The Week In Links—November 1st

by suzyhooker on November 1, 2013 · 6 comments

in The Week in Links

Monica Jones, Arizona State University social work student, trans activist, and SWOP Phoenix member, is fighting to stay out of jail after the police targeted her for a false "manifestation of prostitution" arrest, reacting to her participation in a SWOP protest against their recent stings. (Photo via indiegogo)

Monica Jones, Arizona State University social work student, trans activist, and SWOP Phoenix member, is fighting to stay out of jail after the police targeted her for a false “manifestation of prostitution” arrest, reacting to her participation in a SWOP protest against their recent stings. (Photo via indiegogo)

Michael Musto’s Lou Reed obituary in the Daily Beast goes on at length about Reed’s penchant for including street sex workers and trans sex workers in his songwriting. Therefore, we can mention Lou Reed’s death in the Week In Links without going off topic.

Fellow Phoenix activists have started an indiegogo fundraiser site for the legal defense of Monica Jones, a trans activist, student sex worker, and SWOP-Phoenix member, who was falsely arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” as part of the Project Rose sting after her participation in a SWOP-Phoenix protest against the project.

Philadelphia voters will have an opportunity to vote against the retention of Judge Teresa Carr Deni, who famously ruled a sex worker’s rape “theft of services” in 2007. Philadelphia feminist activists are rallying to get out the “no” vote.

In a story we missed earlier this month, a Dallas magnet school Spanish teacher, Cristy Nicole Dewesee, was the subject of parents’ complaints to the school because of her Playboy past. We agree with a local paper’s editorial, entitled “Teachers Are Not Defined By Sex Industry Past.” Or maybe her student’s tweet said it best: ““She’s a teacher now, not a Playboy model anymore! Leave her alone[,] guys.”

A petition against the abolition of prostitution, the so-called “Manifesto of 343 bastards” (named in homage to Simone de Beauvoir’s 1971 abortion manifesto, the signers of whom were nicknamed the “343 sluts/bitches”) created an uproar in France in part because it claimed public intellectuals and authors among its signers.

The FBI says killer truckers are abducting street sex workers and other women at truck stops, raping them and leaving their bodies along the nation’s highways. If we never hear the phrase “high risk lifestyles” again, it’ll be too soon.

Spiegel Online interviews Johanna Weber, the founder of Germany’s first professional association for sex workers, the Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services.

The porn star hired to play Hannah Horvath in Hustler’s XXX reinterpretation of the HBO hit Girls doesn’t understand why Lena Dunham can’t appreciate her work. After all, performer Alex Chance maintains that “while Dunham ‘never has normal, hot, oh my God that’s porno sex’ in Girls and is ‘always second guessing’ to cater to her partner, the porn star has had some of her best sexual experiences on camera. (Although the This Ain’t Girls XXX sex had to be more awkward  than normal porn to stay in character.)” Plus, “since Girls is ‘pretty much like a softcore porn to start, we didn’t think it was much of a stretch to go on and put the hardcore in it.’ ”

RH Reality Check interviewed activist sex workers Minnie Scarlet, Darby Hickey, and Violet Rose, about their experiences with feminism and what role they think feminism can play in sex workers’ rights.

Here’s yet more coverage on the sex workers’ rights movement’s support of Obamacare, quoting sex worker activists Siouxsie Q, Jolene Parton, and Maxine Holloway. The Affordable Healthcare Act will cover contraception, STD screenings and violence counseling. Its guidelines will make it harder for insurance companies  to discriminate on the basis of on gender identity and HIV status, and its enrollment process doesn’t require users to report their employment.

A group of exotic dancers in Saskatoon are petitioning the city to halt pending changes that would restrict adult entertainment venues to industrial areas, saying the move puts performers and customers at risk because clubs would be restricted to outlying areas where there is less police presence.

Stoya emphasizes the importance of accurate writing about sex work in her Vice column, giving props to the Red Umbrella Project’s lit mag Prose and Lore and their upcoming documentary, as well as Melissa Gira Grant’s upcoming book, Playing the Whore.

Indian feminist Geetanjali Misra takes issue with Equality Now’s conflation of sex work and trafficking.

Aurora Snow reflects on how video killed the porn star in the Daily Beast, with quotes from Seka and Kelly Nichols.

Twitchfilm brings up an interesting point in its discussion of the “fake” sex scene in Blue is the Warmest Color: “[T]he whole conversation speaks to the ceaseless assertion that some kind of boundary line be maintained between ‘normal’ professions and the sex trade. You can pay an actress to show her tits, you can pay an actress to hump an actor bareback in a room filled with mirrors, you can pay an actress to glue a prosthetic vulva to her vulva and stick her nose up another actress’ ass… but, holy crap, don’t ever propose to pay an actress to perform an actual sexual act on another person on camera. That’s prostitution.”

Dr. Brooke Magnanti expresses her suspicions re: Jodie Marsh’s upcoming prostitution documentary, given the trafficking hysteria Marsh aired in interviews, in the Daily Telegram.

