21 Questions with a Sex Worker Building Community

Tiny extract from an extremely neat interview with a sex worker in Edinburgh conducted by Raven Bowen:

Q: One thing that your work or existence is aimed to do for the sex industry?
A: I want to make sure that every sex worker has sex working friends that they can meet in person with. These connections are powerful.

The full interview is available here via the Sex Work Research Hub.

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Ghost Bike

Beautiful ghost (or is it shadow?) bike sitting at the intersection of an urban place of grief.

intersection of grief

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Pros and Cons of Open Access

I have grown interested in the debates on open access, for what they tell us about access to information but also for what we can learn about internet communications today.  Nature has published an op-ed by Kate Worlock outlining some of the pros and cons of open access publishing.

The majority of learned societies continue to publish their journals simultaneously in print and online and will in all likelihood need to continue charging for print editions, perhaps on a print-on-demand basis, even if access to the electronic edition has been made free of charge. At present, many learned society members continue to prefer to receive their edition of the journal in print. Making a move directly to open access publishing and charging extra to receive a print copy could alienate a large percentage of the membership base.

Here is the link to the full article.

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The West End Sex Workers Memorial

In 1982, a local by-law expelled sex workers, many of them trans sex workers, from the area where they worked the on-street sex trade in Vancouver’s West End. Many of them were fined as they sought to continue carrying out their work. Pushed further out into Vancouver’s Eastern side, this forced displacement of sex workers drove many of them to work in industrial areas from which in at least 65 of them, many of them indigenous impoverished workers, would go missing in the next decades. It would not be until much later that, as a result of relentless grassroots work, the case of missing and murdered women, many of them sex workers, would be brought to public attention. Robert Pickton is known to have murdered at least 49 of them. He was prosecuted for the murder of only six of them. The sex workers displacement from the West End also contributed to the further symbolic and material divisions still in place today between the West and East sides of Vancouver along racial and class lines. While poorer sex workers were pushed out of the neighbourhood where they worked and many of them also lived, Vancouver’s West End went onto becoming the city’s famous “gayborough.”


Today, the City of Vancouver has formally paid back the full amount of money collected from sex workers’ fines – over 15,000 dollars – in the form of a public Sex Workers Memorial located in the very same place from which they were uprooted. In a truly historic moment, today, September 16, 2016, a fabulous memorial lamp post stood tall and firm on Jervis Street, an area where many of the on-street sex workers made their livelihoods during the 1970s and 1980s. It is located right outside an Anglican Church, where sex workers were able to find refuge during their working days in the area back then. The memorial lamp post stands now as a tangible reminder of a chapter of the city’s history and the sex trade’s history not often told, or even known. While the government officials prepared to provide a sanitized version of the city in the face of Vancouver’s Expo 1986, sex workers did not simply vanish. Some of them survived until today. While the area became a gay entertainment area, catering largely to middle-class white gay men, some of those on-street surviving sex workers came back to join the memorial event today. The on-street sex workers may have disappeared from public view on this side of the city’s streets. However, the indoor sex-trade is known to be alive and well in this same area. As Dr. Becki Ross explained during the formal public event today, Vancouver’s West End may not be a gayborough, but instead, proudly and rightly, a “hookerborough.”


Vancouver's West End Sex Workers Memorial

Vancouver’s West End Sex Workers Memorial


I join in echoing the inspiring messages that one can read at the four-sided base of

The West End Sex Workers Memorial’s lamp post:


“Today, we commemorate and honour their lives”

“In memory of their ongoing struggle for equality”

“People who lived and worked here from mid-1960s to 1984”

“Dedicated to a diverse community of sex workers.”


What a remarkable day!

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Open Access

Groundbreaking developments have just been announced regarding open access to scientific publications in Europe:

All publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe could be made free to access by 2020, under a “life-changing” reform ordered by the European Union’s science chief, Carlos Moedas.

Here’s the link to the full news article.

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My first post is a link to a recently-published article on the current refugee crisis in Europe and the widespread trend to erect borders, material and symbolic, to keep humans apart.

The proper reference of this article is as follows:

Saunders, Frances Stonor. 2016. Where on Earth Are You? London Review of Books 38(5, March 3):7-10,11.

Saunders says:

“The one border we all cross, so often and with such well-rehearsed reflexes that we barely notice it, is the threshold of our own home.” (7)

And continues:

“What we hope for is safe passage between these two fixed boundaries, to be able to make something of the experience of being alive before we are required to stop being alive. There’s no negotiating birth or death. What we have is the journey.” (7)

Read on at: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n05/frances-stonorsaunders/where-on-earth-are-you

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Welcome to my personal website and blog!

Here you will find information about who I am and what I do, as well as links to and commentary about recent news, op-eds, debates, research findings, and books on genders, sexualities, social movements, literature, higher education, economics, racial and class politics, global health, Mexico, and Canada.

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