Even though we do not have the volunteer staff to keep our blog current, please know that we are still here! Recent events have included a behind the scenes social with clothing donations to a local womens’ shelter, coordinating for a handful of representatives to attend the amazing Desiree Alliance Conference in Las Vegas this summer, and working on planning events for the second half of this year.
Sunday 6/30 Swop-Seattle will be marching in the Seattle Pride Parade… join us, look for us, and/or make some noise!
SEPIA and SWOP Info and Future Planning Meeting
We’ve been talking about more coordination with direct outreach efforts, skill trade events for sex workers, more of the public panel discussions, and another Harm Reduction Allies meeting. We’re asking you to be a part of planning the future of the organization! Are there events that you would like to see? Projects you seek support with? Causes that you feel should have our attention? Join us to plan the future!
- The Gender Equality Caucus of Occupy Seattle will be holding a rally including speakers, music, a speak-out, and arts on March 10th 2012 at Westlake Park for International Women’s Day, in solidarity with women and their struggles across the globe.
This is a day to celebrate women, honor our diverse struggles and strengths. As there is no single “woman experience”, we find it imperative for women from all different backgrounds be empowered to tell their story and share their knowledge, experience and perspective.
This will also be a day to fight back against the violations of women, fight back against the divide and conquer tactics that have kept us apart this long. A day to to come out with our stories and to say loudly that we refuse to live this way, a day to ask one and another “What would your liberation look like?” and learn how we can stand in solidarity with women from a multitude of backgrounds across the entire globe.
We call on people on the days leading up to and on International Women’s Day itself to be a part of creating a powerful outpouring of music, speak-outs, spoken word, speeches, art and a march on International Women’s Day at Westlake Park.
In standing up together, we will celebrate women here and all over the world who lift their heads up and resist.
Sun 3/18 – Planning meeting
Tue 4/3 – Social event
Sun 4/15 – Planning meeting
***SUNDAY 4/22 ALLIES MEETING***
Tue 5/1 – Social event
Sun 5/20 – Planning meeting
Tue 6/5 – Planning meeting
Sun 6/17 Social event at SEAF
Sun 6/24 Participation in Seattle Pride
Please contact email@example.com for more information!
Rights vs. Rescue: Sex Worker Rights, Harm Reduction and the Law
Date: Saturday, March 3, 2012
Location: Capitol Hill Library Branch, 425 Harvard Ave E, 98102
2nd floor meeting room
Note: This event is not sponsored by The Seattle Public Library
Human rights violations against sex workers– including violence, mistreatment, and/or misguided “help” from state and social service agents – are all too common. These violations have recently been recognized by the United Nations and US State Department. This panel, comprised of human rights and social justice workers/activists in Seattle, will discuss how people from the progressive community can work together for sex workers’ rights within a broader framework of social justice.
Sex workers—that is people who engage in sexual commerce for income and subsistence needs—are members of families and communities in all parts of the United States. Because of stigma and criminalization sex workers—and those profiled as such—are subjected to violence and discrimination, and are impeded from accessing critical services, such as healthcare, and the right to equal protection under the law. State agents themselves, specifically police officers, commit physical and sexual violence against sex workers. These abuses are particularly rampant in poor and working class, urban, majority African-American and immigrant communities and also greatly affect lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Globally, the U.S. federal anti-prostitution policies, such as the “anti-prostitution pledge,” have had dire consequences for international HIV/AIDS efforts. Globally, there is also a movement to reverse these trends. Come learn more about these issues on March 3.
**This description is borrowed from a policy brief delivered to the US State Department in Feb. 2011 by Human Rights for All: concerned advocates for the rights of sex workers and people in the sex trade.
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers - Vigil and Procession
Saturday December 17th, 2011, 5-7pm, Cal Anderson Park
In the spirit of remembrance and healing, the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) and SWOP chapters from around the United States wish to join sex worker allies and advocates from around the world in recognizing December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. As we approach this day, we seek to come together to remember those who we have lost this year, and renew our commitment in the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.
