the To Do List (as it were)

The two big things I’ll be doing with my week before I leave San Francisco for 3 months are:
1) Finishing up my application for a $10k individual artists’ grant due Friday (plz plz plz plz PLZ pray for me &/or think good thoughts about this in my/The Money Bestower’s direction), and
2) Making fairly surreal queer cripple porn with a comrade & colleague whom I could not be more honored & pleased to work with… at an amusement park!

Way to go out with a bang, I guess?

Question for Portland sex workers from a soon-to-be-visiting sex worker (feel free to respond here or to message me directly!)

Hello, sex work-ing folks in Portland! :) I will be living in Portland from August-October. I am guessing that the answers to my questions here will probbbably be summed up with “LOL NO”… But I’m wanting to ask just the same on the off-chance that I’m wrong. So:

Are there any strip clubs in Portland that hire fat dancers? Or even clubs that have employed fat dancers in the past? Are any of you fat strippers working in Portland? Or do you know any fat strippers in Portland who I could talk bizness with?

Some context: I am a fat person (I’m about a dress size 18) who has been working in the sex industry on & off for the past 12 years (mostly in porn and as a pro-switch, but I’ve dabbled in most areas of the industry). I genuinely love dancing, and I’ve always been bummed that strip clubs in San Francisco (and, y’know, in general) are pretty intensely sizeist. I have been told that there are hella strip clubs in Pdx (like, enough of them for there to be a fair amount of diversity amongst them, from what I’ve heard). If any strip clubs in Pdx hire fat dancers, I’d potentially be interested in auditioning.

If the answer to my question is “yes” (again, I’d be kinda shocked if it was, but why not ask): I am additionally wondering about more general audition/work/etc tips.

Also, if you don’t wanna answer me here publically, that is totally cool, feel free to just message me directly.

NO July Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop, but come write with us in August!

Hello lovelies!

The Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop slated for this Saturday, July 12th is CANCELLED. But please come write with us in August. More info below…

<3,
Gina

*  *  *

SEX WORKERS’ WRITING WORKSHOP
* AUGUST SWWW: Saturday, August 9th, 2-4pm.
* Center for Sex & Culture, 1349 Mission Street at the corner of Grace Alley (between 10th and 9th Streets) in San Francisco. We’re close to both Civic Center BART & Van Ness MUNI, and are also accessible by the 9-San Bruno, 12-Folsom, 14-Mission, 19-Polk, 47-Van Ness, & 49-Mission/Van Ness MUNI bus lines, among others.
* Sliding scale $10-$20. (More if you can, less if you can’t, nobody turned away — if you’re broke you should still come write with us!)
* Workshop facilitated by Gina de Vries.
* TENTATIVE 2014 Schedule: The second Saturday of every month, 2pm-4pm. August 9th, September 13th, October 11th, November 8th, December 13th.

 
This is a writing workshop for current and former sex workers to share their writing and get honest, non-judgmental feedback. Workshop participants are not obligated to write exclusively about sex work, but writing about work in the sex industry (as well as writing about other topics) will be welcomed. This is a place where people can write and share about their sex work experiences without having to censor themselves or explain every detail. Beginning writers are encouraged to attend along with more seasoned wordsmiths.

Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop is all-genders. We define the term “sex worker” broadly, as people who have exchanged erotic labor for money/food/shelter/things that we need, including but not limited to:
+Street and Survival Sex Workers
+Escorts, Personal Companions, and Sugar Babies
+Sensual Massage and Sensual Body Work Providers
+BDSM workers; pro-dom/mes, subs, and switches
+Adult Film Actors; Porn Models and Performers; Nude Models; Cam Girls and Boys
+Exotic Dancers; Strippers; and Peep Show Workers
+Phone Sex Operators
+And many other Sex Workers and Adult Entertainers!
(If we’re forgetting your area of the industry in this definition, tell us!)

