No matter how strenuously our enemies fight to hold us down, and no matter how many cops and politicians they conspire with, we must still win in the long run. – “Hands On”
When I first wrote about International Sex Worker Rights Day five years ago, it was to lament the fact that it was only barely observed in the West, and to call for it to be more widely observed. In the intervening years, I’ve gotten what I asked for; the occasion is now celebrated by sex workers in North America and Europe as energetically as it is in Asia and Africa. As I wrote two years ago,
…Though the day caught on fairly rapidly in Asia and Africa, it was still virtually unrecognized in Europe and North America in 2008, and only barely recognized the first time I wrote about it in 2011. But it’s quickly gained ground since then; by 2012 a number of Westerners were writing about it online, and last year it seemed to get even more attention than Whores’ Day…
Last year, I observed it with my sisters by protesting outside the Washington state capitol in Olympia; since then I’ve testified against bad laws before that same legislature twice, and otherwise annoyed Seattle, King County and Washington state officials, calling them out on their lies and tyranny both in print and on television. And this week, I’m participating in Seattle’s Annual Sexwork Symposium (SASS), which we decided works better centered around this day than around December 17th (which was when the first one was held, in 2014). Last night Savannah Sly and I co-hosted a panel discussion featuring Conner Habib, Kristen di Angelo, Deon Haywood and Monica Jones, and today we’re protesting both the court proceedings against the people arrested in the TRB raid and the awful prohibitionist policies of the city, county and state in general. Tomorrow we have a health fair, on Saturday a sex worker social and Harlot’s Ball, and Sunday an art show and silent auction (in which one of the items up for bid is a dinner date with yours truly). Last year I told you that I was going to be doing a lot more hands-on activism, and as you can see I’m as good as my word. And this year I’m telling you that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.