The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was originally developed by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and SWOP founder Robyn Few to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of violence against sex workers happening globally. SWOP-USA began commemorating the Day as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle, Washington, who murdered at least 71 women, most of whom were sex workers from 1982 to 1998.
This candlelight vigil will be a space to show our love and respect for sex workers murdered due to maginalization, stigmatization and hatred. We invite our allied community to mourn collectively. Participants are more than welcome and encouraged to bring a poem, song, prayer, or loving words. This event is open to the public.
For more information on December 17th:
This year, in Portland, Oregon, we want to highlight the inordinate violence that transworkers face while in the sex industry. Please join us at the following events in solidarity against violence.
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
We invite you to an evening of remembrance and healing. We will have community speakers, an open mic, and screening of the film A Safer Sex Trade. We will also make origami cranes to remember victims. Please bring new/used tents, sleeping bags and flashlights for Our Mother’s House. (December 17, Red and Black café, 400 SE 12th, 7-10PM)
Sex Worker’s Care Space
Yummy treats, pampering, art and goodie bags await you. This evening is reserved for current and former sex workers. Please RSVP for directions- firstname.lastname@example.org or call Natalie 503.419.4355. (December 11, 5:30-8PM)
Our Mother’s House Tent Drive
Our Mother’s House is a drop-in center offering food, warm drinks, company, and resources to local mothers in the sex industry. They also provide sleeping bags and tents to their attendees who are houseless. To support their important work we are collecting new and gently used tents, sleeping bags, and flashlights. Find a location nearest you and donate! (November 17-December 17, US Outdoor Store, In Other Words,
Sunday, November 20th from 5-7pm in Cal Anderson Park
In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Q Center will be joining the greater Seattle community, and NW SWOP (Sex Workers Outreach Project), in holding a candlelight vigil. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is a time set aside each year to memorialize those killed due to transgender hatred. TDOR is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender, each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender and gender non-conforming people.
This candlelight vigil will be a space to show our love and respect for those murdered due to transgender hatred—this will be a space for our Seattle transgender and allied community to mourn collectively. Participants are more than welcome and encouraged to bring a poem, song, prayer, or loving words. This event is open to the public.
For more information on the Q Center:
For more information about the national Transgender Day of Remembrance please visit http://transgenderdor.org
BREAKING: U.S. ACKNOWLEDGES HUMAN RIGHTS NEEDS OF SEX WORKERS
At UN, US Says No one Should Face Discrimination For Public Services, Including Sex Workers
March 9th, 2011- According to their statement in response to the UN’s human rights evaluation, the US agrees 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.” This marks a rare occasion in which the US is addressing the needs of sex workers as a distinct issue separate from human trafficking. Sex workers have unique needs that aren’t adequately addressed by federal trafficking policy. Sex workers are hopeful that this will present a new opportunity to work with anti-trafficking efforts to address mutual human rights concerns.
“People in the sex trade have been marginalized and stigmatized when seeking public services, including through law enforcement. This is a big step forward to acknowledging sex workers’ human rights.” Kelli Dorsey, Executive Director of Different Avenues said.
Over the past year sex workers and their families, sex workers’ rights groups, human rights advocates, and academic researchers have engaged in an unprecedented advocacy collaboration. “It has been crucial to bring together the perspectives of a wide range of communities including immigrant and LGBT groups in order to illustrate the depth of human rights violations experienced by sex workers in the United States,” says Penelope Saunders, Coordinator of the Best Practices Policy Project, who worked with the Desiree Alliance to send a shadow report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). These initial efforts resulted in Recommendation 86 and the formation of a group called Human Rights For All: Concerned Advocates for the Rights of Sex Workers and People in the Sex Trade (HRA).
HRA had support from more than 125 organizations in urging law makers to accept Recommendation #86, part of the report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which called on the US to look into the special vulnerability of sex workers to violence and human rights abuses. “We were long overdue for the United States to take the needs of sex workers seriously, particularly the need to stem violence and discrimination,” says attorney Sienna Baskin, Co-Director of Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York.
