Happy International Women’s Day!
For those that don’t know, the 8th of March is International Women’s Day (International Men’s Day is the 19th of November). It’s a day to acknowledge all of the work done by women, the progress that women have made in all areas of life and to fight for women’s rights. I also want to take a moment right now to say that trans women are women and we celebrate them too.
Since 2019 it has also been a day to strike from work – whether that’s your day job, your housework, or sex work – women across the world are encouraged to take a stand and say “not today”. The point is to show how crucial women’s work is, especially the work that goes unseen and unpaid by society. And in the specific case of sex work, it’s our way to stand up for our rights and our desire to see our work decriminalised as well as having it recognised as being work.
I say “our” because I am a woman and a Sex Worker.
Of course, this isn’t a day to exclude our allies who wish to support us. Everyone is encouraged to stand in solidarity with women and with Sex Workers.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the Sex Worker Strike as I’m sure that’s why most of you are still reading.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time then you’ll know that I am a Sex Worker and I’m not shy about telling people that. However, I am very privileged to be able to be that open about my work. Many Sex Workers have to keep their work secret for fear of the stigma and prejudice that is attached to sex work. Many can’t tell their friends or family for fear of rejection and lack of understanding.
Sex work is a topic that evokes a variety of responses: some will turn their nose up and disengage, others will want to take on the role of saviour for the “poor exploited women” and some will feel too awkward and uneducated to even consider participating in the discussion.
That’s why things like the Sex Worker Strike are so important.
They get the Public’s attention. It’s a lot easier to engage in a conversation when there are thousands of online posts or videos being shared that tell you everything you need to know and more.
Today you will come across posts that explain why decriminalisation is so important and why sex work deserves to be treated like any other work (spoilers, decriminalisation is for safer working conditions and treating it like work reduces stigma). You should treat it as an opportunity to educate not only yourself but your friends and family too.
“But Blue! I can’t share this with my best friend/Mum/Gran!?” – this may be the response that some of you have when presented with the idea of talking about sex work in your own social circles.
My response is simple, why not?
Are you afraid they’ll alienate you? Worried they’ll think you are a Sex Worker? Do you think they’ll react negatively and that your relationship with them will have to change?
Congratulations, you’ve just got a tiny glimpse into the life of a Sex Worker!
We ask our friends, family and allies to help us tackle the stigma around sex work by having these conversations. Sharing information and taking the time to educate not just yourself but your peers.
As the saying goes, “someone you love is a Sex Worker”, imagine how much more comfortable they would be to see you standing up in support of them. They’d be able to see you as a safe person, someone they can talk to and maybe even come out to. It makes an incredible difference and it’s so easy to do.
So for this IWD and SW Strike, I encourage you – my readers – to educate yourself and others. Share a post from a Sex Worker led group on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram or send them to this blog.
Let’s spread compassion and understanding today.
Stay safe & be happy!