March 3rd is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day! I’ve been a sex worker of one type or another since 2008 – a peepshow dancer/performer, a Pro Domme (Dominatrix), a burlesque performer, a stripper, a sensual bodyworker and go-go dancer – so this is an important day of solidarity that holds personal resonance. It “was founded in 2001 by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a sex worker collective in India. Over 25,000 sex workers gathered for that inaugural festival, and since then, participation has been global.” (Durbar.org)
A lot of people hear of sex work in a stigmatized fashion and a lot of the media focuses on human trafficking. I absolutely agree that forced sex work is abhorrent and absolutely, without a doubt, criminal. But what I also know is that sex work done with autonomy can be beautiful, challenging, intimate and enlightening work. My experience in entertaining and assisting individuals, couples and groups in their intimate sexual lives has been one of my greatest joys in life. I’ve worked with every racial background, a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds and adults college-aged to senior citizens, and everyone in between. The experiences I’ve had doing sex work have helped me view humanity and individuals with much more compassion, understanding and space for the wide variety of human desire. Additionally, I know firsthand how much sex work truly is work and as such, it deserves respect.
I celebrated today by joining friends and colleagues from SWOP SF Bay Area for a picnic in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. Also present were folks from St. James Infirmary and the wonderful Laura Lasky of Solace SF. It was a beautiful sunny day in SF and it was so heartening to see so many people show up! We all have different sex work backgrounds and some folks were friends, partners and allies of sex workers. All in all, a very lovely picnic.