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Film, Fashion and Samba Infuse DVD Launch in Rio de Janeiro

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lançamento cenario DVD

April 29th was a magical and beautiful evening in Rio de Janeiro! The DVD launch of A KISS FOR GABRIELA was combined with a celebration of what would have been Gabriela’s 63rd birthday. Held in the Center Maria Teresa de Arte where the DASPU em Exibição is on exhibit until May 23rd, guests watched the film under the clothing line created by artist Paula Vila Nova and pieces from the DASPU archive.  After the film screening, musicians Jorge Som and Ernesto Costa played a samba that Jorge wrote in honor of Gabriela. Full of color, love, carinho, and Gabriela’s presence through the documentary, extra interviews, and her touch woven in all of the DASPU fabric, it could not have been a more perfect evening and launch of the DVD. Many thanks to all present, and to Renzo Gostoli, Fatima Lima, Soraya Simões and Lourinelson Vladmir for the terrific photos.

 

lançamento DVD 2

 

foto musicos lançamento dvd

Jorge Som, right, and Emerson Costa on sax. A friend of Gabriela’s for many years, Jorge Som composed a samba in honor of Gabriela for the evening.

 

Laura with Paula Vila Nova, the artist and creator of the DASPU em Exibição collection.

Laura with Paula Vila Nova, the artist and creator of the DASPU em Exibição collection.

 

 

Power to the Putas in Niteroí

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Yesterday sex workers in Niteroí, a city across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, went to the streets to protest the wrongful arrests of their colleagues and demand their right to work.

bangu

“We don’t want to go to Bangu” – the maximum security prison where two sex workers were wrongfully imprisoned and suffered human rights abuses.

In the beginning of the month, nine sex workers were wrongfully arrested, and two wrongly charged with “maintaining a house of prostitution” and taken to Bangu, a maximum security prison where they suffered human rights abuses before finally being released days later.

The building where the sex workers work is in an area of Niteroí that is the focus of the current mayor’s clean-up campaign (where real-estate values are also increasing), and therefore has been the site of increasing police repression. Sex workers are bravely resisting this repression, demanding their right to work, and making their claims visible.

The march weaved through the center of the city for nearly two hours, stopping in front of the police station where their colleagues were wrongfully imprisoned to demand justice and their right to work, and in front of the Niteroí City Council where they demanding public policies to protect and promote – instead of repress – their rights. A KISS FOR GABRIELA supports and chanted along with them as we yelled: “Prostitution is not a Crime!” “We want to Work!” “More Health! More Education! Leave the prostitutes alone!” “I give what is mine!” “Policeman! Come protest with us, you are also our client!”

prostitution not crime

“Prostitution is not a crime”

 

we want to work

Marching in the streets of Niteroí and affirming their right to work.

delegacia

Protesting in front of the police station where their colleagues were illegally arrested.

camara

Sex workers protest in front of the Niteroí city council, demanding public policies that promote and protect their rights, instead of violating them.

In Protest of the Censorship of DASPU’s Facebook Page

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daspu photos

Last week DASPU provoked a reaction from a Brazil’s increasingly conservative and reactionary society for affirming, yet once more, that bodies with and without clothing on the catwalk, in bed, on the street, at work, on stage –  wherever –  are political.

The official Facebook page of DASPU Real was taken offline after a photo from the fashion-show performance in which one of the models appeared naked with the sentence, “sex tourism is legal”, written on her body was denounced and judged by Facebook to violate the “standards of the Facebook community in terms of nudity”. It is notable that rather than taking down the photo that was denounced, which is the “normal” policy of the social network, the entire DASPU page was deactivated in an extreme gesture of censorship.

Per the story published yesterday in Beijo da Rua, the fashion show opened the exposition, “DASPU in Exhibition” and a two-day seminar organized by Davida with sex worker leaders from all over Brazil.  The exhibit, which includes over 25 original “wearable art” pieces made from past DASPU collections, is an artistic project realized in partnership between artist Paula Vila Nova that seeks to reaffirm the esthetic and political fight of Gabriela Leite.

In this blog, with Gabi present as always, no images will be censured, On the contrary, they will be commemorated and shared and we ask that you do the same with the photos and works of protests of the activists and artists involved in the project.