“Human beings cannot be excluded from accesible services because they work in economies outside of society’s accepted norms,” explains Cristine Sardina, co-director, Desiree Alliance. “The fact that the U.S. has acknowledged the recommendation in full speaks to the current administration’s willingness to recognize the abuses sex workers have been subjected to for too long. We look forward to working with this administration”.
Sex workers say the issues they face are complex and more work will have to be done to protect against human rights abuses. “Sex workers who are transgender or people of color face the most violence and it’s important that we continue to realize and work towards ending that, this is a good first step.” Said Tara Sawyer, who sits on the Board of Directors of the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA.
On Friday March 18th Sex Workers will stage demonstrations in cities across the country to celebrate adoption of Recommendation #86. “The U.S. has finally acknowledged that sex workers face issues separate from those of human trafficking victms,” said Natalie Brewster Nguyen, an artist and member of the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Tucson who is organizing the demonstrations on the 18th, ”Now we need to demand that steps be taken to address the issues that will actually improve the daily lives of sex workers.”
For more information on this story or the upcoming March 18th demonstrations, please contact Stacey Swimme at Communications@StJamesInfirmary.org or (877) 776-2004 x. 2
Please Click Flier to Enlarge
Sex Work, Violence, & Policy:
Toward a Human Rights Approach
Date: March 3, 2011
Location: Communications building, UWS (CMU 120)
Time: 4-6 pm
Sponsored by: Simpson Center for the Humanities, Department of
Women Studies, Cultural Studies (UWB), and Policy Studies (UWB).
December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally thought of by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, December 17th has empowered workers from over cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations will be staging actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against prostitutes.
We will be meeting in Cal-Anderson Park at 7pm for a candle lit procession, leading to a cozy indoor venue for conversation, poetry readings, story telling… and anything else which comes to mind to commemorate this important date. Bring your red umbrella!
On Saturday, November 20, about 125 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at Cal Anderson Park for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day where Transgender people and Transgender allies alike gather to mourn and remember Transgender victims of violence who have died in the past year.
‘We wanted it to be also a celebration of sorts,’ said Sidney Lewis Friend, an organizer of the vigil and an organizer with the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP). ‘It was meant to be sort of this alchemical mix; ‘Yes, these people have been murdered, but we’re going to transform that energy into something positive.’
Put together by SWOP and the University of Washington’s Q Center, the vigil featured a static fire display, poetry, and a video project created by Lewis Friend, which is currently still in production as an ongoing project. An open mic was also available for anyone, and many came up to read their own poetry.
For the full article, please visit:
In early November there was a Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations. The Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, and the Sexual Rights Initiative wrote and presented a report that focuses on civil and human rights violations of those engaged, or perceived to be engaged, in sexual trade and sex work in the U.S. You can read that report online here: http://beatpracticespolicy.org/UPRreport2010.html. At the review Uruguay made a recommendation for the United States to take a closer look at its human rights violations specifically toward sex workers and the LGBTQ communities.
The United Nations will meet again in March. In the meantime, sex work activists are organizing. So far we have a coalition of 40-some-odd individuals from Universities, the organizations that wrote the above report, and still many others. These folks are writing to the media, developing materials for dissemination (fact-based, academic and political pamphlets, and policy briefs), setting up meetings with people at the State Department and other politicians and policy makers, seeking organizational endorsements, procuring letters from experts in the field, media outreach, presenting issue in public forums, reaching out to finding community, and organizing still other actions.
The coalitions goals:
1. to get the United States government to say that they will adopt Uruguay’s recommendation to “ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sex workers to violence and human rights abuses.”
2. To include one or more of our coalition’s recommended strategies for addressing human rights violations.
3. To educate and raise awareness of sex worker issues in mainstream media, public forums, policy circles and funding communities.
4. To increase our capacity to create positive change for sex workers through coalition-building, media outreach and grass roots organizing.
Stay tuned for updates as they are available!
