Forty-four years ago today, more than one hundred sex workers occupied the Saint-Nizier church in Lyon, France, for eight days in order to protest fines and police reprisals that were forcing them into increasingly unsafe working conditions.
June 2 has been celebrated as International Whores’ Day ever since, with activists calling attention to the exploitative conditions that sex workers endure. Unfortunately, these conditions haven’t changed much since 1975: in 2018, President Trump signed into law a controversial set of bills that criminalize online solicitation and effectively force sex workers back onto unsafe streets.
To recognize International Whores’ Day, we have gone into our archive to select pieces that put sex workers—and sex—front and center. Starting off are excerpts from Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights and Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice, and then a host of essays that explore sex education, the sex offender registry, and cyborg (as well as alien) sex.
Moralistic efforts to guard against online predation do more harm than good.
When it comes to consent, feminists and Christians agree.
Sex work may be a profession, but that doesn't make it a source of empowerment.