Petition to defer any bill on prostitution until after the next general election

by Caroline Shepherd

(Originally posted at Shiraz Socialist)

There’s a petition up to defer any bill on prostitution until after the next general election on Number10.gov.uk

The right of people in this country to decide by mutual agreement whether and under what conditions they consent to sexual intercourse is fundamental. In particular, it has never been illegal to pay for consensual sex since at least as far back as Magna Carta. The government are now proposing to criminalise men who pay for sex for the first time in this country’s history. That would constitute a radical change in the legal position for which the government has no electoral mandate, since the policy at the time of the 2005 general election was to legalise brothels operated by a small number of sex workers. We therefore call upon the government to obtain a mandate from the electorate before introducing any bill on prostitution.

If you’re wanting to fight this Jacqui Smith nonsense, there’s a good place to start.

If you’re a British citizen, do please sign this. I’ve written [at Shiraz Socialist] (A feminist perspective on Jacqui Smith’s proposals to change the prostitution laws and What do you make of this?) and my own [blog] about how much these new laws would endanger sex workers if they came into effect, so do have a read through if you’re not sure what’s happening and then do sign the petition.

I would also like to ask people to spread the link to this petition as widely as possible. If you’re a blogger and not a British citizen, I’m sure you’ll have British citizens reading, so do please reblog this.

Cheers.

Caroline Shepherd is a self-described “sex positive feminist who supports sex workers rights.” Her kick-arse posts can be found at Better Burn That Dress, Sister, Shiraz Socialist, Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy and in the moderation queue.

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PSA: A call for action on trans rights in Tennessee

by matttbastard

Via The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition:

For Immediate Release: Dated December 27, 2008

Another Transgender Woman Shot in Memphis

On Christmas Eve, a Memphis television station reported the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards in Memphis. She becomes the third transgender woman shot in Memphis in just six months. At last report, Leeneshia is in critical condition. We extend our hopes and prayers to Leenashia for a speedy recovery.

We also ask for anyone with any information about this latest crime to call Memphis Crimes Stoppers at (901)528-CASH.

The shooting of Leeneshia Edwards helps shed light on a disturbing trend in Memphis. Transgender women who work in the sex industry in order to survive are now being targeted by a pervasive culture of violence.

The indifferent attitude of law enforcement towards the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, and the February 12, 2008, beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis Police Department officers, has sent a message that the lives of transgender people are not important. This has fed the culture of violence that has permeated the second half of 2008, and is exemplified by the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, the July 28 murder of Dre-Ona Blake, a two year old girl who was killed by the man who had previously been charged with the murder of Tiffany Berry, but was allowed to walk free for two and a half years, the November 9 murder of Duanna Johnson, and now the shooting of Leeneshia Edwards.

This open season on transgender people in Memphis and elsewhere, regardless of whether or not they engage in sex work, must come to an end right now.

We call on business people who refuse to hire transgender people to open their doors immediately to transgender workers so there are alternatives to working on the streets.

We call on shelters that routinely turn away transgender people who are seeking help, to open their doors so that transgender people do not have to live on the streets.

We call on religious leaders who preach intolerance towards crossdressers and transsexuals from the pulpit to cease immediately and begin preaching messages of love and acceptance of diversity.

We call on political leaders of all parties to stop campaigning against transgender people and start supporting fully inclusive employment non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation to show that the lives of transgender people have value.

Marisa Richmond
President

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

h/t Cara by way of Queen Em.

Related: More on Leeneshia Edwards from Em and Monica Roberts

Update: Renee, bumped from comments:

What bothers me most about this is the way in which these acts of violence and murders are ignored. When I wrote about this issue I focused on the race aspect. Trans women of color are being targeted. At remembering our dead over 65% of the women listed are of color. I want to know where the hell the NAACP is. I want to know where the hell NOW is. When are we going to decide that these women matter?

