“Sex workers have been a long standing, and often erased, part of the LGBTQ community. Sex work has offered a life line for those marginalized, an opportunity for many with few, the backbones of nascent organizations and a sub-community for many who have been invisibilized by respectability politics. It is important to look at sex work and its place within the LGBTQ community and in the history of LGBTQ liberation. For an issue which encompasses issues of economic justice, labor, criminalization and policing, sexuality, racial justice, immigration, gender identity and complex other frameworks, sex worker rights can be a lynchpin issue impacting the most marginalized in our communities. Caring about LGBTQ survival means caring about the lives, health and safety of sex workers.
With discrimination in jobs, education and services, poverty has long been a queer issue. The trans community are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to cisgender individuals.[i] For homeless and housing unstable youth, the disparities are even more pronounced, with some cities reporting that 40-50% of homeless young people reporting to be LGBTQ-identified.”
-K. D’Adamo, https://survivorsagainstsesta.org/lgbtq/
The Colorado Entertainer Coalition (C.E.C.) is a group of adult entertainers and other sex workers who strive to build social solidarity among ourselves, forge positive relationships with the local community, provide resources to sex workers, and to advocate for ourselves, the adult industry, and the rights of all sex workers through continued education and informed action.
Our group plans legal rights and financial literacy trainings for sex workers, healing activities such as yoga classes for sex workers, Narcan overdose trainings, and provides sex work friendly therapy resources for our community- all of this can only happen with the help and collaboration of the wonderful local organizations empathetic to our cause. A few of our long term goals include increasing banking options and access to financial services for adult entertainers, supporting reforms of financial legislation that disproportionately harm adult entertainers (such as federal policies affecting large cash deposits), and supporting legislation to decriminalize sex work, among other relevant reforms in Colorado. We are also actively working to reach out to and serve queer-identifying sex workers.
Contextualizing Sex Work
*The Colorado Entertainer Coalition uses the term sex work as an umbrella term including anyone who provides sexual or erotic labor.*
All work is influenced by dominant systems of oppression including patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy. Shaming sex workers specifically for making a living under dominant systems of oppression (as we all must) because their work is sexual in nature is whorephobic, and lacks a nuanced perspective of how all of us are complicit in upholding oppressive structures such as racism, cis-sexism, ableism, trans and homophobia, among other “-isms,” to make our living under capitalism, even while we fight for a 100% inclusive system.
There are ways in which sex work poses a direct affront to patriarchy and other dominant systems of oppression, and there are ways in which other work, deemed good and moral, upholds these systems. Let’s add nuance and complexity into the conversation.
If you are interested in learning more about our organization, events, or the resources we offer, please reach out! We would love to hear from you!
-Post written by Colorado Entertainer Coalition member Ashlea