Sex work was once thought to be anathema to women's liberation. Now, to some, we represent the tenacity of women's struggles under patriarchy and capitalism — that is, at least the white, straight, cis, able-bodied sex workers who don't engage in actual sex with clients do. These are the workers who get the glossy media profiles and are touted as feminist icons.
But the red umbrella is wide and covers many: escorts, sugar babies, strippers, session wrestlers, cam performers, fetish models, DIY queer porn stars, and the full range of gender, race and ability. Our work and our identities are as vast and variable as the spectrum of sexuality itself.
We do the work. In the streets, in the clubs, in hotel rooms and in play party dungeons. We make dreams come true so we can afford a place to sleep. We do business in a marketplace that politicians and police are constantly burning down for our "own safety and dignity." We have high heels and higher anxiety.
A Whore's Manifesto, edited by Kay Kassirer, with a foreword by Clementine Von Radics, isn't a collection of sob stories of heartbroken whores. This is a testament of life at ground zero of sexual discourse, the songs of canaries in the coal mines of sex, gender, class, race and disability. We may dance on the table, but we still demand our seat at it. Sex workers of the world unite.