um beijo para gabriela


A Kiss for Gabriela now available to watch online!

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We are very happy to share that A Kiss for Gabriela is now available to watch online! If you’d like a copy of the DVD with all of the extras (many also available on our YouTube channel), please just send us an email.

Enjoy the film! <3

Daspu Fashion Show at #OccupaMinc to mark Puta Dei

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Puta Dei – Brazil’s celebration of International Sex Workers’ Rights Day started first in Belém de Pará by GEMPAC in 2012 and currently celebrated by sex worker rights organizations throughout Brazil – illuminated the #OccupaMincRJ on July 2, 2016.

#OccupaMincRJ is a cultural space of resistance against the coup and Temer government in Brazil. The evening, called, Fashion Rua (Street Fashion) was organized by Davida/Daspu, Transrevolução, the Prostitution Policy Watch and SlutWalk Rio featuring Daspu, Emporium by Almir França and models from the Casa Nem, a house, cultural and educational center of resistance for travesti and trans population in Rio de Janeiro. Sex workers, allies, and activists from a variety of social movements rocked the catwalk and fashion show that ended in a powerful speech by Indianara Siqueira, president of Transrevolução and the force behind the Casa Nem. Live the event a little bit though the photos and video here!

Indianara Siqueira

Indianara Siqueira gives a powerful speech at the end of the fashion show against the coup and for puta rights.

Naomi Savage

Naomi Savage with a red umbrella on the catwalk.

Rafaela Firmo

Rafaela Firmo in a t-shirt honoring Gabriela Leite.


Welldonna Mirifica in make-up.


Izabella Diaz works it on the catwalk.

Production: Daspu Davida, Casa Nem , Empório Almir França and the Prostitution Policy Watch in partnership with #OcupaMincRJ and Marcha das Vadias Rio de Janeiro
Direction and Production: Guilherme Alef e Laura Murray
Creative Direction: Almir França | Elaine Bortolanza
Production Assistants: Roxana Rodriguez Mayen e Pedro Lopes
Technical Coordinator: Lourinelson Vladmir
Collection Zonas de promiscuidade: Daspu in partnership with Ale Marques and Marcita Amores, from the fashion line  À dor amores
T-shirts: Daspu with designs from Laerte Coutinho
Empório Collection: Almir França
Collection Daspu em Exibição by Paula Villa Nova
Make-up: Denilson Vieira and Luanne Garcia
Hair: Anderson Ramalho Ramos
Soundtrack: Dj Dolores
Photos on this blog: Soraya S. Simões and#OcupaMincRJ /Mídia Ninja






Besos for Gabriela from PLAPERTS

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These AMAZING kisses were sent to us from equally amazing Latin American sex worker activists at the 2014 PLAPERTS (Latin American Platform of Sex Workers) meeting that had as its theme, “Con los sueños de Gabriela” (With Gabriela’s Dreams).  The kisses were given to us at the Observatório da Prostituição‘s course, “A Particular Revolution: The History of the Sex Worker Movement in Brazil” in November of 2015 (more about this soon!), by Betania Santos, sex worker activist and president of the organization, Mulheres Guerreiras. There are some of the most beautiful kisses we’ve ever received – muchissimas gracias!!!
Beijos para Gabriela_Ecuador
Beijos para Gabriela_Ecuador_2

Beijos para Gabriela_Ecuador_3


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The human rights record of the United States will be reviewed next Monday May 11, 2015 as part of the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Derek Demeri and Monica Jones are reporting that their advocacy this week at the United Nations in Geneva is creating awareness amongst UN member states of the need to make a recommendation pertaining to sex worker rights during the UPR. “The issues that States are most interested in during our meetings are the impact of criminalization of sex work on HIV/AIDS and the ways that the laws affect both transgender people and sex workers,” explained Derek who represents the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, adding that, “there is a chance that a new recommendation will be made to the United States that will help us in defending the health and rights of sex workers in the long term.”

