Justice Means Solidarity Politics

By Alex S. Morgan (June 4, 2018)

Happy Pride Month! I’m a queer, non-binary femme trans person who is kinky and polyamorous and who has done sex work under three genders. They/them/their pronouns only, please.

Pride for me is both celebration AND riot. We NEED to celebrate each other and ourselves as we fight for justice, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. And justice also means celebrating, not just mourning or paying lip service to, queer, trans, and two-spirit people of color.

Justice also means solidarity politics over respectability politics: Black trans sex workers were there at Stonewall, and sex workers have done sex work to finance more queer and trans activism than the world may ever know. Sex work is also a lifeline for homeless queer and trans youth who to this day struggle to find accepting shelter beds, and for many adult trans and gender nonconforming folks who face transphobic hiring discrimination.

Our communities have been linked since recorded history (if not sooner). Our entire glittery contingent needs to get behind sex workers’ rights, because the same organizations and movements that are targeting sex workers also have sexual freedom and gender expression in their crosshairs.

Happy Pride Month, and happy (slightly belated) International Sex Workers’ Day.


Elle Stanger: Sesta/Fosta Is Dangerous for Sex Workers and Everyone’s Privacy Rights

April 12, 2018

Elle Stanger recently spoke at the Opening Spaces for Radical Imagination Conference at Oregon State and mentioned federal legislation targeting sex trafficking that would, in effect, place sex workers into more dangerous working conditions.  Upon the signing of this legislation by President Trump on April 12, 2018, Stanger prepared several short videos calling for its repeal and asked that they be shared.


Video:  Fosta/Sesta does not distinguish between sex trafficking and consensual sex work

Video_1:  Why the removal of online sites will push sex workers into trafficking and more dangerous situations.

Video_2 Why Fosta/Sesta will make the lives of LGBT sex workers and people of color even more dangerous. It will also erode privacy rights for the general public.

Sesta/Fosta means Sex Workers Will Die


Phoenix Calida (April 9, 2018)

Have I ever told y’all about my Jack the Ripper stalker on twitter?

Yeah. Some dude was using Jack the Ripper as a handle. He would tweet pics of ripper victims at me and ask if I was a street sex worker, and where I could be found.

People online thought it was hilarious watching these interactions. They’d egg him on, make “jokes” and say things like “I bet you never forgot your first time” People would laugh when he asked I bore any physical resemblance to ripper victims

It went on for months. I’d block him, he’d make a new account, tweet more dead sex workers at me. He’d even send pics of modern day London, all the places ripper victims were found. Pics of “Jack the ripper tours”. Pics of old school surgeon knives. It was terrifying.

The worst part was because Twitter is public, everyone could see it. All people thought it was funny. People would retweet his tweets of dead bodies to me. One guy told me I should be flattered because the only way whores get famous is by murdered by serial killers

I was scared as fuck . And then thru him stalking my social media, he found out I was black and my grandfather was Jewish. It went from Jack the Ripper references to Holocaust pictures and plantation rape jokes

He even went so far as to guess where I was from in Chicago. He told me he wanted to visit, and play a game of slave catcher. And of course, his followers thought it was funny. Because dead hookers, lulz. Instead of ripper victims, now it was murdered American Sex workers

Fortunately, my friends kept me sane. And helped me learn how to screen and monitor other people’s social media better. I’m not saying that guy found me…. I am saying that by learning from my friends, I passed a potential date that looked like Mr. Jack the Ripper

By using available sources to screen, I quite possibly avoided something truly terrible. And now that SESTA/FOSTA has passed… those screening tools are gone.

This situation happened a long time ago. But if it started again right now? I don’t know what I would do.

That story has been in my head ever since this #SESTA #FOSTA bullshit has gone down. Was it really him? Was he going to kill me? Will he ever find me again? Do his followers still think this is a joke? If he did kill me, would anyone even care? Has he killed/hurt others?

This isn’t a game. Sex workers will die because of these laws. what side you really on? If you aren’t supporting team sex workers right now, I can’t fuck with you. Not when men on the internet openly fantasize about killing sex workers. Fin.




Interview: Elle Stanger


Elle Stanger has been a nude internet model for over a decade and an Oregon stripper for almost a decade, and she occasionally sells homemade porn and does webcam work. She has a B.A in Criminology from Portland State University, and has written about sex and relationships and parenting for various outlets like Men’s Health, Romper, Thrillist. She is currently finishing her training as a Certified Sex Educator with the Institute of Sexuality Education and Enlightenment. She also co-hosts a podcast called UnzippedPDX, which was nominated by the Willamette Week as Portland’s “Best Local Podcast”.

How would you describe your work?

My secret power is that I’m able to find teachable moments with my clients, especially around boundaries and communication. I’m basically a femme queer tattooed-Barbie that blends into the mainstream when she wants to, in order to make money or to educate. I’ve been so informed by my work with people, and I’ve learned that most mainstream Americans are looking for permission to be vulnerable, kinky, and intentional with their sexuality.


What are the sorts of experiences that led you to organize for better protections for sex workers in Oregon?