This Nov. 20th, 7PM at Cal Anderson Park, join the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) and the Q Center at the University of Washington. During the calling out of the names for all of the transgender people murdered in 2010, fire dancers will somberly perform a unique and aesthetically pleasing visual. Various poets from around the country created a YouTube video of their poetry, which will play before and after the vigil. There will also be live poetry performers who will capture the celebration of what it means to be gender-variant in a very gender-binary culture.
SWOP and the Q Center wish to join gender advocates and sex worker allies from around the world in recognizing November 20th, the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. As we approach this day, we seek to come together to remember those who we have lost this year, and to renew our commitment in the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all transgender people and their loved ones.
Transgender people are subjected to violence a on a daily basis in all countries around the globe. The term ‘transgender’ is an umbrella word used to describe all gender-variant people, although not everyone who is assaulted identifies as transgender — many of them use the terms transsexual, cross-dresser or are otherwise gender-non-specific.
* 33.2% of transgender youth have attempted suicide. Clements-Nolle K., Marx R., Katz M. (2006). Attempted suicide among transgender persons: The influence of gender-based discrimination and victimization. Journal of Homosexuality, 51(3): 53-69.)
* 55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked. (GLSEN. (2003). The 2003 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
* 74% of transgender youth reported being sexually harassed at school, and 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. (GLSEN. (2001). The 2001 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
* In a survey of 403 transgender people, 78% reported having been verbally harassed and 48% reported having been victims of assault, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault or rape. (Wilchins, R., Lombardi, E., Priesing, D. and Malouf, D. (1997) First national survey of transgender violence. Gender Public Advocacy Coalition.)
* In 2002, a study was published that found that bisexual students in Massachusetts and Vermont were three to six times more likely to use cocaine than their straight classmates. (Robin, L., Brener, N., Donahue, S., Hack, T., Hale, K., Goodenow, C. Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. Apr;156(4): pp.349-55.)
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was originally developed as a response to the murder of Rita Hester in 1998. Her murder still has yet to be solved, but what began as a tragedy now also serves as a day to remember the global violence that occurs against transgender people. SWOP-USA commemorates the Day as a memorial and vigil for the victims of gender-related hate-crimes.
During the week of November 20th, queer and sex worker rights organizations all over the world create public awareness and vigils to raise consciousness about violence that is commonly committed against transgender people. These events also often address the intersection of issues relating to stigma and discrimination that allows violence and oppression to occur with impunity. We seek to raise awareness about the barriers faced when attempting to report violence, and promote empowerment and change what has become an unacceptable status quo.
This year’s events include but are not limited to:
• The University of Washington’s Q Center and Ethnic Cultural Center organized a community conversation today 11-16 on the Transgender Day Of Remembrance, working towards justice from a place of grief/trauma and how to move forward with creating a more supportive community. This event will be open to the public.
• The University of Washington’s Q Center put on a “die-in” at Red Square, 11-17 11:00AM-11:30AM. They will mill around looking inconspicuous until the speaker gives the signal (prearranged, so they know what it is beforehand). Then everyone will collapse to the ground as if they had suddenly died. The speaker will then repeat, over and over in a forceful manner, that these represent the bodies of all of the victims of transphobia and hatred. After 10 minutes of this, the speaker will give the signal again and everyone will get up and leave.
• The University of Washington’s Q Center created an event on Friday, 11-19 at Parnassus (basement of Art Building at UW) from 5:30-7:30PM to share and appreciate how beautiful and amazing gender variance is. People will bring spoken word and other talents for their open mic. Gender is powerful, gorgeous, strong, delicate, silly, serious, complicated, shifting, and ours. They will encourage everyone to love their own gender and to celebrate non traditional gender expression! People of all genders are welcome to attend.
• On Nov. 20th, SWOP NW and the University of Washington’s Q Center will be hosting a candlelight vigil with fire performance and poetry from authors around the nation.