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PSA: Protest against transphobia and sex worker oppression

by matttbastard

Via Shameless:

The Maitland Homewood Safety Association [of Toronto] is waging a campaign to rid their neighbourhood of trans sex workers. Every Friday and Saturday starting at 11pm the Association goes out armed with flashlights to [harass] the women working in the neighbourhood. There have been some reports that the members of the Association have physically assaulted transwomen.

If you care about the rights of trans and sex working women to be free of harassment and nimbyism (which you should) and are free this Friday, then join us Friday August 15th at 11pm at Homewood and Maitland to show our support to the women in the neighbourhood, as well as to send a clear message to the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association that violence and harassment against trans women will not be tolerated.

PLEASE NOTE: Organizers of this event are being targeted by this group, we need as many people there as possible to ensure our safety. For more info on the [Association’s] transphobia please check out http://splinterjete.livejournal.com/78658.html
and
http://spocgirl.braveblog.com/entry/27765

Facebook event listing here, more on the MHSA here.

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Read this now (The honeymoon is over)

by matttbastard

Renee of Womanist Musings is guestblogging at Feministe for the next two weeks. Her inaugural post is a must-read:

When you think of the Niagara region immediately the mind turns to the majestic falls. Some who have spent more than an afternoon here will think of places like the Welland Canal, The Skylon Tower, Fallsview Casino, Clifton Hill, and maybe even the dearth of reasonably priced hotels, and restaurants. The aforementioned sites are the Niagara region you are supposed to think about. It is what you will find printed in all of those handy little pamphlets, that the tour guides like to give out. Yes the safe family destination, where everything is bright and sunny. What you will not hear about are the women that have been killed here since 1996.

I know y’all can’t help but go and read the rest. Is hard going due to the subject matter–trigger warnings most definitely apply–but is a vital endeavour. Go.

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Why I’m Wearing Red Today

by matttbastard

“We call these people ‘missing women’ – Aboriginal women are missing in so many ways in our society. … I really believe there are aspects of society that have to change so that things like this, in the best case, don’t happen, but more realistically, if they do happen, that they aren’t brushed aside – that the issue isn’t missing as well as the women.”

– Dr. Ellen Bielawski, Dean of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies

I’m wearing red for Bernadette Lynda Ahenakew, Edna Bernard, Katie Sylvia Ballantyne, Delores Dawn Brower, Bonnie Joanne Jack, Rachel Liz Quinney, and other disposable Edmonton sex workers whose violent deaths are being investigated by Project KARE.

Many were First Nations women, women of colour. Some were allegedly (“allegedly” *blinks*) murdered by smiling (suspected, accused, etc) serial killer Thomas Svekla. But there are several suspects (“and potential rapists all are…“).

43 unsolved murders; the earliest one dates back to 1932.

The majority of the fallen will likely never receive justice. These women dared to reside outside of society, beyond the boundaries of bourgeois interest and patriarchal, proprietary outrage; far away from the glare of the 24 hr news cycle spotlight. Marginal corpses lying in a ditch, an alleyway, a cheap, tobacco-stained motel room, surrounded by the dirty implements of self-destruction (“they got what they deserved” *blinks*).

Outside of society.

Goddammit; their lives had-have-just as much value as a (blond-haired, blue-eyed) cheerleader, soccer mom, or business executive.

That’s why I’m wearing red*: for those used, then tossed, crumpled up like soggy, sperm-soaked tissue paper; to represent the blood of the forgotten and recycle their valuable legacies.

be-bold.jpg

Related: More from Daniel MacIsaac of the Edmonton Sun here and here; CBC News backgrounder on Svekla and 25 years of unsolved Edmonton area sex worker slayings.

Update: Prole in comments:

You can help. Give to Pretty Bird Woman House.

http://www.prettybirdwomanhouse.blogspot.com/

Update 2: Kevin is wearing red for “the strong, brave women who refuse to stay silent about the increasing violence perpetuated against women, particularly women of color.”

Please read the whole thingespecially the links.

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*When I woke up today, I realized I don’t own anything red, not even socks nor underwear. So, I’m wearing red directly on my skin.