Archive | November 2011

Cops watched porn, skipped work instead of investigating missing women: Galliford

RCMP Corporal Catherine Galliford, left, said she will speak on behalf of victims at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be “explosive” when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won’t be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.

In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had “enough evidence for a search warrant” of serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.

Continue reading

Trans Day of Remembrance: Thoughts on the erasure of Trans Women & Sex Work

innerfatgirl:

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. In her article Undoing Theory Viviane Namaste notes that “TDOR is an annual occasion to take stock of the violence to which trans people are subjected. Taking place in the United States and internationally, activists organize candlelight vigils, political rallies, and social activities as a way to recognize and denounce this violence” (2009, p. 16). This is a sad day for me, and for so many. Jessica and I lit a memorial candle this morning that will burn for 26 hours, and we said some words and held some silence together to start off our day. We talked a bit afterwards and I want to share a little bit about our discussion this morning. I think it is important for us to remember those who have been killed, while also bringing to light the gendered and classed contours of the violence that trans people face.The fact that many of the people who are murdered are trans women who engage in sex work is a very important aspect of TDOR and transgender violence that we often gloss over. It is important to remember that often white ‘western’ queer communities erase the experiences of trans women. And erase them and erase them and erase them. When it comes to TDOR, trans women who are engaging in sex work consist of a disproportionate amount of murdered transgender people.

Continue reading

A Need for Conversation about Sex Worker Health Care

By Niresha Velmurugiah——

I recently attended a workshop by Vancouver-based sex worker support and advocacy agency, PACE, on providing health care for sex workers. PACE is a sex-worker driven organization, and the guidelines at the workshop are based on firsthand experiences with service providers. I left the session content with the progressive care for workers in such a marginalized profession. Then my friend remarked, “Isn’t it messed up that treating people with respect has to be such a revolutionary idea?”

The advice from the workshop was a sad reflection on the status quo. Don’t treat sex workers like they’re dirty. Acknowledge the interplay between sex work and drug use, and how intertwined the two often go. Don’t brush off sex work as illegitimate. Don’t talk down to sex workers or treat them like they need saving. Respect the terms sex workers use to describe their profession. The underlying themes of respect and sensitivity to the context of a person’s life are basics of health care provision. There is, however, a discrepancy between theory and practice, because current health care fails sex workers.

Continue reading

Gerald Hannon retires from sex work

Gerald Hannon is retiring from sex work and throwing a party on Nov 25 at Goodhandy’s nightblub in Toronto to celebrate!!!

Hannon, who is also a board member of Xtra’s publisher Pink Triangle Press, has been a sex worker for close to 25 years. Along the way he has been the object of lust, love and hate.

Back in the mid- ’90s Hannon was at the centre of a media circus when the press picked up on this work in the sex trade and cross-referenced it with his work as an instructor at Ryerson University.

“Ryerson Prof: I’m A Hooker” screamed the cover of the Toronto Sun.

Below is a video interview between Hannon and fellow sex worker Sasha Van Bon Bon.

The proceeds from Hannon’s retirement party are going to Toronto Sex workers Action Project.

Not all sex workers love Occupy: the creepy dynamic of pretending to speak for “the 99%”

Article by Furry Girl responding to the connections being drawn between sex worker activism and the Occupy movement:

In the last month, there has been more and more talk from some sex workers about how awesome the Occupy movement is, including some of my ho activist friends on Twitter who are part of different Occupy encampments.  SWOP-NYC has a pro-Occupy postJessie of SWOP LA throws in her supportTrisha wrote about the issues of SlutWalk and Occupy, andMelissa Gira Grant wrote a strangely pearl-clutching piece about how sad it is some people -gasp- do sex work to pay for college.

Continue reading

The Limits of Sex Work Radicalism

Back from a brief vacation with a long post that will probably annoy some people, but is the result of a long-standing annoyance…

By now I am getting extremely annoyed with a certain discourse around sex work that has become popular amongst some sectors of the North American (and occasionally European) left. Originally a discourse that was limited to lifestyle [and predominantly male] anarchists, as well as a few hippy sex fetishists, the political assertion that sex work is liberating, and that the liberating potential of sex work should be treated as part of a radically progressive politics, is now being embraced by the broader left-wing population and gaining the support of so-called feminists, socialists and communists who should know better. Indeed, the unqualified pro-prostitution position is being treated by some as a litmus test for numerous radical commitments as it is now attached to, and turned into a falsely essential component of, feminism, queer and trans liberation, and other anti-oppressive political positions.

Continue reading