Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 090915 Contents 16 • 9.9.2015
After the federal government raided
and shutdown the popular worldwide
male escort website Rentboy.
com several LGBT and human rights
organizations have blasted authorities.
Coincidentally just days before the
raid a joint statement was released by the
Transgender Law Center, Gay and Lesbian
Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda
Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights,
and the National Center for Transgender
Equality supporting a resolution by
Amnesty International that calls for the
decriminalization of sex work.
Last week SFGN published statements
from a half dozen organizations condemning
the raid and supporting Rentboy including
the Human Rights Watch, National Center
for Lesbian Rights, National LGBTQ Task
Force, The Global Forum on MSM & HIV,
Transgender Law Center, and the Woodhull
Sexual Freedom Alliance.
rentBOy rAid slAmmed
More LGBT groups, human rights organizations and
sex worker rights groups condemn the raid
here’s what several more organizations had to say:
Unfortunately, we in the adult industry have plenty of experience with these raids. From
our inception as a legal business in the late 60s, adult film makers and workers have been
surveilled, censored, raided and harassed by law enforcement units from vice squads to the
FBI. In the past few years, adult performers, producers and service providers have protested as
their bank accounts were shut down, their health records subpoenaed and their right-to-work
violated by misguided moralists. No matter what the tactic, the goal is the same – push us into
the shadows and silence our voices.
Our industry is diverse; many of us have different needs and concerns. Time after time,
this has been used to divide us; performers against providers, producers against performers,
straight against gay. However, it is clear that if we do not unify in the face of these assaults, the
industry we have all worked so hard to build will crumble. Instead, our differences should be
our strength – our unity in the face of censorship, our secret to survival. At times like these,
it is more important than ever that we amplify each others voices and come to each others
defenses, even when it means a risks to ourselves.
You can read more about Jeffrey’s case and donate at RentBoyFund.org.
diane duke, CeO of the Free speech Coalition
The criminalization of sex work fosters
violence, stigma, and marginalization. Harm
Reduction Coalition affirms a harm reduction
approach to sex work which prioritizes creating
conditions that provide sex workers with
information, support and resources that allow
them control and autonomy over their labor to
reduce their risks for violence, trauma, HIV, and
Harm Reduction Coalition believes that
the Rentboy.com charges represent misuse of
federal investigative resources and prosecutorial
power. We call upon our partners and allies in
public health, human rights, harm reduction,
HIV, and the LGBT and feminist movements to
join us in condemning this assault on sex worker
autonomy and to support harm reduction over
harm reduction Coalition
What we do know is that criminalizing sex work and shutting down services like Rentboy.
com make the LGBT community less safe.
Whether because LGBT people — particularly those of color, transgender women, and
youth — face job discrimination, family rejection, homelessness, and criminalization or
because our bodies and desires are at once demonized and exoticized, our community has
long-turned to the sex industry for critical means of support and survival. Data from the
National Transgender Discrimination Survey, for example, has shown that transgender
people engage in sex work at a rate at least 10 times that of cisgender women, and at least 13
percent of transgender people who experience family rejection have done sex work at some
point in their lives.
When your body is a site for harassment, your health care is withheld, your ability to walk
down the street is criminalized, your identity is called a “social experiment” but you still dare
to survive, the sex industry can offer not only an avenue for survival but also for affirmation.
And for those who are able to utilize online platforms to meet clients, these platforms provide
a safer alternative to street-based work where there is less time to negotiate safety needs and
higher risk of violence from both clients and law enforcement.
We at the ACLU have supported the decriminalization of sex work since 1977. Yet here we
are almost 40 years later, and the resources of our federal and state law enforcement agencies
are invested in shutting down a website that increased safety and harmed no one.
Chase strangio, staff Attorney, lgBt & hiv Project for AClu
the risk of
harm to sex
is the effect of
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