Statements of protest:

“All nudity will be censored, qualified, normatized, regulated and punished. The DASPU Real page was deactivated on Facebook for having images of the DASPU (clothing line created by Gabriela Leite) performace that was held in honor of Gabriela Leite. The politics of censorship is manifesting itself everywhere against the liberty and desire to think and live differently. With the advancement of censorship and other arbitrary forms of violence, a multitude of “invisible lives” is being produced, whose legal and political status finds itself suspended. This is how power interacts with whores, drug users, and protestors. The limits of what can appear, be said, or been shown in a performance of bodies in protest is rapidly denounced, removed, violated. What they seek is to exclude whatever possibility of citizenship, of practices of public occupation, or bodies that resist, desires that manifest themselves viscerally in defense of a legitimate space of protest and public debate, free from intimidation, aggression or whatever other form of violence present in our society today. DASPU is in and of itself a protest, resistance, political action. Denouncing us does not weaken us, on the contrary, we are even stronger to react. It was this way that we started 9 years ago, protesting against the reduction of legitimate spaces for our battles, vigilance and normatization of our bodies, and this is how we’ll continue. It is a job of resistance that uses the forces against us in our favor, and the catwalk as a battleground for the political rights of the prostitutes!” – Elaine Bortolanza, Dasputinha and Vice-President of Davida

 

“I just found out that the DASPU profile page was taken off the air due to the photos of the performace that happened during the fashion show in honor of Gabriela Leite. I feel disrespected, silenced, imprisioned….these are the “new times”? Times when an artist cannot express their art because it contains nudity? Since when is nudity pornography? Ahhhh, of course, because it isn’t carnaval, it isn’t BBB, it isn’t the soap opera at 8….it is ART! PQP IT IS ART! Shameless, people who are naked in favor of ART!

This is CENSORSHIP, CENSORSHIP, CENSORSHIP….

 And now I talk directly to the moralists, to whom they definitely felt affected by so much beauty, naturalness, love, attitude, and ART. On my behalf, I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU, and it is not due to that that I am going to miss the chance to scream what I feel, what I believe and who I am. Kisses for you…, Paula Vill Nova, Multimedia artist and creator of the collection of Wearable Arte in honor of Gabriela Leite, and creator of the performance CENSORED by Facebook

 “We continue strong, we are who made history, that these that will passby, se continue with the whores, the liberty of express and of art, being naken, making love and sex, playing, making our presence with politics, eroticism, beauty and poetry, with our bodies overflowing with affect and orgasm, we will go wherever we want, and even here [on Facebook] we will continue to insist and disturb. Gabriela, present!” – Flavio Lenz, Journalist, Editor of Beijo da Rua, Co-founder of DASPU and Executive Secretary of Davida

“The first rehearsal for all of us is to “make a nude”. We are all makers of nudes, everyday, in all Carnavals, at home, at maternities, on the street, and churches. With varying urges and varying needs. Alone or accompanied.  Nudes, varios and distinct, nudes dressed and redressed by the eyes that look and look away. Seen by the eyes that see. Look at that. Look again. Envy? In the land of Facebook, who has eyes is…? There, an associated term, without a scale, nudity and pornography and investing in powers and anonymous voyeurs that clicks and denounces what they think is illegal, immoral or…caloric. In this case, the pleasure of others. The pleasure of being and making politics and parties with want, with desire, with courage without masks and viels, with faces towards the flashes (and there were a lot of them!) and other faces, other people, other smiles, many orgasms. In this episode of castration and censorship of the happiness of a Being that Can Be, cowardness – hypocrisy’s orgasm – was installed. This is the greatest obscenity”.  Soraya Simões, President of Davida, Coordinator of the Prostitution Observatory at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Confer and share the images photographer took of the fashion show Flavia Viana here:

 

 

 

 

Monica Jones says “come out in force on April 11” (interview with A Kiss for Gabriela)

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Monica Jones is an Arizona based human rights defender who was wrongfully arrested by a rights violating police operation known as Project ROSE. Monica has always fought for the rights of her community, pressuring for gender neutral bathrooms at Phoenix College and vocally opposing SB 1062–a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against any group including LGBT people for any religious reason–at the Phoenix Capitol building. Yesterday, Monica went to court for her trial supported by organizations in Phoenix, across the United States, in many other countries and by activists at the United Nations. Here is her first interview since her trial was unexpectedly postponed. In this exclusive interview by Penelope Saunders for A Kiss for Gabriela, Monica shares about her ongoing campaign and what was learned in room 706 at Phoenix Municipal Court yesterday.

