your ultimate goal with your legal team is to use the case to overturn the law altogether. How can people from other states help fight the law; help fight your campaign against it?

I think there’s a lot more laws like this across this country—like “loitering with intent of prostitution,” and condoms as evidence. I think that they need to take on their own fights in their own homes and their own cities. Because when we get rid of these laws it basically gets rid of sexism and discrimination and transphobia. And it takes the power away from the cops and the justice system to say who is sex working and who’s not sex working.

 A story that brought you to the news in the last few months was your deportation from Australia at the Sydney Airport. From what I read, during your encounter with immigration you were pressured by the producers of the reality show Border Security to have your case filmed. When you refused after initially agreeing, after you realized they planned to sensationalize your story, customs officials began to treat you much more harshly. Can you tell us more about what happened there?

So what happened was I was legally constrained to come back to my appeals. I was doing my internship in Australia, with Scarlet Alliance, a great sex worker organization there, and I was leaving there to come back for my case and I was traveling back to Australia in three days. So when I got to the airport to leave to come to the U.S., they went through all my stuff. They went through my purse, they went through my phone, they went through my suitcase, they went through everything. I had everything about my court case in there in the folder. They went in a back room and went through that. They said, “Okay, you’re good to go.” So I was thinking, okay, I’m good to go.

And when I came back from the U.S., they had pulled me to the side and took me into this room, where I was proceeded to be asked, “Do you want to be filmed by this camera crew?” And the producer of the show said, “We think that your story is interesting.” Which, I’d never told them anything about my story—they know nothing about my story! And so I’m thinking, how do they know my story is interesting? So they kept on asking me questions.

After being pressured I agreed to be filmed. But during the middle of it, I said, “I don’t feel right with this, I think this is suspicious.” And once I did that they were very harsh against me—”Oh, you were doing this, you violated your visa…”

If I violated my visa, you guys should have let me know when you guys originally checked me on my way out of the country! The judge later asked [the immigration officials],” Why were you checking her on her way out of the country?” So they said I was a threat to national security. So I guess activism is a threat to Australia’s security.

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it's white and gold bitches

Breaking! Sex workers use internet, get sucked into popular memes! And it is unquestionably gold.

Contribute to the fundraiser to help porn performer Cytherea get back on her feet after being the victim of sexual assault during a traumatic home invasion here.

Jiz Lee will be guest editing a future issue of the Porn Studies journal on Porn and Labor. They’re soliciting submissions from now until July.

Wired explored the impact of the MyRedBook raid on Bay Area sex workers.

The Philadelphia murder trial of a woman who gave illicit butt injections continues. Her attorney sounds like a prize:

In questioning Saunders and King, Rudenstein stressed that they sought out Windslowe and the injections.
“What happened to the rope?” Rudenstein asked Saunders.
“What rope?” she replied.
“The rope she tied you down with to do this to you,” he said.

The online market for sex and sexualized services is growing, and it has nothing to do with the Superbowl or any other sporting events, as this Arizona State University study discovers.

Three California massage parlors were raided on suspicion of trafficking and then, though no evidence of trafficking was found, they were shut down anyway because of poor record keeping, especially around workers’ compensation. This incident once again raises the question:  is this about protecting vulnerable people, or shutting down sex businesses?

An assault in the West End of Vancouver has police warning sex workers to be on alert for

Mark Stacy Spelrem, 45…wanted in connection to the assaults. He’s described as a white male, 5-feet-11 with a slim build, with short dyed blond-orange hair “that is spiked at the front and balding at the back.”

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