Our first meeting at the new space! Here’s what happened:
What do YOU need from SWOP?
Finalizing our plans for December 17th (International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers)
We had a general discussion about why each of us is here, and what we’re looking for in meetings, etc.
Some of us are here for support from our community, camaraderie, sharing of skills, and information exchange re: safety, bad clients, business, etc. Some of us are here because we want to do outreach (to people outside our community) in order to change public perception of sex workers. Many of us want to do both. And all of us want to be able to choose to participate in the things we find most important, and pass on the things that aren’t a priority for us right now.
We want to clarify that, although some of us are “out” to our friends, family, etc., we don’t want anyone to feel pressured to be “out” or to engage with the public if they’re not comfortable doing that. And we all need to remember that, if a given member does decide to participate in a public-outreach-type even, he/she doesn’t necessarily need to openly identify as a sex worker. Lots of non-sex workers support our cause.
One thing that may be discouraging people from participating is the image we project. The term “sex worker” is a turn-off (lol…see what I did there?) for some people, especially in this area, where it isn’t as commonly used as it is in other major cities. So, we want to start distributing additional promo materials that project a more palatable (for providers/dancers/etc. in the region) image. This might require us to design promo materials that use more discreet terms (“sex worker” is a term I absolutely love and find really empowering, but I admit that it doesn’t leave much to the imagination) and highlight our role as a community-building, support-providing, knowledge-sharing group for local providers and entertainers.
Yay! We came up with a plan.
On Tuesday, December 17th, we’ll have a second line down Bourbon St.. We’ll be wearing animal print and carrying red parasols (a nod to the red umbrella) and we’ll hand out info about December 17th, raising awareness about crimes committed against sex workers both locally and worldwide. We’ll also be handing out safe sex kits to promote SWOP-NOLA (scroll down for more about that). There will be jello shots.
We’ll eventually arrive at our final location, where we’ll have a private event (for our community and allies only, not randoms off the street). There, we’ll honor those we’ve lost to violence and show appropriate respect for those whose tragedies are overlooked by systems that largely ignore (and even condone) violence against people working in the sex industry. Those attending are invited to share in whatever way they feel appropriate (readings/music/speaking/performance/etc.). Those in our community, friends, family, and allies are invited to join for one or both portions of the event. More details soon!
A more detailed plan has been handed in to Slixa, so now we’re just waiting to see if we will be approved for funding. We may have other opportunities for funding as well (possibly through SWOP-national, etc.). We’re looking into it.
We should also contact other local organizations to see what they’re doing.
More details to come when we have exact times and locations finalized.
Tips on where to get a bunch of cheap red parasols? Anyone?
A bunch of SWOP-NOLA flyers have been ordered, but we need another set (something more…uh…discreet) for other purposes, and we need your input on that before the order is placed. We talked about this in the meeting, and a couple of people volunteered to help with this. Let’s get this done.
Who wants to go around posting these things? Anyone work in clubs? If so, would it be cool to leave a stack in the dressing room?
And then we have the free stuff:
SWOP-NOLA safe sex kits (see example here) for promo include:
- How-to re: using condoms correctly, with penises and toys, and how to make a dental dam from one
- SWOP-NOLA flyer
- Lube: XR Brands, who makes Passion Lubes, has (tentatively) offered to donate individual-use packets of Passion Lube
- Female condom? We’ve been informed that there’s an organization in town that might have a bunch of these to donate.
Some of us enjoy being on camera; some don’t. Internet-based fundraising would be a great route because it’s pretty easy to post a link on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and if our pitch is interesting and we make it seem worthy, then people will pass it along. We haven’t nailed down any specific plans re: what, when, where, etc. on this yet.
- We need to mail out info flyers to each clinic. We are not eligible for nonprofit (reduced price) rates 🙁
- If we’re going to mail stuff, we need a return address. I got us a PO box, but when I went to get the keys, they were all, “we need all this paperwork,” and I was all, “uuggghhhh…can I just get it in my name, then?” and they were all, “yeah, but unless it’s addressed to you with your name, we can’t put it in your box,” and I was all “UUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHH….” and then I left. So basically, that’s a no-go, unless I can register us with the state, etc. etc. I think I’m just going to cough up for an expensive mailbox at a privately-owned mailbox place where they don’t make you do all this legal stuff.
- A couple of y’all volunteered to come over and help me address and stamp these things, and I’m holding you to it.
- Once we’ve done that, we can start calling again.
And that’s what we talked about. The new space is AAAAMMMAAAAAZZZIIINNNGGGG, btw. We got a lot done in a very short amount of time, and I think the privacy had a lot to do with it.
Next meeting is Sunday, November 3rd at 5pm.