** Email questions, volunteer inquiries, etc, to Gina at queershoulder@gmail.com.
** Disability accessibility info in detail here.
** Speaking of accessibility: While we can’t 100% guarantee a scent-free space, we ask that all attendees please refrain from wearing scented products to ensure that workshop members with chemical sensitivities can attend.
** We ask that our non-sex worker friends, lovers, partners, allies, and clients respect that this space is FOR SEX WORKERS ONLY.

INSTRUCTOR BIO: Gina de Vries is a writer and cultural worker from San Francisco. Ze is founder & facilitator of Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop, a proud alumna of St. James Infirmary, and on the Advisory Board at The Center for Sex & Culture. Ze holds a Master’s in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from San Francisco State University. Ze’s performed, taught, and lectured everywhere from chapels to leatherbar backrooms to the Ivy Leagues, and hir writing has appeared dozens of places, from the academic to the pornographic. Ze is currently at work on “How To Have A Body,” a book of experimental prose about the intersections of sexuality, gender, disability, and chronic illness. Find out more: ginadevries.com | howtohaveabody.tumblr.com

clarawebbwillcutoffyourhead:

After a five day nationwide anti-trafficking sting, 168 child victims were found, most of whom were runaways and many of whom had not been reported missing by their families, to whom they are now being returned. the rest will be put in foster care or whatever other state services can be hustled up.

Ngl I’m a lot more afraid for them now they’ve been returned to the people they ran away from.

I mean do you know the stats on familial and particularly foster abuse?

GOOD LORD, could the news get any worse for sex workers in California today? Today feels like an especially rotten day to be in the industry.

Comrades & co-conspirators: I’m just so sorry. My heart (and my fucking pocketbook!) ache with all of yours. I promise I will hug you extra-hard and give you a slice of ginger-peach pie if I run into you over Gay Xmas festivities this weekend.

"I can’t throw a rock in this city without hitting a friend who’s a porn star!"

— Fluffy

thefilthofhealth:

ive been seeing comments vis a vis saying that access to sex workers would somehow have been a solution to his murderous misogyny and that’s some bullshit.

whenever one of my clients says something about my job being important bc it gives kinky men an outlet for energy that would’ve otherwise spent hurting unconsenting women, i get REAL uncomfortable. because the kind of guy who hurts women w/out their consent isn’t kinky. he’s a dangerous violent person who hates women. he’s the kind of “dom” who comes in looking to injure a woman without — surprise! — taking into consideration her desires, boundaries, and limits. 

(not gonna have the “is BDSM/sex work ‘feminist’ discussion rn)

i don’t have problems w clients w incest rape fantasies who are friendly, polite & treat me like a human being when we’re not in scene. it’s the clients who say shit “well if they couldn’t flog you here they’d be out on the street committing rape [on good women, women who aren’t whores like me]”  that that i immediately clock as fucking creeps.

if you really think SWers are, like, a stopgap for fucking RAPISTS and  MURDERERS, you haven’t thought it through. and i don’t think you’re worth trusting, either.

do u genuinely think that if could’ve paid a woman for sex he would have been less of a misogynist, less entitled, less of a danger to women in general?

(via nemesissy)

marginalutilite:

clarawebbwillcutoffyourhead goes behind the scenes with the Cupcake Girls.

…I want to appreciate and acknowledge good intentions, the impulse to make the world a better and kinder place in whatever way possible. But it’s complicated because I do feel that the trendiness of strippers in the early 21st century has a lot to do with this enthusiastic charity work: We’re very in right now and we’re also safe (indoors) and by and large easy to access and interact with.