• Ingersoll invited Kate Bornstein — a well-known transgender author — to discuss her book, the iconic “Gender Outlaw: on Men, Women and the Rest of Us” challenging the prevailing thought on gender both inside and outside the “gender community.” She constantly pushes the envelope and challenges people to think hard and act out in ways that tweak sensibilities and keep people from getting too comfortable. Kate has published a new book: “Gender Outlaws: the next generation” with S. Bear Bergman. See the INgersoll website for more information.
Every year, the International Transgender Day of Remembrance becomes more embedded in our consciousness as a reminder to all people — allies and transgender people alike — that we are brothers and sisters with unique and brilliant identities. November 20th functions as a reminder about the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, colleagues, and allies who have been lost this year to violence. Please join us in our effort to make fundamental human rights accessible for transgender people and to end the silencing that they experience every day.
The private group of providers and practitioners behind NW-SWOP would love to invite you to the upcoming Visioning and Organizing meeting. It’s an important meeting for us to come together to talk more about what the group is doing, what we can do in the future, and how you can be a part of it… From the ground floor, we want to discuss how we can operate as a safe, supportive, consensus-based collective of current and retired sex workers. What can we do for one another? What would you like done? How WILL it be done? This meeting is open only to verified current and retired self-identified sex workers.
When: Saturday Nov. 6th – 1-3pm meeting; 3-5pm overflow and social time
Where: near Capitol Hill in Seattle
Please submit your formal SEPIA application with the link below, or by emailing the same information to email@example.com. Even if you cannot attend the meeting, we will respond letting you know how you can participate in planning the meeting, and how you can share your visions, suggestions and ideas!
For our NW-SWOP advocates who are not sex workers, the next open NW-SWOP event will be the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20th. Stay tuned! Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
This event is a Bird Cage Collective event, in cooperation with NW-SWOP. To prevent confusion please know this was written by a sex worker under a pseudo name used for activist work. This was not written by a provider working with the name Jesse.
We hope to share heart space with you soon!
I’m a local sex-worker/provider here in Seattle. Last month I was scared and shocked when I received the news of the murder of Roxie.
This letter is an invite for a sex-worker only gathering where we can group together and just spend time, process a bit and share space with each other.
I did not know Roxie personally, but we both advertise on the same board and we’re the same age. I’ve done activism around reducing the stigma of sex work–drawing links between this stigma and the violence it can lead to. Roxie’s murder is the first time I’ve been directly confronted with this violence.
That same week John T. Williams was shot by the Seattle police. I went that Friday to his vigil. It was deeply moving, all those people coming together to honor his life… All I could think about on the way home however, was Roxie. “Where’s her vigil?” I wondered. It made me think deep about how the criminalization of our work makes it harder to publicly speak out against violence directed at us. I felt stifled. I wanted a vigil, I wanted something…but knew it would be so hard and potentially dangerous to speak out, as a sex worker.
Then I just wanted community. I talked to the few people close to me who share our profession, and that helped a lot…but I wanted more, more community.
This is simply an invite for us to gather, and talk. We could grieve, we could share stories, we could share food, we could chat. We could strategize about safety, give each other advice. Whatever, I just want to be in a group of people who know what it’s like to do this work, carrying on our backs the weight of stigma and real fear of violence. I want some nourishment from my sex-worker family.
So yes, this is an invite for any other sex workers who are also seeking some community. Sunday evening 6:30-9pm gathering on October 24th at a discreet location on Capitol Hill in Seattle. (6:30 doors and then event from 7 to 9pm) If you or any other current sex workers that you trust and believe would benefit in this gathering please write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll then send you the location/directions to the meeting location.
I hope we can come together and set intentional space in honor of the life of Roxie, and in honor of ourselves — for continuing to do the work we do, in this crazy world we live in.
With a Full Heart and Solidarity,
I’ve organized this event along with enormous support from NW-SWOP. Thank you SWOP!
PS. Again, this is a Past and Present Sex Worker Only gathering.
If you do currently do not identify as a sex worker please respect this space by not attending.