A Kiss for Gabriela: Yesterday on March 14, 2014 your court case was postponed. Can you tell us what happened?

Monica Jones: What happened was that a whole lot of people came out in support of the campaign but the trial itself was postponed because my attorney submitted a defense counsel motion to give me grounds for an appeal. Yesterday, the prosecutors said that they needed fourteen days to look over the document. The document is a constitutional challenge on free speech and due process grounds to the section in the Phoenix City Code that refers to “manifestation of an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution.” I am really, really happy that this has been filed because if I should be found guilty and we need to take this case to appeal, the constitutional challenge is a validation of my rights as a transgender woman and human rights defender who was arrested under a law that allows the police to profile people of color, transgender women and sex workers. The ACLU of Phoenix is assisting with my defense on these issues. As a transgender woman, the way I dress and the fact that I am in public space should not be grounds for harassment and profiling.

A Kiss: What next for your campaign?
Monica: When I first heard yesterday that the trial was to be postponed until April 11, I was kind of bummed out, thinking about the money we spent on prep work and the money we spent on getting ready for this case! Then I realized that so many people had come out in support and that they would want to support again. So I believe that twice as many people will come out to support on April 11. We will have to do some more fundraising so that I can have my team with me including my friend the documentary filmmaker PJ Starr, we need to get some more t-shirts made and so much more.

I think the prosecutors are kind of nervous because of the number of people who were in the court room yesterday to check out what was going on with the case and to observe. Workers from the court were approaching the crowd of supporters and saying that they had never seen anything like this. Everyone wanted to buy a t-shirt, the whole court building was a-buzz with what was happening at the “Monica Jones trial.” So perhaps the prosecutors are trying to throw a wrench in this because they are worried about everything coming together in this rights struggle. The prosecutor is feeling a lot of pressure with the ACLU and other legal advocates getting involved.

This is something different for the legal system in Phoenix. In a case like this relating to a charge of “manifestation” or any other prostitution related charge, from the prosecution’s point of view its supposed to be a simple in and out of the court. What normally happens is that there is the defendant, a public defender, the prosecutor and the judge and the defendant is rushed through, signs some papers and pleads guilty because they have no real option for justice. So people are forced through the system with no one to help them. It’s a dirty little secret of what is happening to so many people under these laws and my ongoing case is bringing to light this injustice.

So here is the most important thing I have to say to everyone out there who wants to know how I feel after my trial being postponed and how we will keep on. I thank you so much for all we have done so far. And just keep on with the same amount of energy, they want our activism to die down so they can do whatever they want. If we come out in force on April 11 we will show them that we are not a movement that after a time will die down. This is my message to all of you reading this. We want to keep this movement around the case going, share this with your friends and don’t give up!

A Kiss: How does having this campaign around your case make you feel personally? It must be a lot of pressure to be in the public eye so much.

Monica: I have been doing what I need to do to keep myself strong and to be prepared. But it’s challenging to speak to the media as much as I have been, I feel like I need a publicist to help me prepare for all this. Before the next April 11 court date, I’ll be getting some additional support in this regard, but I still need more support.

Having said that, something that has been very important in supporting me already has been the number of people coming out and standing with me. Yesterday, the court room was filled with supporters and people from the ACLU. At first we were all quiet and a little tense while we waited with no prosecutors, no judge and no court staff present. After a while we started to relax. We were doing selfies in court. It was a great atmosphere, we all started communicating, the coming together was about a lot more than just my case.

A Kiss: What does the trajectory of your case mean for the future of Project ROSE?

Monica: What is most important here is that the policing practices that Project ROSE relies on are now in the spotlight. An international spotlight is on this situation. But whatever the future of Project ROSE, my activism does not end should Project ROSE end. I just heard that police arrested more than 40 people in Phoenix for prostitution last night. I don’t have all the details yet but these ongoing arrests show that we have so much more to do to end the criminalization and incarceration of people due to the policing of victimless crimes. I won’t give up until all of this is ended.

Monica Jones sits with supporters in court room, March 2014. Photo by PJ Starr.
Monica Jones sits with supporters in court room, March 2014. Photo by PJ Starr.

Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk

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Meandering through the chapters of Melinda “Mindy” Chateauvert’s new publication Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk (Beacon Press, 2014) makes us wish for a television network—the Whorestory Channel perhaps—dedicated to documentaries about the myriad of revolutionary acts of resistance she has uncovered.SexWorkersUnite

Patrons at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco—many of them sex workers and transgender folk unwinding after the night’s work—fend off a police raid using their high-heeled shoes, plates and anything else they can lay their hands on… three years before Stonewall.

A group of “harlots bearing signs that said, ‘Whore Power’ and ‘Sluts Unite’” parade back and forth in a courtyard in full view of conservative law professors at the University of Chicago… its 1993 and Scarlot Harlot and the Sex Worker Action Coalition are challenging being banned from a conference organized by Catherine MacKinnon and co.

Audrey, Becca, Carla, Diane, Eve, Fiona, Georgia, Hikoke, and Ian—African American women and transgender people forced to register as “sex offenders” after being convicted for “crimes against nature by solicitation” in New Orleans— sue the Louisiana Governor and quickly win their case to have their names removed from the list and have their records expunged. Over 500 of their colleagues are also freed from the registry requirement because of their resistance.

Readers will learn a great deal about contemporary sex workers rights organizing in the United States (and a little bit about Canada) by exploring this book. Dr Mindy Chateauvert hopes that the stories in this volume, “lay to rest the old tired stereotypes about prostitutes, and [cause readers to] recognize sex workers’ long fight for rights, respect and justice.”

Dr Chateauvert writes from a feminist perspective, the kind of feminism that unflinchingly documents the collusion of “straight” women (that is women who are—or hope to portray themselves as—“good women” without histories in the sex trade) with agents of oppression. “’Straight women’ participated in the policing of streetwalkers, aggressively displaying their disapproval, at least when in the company of a man… some intolerant women would comment loudly, ‘How disgusting’ or ‘dirty bitch’ when walking past,” notes Dr Chateauvert as she analyzes crack downs on street work in NYC in the early 1970s. Sex workers–always resisting–were reported to respond with cries of, “At least I don’t give it away!” and “Where do you think he goes after he takes you home?” Chateauvert’s work blasts away at the notion that “sisterhood”, alliances between women simply because they are women, easily emerges because of presumed “shared” experiences of gender-based oppression. Rather, if there are any alliances to be forged at all, these must be earned through a thorough and critical examination of the intersectionality of race, class, whorephobia and xenophobia, and its impact on whose voices are considered legitimate and whose voices are stigmatized and silenced.

To this end Chateauvert follows the historical trial back to a 1971 feminist “Conference on Prostitution” in NYC organized by Kate Millet, where participants “confused sexual coercion with sex work because they knew only the metaphor of prostitution.” The conference plenary entitled “The Elimination of Prostitution”, dissolved into chaos when a small contingent of actual prostitutes voiced their opinions, rejecting the feminists’ plans to rehabilitate them. This recollection reminds us that middle class, privileged women had long before 1971 felt that they know best for their “sisters” (the “fallen women”) and that many continue to believe this until today. Chateauvert sums it up writing, “it was one of those moments that would happen again (and again) in the feminist movement.” This story sets in train an important theme in the book to which Chateauvert returns frequently with good effect.

Sex Workers Unite is strongest when uncovering the history of women and transgender women in pursuit of sex workers rights, and includes new material about the history of COYOTE and updates our understanding of sex worker rights organizing with materials from New Orleans and other parts of the US. The history of men and transmen in sex work is not elucidated in much detail, and some areas of sex worker rights organizing such as the emergence of groups like the Desiree Alliance and the role of immigrant sex worker rights organizers also await deeper coverage.

A conversation with @whorestorian Mindy Chateauvert will be hosted by the ALCU in Washington DC, Wednesday, March 12, 2014 (Noon – 1:30 pm at the ACLU Legislative Office. 915 15th Street, NW, 8th Floor). RSVP required.

A Tribute to Women Activists

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As a tribute to women activists globally and their fights, we are sharing one more of the video extras from the documentary in which the woman who changed activism in Brazil  talks about what it means to be a prostitute activist and fight against the stigma that continues to exist even among activists.


YouTube

Long live Gabriela’s clarity, courage, intelligence, charisma, elegance and force!

March is for Sex Worker rights!

