March 3rd, 2010

International Sex Worker Rights Day

Today (March 3) is International Sex Worker Rights Day. I would like to observe the occasion here by listing and highlighting some things pertaining to sex work/sex workers’ rights lately that I find cool/uplifting/heartening/lovely. The t-shirt I am wearing in the picture, by the way, was produced by the fabulous and local-to-me organization HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive).

Also, if you happen to be in the New York City area, a potluck dinner celebration will be held this evening as organized by SWOP, SWANK and PROS Network.

Okay, on to the aforementioned list:

1) “An open letter from a client” at Harlot’s Parlour. I love that this is a letter to a governing body in support of sex workers’ rights in relation to proposed legislation, I love that a client cared enough to write it, and I love what it says.

2) As posted on Violet Blue‘s website, San Francisco-based porn company Pink and White Productions has compiled a recommended practices list for the porn industry/porn performers. I am all about safer sex practices in porn and like Violet am delighted to see a company present a document such as this.

3) While it may not seem directly related to sex work/sex workers’ rights, sexuality education and open dialogue about sexuality in society seem to me quite intermingled with them, and the circumstances surrounding this center on the eve of its grand opening illustrate the struggle for sexual freedom in which sex workers’ rights is encompassed. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Rhode Island opened its doors on February 1 after a surprise controversy that erupted late last year over supposed zoning concerns threatened its doing so. Congratulations to founder Megan Andelloux and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health!

4) The story in this comment on the blog of Veronica Monet. Feel free indeed to read Veronica’s blog post as well, but it’s not necessary to contextualize this account in the comment, posted by Gillette (no contact information given):

“I will, though, share a story.

When I first started my work 14 years ago, I shared with a Tantrika friend about what I was doing [prostitution, I have the impression] and why. I felt safe sharing as, heck..we were assisting at a Tantra workshop, she did “healing massage” and we were both supposedly doing our inner work. She blasted me like no one had before. I just kept breathing, knowing that we had to be together all weekend in this close environment, working together for the participants. Our “stuff” had no place there.

At first she wouldn’t look at me. I simply kept reminding myself that this had nothing to do with me, it was her stuff. I was safe, all was well, etc, etc.

The last day she came up to me and thanked me. During the course of the weekend she realized that her blast had come from her fear about doing the same work. That she had been getting intuitive flashes that it was her next step but she was afraid.”

Oh my. I don’t even know what to say about this except that it may be one of the coolest personal accounts I have ever read in the context of sex work.

And there is my list of beautiful celebrations I specifically honor on this International Sex Worker Rights Day. Best wishes, support, gratitude, and love to all current and former sex workers on this day of celebration of our universal rights amidst our professional vocations. (And of course best wishes, support, gratitude, and love to everyone everywhere as well. We are, after all, all One. :))

Love,
Emerald

“No more turning away from the coldness inside, just a world that we all must share, it’s not enough just to stand and stare, is it only a dream that there’ll be no more turning away?…”
-Pink Floyd “On the Turning Away”

8 Responses “International Sex Worker Rights Day”

  1. I have the same t-shirt you are wearing in the pic. I love HIPS!!

  2. Emerald says:

    Wow, Megan, hi! Welcome! What a delight to see you here. Congratulations so much on the opening of your center. I followed the story from when Good Vibrations Magazine reported on it in October, and I was so delighted when I read at Sex in the Public Square that you had opened.

    Beyond/before the controversy, I find the idea to found and open the center beautiful and heartening. Very best with it, and to you in general!

  3. Thanks for the kind words, it’s deeply appreciated and I’m really happy the sex work community has shown so much support in the CSPH. Certainly it (the conversation of not demonizing sex work) is what started all the hub bub.
    Thanks for the work that you do. Every bit of dialogue creates a new beginning, sometimes its good, sometimes its bad, but it’s all needed.
    Yay sex activism!

  4. Great wrap up of some sex worker positive stuff! Thanks for helping to celebrate!! :-)

    Much love,

    xoM

  5. Emerald says:

    It appears I somehow accidentally closed the comments on this post sometime today. Sorry about that! They’re back open now. :)

    Hi Megan (M.), and welcome! Thank you so much! I was just on your site the night before last as I was doing research for this post. :)

    And Megan A., thank you. I also find/found it heartening that there was so much sex worker support for the CSPH.

    Thank you both for coming by, and to echo Megan A., yay sex activism! :)

  6. Just wanted to add my best wishes. I love your blog with its unique perspective, Emerald. I love that you trash our lazy/fearful mental pigeonholes, so everyone ends up simply labelled “human”.

  7. Emerald says:

    Janine…I seriously find that one of the most meaningful compliments I have received in recent memory. Thank you.

    And thank you so much for coming by and for your comment/best wishes. Xoxoxo

  8. great website you have