NW-SWOP wants YOU to get involved! Join us in our efforts. We need your knowledge, your talent and your participation.We are organizing a dinner party and we want you to come! It’s going to be fun. We hope to provide an opportunity for people to meet, have a great time, learn and get involved if they choose.
Please note: This is an open SWOP gathering. No assumptions are to be made whether attendees are clients, sex workers, volunteers or general allies. Everyone is welcome to use the name and affiliation they are most comfortable with. No cameras or media will be allowed.
When: Sunday, October 3rd, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Who can attend: Anyone 18 or older who is interested in social justice and freedom.
Where: A very nice ballroom near the Southcenter mall has been reserved for this event. There is ample free parking. The address will be e-mailed the day before the event to everyone who RSVPs.
Cost: $15 per person for dinner (this includes tax and gratuity). Proceeds go directly to the venue, this is not a fund raising event. A donation jar will be available for those who would like to contribute to the organization.
Menu: Lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread. (vegan plates can be made available with advance request.) Alcoholic beverages are not included though will be made available at the bar. Please know that we want this to be an accessible event to everyone including those who do not drink alcohol. It’s important to us that people be respectful of others regardless of their chosen beverage. If you do choose to drink, please remember to ask a designated driver to be present.
Please RSVP to email@example.com by Wed., Sept 29th so that the food and staffing can be arranged. Please let me know of any last minute cancellations or additions if there are changes after the 29th.
Thank you so much! We are looking forward to meeting you all
Sex 2.0 is a conference focusing on the intersection of social media,feminism and sexuality. Sex 2.0 welcomes and supports all sex positive groups, particularly the sex worker community. Many attendees are or were sex workers, including keynote speaker, discussion leader, and author of Sex Secrets of Escorts, Tips From a Pro, Veronica Monet. The conference will feature a variety of discussions and panels on the topic, including a SEPIA sponsored panel discussing the many ways in which the internet is bringing empowerment and safety to those involved in the adult industry. Come learn about erotic professions who consider themselves empowered feminists, and hear how they are using technology to improve safety and overall working conditions in the industry.
Additionally, Sex 2.0 will donate most profits to the Northwest chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Support the conference and support SWOP!
Learn more at www.sex20con.com and register today!
$50 for the weekend. 18+ only.
SEPIA is putting together a short collection of writings by local sex workers to
create a fund raising version of the NW-SWOP Resource Guide. We know that there are talented writers in our community, and as sex workers, we have important stories to tell.
You may submit 2 original pieces for consideration. Visual art in a black and white format may be submitted. For written work we ask that you limit your pieces to750 words. (Ask if this is a problem–we might be able to be flexible.) Please email your submissions or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include the pen name you wish to use, if any, as well as your contact information should we need to reach you. Submissions are due no later than June 15.
The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of
organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. Desiree Alliance provides leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labour and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.
NW-SWOP has set the goal of sending five representatives to the Desiree Alliance
Conference, “Working Sex: Power, Practice and Politics” in order to cover the five
* Academic and Policy
* Art, Entertainment and Media
* Business Development
* Harm Reduction and Outreach
Desiree Alliance is offering a very limited number of scholarships nationwide. Our
goal is to raise $1,500 to go directly to the flight, hotel and registration fees
for NW-SWOP’s attendance. At this time we are still not able to accept charity
donations other than via our website PayPal option. We are accepting gifts for this
purpose and will be discussing a fundraiser at the next SEPIA meeting.
If you are interested in donating in support of NW-SWOP’s attendance, or if you are
a current sex worker who would be willing to dedicate yourself to one of the
presentation tracks as a SWOP sponsored participant, please contact MaryMagdalene@nw-SWOP.org
Priority: Resource Guide
We are hoping to have our Sex Workers’ Resource Guide compiled and ready for print by the end of April. This guide will be used for outreach work, tabling events and general public awareness efforts. It will be free to those who need it and “by donation” for those who are able to contribute. We are looking for non-judgmental organizations and businesses that provide services applicable to sex workers – health care, transitional housing, crisis centers, victims’ rights organizations, legal representatives, sexy suppliers, self-defense training… who are we forgetting? Please send your submissions along with a brief description of the resource/s to MaryMagdalene@nw-swop.org. Thank you!