Globally recognized transgender rights advocate Monica Jones has returned to the United Nations after her trip in March earlier this year to continue advocating with delegations. She is using her well-established social media network to rally advocates globally to assist US sex worker rights representatives at this crucial time. Addressing her colleagues in Australia and New Zealand on FB she wrote,  “sex workers in the USA need your help! Please call your government and ask them to give the United States of America a recommendation to end the violence and stigmatization of sex workers. Sex work is work, we should have the same protection as anybody who has a job!”

The Universal Periodic Review of the United States will be livecast from the UN from 9 am to 12.30pm (CEST/GENEVA TIME) on Monday May 11. This is 12/midnight to 3 am Pacific Time in the United States and 3 am to 6 am Eastern. More information about the history of sex worker rights organizing during the UPR is available at the Best Practices Policy Project, highlighting the work of the Desiree Alliance, SWOP-NYC and the many other groups nationwide involved in this effort.



This Tuesday! A Kiss for Gabriela at Purdue University with SWOP-Chicago!

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A Media Revolution: a convo with Rachel Aimee of $pread

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Rachel Aimee, co-founder and former editor of $pread magazine, took a pause from organizing the March 3rd release party for the forthcoming anthology $pread: The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex Industry and Started a Media Revolution to speak to A KISS FOR GABRIELA about the book and its history. Rachel Aimee is one of the editors of the new book along with Eliyanna Kaiser and Audacia Ray. We are looking forward to getting our copy, please stay tuned for our review.

A Kiss For Gabi: Congratulations on the new $pread Anthology. What is $pread and what does it stand for?

Rachel: Thank you! $pread was a magazine by and for sex workers and allies that was published quarterly between 2005 and 2011. We founded $pread theNewAnthologybecause we were tired of seeing sex workers stereotyped and stigmatized in the media and we wanted to create a space for sex worker to speak for themselves. When we started $pread in 2005 most of the writing that was out there by sex workers was academic – we wanted to create something more accessible, which is why we decided on a magazine format. We were amazed by the outpouring of support from the sex worker community – in the form of submissions, subscriptions, and people showing up to our events – and it became clear to us how much sex workers needed a media platform and a sense of community. Although none of us had any publishing experience or funding we managed to launch the first issue in March 2005 and publish it four times a year for the next six years. To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of $pread’s first issue we’re releasing a best-of anthology, $pread: The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex Industry and Started a Media Revolution, published by Feminist Press.

A Kiss For Gabi: Can you tell us more about what readers will find in the publication?

Rachel: The book starts with an introduction telling, for the first time, the history of $pread magazine and contextualizing it within the sex worker rights movement at the time. As well as funny anecdotes about our misadventures in the world of independent publishing, we also talk about $pread’s relationship with feminists, anarchists, and the LGBTQ community, as well as examining some of our challenges and failings, such as not making room in the magazine’s leadership and pages for the voices of sex worker of color, transgender sex workers, men in the sex industry, street-based sex workers, and sex workers with kids. We also talk about $pread’s role in contributing to the current media landscape in which sex workers are speaking out and creating their own media on a huge scale.

The pieces we selected to include in the anthology are divided into seven categories: Workplace, Labor, Family and Relationships, Clients, Violence, Resistance, and Media and Culture. Some of my favorite pieces are Mona Salim’s ‘Stripping While Brown,’ which includes some hilarious and disturbing anecdotes about the ways that race impacts her interactions with customers and other dancers as one of the few South Asian women working in a strip club in New York; ‘I Have Nothing to Say,’ Lynne Tansey’s raw and powerful story about the time she had to kill a client in self-defense; and ‘Fucking the Movement,’ an Indecent Proposal (a regular $pread column) by an escort named Eve Ryder’s about a client who wanted her to dress as an anarchist protester, which includes the line “Bad protester, you smashed the Starbucks!”

Although $pread was made in New York, we tried to include as much international coverage as we could, and the book reflects that, including pieces about migrant sex workers in Mumbai, the impact of the 2005 Tsunami on sex workers in Thailand, and an interview with the founder of Casa Xochiquetzal, a retirement home for older sex workers in Mexico City.

