Archive | October 2011

It’s been a business doing pleasure with you!

Maggie’s is having a party! Here’s all the info you need:

Maggie’s: Toronto sex workers action project is celebrating 25 years as on of the oldest sex-worker-run organizations in the world & we want you with us at our big $exy bash!!

Join us as we celebrate our activism, advocacy and successes. There will be door prizes, performers, cabaret and much more!

JUST ANNOUNCED! Performances by Lucas Silveira, Ill Nana, Coco la Crème, the Pole Club, Sabrina (you know her from the Russian version of Wife Swap) and MC Jazz Kamal.

Chester Brown reads from his john memoir Paying For It. DJs Cozmic Cat and Secret Agent keep everyone grinding till the wee hours. And, of course, Filmore’s house dancers are around to do the business at hand.

WHEN: Sunday October 30, doors at 7.30 PM
WHERE: Filmore’s Gentlemen’s Club, 212 Dundas Street East
HOW: Advanced tickets are available now at Good For Her, Maggie’s Wednesdays Noon – 5pm, otherwise by emailing us for ticket purchase at pick up at

Tickets: $5 for sex workers (no one turned away for lack of funds) | Allies: $15-20 sliding scale – Additional generosity welcomed from all!

We are recruiting volunteers for the event (including hostesses, postering crews, attendant care etc) as well as auction items.

If you are interested, please contact us. Priority will go to sex workers and items that are of practical use to sex workers.

ASL interpretation provided | Wheelchair accessible space but only partially accessible washrooms  | 19+ ID required by the club

For more information, visit us at:

All proceeds from this event will go towards the legal costs of our joint fight, with other sex work activists for the total decriminalization of sex work in Canada.

Check out this story about our ba$h in this week’s NOW magazine by Sasha Van Bon Bon

See you there!

~Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

the cuntest!

The thing that I’ve read today that’s made me happy:

In Rome a vagina is una fica, a term deriving from the fig, a great thing, a delightful gift, a ribboned fruit. Among young Romans, the expression fica is a way to convey something extraordinarily good, akin to “cool.” They even make it into a superlative—fichissimo, meaning that something is the “cuntest” and very good indeed. Una fica is not only a sexually attractive woman, it is anything worthy of possession or experience. Imagine an American guy saying: “Wow, that is so vagina!” You can’t.

Pubic hair as public space (via fuckyeahfeminists)


By: Melissa Sontag Broudo and Penelope Saunders
October 27, 2011

In the last four weeks, many have been wondering what has driven people to Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and bring attention to the economic situation that has developed in our country. Critics have argued that so many issues are being discussed and that so many disparate groups have joined forces, that the occupation has no cohesive message, purpose, or goals. As our group of sex workers and allies stood in solidarity with our fellow revolutionaries Wednesday, October 5th at the rally at Foley Square in New York, it was apparent that we were included in that critique or question. What were we doing there? What was our purpose? What was our message? And how do sex workers’ rights connect to the larger OWS movement? Those of us who were there, or who are active in the sex workers’ rights movement generally, have no doubt about how we fit within OWS and how OWS fits within our movement. United, in solidarity, with everyone coming together in Zuccotti Park and in all the plazas nationwide, we can bring about greater change. After the rally, we decided to highlight the points that bring together our intersecting movements and realities.

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GFEST Interview: ‘HIV And Sex Work’ with Thierry Schaffauser

As a part of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2011 activities, a  role play and narrative workshop is planned on 17 November at The Cockpit Theatre. This FREE ENTRY workshop will explore the theme ‘HIV and sex work in the UK’ :Not A problem but part of the solution.

Q & A session with sex work activist and workshop leader Thierry Schaffauser:

Can you briefly explain what will happen in the ‘HIV and sex work in the UK’ workshop?

We will introduce different issues for sex workers, and male sex workers in particular, in terms of health and (HIV) prevention.

What do you aim to achieve through this workshop?

The main idea is that sex workers are not the problem but part of the solution. It will depend whether the audience will be sex workers or people who are just curious about sex work issues.

Why are sex work & HIV important issues ?

Sex workers have always been ‘scapegoated’ as disease spreaders even before HIV. We want to question the stigma attached to sex work and its impact on our health and well being.

You had a ‘Sex Worker Open University’ event recently. What were the learnings and why people should be engaged with Sex workers issues?

The Sex Worker Open University was a great event to share our experience, skills and knowledge among ourselves. It was a safe space where we could talk about our working conditions and personal life. Many sex workers feel isolated so we try to create spaces where we can address our own issues without any judgmental approach that we usually experience from the professional “rescue industry”.

How do you best tackle the issues and any stigma around sex work?

