Hey everyone, I want to talk to you about the SEVs (sexual entertainment venues) consultation that’s potentially threatening the livelihoods of sex workers across Scotland.
You may or may not be aware of the consultation, which was first brought forward at the end of May, that is going to decide on how SEVs are to be legislated and if the legislation will result in closures (thus loss of employment). You can read the basic outline of how the legislation consultation started off here.
Strip clubs (and sex workers in general) have been fighting off stigma and well meaning “saviour” types for years but rarely get listened to when it comes to legislating themselves and their work places. Instead they have to deal with invasive and intimidating police raids (like in August 2018) where despite the fact that the work and workers are all perfectly legal they are treated like “naughty school children” and have to deal with loss of earnings on top of the emotional trauma a raid like that can cause. Or even worse they have women claiming to be feminists film them (without their consent or knowledge) and then present that footage as evidence of a license breach in attempt to have the club – that they rely on for income – shut down (read about it here). These incidents both claim to be about protecting or saving the women involved but in both cases have left the women worse off in some way and have threatened their ability to continue earning a living.
It’s not all doom and gloom though.Glasgow already has a sex worker union! The GMB Union has an adult entertainment branch which sex workers can join in order to rally together and start making some positive changes. Megara Furie, a spokesperson from adult entertainment branch of the GMB Union, has spoken out in defence of the clubs. Megara has said that the legislation itself isn’t the main issue it’s the threat of closure that’s unreasonable, where as Marie Penman, a former councillor and woman’s activist would rather abolish all strip clubs entirely (read more here). Marie Penman believes that strip clubs themselves are an act of violence against women – and she’s not the only one to hold that belief – despite the numerous workers coming forward defending their right to choose their work and what they do with their lives. It’s a very lively debate with passionate arguments coming from either side but at the end of the day shouldn’t we be listening to the voices of the people who’s lives this will directly impact?
Now after reading over those articles and having listened to me talking about standing up for sex workers right’s in whatever way you can, you might be asking yourself “but what can I do?”.
I’ll tell you what – you can respond to the consultation!
The consultation is open until the 26th of August 2019 so you have time to let them know what you think.
You can email them LicensingEnquiries@glasgow.gov.uk or you can write to them Mairi Millar, Head of Licensing and Democratic Services, City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DU.
“But what do I say?” – I hear you ask. Not to worry I’ve made a short template that you can use to get started and adapt to fit your own views.
Dear Mairi Millar,
I am writing to you today in response to the consultation on future policy development of Sexual Entertainment Venues in Glasgow.
As a resident of Glasgow/Greater Glasgow I am delighted to see the council wishes to take steps to provide more protections for both the general public and sex workers, however I am concerned that legislation that would potentially ban sexual entertainment venues altogether would threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of workers. Forcing them into poverty or into more dangerous working conditions.
Moving forward I believe the council’s best move would be to seek a direct consultation with current employees of sexual entertainment venues in Glasgow as well as with representatives of sex worker led organisations and charities (such as SCOT-PEP, the adult entertainment branch of the GMB Union and Umbrella Lane) in order to create legislation that will best serve both workers and the public in general.
Personally I believe that any restrictions on numbers of venues permitted should not result in the closure of any current venues. In order to address public nuisance, crime and disorder, public safety, protecting children and young people from harm and violence against women I think it would be beneficial for sexual entertainment venues to have a specific committee and specific procedures brought in to make it easier for venues to work directly with local councils and law enforcement in order to tackle these issues. Perhaps having regular scheduled check ins where issues and concerns can be discussed and tackled together. But at all times I believe the workers should be made aware and given every opportunity to be involved in decision making.
Your Full Name
Your Full Address
I know this has been kind of a heavy topic but it’s important that we do our best to bring these issues to the attention of the general public. Use this opportunity to educate your friends and family. Help fight back the stigma that sex workers have been struggling with for years.
But most importantly…
Stay safe and be happy ^_^