A Kiss For Gabi: How was the publication produced and what lessons have you learned for others in the community wishing to publish and/or get their work out?

Rachel: Don’t publish a print magazine! Magazines are expensive to print and heavy to cart around the city and up and down subway steps, they take up all the space in your office, and you will spend your whole life at the post office – or the bulk mail office, which is way worse than the post office, believe me!

These days sex workers are blogging, Tweeting, and creating community online, but back when $pread got started that wasn’t the case. We got into publishing right on the cusp of the transition from print to online – we felt it was important to create a physical magazine that we could hand out in strip clubs and dungeons and at outreach organizations. And at that time it wasn’t the case that everyone was online in the way that they are now. But looking back it would’ve been a lot easier if we’d decided to do an online magazine instead!

Also: I kind of love that we decided to start a magazine and just did it, despite the fact that we had no experience or money and really no idea what we were getting into. But I also think this contributed to the staff and magazine not really being representative of sex workers from a variety of backgrounds. The magazine was founded by three white, cisgender, college-educated women and we recruited staff in the way that was easiest for us, which meant mostly from our own social networks, so this perpetuated the bias in our staff and leadership.

Part of the problem was that we didn’t really prioritize diversity in the magazine’s staff and leadership, but another part was that, because we had no funding and couldn’t pay our staff, the people who could afford to volunteer, especially in the extremely time-consuming leadership roles, were those with more privilege. It was like, ‘if you have time to do this, you’re doing it.’ If we had planned a bit more before jumping into launching the magazine, we might have been able to get funding to pay staff, and I think that would have helped us to reach beyond the people we knew who had time to volunteer.

A Kiss For Gabi: How can people keep in touch with the work of $pread in the future?

Rachel: Come to our NYC launch party next Tuesday March 3! It’s also the opening night of our art show, Spark to a Flame, which celebrates the artists of $pread, including Molly Crabapple, Fly, Hawk Kinkaid, and Cristy C. Road, as well as others inspired by the magazine. We’ll be screening the film WHORELOGIC by PJ Starr and The Incredible Edible Akynos, as well as video art by Xandra Ibarra and Morgan Page. And some of the book’s contributors will be reading and talking about their pieces in the anthology, including former $pread editor Brendan Michael Conner talking about youth in the sex trade, Marisa Brigati talking about Casa Xochiquetzal, a retirement home for older sex workers in Mexico City, and Syd V. reading her piece ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ about growing up with a mother who was a sex worker. Tickets are $20 and include a free copy of the book.

Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep updated about launch events we have planned in other cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Oakland, and possibly Brown University.

And if you miss the book launch and art show opening on Tuesday, the Spark to a Flame art show will be on display at Dixon Place through March 22 and you can find out more about the show on our Tumblr.


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Screenshot 2015-02-24 13.53.33Writer, performer, philosopher and community organizer, The Incredible, Edible Akynos has long been challenging conservative views on sexuality and deconstructing racism and slut-shaming. We’ve attended some of her energetic programing at WOW cafe in New York City and had our minds blown. We want to share with the Kiss for Gabi community about these amazing new shows, and we want to shout all this from the rooftops too, but it is cold out there in New York City… snap up tickets to some of Akynos forthcoming shows so you can feel all warm inside.

A Kiss for GabiRecently you’ve begun a new series of performances at WOW Cafe, THICK and Dark, Nude Storytellers. What was the impetus for these new shows?