* First quarter fliers and distribution
* Introduction letters to allied organizations
* Additional compilation and printing of the Resource Guide, sponsors?
* Creation of a discussion board for planning purposes
* Fundraiser for scholarships to the Desiree Alliance conference, July
If you have time or resources to devote to these projects, please let us know!
A night of sex worker made media at Northwest Film Forum
Saturday, March 20th, 8:00 pm; 1515 12th Ave. E. Seattle
$9 general, $6.50 student, $6.00 Film Forum members
Please note this is a wheelchair accessible venue and a fragrance-free event
From the Sangli district in the rural south of India to the life of a New York City callboy, sex workers reach out through film and video to share their experiences. LET’S DO IT! a night of experimental and documentary shorts dedicated to human rights and advocacy for sex workers across the globe. As misrepresentations of those who trade erotic labor proliferate the mainstream media, sex workers and sex worker activists help to reduce stigmatization by becoming their own authors, reporters, and organizers. The evening’s films will examine the unique challenges and joys of being a sex worker. Following the screening will be a panel discussion with past and present sex workers whose experience varies from peep show work, fetish & fantasy to erotic massage and more. Miss Indigo Blue (Academy of Burlesque), billie rain (dual power infamy) Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Author of So Many Ways To Sleep Badly), local writer and sex worker Sophia J. Russel and other special guests will be in attendance. Please join us to discuss individual experiences with advocacy, work and empowerment. There will be a reception with beverages, a DJ, food and copies of $pread magazines for donation, all to raise funds for a local ‘zine by & for sex workers.
Curated by the bird cage collective
Sponsored by the Central Coop
Thank you Uniondocs NYC
Some of you may know that our fall fundraiser was cancelled due to logistical issues with our set up as a formal chapter of SWOP-USA. Essentially, the City of Seattle does not recognize us as a local entity. Until future notice donations can only be accepted at our events, which will go to our direct expenses; or via the PayPal option on our website, which will be earmarked for NW-SWOP future use. We are actively working to process all of the necessary paperwork to resolve this matter.
While all has been quiet on the web, we have not been fully inactive! Over the past couple of months NW-SWOP has coordinated several sex worker events including a Seattle spa day, a Portland clothing exchange with donations for a local womens’ shelter, and a legal presentation by a criminal defense lawyer.
Additionally the December 17th vigil in Seattle was graced by the presence of more than thirty people in support of calling attention to the need to end violence against sex workers.
Thank you to those amazing allies who came out to share the night with us!
December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. This day was originally thought of by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington.
7:30PM Thursday December 17th
Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill
Please join us in gathering to call attention to this day, it’s purpose and those who have been lost. All participants are encouraged to wear masks to preserve anominity! Bring a poem, a song, a few words to share in remembrance…
Please follow the link for more information about December 17th and events in other cities:
An Anonymous Written Contribution
I Am A Sex Worker
I’d like to introduce myself to you. Well, it isn’t an introduction exactly because chances are you already know me. I am your neighbor, your co-worker, a friend of a friends, your best friend, your hairstylist, your sister, your brother, your cousin, aunt, mother, uncle. I am your girlfriend, your wife. I am beside you in your world on a daily basis, but you rarely notice me. I am a person, male or female, old or young, like any other person in your world. I am you under different circumstances, or maybe I simply am you. Who am I that I can be all of these things?
I am a sex worker.
I am the invisible stigma, all to often summed up by an array of judgment-laden stereotypes. I proudly choose my occupation as a sex worker, just as you choose your occupation. Alternatively I am forced into sex work either by coercion, physical force or cercumstance. I am many things, but I am not the nameless, faceless victim, without family or friends, portrayed by the media. I am not the vulnerable woman, discarded by others who goes unnoticed when missing. I am not a worthy victim of violence simply because of my work. And I hope, because you can see that I am a person, just like you, you will no longer allow the world to believe that I am disposable. You will not allow the myth to continue. The myth that violence, murder, torture and unspeakable harm against me, is somehow more acceptable when directed at me because I am a sex worker.