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March 3rd is International Sex Worker Rights Day. The day has its origins in incredible activism for rights in South Asia. In 2001 over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival organized by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (or DMSC), a Calcutta based group whose membership consists of 65,000 sex workers. As a result of this convening and with a desire to acknowledge the collective power of sex workers’ communities, the DMSC proposed that sex workers of all genders and their allies observe March 3rd as “Sex Workers Rights Day.” Since the early 2000s sex workers around the world have celebrated International Sex Worker Rights Day with cultural events, public demonstrations, community pot lucks, and the release of reports about rights.

A KISS FOR GABRIELA has been included in events honoring March 3rd and Women’s Herstory Month. Last night A KISS FOR GABRIELA was screened by SWOP-Chicago as part of an event honoring sex worker activism all around the world and today at 2 pm the City University of New York will show the film as a Spring 2014 Women’s HerStory Month event (for more information, please send an email to jukim@bmcc.cuny.edu). This Friday March 7th at 7 pm Holding Our Own (the women’s foundation of New York State’s Capital Region) will host a screening and a thought-provoking, open discussion about sex worker activism. The event will be held at The Women’s Building, 373 Central Avenue, Albany, NY.

This month A KISS FOR GABRIELA is joining organizations calling for US-wide and international action  on March 14, 2014 to support Monica Jones’ campaign for the rights of transgender people and sex workers. Monica Jones, a human rights defender in Arizona and an advocate for the rights of transgender people and sex workers, was profiled and wrongfully arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” by a police sting operation and anti-prostitution diversion program known as “Project ROSE”. On March 14 at 8.30 am US MST Monica’s case will go to trial at Phoenix Municipal Court. Simultaneously on March 14, two sex worker rights advocates will be at the United Nations in Geneva to bring international attention to Monica’s trial and the ongoing human rights violations occurring in Phoenix and across the United States. Members of the Kiss for Gabriela team will be at the court in Phoenix on March 14 to bring you the latest updates.

DAVIDA’s response to President Dilma’s affirmation on Twitter that “Brazil is ready to combat sex tourism”

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This week yet another example of the moral panic sweeping Brazilian politics emerged, sparked by two t-shirts released by ADIDAS for the World Cup that were understood be be offensive due to their sexual content.  Brazilian officials, including the President, made links between the t-shirts and sex tourism and sexual exploitation,  affirming that the t-shirts were promoting both. In the article in Brazilian press, the president of the Brazilian tourist board for example affirmed that, “..we don’t accept sex tourism. Of course people can have relationships during the World Cup, but we don’t want them to be commercialized”.

DAVIDA  responded by strongly defending the right of sex workers to work during the World Cup, and calling attention to the fact that sex tourism is not illegal, different from the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.  Following is DAVIDA’s statement to Globo, Brazil’s largest media company and primary newspaper in Rio de Janeiro, part of which was published in the newspaper’s blog here:

“President Dilma Roussef reaffirmed in her Twitter the important determination of the Brazilian government to act in the “prevention of the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in #Carnaval and #CopaDasCopas. Yet by writing that Brazil is “ready to combat sex tourism”, she contributes to a confusion, given that sexually exploiting children and adolescents is a crime, be it in Brazil or the exterior, whereas “sex tourism” does not even exist in the Brazilian legislation. Adult women and men that offer sexual services can attend to Brazilians or foreigners, without this constituting any type of crime, on either one’s part. In this context of megaevents in which a moral panic appears to be being disseminated, it is also important that the liberty and individual rights of all segments of the population be preserved, including adult sex workers.”

DAVIDA – Prostitution, Civil Rights, Health

02/25/2014

T-shirt produced by Adidas.

T-shirt produced by Adidas that offended Brazilian government.

Adidas t shirt 2

Second t-shirt produced by Adidas that provoked controversy in Brazil.

A Remarkable Victory! A conversation with Elya Durisin

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The KISS FOR GABRIELA team wanted to follow up with our friends in Canada to find out more about the impact of the recent court decision that lead to the decriminalization of sex work. Author, advocate and NSWP board member  Elya Durisin agreed to share her thoughts with us. Elya became involved with the sex workers’ movement in Canada when she moved to Toronto, Ontario, in 2006 by joining Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action project, an organization she continues to be involved with. Elya notes that she, “was very fortunate to have met and been supported by others in the movement with extensive histories of activism, as well as to live in a location, in Toronto and close to Montreal, with a long and rich history of involvement sex workers’ movement.”

A Kiss for Gabriela: At the end of 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling struck the entirety of Canada’s prostitution laws from the books. Can you explain to our readers more about what this decision means for sex workers in Canada? 