In 2014, I had worked in six different clubs, and been stripping in total for about seven years, and I had been horrified by some clubs, and impressed by others. Adult environments are like any other type of industry; there’s going to be a spectrum of minutiae that to wade through. Management and staffing is the biggest part of what determines a safe working environment, and infrastructure maintenance is important. If the venue owners don’t’ give a shit about their dancers, it is more likely that things like dancer abuse or injury will go undealt with. I and dozens of other strippers were contacted in September of 2014 by lobbyists and social workers from NASW and PacWest; they wanted to know if any strippers in Portland had workplace concerns.

About forty live entertainers gathered in a room at PSU, and we told them some of our needs: “The bouncers don’t kick out people who assault me”, “Our roof leaks water on to the stage when it rains”, or “I have a hard time finding housing that will rent to me”, “I pay $50 a shift to work and I leave with $20”. Everyone in the room eventually realized that the concerns were so wide-ranging, that it would make sense to create a hotline where live entertainers could find resources for their needs.

TL;DR is that we created one with bi-partisan support, Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 1359 in June of 2015, and a hotline was created, but within two years it was dismantled due to Oregon’s $1.8billion debt. The hotline only required $50k annually for staffing, but they killed it anyway.

 The only reason that I’m not saddened by this is because I heard from many people that the hotline wasn’t being managed well. But I figure that it was worth the fight just to prove that things like this can be built.


Who would you consider your organizing/social justice heroes and what did you learn from them that inspires you?

I’m inspired by every single social worker I’ve met. They don’t get paid enough, deal with highly sensitive and charged situations, and juggle so many clients. These humans truly must have an altruistic souls if they’re consistently carrying with that much emotional labor.


What gives you hope for the future in the work that your do?

I’m only 31, and whores have existed for at least a few thousand years, so it gives me comfort to know that bodywork and sex work is a constant and that workers can adapt to changing times. I have hope for the future of sex work because the proliferation of social media has made our voices impossible to ignore. And things ARE getting better, especially as more young radicals do their work to influence young moderates.


What do you think are the most significant obstacles to social justice in your field in the future?  Do you think that any of those obstacles are due to some people’s denial of sex work as work?

The most significant obstacle to social justice and equality is the continuing whorephobic attitudes that we hold for women who work sex. Stigma kills: we raise our children to think that violence against sex workers is funny and acceptable. Family Guy, 30 Rock, many shows and movies reinforce these ideas.

Then there are abstinence-”educators” that travel throughout the country, telling children that sex stretches our vaginas, or that multiple penises inside of a woman is like “multiple feet in a shoe”, and bad, inaccurate information like this reinforces the idea that sex is dirty or unhealthy.

Additionally, politicians and actresses make laws and films about sex trafficking, which is not the same as sex work. These people are not experts in these fields, and often do greater harm by confusing people between the issues of choice and consent. These things need to be addressed, and that’s partly what I’m here for.


What books or movies would you recommend people study to learn about social justice or organizing for sex workers?

That’s a great question, and can someone please email me when you find some answers to it! I haven’t yet found any books or movies about this particular intersection of topics. I would look for the writings of Audacia Ray and all things RedUmbrellaProject.org, she’s been a vocal and longtime organizer of sex worker rights.

Please don’t organize for sex workers unless you are one. If sex workers have concerns, please do ask how you can help facilitate their fight, if they want to make one.


We sometimes ask people to think about what things would be like “after the revolution”, meaning a really big change in which all the obstacles to social justice are demolished and social oppression is eliminated (obviously, an imaginary world!) After the revolution, do you think there would be sex work?

After the revolution there certainly wouldn’t be capitalism or commercialism in the way that it exists now, but people would still be working and making in order to live. There will always be activities that some people will be eager or willing to engage in, whether or not your rent depends on it.

I think it would be more of a “sex barter”. If someone wants to do my dishes in exchange for a handjob or a neckrub, let’s talk.


(Interview with Joseph Orosco, March 2018)


The ‘Swedish Model’ is Not Helpful to Sex Workers


By Phoenix Calida  (July 10, 2015)

People really claim to be pro sex workers and still support the Swedish model.

Pretty sure there’s a special level of hell for ya’ll. Continue reading “The ‘Swedish Model’ is Not Helpful to Sex Workers”

The Future of Sex Work

Is sex work a legitimate form of employment or is it inherently a form of oppression? What is involved in extending human rights protection to sex workers? What is the difference between decriminalization and legalization? 

This panel discussion examines sex work through the lens of social justice and discuss the intersection of feminist critique with the growing global sex worker’s rights movement.

Continue reading “The Future of Sex Work”

A Sex Worker By Any Other Name…


By Phoenix Calida

…would be one hell of an entrepreneur. Under capitalism we have a system that continually promotes and praises people for terrible behavior. We have CEOs of major corporations who engage in morally ambiguous, ethically irresponsible and borderline sociopathic behaviors. Instead of shunning them or demanding accountability, we have put them on the covers of business magazines. Continue reading “A Sex Worker By Any Other Name…”