Because Every Sex Worker Deserves Safety: Dec 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Today is the 10th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The sheer truth is that I am alive and some of my siblings are not.

Racism and misogyny kills sex workers. Male entitlement and male violence kills sex workers. Cissexism and homophobia kills sex workers. Criminalization and incarceration kills sex workers.

Because every worker deserves a safe work place, a living wage, and to be able to choose the work that suits them and their situation the best, I support sex workers by not deciding what’s best for another worker while advocating for safer options for all workers.

I support decriminalization of all laws against sex work, because putting someone in jail or making their work happen in secret does not increase safety or choices. I also support decriminalization because the legal system targets people of color and trans* people disproportionately.

I applaud projects that help sex workers to tell our stories like Red Umbrella Project, because confronting stigmatization and shaming allows us to be seen as fully human. I also thank NYC’s local peer- and ally-led projects that are building grassroots power like PERSIST, SWANK/SWOP-NYC, SAS, and more.

I request folks in solidarity with sex workers: please stop using “whore” as an insult. Saying someone “looks like a whore” or “looks like a stripper” is compliment at best and a meaningless statement at worst. Strippers, whores, and all other kinds of sex workers look like just about any kind of person you can think up. Looking sexual is not the same as looking like a sex worker, and there is no shame in being a whore OR being sexual – or in being both.