Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ontario & Sex Work Decriminalization

Pictured above is Terri-Jean Bedford & Valerie Smith, two of the women involved in looking fucking fierce!

Today, Judge Susan Himel struck down three laws criminalizing sex work in the Canadian Criminal Code. The laws include: communicating for the purpose of prostitution, living off the avails of prostitution, or keeping a common bawdy house (two of these laws are from 1892 - guess which ones!) The ruling makes working as a sex worker in Ontario much safer, as sex workers can now suss out or background check a potential client, work indoors in the safety of their homes, potential organize unions or work in groups, and report bad clients to the police. If it makes it through the appeal, the ruling will most likely be effective nationwide which means some of my bfs in Montreal will be able to file their taxes.

Here's an excerpt Sex Professionals of Canada's press release:

"Sex Professionals of Canada is delighted by Justice Susan Himel’s decision to acknowledge our right to legally practice our chosen profession. This important victory gives us hope that sex work will one day be fully regarded as the legitimate occupation it is.
The invalidation of Section 210 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits bawdy houses, will mean that we can ensure our safety by working together indoors. We can now report abuses of anyone in our occupation to the appropriate authorities, without fear of arrest. Ontario sex workers will no longer be vulnerable to eviction or arrest on our business premises."
Read the rest of the press release here.

The reporting (CBC, Globe & Mail, and the National Post) has been pretty balanced so far, though I wish they would give the three ladies who first launched the case (Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott, and Amy Lebovitch) more space to speak for themselves. As usual, the articles are stacked high with comments from 'expert sources' such as the lawyer, Yonge, who fought for the overruling, Judge Himel, and lawyers and government officials who aren't even involved in the case. Not to mention the deferrals to conservative women's groups like Real Women of Canada.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to celebrate in Toronto at Grannyboots Sex Worker Cabaret - Come! It's free, at the Gladstone, and starts at 7:30 (7:30? Holy shit, I really am living in Toronto!)
Check the facebook event here.

Also, some rad sex worker rights organizations for your perusal:
STELLA (A Montreal organization by and for sex workers)
Commercial Sex Information Services
$PREAD (magazine for and about sex work in North America, I thought it was defunct but the website says differently...)
Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Submission Guidelines

Please send submissions and inquiries to twatterr@gmail.com

         Twatterr seeks submissions and voices that engage with feminism, anti-racism, ableism, trans issues, queer issues, native issues, prisoner’s rights, and other anti-oppressive topics.  Contributions should engage these topics through various lenses; pop culture, public policy, current events, advertising, art, literature, are just a couple examples of what we’re looking for. From vajazzled vaginas to the Harper government’s gross misconduct – we want to read, reflect on, deconstruct, respond to and create conversation on our lived social realities. While topics are by no means limited to Canadian affairs, we also believe that there is a lot of alternately scary and awesome stuff going on North of the 49th, where we live, and we want to provide a Canadian alternative to the American-centric feminist blogosphere we frequent.

Tone and Content:
            We prefer fresh and sassy to academic writing; but, please, don’t sacrifice ideas for style. Also, we prioritize submissions that are timely.  If you submit a piece we like but perhaps won’t be able to use – we’ll contact you and ask for a more relevant contribution or perhaps to become a regular contributor.

Pitch Ideas
- Reviews of Gender/Women/Sexual Diversity Programs in Canada
- Profile of activists, community organizations, or professors and their work
- A personal history of your own consciousness raising, activism, coming out etc.
- A profile of your activist, queer, or radical community
- Exciting events happening across our communities

The Twatterr Manifesta

    Twatterr is a Canadian feminist blog that’s making its way into the anti-oppression blogosphere. Creating, maintaining, revisiting and reclaiming critical discourse, Twatterr seeks submissions, and presents voices, that engage with feminism, anti-racism, ableism, native issues, trans issues, queer issues, sizeism, post-colonialism, prisoner’s rights and, well, any other anti-oppression –ism through lenses that include but are not limited to pop culture, public policy, current events, advertising, art, literature. From vajazzling vaginas to the Harper government’s gross misconduct – we want to read, reflect on, deconstruct, respond to and create conversation on it all. While we may seem like a general interest blog, be warned, this is a feminist space, and while we wholeheartedly encourage debate and discussion among feminists or those who align (somewhat) with the politics but reject the name (womanists and friends, we love you!), we aren’t here to make a space for anti-feminists to question why we exist.
   We believe that Canada is a place with a unique history and geopolitical status, and that a lot of feminist issues could benefit from a uniquely Canadian-feminist standpoint. While we believe in Canadian-specific analysis, we don't want this country-specific approach to sound nationalistic. We know Canada’s a colonial creation. We believe that those living under the colonial Canadian government have a unique identity and come from a unique place in their feminist analysis. That said, what Canada means is up to you, and if you don't call yourself Canadian - that's okay, interpellation by large scary structures is usually involuntary, anyway. We think of ourselves as occupying a different kind of space than our American and international counterparts, but these spaces exist together and it would just be silly of us to ignore what’s going on in the rest of the world. If it’s relevant to you, it’s probably relevant to us!

   Speaking of space … Twatterr is a public space, but that doesn’t mean that you folks can be saying anything you want. We want productive discussion not derailing, and respect is always key in this forum.

   So, why Twatterr, you ask? As two Canadian feminists (identities that are by no means exhaustive), we like saying ‘twats’. We realize that not all our contributors or readers have twats. We hope that our blog will include contributions and conversation from people of all genders and bodies, regardless of where they fall on the reclaiming-slang-words-for-vagina spectrum. However, the founders of this blog do have pussies (I CAN HAZ VAGINA?!) (and cocks in our sockdrawers) and we have no problem calling them twats. We like this word. We reclaim this word (urban dictionary, eat your fucking heart out!), and we want you to have a reaction to this word, to this blog and to our various contributors.

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