In her Ted Talk, Cupcake Girls founder Joy Hoover (like Lasky, an XXXChurch alum) comes across as patronizing and clueless, confusing problems of poverty and access (poor dental health, precarious housing), problems endemic in marginalized communities, and rates of sexual assault against women in the United States, with problems inherent to the sex industry. Volunteers post glowing stories about her sticking it to the man, telling strip club customers that they’re contributing to our oppression and exploitation. I happen to believe that strippers are financially exploitedthrough stage fees and other payoutsbut I’m not sure she’s helping us any by telling random customers that by giving us money they’re keeping us exploited and in bondage, rather than, um, simply compensating us for our labor. What does she suggest as an alternative? (Besides supporting Cupcake Girls.)

Surely we would expect more nuance and understanding from the self-proclaimed “stripper whisperer”? She must understand that some of the money does actually go to us, and that most of us are acting on our own agency—perhaps we don’t enjoy that mythical “empowerment” everybody talks about, but we definitely actively choose to participate in the sex industry. Then again, maybe she really doesn’t get it. She does refer to herself as “the stripper whisperer.” If this is the head of the organization, the founder, how much nuance and understanding can we expect from the rest of the organization? There appears to be a disconnect between Hoover and her volunteers, the women who come into the club to try and offer support to a stigmatized population. But without more transparency and frank discussion of the ways in which Hoover’s visionand more than that, the national conversation around sex workmight be limited or wrong, it’s hard to tell how much more sex worker positive the volunteers themselves are than their leader is.

On one level I think the Portland Cupcake Girls are exactly what they seem to be: a bunch of stripper and cupcake-loving Christians who focus their passionate activism on strip clubs. It’s sort of refreshing in contrast to the furious and limited conversation around trafficking limiting so much sex work activism. On another, I still have all these questions that I don’t know how to get answers to: Why strippers? Is it how transgressive and cool we are, without the dirty illegal status of full service workers? When I think about people who need outreach, who need help getting access to resources, who might need food, I think of survival sex workers, I think of street sex workers. Without trying to construct a bullshit hierarchy, I think it’s fair to say that strippers are pretty privileged. We’re marginalized and financially exploited, but we don’t face the same level of stigma and discrimination that manyother sex workers do. It feels weird and disingenuous to be pouring this much energy into this kind of activism for a population that is by and large doing okay.

And then I reprimand myself for being such a judgmental liberal. I believe that good intentions matter. Not for everything, and not indefinitelyLaura Lasky’s still-murky dealings with Solace and the trail of bad feelings she left in her wake are arguments against the feel-good bandaid of “But they mean well!” Still, I harken back to the eight levels of charity in Judaism. Even a mitzvah, a good deed, done publicly and for cool cred is still a mitzvah…just not a very good one. And it’s not like strippers don’t need resources or help with legwork getting to them. Maybe not all activism has to be centered around people with the most immediate need. Maybe some of it can be fun and involve pink frosting.

But we need to be careful. There’s an ambivalence present here in the emphasis on Cupcake Girls as a fun social activity that volunteers can do for themselves, as self improvement or because it makes them feel good. Of course it’s good to enjoy volunteer work: it’s free labor, done to benefit other people, and the burnout rate is high. It’s good to enjoy what you do, but not everything can be enjoyable. Some of the most necessary work that needs to happen around sex work is messy and frustrating. It tends to require in-depth knowledge of and familiarity with the people you want to support. And if volunteering is something you do for yourself, where does that position the ostensible object of your benevolent intentions? How long can you keep going if you start to receive the kind of hate that actual sex workers’ rights activists (and actual sex workers) get? If you’re doing charity work to feel good, how far can you take it? How much research do you do into the feelings, needs, legal problems, and issues of the population you’re attempting to serve?  Who monitors your work? How do you ensure that the targeted population’s needs are being met? What if they express needs or desires you disagree with?

(via nemesissy)

Gina’s Boatload o’ Gay Stamina Season Events: 515 Clues! Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop! GiveOUT Day! STILL HERE!

queershoulder:

Hello lovelies!

