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

Remembering Gabriela

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Gabi foto Crossbones

This week marks one year since Gabriela left us physically. She is missed terribly everyday, but this week, and October 10th in particular, perhaps more than usual.

There are many ways to honor Gabriela. Using the word “puta”, fighting for sex worker rights, eating Ceratti Mortadela, using Chanel perfume, circulating her texts and videos, talking politics over beer in neighborhood bars, and perhaps most importantly, saying, standing by and fighting for what you believe.

Gabriela was political down to her daily acts, and this is what made her so amazing. And also someone who remains so present in our daily lives. She brought light, charisma and intelligence to any environment she graced, and it is this fierceness and beauty that is so missed, and so important to keep present.

This week to honor Gabriela, the documentary will be screening at the Mostra Internacional de Cinema, a film festival in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais. We are honored that the film will screen on opening night, on Thursday, October 9th and again, Friday October 10th. Laura will be present, and videos of Gabriela and the Beijo da rua produced in her honor will also be shared.

Crossbones gabi smallWe are also sharing photos from a recent event where we honored Gabriela at a beautiful ceremony at Cross Bones Graveyard in London.The cemetery dates back to the 16th century as a burial ground for prostitutes and the gates are a symbol of resistance and a fight for the rights of outcasts to be a fundamental part of urban landscapes. The Cross Bones graveyard is a cultural site connected to a group of amazing people who were responsible for it not being bulldozed as part of an urban revitalization project, and where vigils are held

Thaddeus Blanchette, John Constable and Laura Murray at the vigil.

Thaddeus Blanchette, John Constable and Laura Murray at the vigil.

at the gates on a monthly basis.

Laura and Thaddeus Blanchette, a Davida collaborator and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, were lucky enough to be in London in August to participate in the vigil. John Constable and other organizers honored Gabriela and opened up a space for us to celebrate her, even preparing and tying a photograph of her on the gates (above).

We spoke about her, collectively screamed “Viva Gabriela”, made some more noise, and tied a Daspu t-shirt and Beijo da rua cover (edition in honor of her) on the memorial gates of a cemetery. The Beijo da rua cover was designed by Sylvio Oliveira, an artist, journalist and long time partner of Davida. Sylvio is the person who gave Daspu its name and designed many of its collections, coming up with the most popular and brilliant t-shirt slogans like, “We’re bad, but we could be worse”. Sylvio passed away last month, so the Beijo da rua cover and placement on the memorial gates has even more meaning as a remembrance of both Sylvio and Gabriela.

It was beautiful ceremony, that appropriately ended with all of us taking a swig of whisky and pouring a ring of whisky on the ground around all the attendees. We believe that there is no better place for the puta that inspired all of us to be remembered and continually inspire resistance among those who visit the gates.

Viva Gabriela!!

crossbones close grade



PubIic Hearing on Niterói Case Confirms Illegal Actions and Egregious Police Abuses against Sex Workers

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“Everything was wrong, we just want to work, nothing else”.

(Summary of blog post written in Portuguese by Soraya Simões and Laura Murray posted on June 6th).

Photo: Soraya Simões

Photo: Soraya Simões

On June 4th, sex workers from Niteroi participated in a public hearing at the Rio de Janeiro state legislature regarding the rights violations and abuses committed by the police during the illegal police raid on May 23rd. The public hearing was organized by the Human Rights Commission and the Commission for the Defense of Women’s Rights, and presided over by two state legislators, Marcelo Freixo from the Human Rights Commission and Inês Pandeló from the Women’s Commission. The audience at the hearing brought together sex workers, activists from Davida and the Prostitution Observatory, lawyers, attorneys, public defenders, and legislative assistants. The audience did not include the representatives from the civil police force, nor the precincts involved in the abuses – although they were invited to participate and explain their actions.

The first person to speak was Joyce, a sex worker who worked and lives in the building. She spoke of the illegal warrants that were passed out prior to the raid on the 23rd and all of the violence, robbery and sexual abuses suffered by sex workers on the day of the raid. As she said, “everything was wrong, we just want to work, nothing else”. Joyce also emphasized that the women’s police precinct in Niterói, DEAM, refused to register her complaint against the police officers’ behavior and abuses, “The precinct chief said that they couldn’t interfere in the operations of the 76 (police precinct). So none of the women were able to register their complaints in the DEAM, she (the officer responsible) refused to do it”.

Indianara Siqueira, a sex worker and congressional assistant of Federal Deputy Jean Wyllys who has accompanied the case from the very beginning also spoke of the long series of rights violations that have occurred in the building over the past months. She emphasized that the, “violations continue. Women are without a place to life, without a place to work and their children are depending on the help of others”. She proceeded to read a list of questions that Federal Deputy Jean Wyllys demands be responded to by the police.

