Upcoming events

Portland Adult Performer Alliance meeting today, 5pm

Sex Worker Book Club brunch 12pm 4/18

We’re reading Playing the Whore this month, and it’s very short and accessible, please come!

Contact workingitinportland@gmail.com with questions!

Portland Adult Performer Alliance letter to the Committee Chair working on HBs 3059 and 3060

As some of you know, the independent contractor legislation originally meant to offer much needed protections to strippers was briefly given an amendment that would have made it mandatory for venues that have live performers [djs, comedians, strippers] to have workers comp for these performers.

Workers comp would have made a huge difference to me the times I’ve hurt myself at work: the time I cut myself on a broken mirror and had to leave and missed five shifts; I know other many other workers who have similar stories [although funnily enough, the anecdote that a worker at Acrop fell in a puddle onstage is completely untrue.  There’s a lot to say about the management at Acrop and that disaster of a building, we don’t need to go making up transparent and easily dismissable lies to make the point that Acrop is awful].

The fact that a well off worker with health insurance and a backup income took it upon herself to dismiss this amendment for the thousands of performers in Oregon, without seeking any feedback from the community, is gross and completely unethical.

So for those of you interested in supporting sex workers rights here, one of PAPA’s members [whom I do not want to name bc outing, but she can name herself! such an articulate lady!] has written a very articulate and smart letter to the Chair about the proposed and abandoned workers comp amendment. She has given me permission to use it as a template and I’ve edited it a little to remove the name of another dancer but if you want to email the Chair [Rep.PaulHolvey@state.or.us] abt it, here is a really great template!

Hi Representative Holvey,
I am writing you to encourage you to rethink adding the workers’ compensation amendment to House Bill 3059.
I am aware that you have talked to another Portland-based dancer, who has expressed her intense dislike of such an amendment. She said as well that she got a personal guarantee from you that you would take the amendment off the table, after hearing that dancers would not like such an amendment. She does not speak for all of us.
The lobbying process that has informed the production of HB 3059 and 3060 was not inclusive to all dancers or independent contractor entertainers. The lobbyists did not attempt to solicit feedback from entertainers outside of Portland. They did not solicit feedback from dancers working in small clubs, marked by working class status. There were very, very few entertainers of color involved. Essentially, the voices that have been invited to speak and the voices that have been the loudest are very privileged voices: people who do not rely on dancing as their sole source of income and would be okay if they could not dance for some reason, white dancers, and dancers who work in well-established clubs and earn in the higher bracket.
I was thrilled to hear that an amendment had been introduced to provide workers compensation to all workers in an establishment, because it would start to correct the structural inequities inherent in the industry. I was immediately dismayed when I read that this other dancer reacted so strongly and attempted to speak for the industry before even trying to reach out to the limited community she is connected to.
I would appreciate hearing back from you and having continued dialogue about this, as I strongly believe the equity of the industry relies on it.
Sincerely,
______________

You Cannot Consent To Being Treated Illegally: An Interview With Corinna Spencer-Scheurich

What legal rights do strippers actually have? What’s our actual legal status? To find out, I did an interview with the lawyer who represented the dancer who sued Rose City Strip and won. The full interview is up at Tits and Sass.

Red: There seems to be a lot of confusion about what it MEANS to be an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. Because clubs in Portland for the most part don’t have us sign paperwork, people think that they’re entirely anonymous and off the record, and that being an employee would be something that would show up on housing or employment background checks.

But A) clubs are supposed to be filing tax paperwork on us, right? Either 1040s or 1099s? And B) no one has access to employee records except the government anyway, so there’s no reason it should show up on a background check and result in the outing of a dancer anymore than independent contractor paperwork, right?

Spencer-Scheurich: It is actually not easy to get tax information. More often than not, people give it up voluntarily to apply for loans etc. Also, even if dancers are not filing taxes because they are treated as an independent contractors, they should be.

Red: But overall, here in Oregon where there’s no licensing, it’s private info?

Spencer-Scheurich: Right. It should not come out in a background check unless you disclosed the info somewhere else. No one can get the filings unless you have given them permission.

Red: So are clubs supposed to be filing tax paperwork for their dancers? Do the owners of salons or cab companies or construction companies have to file paperwork about their independent contractors?

Spencer-Scheurich: If you pay someone more than $600 a year, you have to issue them a 1099.

Red: Is this where employee status comes back into play?

Spencer-Scheurich: Right. Since most dancers are actually employees, clubs should be issuing W2[s] that include reporting on tips. And this is to dancers’ advantage. When someone is treated as an employee, the employer pays 7.5% of the employment taxes. As an independent contractor, you have to pay all of the employment taxes yourself.

Red: There’s a lot of fear that we’re going to end up on minimum wage.

Spencer-Scheurich: The thing about minimum wage is that you get minimum wage plus tips. Consider how much bartenders make in this town.

SWOP and PAPA present Sex Workers’ of Portland Annual Art show

Submit you art!!

Submissions due by 5/14/15

This year the art show will be at Pivot, First Thursday opening party 6/4

Wine, snacks, and free HIV testing!

A benefit for Pivot!

Upcoming events and reminders

In general SWOP meetings will be the first Sundays of the month, meeting locations tbd.

PAPA [portland adult performers’ alliance] meeting 3/29, 4pm.

