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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Got Memorial Day Plans? The Sex Worker Fest Runs All Weekend

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 2:04 PM

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So rarely are sex workers afforded the right to tell their own stories in their own words. Too often, are the experiences of sex workers reduced to a titillating and exploitative news item illustrated by a stock photo of a woman in high heels leaning into a car with her face cropped out of the picture.

But every two years, San Francisco sex workers combat that unfortunate trend with the Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, a 10-day symposium created by and for sex workers and their allies. The films, performances, and talks that take place during this festival aim to showcase the diverse and multi-faceted experiences of sex workers, from Australian brothel workers to porn legends.

Prostitutes' rights activist, Carol Leigh (aka Scarlot Harlot), who coined the term “sex worker,” in the late 1970s, founded the festival in 1999 and has been providing a unique and supportive venue for sex workers from all over the world to showcase their work ever since. The Sex Worker Fest boasts an expansive schedule of workshops about how sex work doesn't equal human trafficking, soliloquy readings, panels and even a sex worker spa day called The Whore’s Bath, which this year, will be dedicated to Shannon Williams, a local sex worker and activist who unexpectedly passed away from a brain tumor this past January. Attendees are invited to indulge in a day of luxury, self care, spa treatments, and snacks provided by and for current and former sex workers only. Saturday's Queer Male Strippers and Brunch event is wide-open, however.

Tickets are $0-$150 sliding scale and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. While some of the events are exclusively for the sex worker community, the public is encouraged to attend portions of the festival such as the sex worker movie marathon from 2 p.m. - midnight on Saturday, May 23 at the Roxie Theater.





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