Essays on Sex Work and Survival
Edited by Natalie West, with Tina Horn
Published by Feminist Press
Foreword by Selena the Stripper
Cover by Jacque the Stripper
This collection of narrative essays by sex workers presents a crystal-clear rejoinder: there’s never been a better time to fight for justice. Responding to the resurgence of the #MeToo movement in 2017, sex workers from across the industry—hookers and prostitutes, strippers and dancers, porn stars, cam models, Dommes and subs alike—complicate narratives of sexual harassment and violence, and expand conversations often limited to normative workplaces.
Writing across topics such as homelessness, motherhood, and toxic masculinity, We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival gives voice to the fight for agency and accountability across sex industries. With contributions by leading voices in the movement such as Melissa Gira Grant, Ceyenne Doroshow, Audacia Ray, femi babylon, April Flores, and Ashley Paige, this anthology explores sex work as work, and sex workers as laboring subjects in need of respect—not rescue.
Author's note: I am proud and humbled to have my story of survival and complicity of rape culture be included in this collection of Sex Worker Sheros. It took me years to bring forth the narrative of this piece to paper. In it, I bare my blood, sweat, tears, and stripper heels.
Over the past few months, on behalf of Red Canary Song, I have been bringing food, sanitizing provisions, and emergency relief funds to migrant massage workers in Flushing.
The first time I drove to Flushing to hand out resources to the workers, I was shy due to my poor Mandarin communication skills. But as I gave out cloth masks (handmade by a friend of mine), bags of groceries that I had packed the night before, and envelopes with legal resources, put together by our RCS members, and cash (donated by our communities), I overcame my shyness as it was such a simple and caring act that needed no extensive conversation or comprehension. Two of the women bowed to me deeply, as I do to the altar of my ancestors. The tears in their eyes brought the same to my own and I bowed deeply back. It's that simple. We honor one another with this basic act of humanity.
The next time I brought food to Flushing, a few of the women brought me food, as well-- the food they had made with their own hands. Zhong zhis and baos. This is a circle of care, of nourishment.
I am honored to be selected as a grantee by the Asian Womens Giving Circle to continue the documentary on the history of racially targeted discrimination against Asian Women in America (Page Act 1875), which has led to the current rise in police violence against Asian massage workers. Care circles for sustenance, survival, work, and storytelling. This is my work; this is our future.
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Kink Out has chosen a Pride Reading List that highlights the intersectionality of queerness, kink, race, sex work, and movement work — and addresses the systems, institutions, and history that have brought us to this key moment in the Revolution. Kick back and read up; then mask up and get activated!
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