Dancers from Chester’s Platinum Lounge in Britain speak out about their reactions to the legal battle around the club losing its license, testifying to their love of the job, how safe they feel working at the Lounge, and how the income from stripping has allowed them to achieve many of their goals.

The Cambodia Daily’s Simon Marks exposed more of the lies told by anti-trafficking organization and Nicolas Kristof and celebrity darling the Somaly Mam Foundation.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda November 2, 2013 at 10:23 am

What exactly is “manifestation of prostitution”? I really would like to know, I’ve never heard of this charge before. Is it something the police made up on the spot?

Obamacare is not something I support, BTW. I fall through the cracks with it (as far as I can tell) and I suspect plenty of sex workers do. I also suspect it’s going to make it really hard for those of us who pay cash for doctors to find doctors willing to work with cash patients. I see an even greater divide of health care accessibility on the way.


Caty Simon November 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Actually. the SWOP Phoenix member we interviewed about their Project Rose protests answered this question in a comprehensively detailed fashion, so stay tuned for that after the weekend. Also, you’ve given me an idea–maybe a pro/con argument among sex workers as to whether Obamacare will benefit us as a Tits and Sass feature?


Megan November 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Amanda, this is a quote from

” Is in a public place, a place open to public view or in a motor vehicle on a public roadway and manifests an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution. Among the circumstances that may be considered in determining whether such an intent is manifested are: that the person repeatedly beckons to, stops or attempts to stop or engage passersby in conversation or repeatedly, stops or attempts to stop, motor vehicle operators by hailing, waiving of arms or any other bodily gesture; that the person inquires whether a potential patron, procurer or prostitute is a police officer or searches for articles that would identify a police officer; or that the person requests the touching or exposure of genitals or female breast; ”

From a conversation I had with Dominique Roe-Sepowitz on this in September, I think it is being more widely applied then this definition suggests in sweeps… If I remember our conversation, it goes something along the lines of anyone that is “known” and out on the street engaging in any level of conversation can have this used against them. This is what local LE is doing, and she indicated she does not like this law, but her seeming aversion to conflict I think keeps her from taking action to prove that point. The same ol’ same ol’ lack of funds to fight bogus or broad interpretations of the law continue to allow to allow this type of BS to continue…workers with no funds for proper defense can’t do much about it. I don’t know the details surrounding Monica’s case, but I hope if this is what happened to her, she finds the proper support, financial or otherwise, to bring light to how this law is really being used.


Gar Lipow November 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

OK not an expert on sex work, but a long time activist in health care. My guess for what it is worth is that it will depend a lot on your circumstances. Like the general population, I suspect a lot of sex workers will be better off, but a large minority worse off. A lot of discrimination will be illegal. If you have an income high enough not to qualify for subsidies, and are forty or under, you will almost certainly be able to get better insurance than you could before for a reasonable price. If you qualify for subsidies, there is a good chance you are better off, but you may fall through the cracks where you qualify for subsidies, but still can’t afford decent insurance. If you qualify for medicaid, then it depends on well medicaid meets your needs. The bottom line is: more people will be helped than will be hurt. But, a few will be worse off. Many who were screwed (in the bad sense of the word) before will continue to be screwed.

This blog has given me the impression that sex workers are very diverse in their economic position, from very poor, to struggling but getting by, to doing pretty well, to doing VERY well. That being so, I would expect Obamacare to affect different sex workers differently just as it does with the general population. Medicare for all some other type of true universal health plan would have been better. Even failing that, it is a shame that this plan sticks so many with high deductibles, co-pays and out of pocket. It leaves many behind. The Supreme Court made sure it leaves many more behind than it would have in other states, but even without that, it was always guaranteed to leave many behind. And in some cases it leaves people worse off, which I find really unforgivable.

BTW, I make sure only to comment when a post intersects an area where I have some depth of knowledge. But even so, if this is intended to be a safe space, and non-sex worker comments disrupt that, please let me know – and I won’t post again.


Gar Lipow November 2, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Oh one thing I failed to make clear in the above post. Some people reading it may be going WTF because I talked about “under 40” whereas Obamacare cuts age discrimination which lowers prices for those over 50, but raises it for those under 40. People in a cash business, even those who pay bills, can have a low credit score because of having less credit history, and in most states insurance companies can raise premiums for a low credit score. Same for arrest records. Same for living in “bad” neighborhood. The first strongly affects many sex workers, Depending on economic bracket, so can the others. (Of course all of these affect many people besides sex workers.) The requirement to do community rating and not discriminate in rates on the basis of these factors probably makes up for premiums rising slightly for younger people. And again, this varies. Some sex workers do business mainly by credit card, or are in a position to deposit most cash received and have normal or high credit ratings. Plus lowered ability to discriminate against medical conditions that only or mainly affect women. So this is one area where I think Obamacare may be different for sex workers. The particular types of discrimination it ends may benefit younger sex workers enough that it may cut premiums for many younger healthy sex workers. (Of course if you are not healthy, it really lowers premiums.) Again maddening ways people of all ages can fall through cracks which never should have been there to begin with.


Amanda November 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

Looking forward to both features!


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