Rights Not Rescue – Sex Workers Demand Justice
Wednesday March 2 — 7pm sharp (doors open at 6pm)
Downstairs at Town Hall — 1119 Eighth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101
We’re kicking off SASS 2016 with a panel presentation that will take a hard look at the history of prostitution prohibition, and the effects that criminalization has had on people and communities who engage in the sex trade by choice, circumstance, or force. The polarized narrative of trafficking victims and high class call girls does nothing to address the diversity of people engaged in the sex trade, or their myriad reasons for being there, and it is our intention to offer depth to this controversial and culturally urgent conversation. Co-hosted by Maggie McNeill and Savannah Sly, this evening will feature presentations by Conner Habib, Kristen DiAngelo, Deon Haywood, and Monica Jones, advocates from the front lines of the sex worker rights movement. Scroll down for presenter bios.
Conner Habib is an author, lecturer, and Vice President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. In eight years, Conner has appeared in nearly 200 adult scenes, and has won both Grabby and GayVN Awards for his work. His writing appears in Vice, The Stranger, Slate, Salon, Reality Sandwich, and more. He gives talks at universities and organizations worldwide about pornography, sex and culture, and LGBTQ issues. Conner hosted the web show Ask The Sexpert on Logo TV’s NewNowNext site for 2 years, and is one of the leading voices on sex and culture today. He lives and teaches writing in Los Angeles. Conner will be presenting at the “Rights Not Rescue – Sex Workers Demand Justice” panel on Wednesday March 2
For more than 25 years, Deon has worked as a human rights defender and advocate for poor women, Black women, and queer women in the Deep South. Since Hurricane Katrina, she has led Women With A Vision to a vibrant, locally-rooted international network addressing the complex intersection of socio-economic injustices and health disparities. In 2009, Deon oversaw the launch ofWomen With a Vision New Orleans Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans* people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law, which resulted in a federal judicial ruling and the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. In recognition of her leadership at the intersection of HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice and criminalization, Deon was honored as the 2011 “Political Activism Award” from Forum for Equality, the “Teri Estrada Memorial Award” from AIDS Law Louisiana, the 2010 Community Spotlight from TheBody.com, BET.com’s 2012 “Health Hero,” and the representative from the U.S. South to the 2013 Frontline Defender’s Dublin Platform. She also testified in front of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law in 2011. Currently, Deon sits on the board of BreakOUT!, a youth-led organization fighting the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans. She also holds the auspicious honor of being crowned the Mardi Gras 2012 Queen of New Orleans’ own Krewe du Vieux, themed “Crimes Against Nature.” Deon was born and raised in New Orleans.
Kristen DiAngelo is a community organizer, courtesan, political activist, a harlot and a whore. Residing in Northern California, Kristen has worked in the sex trade since the mid 70’s and as a result of the sex industry has flourished. Currently, Kristen works as a political activist, co-founder of SWOP Sacramento, and as an expert witness. Ms. DiAngelo is the Executive Producer, Producer, and writer for the award-winning documentary American Courtesans. Her film American Courtesans, has screened in 7 countries and is currently carried in numerous libraries across the US and Canada and has become part of the teaching curriculum in many educational institutions. Winner of two “Best Documentary” Awards, one “Audience Choice” Award, one “Award of Excellence” and Recipient of a Human Rights and Civil Rights Award out of Jakarta, Indonesia, Kristen has spoken around the world about the plights of sex workers under prohibition in the United States.
Seeking to bring a deeper understanding and a dose of reality to the outside world’s view of the sex trade, Kristen currently spends her time working to change the legal status of sex work in the US and reaching out to those in the trade who still suffer. Earning a degree in finance, Kristen DiAngelo at one point transitioned into the “real” world, before she returning home to her friends and real family and a professional sex career that better suited her.
Kristen’s sex trade experience spans the streets, the massage parlors, the brothels of Nevada, owning a service and working the internet. Her diversity of employment in the sex trade brings with it a well-rounded view of the industry. Pimped repeatedly- but now independent for more years than not- she’s drawn strength from adversity, transforming from a victim of poverty and exploitation to a warrior for the rights of those who are marginalized and people who survive on the streets. Her education and understanding cannot be bought. Today, Kristen uses her first hand experiences to effect change and mitigate collateral damage from the reprisal of the abolitionist movement. Kristen will be presenting at the “Rights Not Rescue – Sex Workers Demand Justice” panel on Wednesday March 2
Monica Jones is an American activist who advocates for the rights of transgender individuals and sex workers. While a student at Arizona State University, Jones campaigned against police sting operations against prostitutes, which are aided by the ASU School of Social work and religious charities. One day after speaking at a protest against a Phoenix law which allows police to arrest anyone suspected of “manifesting prostitution”, Jones was arrested under the law by an undercover police officer, profiling her as a sex worker due to her race and gender. This arrest was made in connection with Project ROSE, an organization seeking to “save” prostitutes via arrest. Jones asserted that she was arrested for “walking while trans”, and has gone on to speak out against the profiling of trans women and the oppression of sex workers. In 2015, Jones went to the UN in Geneva Switzerland to speak to the UN Human Rights Council, urging them to review the US’s human rights record and adherence to recommendations around prostitution reform. We are so thrilled to have Monica joining us!