Elya: Prostitution itself was not illegal in Canada as it is in many other places, however nearly all the activities surrounding prostitution and most other forms of sex work were criminalized. On December 20th, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three key provisions of the prostitution laws as unconstitutional, including communicating for the purpose of prostitution, living on the avails of prostitution, and keeping a common bawdy house. A short summary of the case is available at here at Pivot Legal’s website and a link at Stella (a sex worker rights organization in Montreal) provides more detailed information. The decision in Bedford v Canada was a monumental achievement that involved decades of largely unrecognized activism on the part of sex workers; this is a remarkable victory! The decision has been stayed for one year to give the Government time to draft new legislation, and it’s uncertain what will happen at that time. However, the decision nevertheless represents an important opportunity for sex workers to work in safer conditions and to continue organizing for human and labour rights, activities that would be made easier and more supported under decriminalization.

A Kiss for Gabriela: Now that this legal change has occurred, what are the upcoming issues Canadian activists will be focusing on? 

 Elya: Well, as others have said, this is when the real work begins! While sex workers are thrilled with the Court decision, I think many in the sex workers’ rights movement are also aware that there may be more challenges ahead. Not surprisingly, there has been discussion about the Nordic or End-Demand model among certain women’s organizations and politicians, and activists in Canada have identified a need to address this and educate those in policy-making positions. Many people are also not aware that some forms of sex work, such as exotic dance, escort, and massage, are also licensed and regulated at the municipal level. The decision may also open up possibilities for increased regulation of sex work in addition to what we already have, which in many cases is not supportive of sex workers’ rights. Some sex workers have started to engage with municipal politicians and to form alternative versions of municipal licensing schemes that better meet sex workers’ needs.

A Kiss for Gabriela: We recently found out that you are one of the editors of a new and exciting book called “Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy, and Research on Sex Work in Canada.” Can you share with us how the book was developed and the kind of impact you hope it will have? 

Elya: The other editors and myself were aware of all the amazing work so many people were doing in the movement, sex workers, community organizers, academic allies and others. We also knew that a lot of what has been written about sex work in Canada didn’t capture the breadth or dynamism of what was happening. It disappoints me that many writers and researchers don’t even seem to be aware that there is a sex worker community, and that sex workers are politically active and engaged. We wanted to address this by creating a collection highlighting the work of many of the formidable individuals we know, foregrounded of course in the experiences of sex workers. My hope for the book is that it can educate others about the realities and issues facing sex workers at this critical moment of change.

IN NYC: the Selling Sex Book Launch, Discussion, and Fundraiser for HOOK! will be held Sunday February 23, 3-5pm @ Otto’s Bar, 1538 East 14th St – Manhattan (between Avenue A & Avenue B).

[Elya has provided A KISS FOR GABRIELA with a copy of the book and we will post our review as soon as we can.]

 

Scholarships deadline for the International AIDS Conference

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An update from our friends at the Best Practices Policy Project, posted here with their permission. We are also pleased to confirm that a film clip about Gabriela Leite will be shown at the proposed mini-film festival–Not Your Rescue Project: dispatches from the sex worker health rights revolution on film–in the Sex Worker Networking Zone at the IAC Global Village.

Dear Defenders of the Rights of Sex Workers,

The Best Practices Policy Project is writing to remind you that the deadline for scholarship applications to attend the International AIDS Conference is tomorrow February 13, 2014.

We have written about how to apply here in English  y aqui en espanol.

Please keep in mind that in order to apply for a scholarship you will need a letter of recommendation from someone. Over the years we at BPPP have learned that a letter can be from anyone in the community who knows your work, your dedication to working on HIV/AIDS issues and can support your application in writing. Please do not see this as a barrier to applying, reach out to people you know, to the sex worker networks and you will find help to apply!

We are so looking forward to meeting up with people in Australia. Activists from the United States have applied to have a booth (the US Sex workers United! Booth), to host a mini-film festival (Not Your Rescue Project: dispatches from the sex worker health rights revolution on film), to present about harm reduction and health, and to present about how we “hold the US accountable for sex worker rights”. Arizona human rights defender Ms Monica Jones has proposed an exciting “sex worker rights scavenger hunt” that will guide people through the Sex Worker Networking Zone to win special prizes. We have also heard rumors of a DASPU t-shirt fashion show…

Best of luck with your applications,
BPPP