Akynos: These shows were needed in the community. Bigger body types feeling as if they are ostracized by the performance community because they don’t fit beauty ideals. Not being given a chance to shine on stage because you are fat. Or not being allowed to show your talents because promoters, producers or venues think this is not what their audiences want to see. That’s how THICK was formed. I don’t have a flat stomach, but that doesn’t mean I’m not talented or beautiful. Storytellers was important for me to start as my education in school and after graduating has taught me (now that I’m paying far more attention to Black history) that the stories of Black bodies and other people of color have been rewritten to suit the sadistic and narcissistic mentality of our conquerors. Western history books and things we see in the media will have us believing that we are just blips on this planet. No history, no involvement, just here taking up space. In fact our history is so strong, deep and great, and part of that history was through oral tradition. No one should write or tell our stories, only us. So if viewers want to hear history in all it’s honesty, no fluff, learn from those who are living it, then they come to Dark. Nude. Storytellers.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 14.13.40

A Kiss for GabiWhat can audiences expect when they come to the shows?

Akynos: Audiences can expect to be entertained. They can expect to see what they didn’t think they wanted to see. And fill a void they didn’t think they had.

A Kiss for Gabi: Have the shows been inspiring any media coverage of the issues you are concerned about? Or social media? Or new conversations?

Akynos: Storytellers, in particular, is often inspired by current media coverages on different issues, like the Bill Cosby fiasco, and then giving our thoughts and experiences on the matter. If you follow me on social media, you know I am no stranger to drama happening on my posts.  This especially happens when my posts take a very aggressive stance on issues surrounding sexism, rape culture and racism. People always get bent out of shape about that. Then I say to myself let’s put this in a reading, and we bring it to the stage. THICK is all about the talent. We showcase different acts every month, paying homage to the beauty style and talents of the size misfits. With these shows I am hoping to change the dialogue around race and size, because they intersect. I think, if even on a minor scale, people are talking about it. Unfortunately the buzz needs to pick up a little more pace.

A Kiss for Gabi: How else can people support your creative efforts?

Akynos: Come to the shows! All of them! And tell all your people about it. Support live entertainment. If it’s not supported it won’t be around for us to take advantage of. The next show I am producing is Darkie: Black Aesthetics and includes ripe and irreverent acts exploring the influence Black and Brown bodies have had on our culture. We will have three performances only at the WOW Cafe Theatre, Friday, February 27 at 8:30pm, Saturday, February 28 at 8:30pm and Sunday, March 1 at 3pm and we highly recommend getting advance tickets.

My other shows continue each month. The next Dark.Nude.Storytellers. is planned for the evening of Sunday March 1. Follow me on social media to find out more about the next THICK performance.

Sex, Love and Money In Cambodia (book review)

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Today is December 17. Globally sex workers, allies of sex workers, and organizations of sex workers are calling for an end to violence. December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Today sex workers challenge the notion that the violence committed against them and their communities is acceptable. They also challenge notion that to engage in commercial sex is a form of violence in and of itself. They resist the imposition of simplistic frameworks and “victimization” of those who do not yet accept that sex work is work.2014-12-17 11.59.31

Heidi Hoefinger’s “intimate” ethnographic study of “professional girlfriends” in Cambodia is the kind of book we need to read today in this spirit. Recently released in paperback edition in 2014, Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia is the author’s meditation on the steps students and scholars can take to respectfully engage with “the other.” (And who is more othered by American and European scholars/policy makers/pundits than South East Asian women engaging in what at first glance could be simplistically described as prostitution?) “I have adopted an ethical stance to take up [research] participants’ concerns, problems, desires and expectations as seriously as I take my own,” writes Hoefinger, who is also a member of the advocacy group SWOP-NYC and who has a long history of engaging in sex worker rights organizing, “to interrupt global discourse by channelling voices which are otherwise passed over and ignored.” The global discourse she seeks to unsettle includes misguided “anti-trafficking measures” promulgated by New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristoff who Hoefinger notes live tweeted a brothel raid in Cambodia with (now deposed) trafficking icon Somaly Mam. In the region sex worker organizations, such as EMPOWER Thailand, have made it clear that the “trafficking discourse” itself is a source of real harm and violence noting that, “there are more women in the Thai sex industry who are being abused by anti-trafficking practices than there are women being exploited by traffickers.”