Each year numerous sex workers are murdered in the United States and in other countries around the world. Many others are subject to violence such as rapes and beatings. A hard truth that we must face is that we are all culpable for the death of sex workers everywhere. By continuing to stigmatize sex work, we force victims of violence into silence due to fear of legal and social repercussions. This leads to the belief that all people who are involved in sex work are less wanted, less needed, less noticed and therefore more disposable.
Meet Jarniece Hargrove, age 31, a victim of murder. Missing for two months in N. Carolina before she was found, Jarnice’s family is distraught at the loss of their daughter. Jarnice’s father expresses that the person who killed Jarnice “took our love, our joy from us” http://www.ncwanted.com/ncwanted_home/story/5520849/.
Meet Shabana, a woman from Palestine and a celebrated traditional Palestinian “dancing girl.” Shabana was killed by members of the Taliban following their denouncement of the traditional dance as a form of prostitution. Shabana’s body was found in a public square, pierced through many times over with bullets and strewn with money and photographs from her personal albums and other emblems of her craft
Both Jarniece and Shabana were sex workers, although their life circumstances were undoubtedly very different. Both were victimized because of their occupations. Stand with me to protest these deaths, this senseless violence occurring everywhere. Stand with me to end the stigma of sex work and to end the fear of violence for sex workers everywhere. December 17th, 2009 is the intentional day to end violence against sex workers. Stand with me, a sex worker. Stand with me your neighbor, your friend, your daughter, your brother, your wife.
We want to thank those friends who have stepped forward with your contributions, enthusiasm and support! Cash and PayPal donations have covered the cost of our software and web expenses as well as a one-year banner ad on a relevant discussion board, thank you!!! As we’ve moved forward we’ve been able to collect more concrete thoughts on how our friends might actively participate. Please let us know if you have good thoughts, ideas or resources to share with us!
For our fund raising event we are actively seeking friendly venues, performers and donations of goods or services for our silent auction. All monies raised at the fundraiser will be used for 2010 public awareness campaigns and events.
For December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sexworkers, we will be partnering with the Sex Workers Outreach Coalition to support three events: a movie screening, a candlelight vigil and a red umbrella march. We are seeking donations of red umbrellas, masks and sign making supplies… we are also encouraging your participation and attendance! More details will come of when/where as it is available.
More information can be found with the links below:
We are looking for a graphic designer who can assist with detailing out our logo and promotional materials. Specifically, with the letters S & P we are hoping to find images that represent the tantra and BDSM communities, and we are looking for assistance creating fliers for our fund raising event.Do any of you own a print shop? Lol!
We are looking for a brave soul who is willing to be the representative link between the private practitioner SEPIA group and more public NW-SWOP meetings. It is our intention to host monthly meetings with our allies from human service organizations and from the general public. This cannot happen until we have someone who is willing to be out and public about their support of this group and is willing to attend and facilitate monthly meetings.
Monetary donations are currently being requested towards printing, promotion and production costs towards our fall fundraiser. And as always, we welcome your ideas for networking with other organizations and communities and your dreams for what we will become!
Thank you for helping us to manifest our mission!
We are actively looking for volunteers who can help us to grow. If you have skills in non-profit organizing or fund-raising, or are a representative of an organization that offers (or would like to offer) your services to individuals in the sex industry we would love to hear from you!
Volunteers are also actively being sought to make our fall fundraiser a success. Please let us know in what capacity you are interested in participating.
Deep gratitude is waiting for you!
Our small group has been very busy building this site, setting up our internal communications system, conversing about public and private group needs and privacy concerns, hunting down links for our resource guide, networking regarding our upcoming fundraisers, and much much more. We are very excited to be here!
Please stay tuned here and/or via our newsletter for semi-regular progress reports.