The public defender who took on the case, Clara Prazeres Bragança from the Women’s Rights Defense Nucleus of the Public Defenders Office, spoke next, affirming, “It is not clear what led to the prison for questioning, and more, in conditions that were not the best…we keep asking if it is the State that has to protect, or the State that protects under and idea of ending that which bothers it. And who does it bother pale face?… There was no need to take these women to the police precinct, if there had been Representative Freixo, I wouldn’t be here.”

Ms. Prazeres had been to the 76th police precinct and talked with the police officers responsible for what happened. She confirmed that “there was no legal motive, but perhaps in their head there was a moral motive…[a justification] which I sincerely disapprove.”

The lawyer from the Human Rights Committee of the Brazilian Lawyer’s Association (OAB) Gustavo Proença, lamented the continuation of the practice of “prison for questioning” , which violates all of the citizen’s rights yet unfortunately have become common practice of the police. He also added that the night before a meeting with building residents was held at the police precinct, and created a humiliating and hostile environment for the sex workers who attended, until being thrown out, along with the lawyers from the OAB present.

Representative Freixo was the last to speak, and he publicly lamented the absence and silence of the Rio de Janeiro State Social Work and Human Rights Secretariat (SEASDH) and of the women’s police precinct (DEAM). He also affirmed that the short response of the 76th Precinct to the Human Rights Commission questions sent did not justify the police action and their treatment of sex workers as criminals, rather than victims of a crime (were the police to follow their logic of investigating exploitation). He was especially upset that DEAM nor responded to the Commission’s letter nor appeared at the hearing.

Furthermore, the Human Rights Commission also investigated and found out that the Civil Defense (Defesa Civil) had never visited the building, in which case the allegation that the building was unstable or a danger, and needing to be partially condemned is unfounded and unjustifiable. Representative Freixo concluded that, “it was an absolutely disastrous and illegal procedure that violated an enormous quantity of fundamental rights of the people affected”. He closed announcing that they will schedule another public hearing later this month in which the police forces will be required to attend and respond for their actions, in addition to the Civil Defense who will also be invited to explain their actions, or non-action, in the building.

The hearing was very important because it confirmed the illegality of the police actions, the unacceptable and deplorable attitude of the DEAM in refusing to register the women’s complaints, the lack of structural evidence to justify the condemning of the apartments where the women work, and moral, rather than legal, motives behind the State’s action.


What to watch and do on International Whores Day (June 2, 2014)

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International Whores’ Day —also referred to as International Sex Workers’ Day–has been celebrated on June 2nd each year since 1976. The day honors all sex workers. The event commemorates the occupation of Église Saint-Nizier in Lyon by more than a hundred prostitutes on 2 June 1975 to draw attention to their situation. Given this history, many take the day as a moment to recognize that sex workers often face poor working conditions, and to consider how to make radical change.PutaCampaignJune2_2014 Each year in the spirit of Gabriela’s reclaiming of the word “puta,” A Kiss for Gabriela provides you with our suggestions about what to watch to honor the day and what you might do to support the whores, putas and sex workers in your community.

This year our film recommendation for your viewing pleasure is Somaly Uh Uh (Bad Rehab extended remix). Danceable yet incredibly powerful, this song and animated video is a five minute primer about the real issues for sex workers who are forced into rehabilitation centers in South East Asia- and the devastation wrought by the anti-trafficking “rescue industry.” At the end of May 2014, a leading luminary of the “rescue industry” Cambodia’s Somaly Mam resigned from the leadership of her non-profit organization which had profited handsomely while engaging in  very, very “bad rehabilitation” of sex workers, detaining them without food and medicine, and which had promoted bad policies that made life much harder for sex workers in the region. Melissa Gira in an excellent Op Ed that appeared in the NY Times on May 29 asks us to consider, what is the price of the “sex slave rescue fantasy” that Somaly peddled to wealthy liberals and conservatives alike, including Hollywood’s elite who stacked her fundaisers and threw cash into campaigns that undermine the freedom and rights of people in sex work. If you happen to rub shoulders with Susan Sarandon and Nicholas Kristoff, we recommend that your June 2 action be to dial their digits and ask them to now direct their support to one of the multitude of rights based organizations working for justice. They could take a heart from Laverne Cox’s beautiful and timely call to support Monica Jones during a gala event organized by GLAAD. You can be glamorous and do the right thing, here’s looking at all of you in Hollywood to change your ways this June 2, 2014.