Hoefinger staunchly seeks ways for the “professional girlfriends” she befriends in Cambodia to tell their own stories and express their reality. These women are employed in the bars and clubs in touristy areas in the urban centers of the country. They do not see themselves as “sex workers.” Rather they negotiate a spectrum of “transactional sex” relying on one or more relationships as a means of livelihood, performing intimacy “whereby the professed feeling of love and dedication lie somewhere on a continuum between genuine and feigned, and where the meaning of the term ‘love,’ itself ranges from sexual, passionate and/or romantic, to caring, respectful and appreciative.” Hoefinger’s observations ring true. This sounds like real life. Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia reminds (and/or awakens) the reader to the idea that sex work–whether we want to speak about that as engagement in the sex trade, transactional sex, professional girlfriending, GFE, and even plain old prostitution–is at its core also about human relationships and human sexuality. No wonder that so many sex workers also consider themselves counselors and express pride in what they do. No surprise that in order to create “perfect victimhood” amongst sex workers, overly controlling social workers, the police and the saviors want to reduce the unruly lives of people into the sex trade to repress these discussions of love and desire.

As filmmakers, storytellers, and anthropologists we were impressed and intrigued by Heidi Hoefinger’s attempts to engage in new forms of ethnographic practice–the Global Girls Autobiography/E-literacy Project, brokering participation in an avant guard documentary–that were only partially successful, but enlightening all the same. Despite her reservations, the documentary film project (directed by an “eclectic French-Italian photographer), built trust and rapport. “In the end,” Hoefinger found, “the film project clarified precisely the concept of ‘intersubjective time’ which is central to my methodology and the project as a whole… the women were happy to be paid to do something artistic, and the small compensation I earned from facilitating the interviews was used to fund the expense of the Global Girls Project.”

Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia (Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Relationships) by Heidi Hoefinger is now available in paperback from Routledge. Signed copies available through



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Penny's invite

Next SATURDAY, December 20th, A KISS FOR GABRIELA is thrilled to support a finishing funds party to support the documentary NO HUMAN INVOLVED at the Maysles Institute and Cinema in Harlem. This is an incredibly important film by amazing activist and film maker, PJ Starr, about why incarcerating people under harsh anti-prostitution policies must end. Please come, celebrate all that has been accomplished so far, have a glass of wine, enjoy music by DJ Bent and learn about learn about the issues in Arizona why Marcia Powell (the focus of the film) was left to die in a cage in Perryville prison.

There is a suggested donation of $20 per person to contribute to the film, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Guests who contribute to the film by RSVPing with donation of $20 or more will be given a limited edition postcard based on original art work from Arizona and 1 free raffle ticket. Since NO HUMAN INVOLVED is a project fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies, so donations are also tax deductible.


MORE ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY: In 2009 after she was sentenced to more than two years in prison for prostitution, Marcia Powell was locked in a metal cage in the desert sun at an Arizona prison. Four hours later she collapsed in the 107-degree heat, and by day’s end she was dead after being removed from life support by the Department of Corrections. Even though an internal investigation revealed that guards had denied her water and ridiculed her when she pleaded for help, no one was ever charged. The documentary NO HUMAN INVOLVED investigates the circumstances of Marcia’s death, exposing the system that has lead to the death of scores of others in facilities across Arizona, and documents a movement that has formed seeking justice in her name.

A KISS FOR GABI SHOWING ON DEC 17 (Philly & Maryland)

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A KISS FOR GABRIELA is proud to support the following events on December 17 (the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers) and hopes to learn about more events coming up for that date.  SWOP-Philly plans a screening for Wednesday December 17, 6.30 to 9 pm at the William Way Community Center. Entrance to the event is by sliding scale donation and includes a buffet catered by “Brother on a Budget/#Iamhuman”.Flyer 12.17 Philly

SWOP MD will be showing a variety of films, including A KISS FOR GABRIELA and the trailer of NO HUMAN INVOLVED, on December 17 and the event will include a gallery of art work from around the country at the event location.