Sunday 9 October 2011

Sex Worker Open University 12-16 Oct 2011

This week sees the return of the incredibly inspired Sexworker Open University. This year will be the third SWOU program which it seems just gets better and better; more speakers, more subjects, more activism and more information sharing. A healthy balance of serious conversation and grassroots sharing is intermingled with a whole lot of pleasure and fun. The program is out and you can find it here

Were I not working and if I lived closer to the capital, I'd be there and I'm damn sure I'll be there next year as forewarned is ready and prepared and I think this collective is doing some amazing work raising awareness of sex worker rights and key issues faced by those of us who work, and those who support us.

There are no stereotypes in this line of work. The number of reasons people enter the profession are as diverse as the kind of people and the ethnic, social and political origins of those who choose to engage in sex work. A friend recently showed me his photography portfolio; he'd done some really poignant photographs (without faces) of people in attendance at AA (alcoholics anonymous) meetings. He'd done it to highlight the fact that people with alcohol problems or dependency don't all look like "dirty drunks" and the images were incredibly sensitive. My point is that stereotypes of any kind are all too often born of ignorance and it's time for us to rise up and be heard. SEXWORK IS WORK just like any other kind of work, and it's workers deserve all of the same rights as one may expect in any other profession or industry.

If you're able to get to the London SWOU, I highly recommend it. Some workshops are for sex workers only but there are as many open sessions for advocates running alongside the sex worker only sessions. Speakers include the inspired Audacia Ray of the Red Umbrella Project , sex positive pioneer London Faerie, The English Collective Of Prostitutes , the incredible Laura Agustin, William Takahashi, and many more! There's also a march this coming Thursday to highlight the campaign to decriminalise sex work. If you're on facebook and you can find out more here

There's also a whole host of really informative international sex worker rights activist presentations on the Friday night. More here.

Seriously NEED to be there! Don't miss out!!


  1. I find it really odd that as a sex worker I appear to be unable to get involved in either this or X-talk, despite emailing both. Yet friends of mine who have not and have never been involved in the sex industry are very involved.

    This appears to be typical for something which claims to represent sex workers.

  2. hello, thanks for your comment Anon. I'm really surprised to hear that as I know for certain that many involved are current and former sex workers so I don't feel there's a claim to represent us, more a determination to get our voices heard. I'll pass your comment on to the organisers via facebook/twitter. Perhaps someone will address it here? I hope you're not put off attending...that would be a shame. CB x

  3. Dear Anon. As a member of x:talk, sex worker myself, and the person checking x:talk emails, I would just feel important to say that these two projects share political ideas that do not aim at representing the totality of sex workers, we do not engage in identity politics either; rather we share a commitment to anti-racism, feminism and workers' rights, which not all sex workers do... bad politics could also lead to us not wanting to collaborate with some sex workers... Sorry if this is not the reason and your emails just ended up in spam or got overlooked by chance, that might have happened.

  4. a really sound and understandable response there I hope you agree anon? Thanks Ava.

    Many organisations DO have a political intention (fabulous!) and others don't (also providing really useful services) and as was pointed out, it could be accidental too. Not knowing you or the content of your email approach it's impossible to say which but I hope you attend and enjoy. CB