Additionally this June 2 the “putas of Niteró” still need your support as they fight back to defend their work spaces, homes and safety as police converge to “clean up” their area as we approach the World Cup in Brazil. If you are in Rio de Janeiro, A Kiss for Gabriela recommends attending one of the many events organized for the “Mega Dia Internacional das Prostitutas” by DASPU and Davida. If you are not in Brazil today then please take a moment to tweet, write and raise awareness of the effects of policing in Niteroí. La luta continua!


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.


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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.



Andrew Hunter will be remembered

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On December 26, 2013 the President of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) Andrew Hunter died unexpectedly. Andrew was a founding member of the NSWP and the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Work Projects (APNSW). A gathering in Bangkok is planned to remember Andrew on January 18, 2014. Those who are unable to travel to Thailand are invited to donate towards the cost of the ceremony.

We at A KISS FOR GABRIELA knew Andrew for well over 15 years and saw him frequently at events in defense of the rights of sex workers. Laura had a chance to catch up with Andrew during the Sex Worker Freedom Festival in Kolkata in July 2012, an event organized as an alternative to the International AIDS Conference in Washington DC that sex workers, drug users and many trans people could not attend because of the US government’s irrational immigration restrictions. Andrew, always organizing and pushing for rights, noted during the festival at a press conference that sex workers were “extremely disappointed that [US government officials] refuse to revise their restrictions on sex workers and refuse to recognise that we are human beings with basic rights.” In September of 2013 in a piece published in Tits and Sass, Andrew recalled how sex workers and drug users were united at the Freedom Festival saying, “we invited INPUD to run sessions, and we made spaces for drug users who were banned entry to the US conference in DC to come to Kolkata, and it was really great. There was lots of learning on both sides.” In early 2012, Penelope spent a day holed up in an ice encrusted hotel in Montreux, Switzerland, with Andrew and numerous other sex worker rights advocates from around the globe as they worked to succinctly define key health and policy questions with some multilateral agencies. Andrew was absolutely clear that day as he was every other day of his life that global agencies are accountable to the people, the facts and the rights of sex workers.

In 2013 with the loss of both Gabriela Leite and Andrew Hunter, we are reminded that our leaders may only be with us for a short time, that the struggle for rights can take its toll, but that ultimately with our combined energy we will win justice. They would not expect us to do any less than that.

We have gathered some of the statements that moved us from folks all around the world who are remembering Andrew.

My chalice is lit in my quiet place this morning to honour his life. I shall miss him as a friend. We have lost a leader in the sex worker rights movement. My red umbrella is in fold. So I say hamba kahle now to a comrade. Rest in peace Andrew Hunter. NgoXolo amaQabane. Shane Petzer, founder of SWEAT, former coordinator of NSWP, December 26, 2013

The global AIDS movement has lost a great advocate and activist who was a phenomenal force of energy. Andrew was a courageous champion of sex worker-led HIV programming. We will miss his vision, energy and compassion. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Geneva, December 27, 2013

I first met Andrew almost ten years ago in Bangkok. He was terribly funny and terrifyingly smart, truly a force to be reckoned with. We were very lucky to have had the opportunity to know him and work with him. His expertise informed many of Urgent Action Fund’s rapid-response grants to human rights defenders over the years, positively impacting organizations that will continue to thrive through the movement that he so fearlessly led. Kate Kroeger, Urgent Action Fund’s Executive Director, January 3, 2014

We got to know Andrew Hunter as a true activist, outspoken and intelligent. Andrew Hunter will be missed deeply. However, his contribution to the HIV response and the sex work movement will live on. Bridging the Gaps, January 7, 2014


A Kiss for Gabriela announced today as part of the line-up at Athena Film Festival!

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2014 Athena accolade large

We are thrilled to be a part of the Athena Film Festival, to be held in New York City from February 6th-9th. The Festival honors and showcases films about women leaders – both documentary and fiction. Needless to say, Gabriela will be in very good company and we are so pleased to be part of a festival that celebrates women who rock and rule!

Check out the entire line-up here – A KISS FOR GABRIELA will be shown on February 8th at 2PM. Click here to buy tickets and for more info!




Nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking and 100 kisses for Gabi!

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nine ladies dancing


Our twist on the 12 days of Christmas brings the largest kiss in the history of A Kiss for Gabriela! After a December 6th screening of the film at the Sub-Secretariat for Women’s Policies in Rio de Janeiro (SPMulheres, CEDIM), the audience sent Gabriela hundreds of kisses.  We share them here with you, along with our wishes for a 2014 full of kisses, happiness, light, peace, pleasure, and inspiration!