Trafficking Policy Should Focus on Empowerment, Not Coercion

I have been studying the sex industry for nearly 25 years and been a feminist for even longer. Over this period I have seen many changes in the sex industry as well as how feminists and others talk about it. But for many Americans, feminists included, one point has remained steady: the belief that sexual […]

Feminist Burlesque, in Theory AND Practice

In my Ms. review of Burlesque, the musical film starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, I argued that it contained certain pro-feminist and queer qualities. At the same time, the thin legs, arms and waists of its stars are quite dissimilar from the curvy bodies of most burlesque performers, both historically and in the contemporary neo-burlesque […]

For Sex Workers, Recommendation #86 Will Go Down in History

Recently I blogged about how the United Nations’ Human Rights Council flagged sex worker rights in its periodic review of the United States’ human-rights record. Member state Uruguay recommended that the U.S. “ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers [sex workers] to violence and human rights abuses.” Within […]

Thanks to Uruguay, U.S. Sex Workers’ Human Rights Get Federal Attention

For the past few months, I have been honored to be part of a team of activists and researchers engaging in dialogue with the State Department about human rights abuses against U.S. sex workers, in response to a UN review of the human rights record of the United States. In light of International Sex Workers’ […]

Terrorism Against Sex Workers: It’s Time to Take a Stand

For the past 7 years, December 17th has been recognized by sex workers and their allies as a day to recognize that violence against sex workers is endemic to many societies. It is also a day to commit energy toward making the cultural and working conditions of sex work safer. This is very different from […]

Burlesque Is So Gay. And That’s A Good Thing.

When I worked as a strip club waitress, part of my job was to look out for troublemakers: people entering the club with an intention to harm the dancers. OK, it wasn’t officially my job (that was up to the managers and bouncers), but as a feminist, an ally, and also friend to some of […]

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