In general meetings will be the THIRD Sunday of the month and also on undecided Wednesdays, for those who can’t make Sunday brunches.

Sex Workers Rights and Stigma Panel for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 4/22 4-5:30pm

Listen to a variety of workers in different areas of the industry talk about the way that stigma, lack of access to legal rights, and a placement on a variety of intersecting margins interacts with boundaries, sexual harassment, and assault; options and diverse ways to fight against stigma for the better protection and freedom of swers and everyone else!

Submissions forWorking It due 5/14:

The theme for summer issue is IDENTITY and closeting: in the closet, out of the closet, anxious about being outed, the knowledge that you’re the only sex worker in the room as someone makes cracks about sex workers, &c. Have you lost something by being outed? Was being outed awesome? Dealing with identity and stigma.

Submissions for the art show also due 5/14!

Art of any medium: film, words, sculpture, paintings, sketches, comics, ducttape, welcomed and loved! We have some great artists already, PLEASE submit and share your art!

ESPECIALLY desirous of art by sex workers of colour and male/nb/trans sex workers, I know the sex workers rights movement up here is a white cis ladyfest but I very much want to include other voices!

The art show is now being hosted by Pivot, for which we are eternally grateful! It will also be a partial benefit for Pivot, with some of the profit on a varying basis (depending on artist comfort level) going to Pivot.

Opening party June 4th: wine, snacks, performances, free HIV testing, and art! There will also be a brunch somewhere around the sex workers panel in April to welcome some visiting sex workers, date tba.

Please share, submit, reblog, and come to events and meetings!

Sex workers show support for and solidarity with Ashley Benson

Some SWOP, SWOC, and unaffiliated but interested sex workers will be going to Tae Bum Yoon’s hearing on Tuesday.  The hearing time will be announced Tuesday morning and will be posted here ASAP after that.

 

We’re wearing black to show  mourning and outrage for the loss of one of our own, especially after such callous and indifferent treatment by the justice system.  Wear black and come if you can.

Benson arrest

Ashley Benson, a Vancouver-area sex worker, was killed on December 26th; a man has been arrested in connection with her murder earlier today. Infuriatingly and all evidence to the contrary, her life was immediately co-opted by police and the media into the trafficking narrative.

Benson had a four year old son.

GoFundMe

Sex worker zine out now

The first issue of the new Portland-centric (but with submissions from sex workers around the country) is done, printed, and available!

In this issue:

Where to go for low cost/free medical care in Portland

Gonorrhea: what is the new gonorrhea, how to protect against it

What being an independently contracted stripper really looks like, from distance correspondent LiveNudeGirl

What are the legal rights of strippers?  from the Northwest Justice Project which wants to help you obtain your rights.

“You’re so much better than this!”  Clients who don’t get it

and more!

$2 for sex workers, $5 for civilians.

Email rightssaidred@gmail.com for a copy.

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Nationwide Alert!!- Dangerous Person Targeting Sex Workers

An URGENT nationwide bulletin has been issued especially to sexworkers for person who is wanted for violent acts against women; specifically those working in the escort and sex industry.

Gregory Lewis is wanted on felony warrants for Kidnapping, Aggravated Robbery, and  rape out of North Carolina and Massachusetts. Lewis was last known to be in Denver, but he could be anywhere in the US – he has traveled from coast to coast.

10/27/2014 – May have stuck again in Oregon reports WCVB news.  On Saturday reported to be in Indianapolis.

Denver Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston has reported that Lewis is an accused child rapist. They added that Lewis may be in possession of a gun, baton and handcuffs.

In Massachusetts, Lewis cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and fled the state. He returned onSept. 25 to attack a family member and steal a gun, WCVB reported.

Denver Police said the crimes committed in Denver happened in early to mid-October.

Right now, Lewis is the most wanted man in Massachusetts.

Lewis is targeting escorts and women working in the adult entertainment industry

Lewis is described as a white male, approximately 6’2” and 250-270 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.

Pictures at http://denver.backpage.com/FemaleEscorts/crime-alert-crime-alert-crime-alert-41/16739881
Lewis may be clean shaven now.

10/28/2014 updated photo- The photo of Gregory Lewis, 26, shows him clean-shaven when older photos showed him with a beard. The photo was taken from a surveillance camera on Saturday in an Indianapolis hotel. Authorities say Lewis robbed that hotel Saturday.
http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/27146043/police-release-new-photo-of-wanted-southbridge-man-gregory-lewis

Investigators believe he has been driving a 2004 blue Jeep Cherokee and stealing license plates, and they say he’s made it clear: he will fire at anyone who tries to take him down.

“I think he figures it’s almost his last hurrah, he’s going to stay out there as long as he can, he doesn’t care how many people he hurts,” says Lt Farley.

He has the following tattoos: Chest – hand holding a knife with a broken handcuff; Left shoulder to elbow – demonic female with colored eyes. Lewis should be considered armed and dangerous.

In late September, investigators believe Lewis returned to a family home in  Massachusetts  where he then violently assaulted his stepfather, stole a 9 mm handgun and left with hundreds of rounds of ammunition

He is believed to be extremely dangerous, Do not approach him, do not contact him. Contact authorities right away.

10/27/14

Next SWOP-PDX meeting-planning for Trans Day of Remembrance, date tbd

Next meeting on the exotic dancers legislation-11/11/14