I am not making this call for accountability under the assumption that I am without problematic acts and behaviors myself, and part of the way we’ve been organizing is so that we have a stable and sustainable working collective and that I can be passing many of the aspects of managing the fund over to other folks as we are able to open business accounts and figure out the details of filing for taxes etc.. because I do believe that services centering more marginalized workers should be led by people with the lived experiences that it takes to do the best, most effective work possible. I am making this call because I feel that myself and many other community members have felt unsure how to address these mounting concerns that have now been brought up by multiple people
This not your traditional article. This not an article for the general public to learn about ways they can be more helpful to sex workers and our community. Not a think piece of how or why people do sex work and need support. No. This is a article from a sex worker for a sex worker. Now more than ever we need each other. The ways in which governing systems are set up often breeds internal conflict. We are all trying to survive. This survival game is hard when so many of us have intersecting factors that often contribute to decreasing our ability to make choices, have autonomy and self determination. Resiliency is a heirloom we did not beg for. But because of it, we are creative problem solvers. We have deeper bonds with each other. We make the impossible possible again.
For those who do not know me, I am Jenna Torres. A 23 year old mother of three, who has been involved in the sex industry for a number of years and for a number of reasons. I formerly worked at Red Umbrella Project in NYC. Although their doors have closed, the work for me continues. I sit on the Board of Directors for Lysistrata and do Freelance Consulting for Non-Profits and Educational Institutions around the US. I say all of this to say I spend a lot of time in community. There is no safe place for us yet. That is why we do the work we do. To amplify and expand the voices of people in the sex trades. This is life saving work.
This article is to empower us to come together, to heal collectively. We got this! The world already wants us to suffer. The world already tries to deny us our rights, our existence, and our stories. The internal conflict we are facing is so justified because of the realities we have to face everyday! In this life there will be pain, misunderstanding, harm, and disagreements. Our job as community is to decide how we will come together to address it. How to heal from it. How to learn from it. How to continue to be community afterward. That is not a standard upheld in a capitalistic society.
I want to recognize living ideally in community that actively opposes the way of life that society has already set will always cause internal conflict. I’m offering that we are better together. Sex work is a very isolated lifestyle. Sex work in the context of capitalism reinforces everything we hate about that system. People with more privilege often have a different experience than people engaging in the survival based sex work. We know this to be true. The real question is how do we circumvent that. Robin Hood ideals? Reparations? Community problem solving involves managing expectations and compromise undoing generations of trauma and oppression. Unlearning everything we have been introduced to as a means of survival.
To be completely honest, this community is sometimes the only community I have. I know of a lot of people who can say the same. So when we are actively fighting the world and ourselves, I see such a travesty. I want a world for us that can hold us all. I want people in our community to have more access. Not everything is going to be great all of the time. But sometimes this is all we have. I choose to write this because for some this is all we know. I have a sometimes bias disposition because I find people in the industry to be some of the most amazing individuals. Because of this I refuse to believe that this community is incapable of getting it together. We can truly be the system we need to not only survive but thrive. I mean Sex Workers are superheroes after all. Collectively we hold so much power even when the world tells us we don’t. We got it!