Oh jeez, I’ve got a boatload of events coming up in May & June! They don’t call this time of year Gay Stamina Season for nothin’. In brief:

  • I’m reading at a benefit this upcoming Friday May 9th at The Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics. All proceeds go towards Nomy Lamm’s sure to be amazing show “515 Clues: A Kabbalistic Collabaret” (debuting at National Queer Arts Fest on June 8th!).
  • I’m teaching Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop on Saturday May 10th & Saturday June 14th at Center for Sex & Culture.
  • GiveOUT Day is May 15th, and you should throw $10-$10,000 the way of my awesome workplace The Center for Sex & Culture.
  • I’m very very very proud to announce that I’m performing (for the second year in a row!) in Still Here on June 11th & 12th. I will be debuting brand spankin’ new work. You really don’t wanna miss this!

Okay, I think that’s it. Jump below the cut for more info about all these events. Hope you’re all well!

<3 & happy Pride Season!
Gina

Read More

Reminder that I’m teaching Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop from 2pm-4pm today at The Center for Sex & Culture. Current & former sex work-ing folks, I would love to see you there!

peechingtonmariejust:

Okay. I’ve seen this like 8 times today on my dash. Every single time I’ve scrolled past it because I’ve told myself that I talk about whorephobia all the time and I talk about casual stigma against sex workers all the time.

But I can’t keep scrolling past that because I feel like there is a disconnect that is really apparent to me? Maybe because of my experience as a sex worker? But something always happens when people talk about porn is that it becomes an inhuman entity.

It becomes a thing. And people take the human part of porn and completely disregard it. We consistently disregard not only the workers in porn, but those who consume it. It becomes this nameless monster that controls itself and other people.

And so I always think about supply and demand. Porn hasn’t done this to us we’ve done it to porn. We are the ones who click those videos a million times. We are the ones who buy those DVD’s. We are the ones who download the most violent images we can find of anal sex where is the woman looks like she’s in pain and/or crying. We are the ones who do that.

I’m not sure where the disconnect is. I’m not sure why we don’t want to take responsibility for our own consumption. Because it literally is all of us. It is so readily available, you can get it on your phone, your computer, through email, Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, everywhere you look. Everywhere you look there’s porn. So to say that porn is this entity and it is “porn’s fault” I think it is really a backwards way to look at it.

There’s a reason why the top-selling porn videos in the entire world are all racist, violent, misogynist, and dangerous. And the reason is us. We are the ones who keep clicking “big dick destroys teen pussy”. And as disappointing as it is for people who don’t consume that type of media eyes are regularly or at all (I’m one of those people so…), it doesn’t negate the fact that the majority of people want to see that. There’s a reason why porn companies are churning out that kind of material right now over and over and over again. And the reason is us.

And I think until we realize that, in until we connect ourselves and our consumption, in our own sexual desires with the humanity of porn performers and with the human portion of porn itself, it will never stop. The problem will always be there and it will fester and it will grow.

The truth is porn performers are human beings. They’re trying to put food on their plate just like everyone else. And so when I see things like this that are casually blaming porn for the breakdown of intimacy and sex, I also see these things blaming porn performers for the breakdown of intimacy and sex in our culture. And that’s just completely and totally incorrect.

Because they aren’t breaking down anything, they are simply mirroring what’s already going on. They’re simply giving us what we’re (apparently) wanting. Go look at any of these porn sites and figure out what the most viewed video is and I would be willing to bet cash money it’s something with the word teen, young, innocent or something like that in there and there’s most likely some violent aspect to it. I can almost guarantee.

Like, and this isn’t nearly as nuanced as I would like it to be. Because I just don’t have the time. Its not addressing people like Max Hardcore or other porn houses to reach purposely to create the most violent images. I’m not denying that those people exist, and I’m not denying that they are problematic. But I’m saying that not addressing the individual people who are the problem, and not addressing the individual consumers who are the initial reason for the problem, is dangerous and it’s backwards and it’s ridiculous.

(via marginalutilite)