Interestingly, male sex workers can be glamorized in the gay community, but often for commercial reasons because sex sells. In practice, many gay people see us as pretty idiots who can’t get a proper job because we are lazy, junkies or just too stupid. We need to challenge these misconceptions and show that anyone can be a sex worker at one moment of his/her life. Having a coming out strategy can help so people realise who we are but it’s not an easy option for most sex workers who may face strong discrimination, lose their day job, flat, family, friends, etc.

What are the  future plans for your work?

We are involved in the GMB trade union to try to organise our industry. We also want to build our community by creating social events and safe spaces where to gather. We have a project to create a workers cooperative but this requires a lot of work and means that we don’t have yet.

Any single wish?

We wish that sex work was entirely decriminalised and that we had the same labour rights as any other worker. Sex work can be a very hard job emotionally and that’s why we need better protection.

 Thank you Thierry and best wishes from GFEST team.

For more information on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2011 please contact: Subodh Rathod, Wise Thoughts / GFEST – Gaywise FESTival
Tel: 020 8889 9555 /

Pickton victim’s mom did her own detective work

Lynn Frey after her testimony at the Missing Women Inquiry yesterday. She recalled how she did her own investigation to search for stepdaughter Marnie, who went missing in 1997.
“They just didn’t give a damn.”That’s what Lynn Frey said she felt when she sought the help of the RCMP and the Vancouver police after she reported her stepdaughter Marnie’s disappearance in 1997.Marnie was one of dozens of women who ended up at Robert Pickton’s pig farm in Port Coquitlam. Pickton, 62, is serving a life sentence for the murder of six, including Marnie Frey.

Rejected Ads for Sex Workers Find Venue

After being rejected by two billboard companies for failing to meet community standards, an ad campaign advocating sex workers’ rights is running on 50 Muni buses in San Francisco.

The campaign, which runs through Nov. 11, is sponsored by the St. James Infirmary, a comprehensive health care clinic in San Francisco run by and for sex workers and their families. The clinic was founded by Margo St. James, the prostitutes’ rights activist, in 1999.

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Police not responsible for isolating prostitutes, inquiry told

The Vancouver Police Department’s decades-long campaign to move sex workers into the darkest, dirtiest streets of the city’s Downtown Eastside was only in response to a law that intended to keep prostitutes out of sight, the force’s lawyer told a public inquiry Thursday.

The hearing into the Robert Pickton case has heard from several witnesses who have complained about police tactics that have displaced sex workers and contained them in dangerously isolated areas of the city, where they are easy prey for predators.

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Prostitution ‘tolerance zones’ reflected aims of law, Pickton inquiry told

Women sing and chant outside of the missing women inquiry in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Commissioner Wally Oppal has opened hearings to examine why police failed to stop Robert Pickton as he murdered impoverished sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. - Women sing and chant outside of the missing women inquiry in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Commissioner Wally Oppal has opened hearings to examine why police failed to stop Robert Pickton as he murdered impoverished sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. | Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

by Robert Matas

Police efforts to move prostitutes out of residential neighbourhoods and into dark isolated areas of the Downtown Eastside reflected the intention of Canada’s laws on prostitution, the Pickton inquiry heard Thursday.

In cross-examination by police lawyer Tim Dickson, criminologist John Lowman told the inquiry that the current law on prostitution, upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990, was intended to make prostitution less visible. Residents objected to the activity on their street. The police responded by pushing women to other neighbourhoods.

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Why anti-john laws don’t work

A young woman works the corner of Gerrard and Jarvis Streets. (Oct. 21, 2009)

The Ontario Court of Appeal is due to release its decision on the constitutionality of Canada’s criminal laws around adult prostitution. Last year, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down these laws, finding that they significantly contribute to danger for sex workers. If the current laws are unconstitutional, what comes next for the regulation of prostitution in Canada?

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Sex Work and the Power of Choice

 October 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm  Greta Christina

There’s a widely-held myth about sex work and sex workers: I ran into it again recently (don’t remember where, sorry), and I want to talk about it and eviscerate it.

The myth: Prostitutes and other sex workers can’t choose their customers. They have to have sex with anyone who offers to pay.

When you think about this for ten seconds, you should realize that it makes no sense. People in any other service profession can, and do, turn down customers they don’t want to work with. Therapists, car mechanics, gardeners, hair stylists, nannies… you name it. There are a few exceptions — emergency room doctors leap to mind — but for the most part, it’s understood that, as long as they’re obeying non-discrimination laws, service professionals reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. (My hair stylist has told me long, entertaining stories about clients she’s fired.) So it’s kind of weird to assume that sex workers would be the exception.

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