Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism

International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers

Jade, a white nonbinary person, in front of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art with an poster for On Our Backs, and exhibit about Queer Sex Work

By Jude Sylvan

Last week, I visited the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York City to view On Our Backs: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work. This exhibit lifts up the deep interconnectedness between queer sex work, queer sex workers, and activism. Artwork, pamphlets, and literature by noted sex worker artists and activists such as the Scarlot Harlot and Annie Sprinkle were showcased alongside video interviews with contemporary queer and trans sex workers -- some of them activists, but many just living their lives. If you are able, I highly recommend seeing it before it closes on January 19th. 
As I read, watched, and listened to the stories, art, and words of queer & trans sex workers and their allies, I was struck by how many intersections of marginalization so many sex workers inhabit. How can we talk about gender justice, about LGBTQ justice, about racial justice, about citizenship justice, about class justice, without uplifting sex workers? 
December 17th is the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. From the December17 website: "The majority of violence against sex workers is not just violence against sex work—it’s also violence against transwomen, against women of color, against drug users, against immigrants. We cannot end the marginalization and victimization of all sex workers without also fighting trans-phobia, racism, stigma and criminalization of drug use, and xenophobia."

As Unitarian Universalists, may we work to create a world in which sex workers do not live in fear and criminalization.

May we all do the work to necessary to combat the stigma and discrimination that imposes silence and erases sex worker visibility.

May the sex workers among us feel safe, supported, and loved.

May we know that the marginalization of sex work and sex workers is a sickness of Patriarchy and of White Supremacy.

May we move toward a future inspired by the work, solidarity, and activism of so many queer and trans sex workers in our midst and history.

About the Author

Jude Sylvan

Jude is a 2nd-year Mdiv candidate at Harvard Divinity School, and is currently a UUA Aspirant. Before pursuing their call to ministry, Jude found fulfillment and success as a writer, producer, performing artist, and teacher. Jude is the author of Kissing Oscar Wilde (2013 Write Bloody Publishing)...


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