Sex, and by extension sex for money, is conflated with notions of self.
Our sexual identity becomes a signifier to other people about who we are, and in the case of Tracy Connelly, who we are in death.
, sex workers and their allies were sharing and discussing it widely through Facebook, Twitter, and their blogs.
Both major Victorian newspapers, , identified Connelly as a prostitute in their headlines.
Both articles spoke about the inherent danger of her work, including her understanding of this danger and also her preference not to work in sex work.
But porn performers, strippers, and other workers in the corporate legalized sectors of the sex industry are more affected by social stigma and whorephobia than criminal laws.
This difference leads to diverse strategies: some seek to destigmatize “whores” through cultural projects, others believe the First Amendment or the Supreme Court’s decisions on sexual privacy are constitutional grounds for abolishing laws against prostitution.
This was and is a phenomenal media moment for the sex workers’ rights movement. James and COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) and a minimal reference to the online sex worker weekly Tits and Sass, the article hardly mentions the many sex worker-led U. organizations, local and national, that seek to decriminalize prostitution and make the lives and work of sex workers safer.
Though the portraits of sex worker activists are more diverse, the article does not acknowledge the racial, gender, and sexual diversity of the movement.Many groups are providing non-judgmental harm reduction services to people wherever they are, services that provide vital health and safety interventions against HIV infections, drug overdoses and other dangers.Those differences make the movement vibrant, and it pushes activists to adopt intersectional analyses that address the multiple personal, financial, and social circumstances under which people decide to engage in sex work.Arguably, when ‘good’ women are murdered by men, this creates a threat to all women and a woman’s place/space of work or how outside of normalised sexual activities she steps is no longer relevant.Referring to female sex workers as ‘prostitutes’ in the media is not new, but it is a sobering reminder of how pervasive negative understandings of sex work and sex workers are.This stigma feeds into understandings of women that are violence-supporting and referring to victims of violence as ‘prostitutes’ continues to ‘other’ these women and locates them as somehow deserving: she knew the danger.