Black Lives Matter

June 2020

Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither new nor accidental, but rather a symptom of the endemic racism that shapes the society we live in. The movement to decriminalize sex work is all too familiar with how police routinely target and violate Black and brown bodies.

People of color, particularly trans women of color, are overwhelmingly stereotyped by law enforcement, brutalized, and arrested for sex work-related crimes. We know that the criminalization of sex work fails to protect trafficking survivors, compromises access to resources, endangers public health, and allows violence against sex workers to go unchecked. Black trans and cis women selling sexual services have historically been targets of violence. Police are often the perpetrators of this violence, or they turn a blind eye, labeling the crimes as “NHI” (no human involved).

DSW stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter:

* We are marching in the streets to demand divestment from law enforcement, police accountability, and justice for far too many unjust murders.

* We are supporting incredible community fundraisers to provide aid and space for Black sex workers. These funds include, but are not limited to, a donation page for Gizelle Marie of the NYC Stripper’s Strike to help create housing and resources for strippers and other sex workers of color nationwide, the GLITS lease fundraiser to provide housing and healthcare for transgender people of color who have been recently released from Rikers Island, and The Black Sex Workers’ Collective donation drive, which also has a housing initiative.

* We are working with legislators to support bills that defend Black lives, such as the repeal of the ban on loitering for the purposes of prostitution (“walking while trans”) in New York State.

When sex work is criminalized, racism thrives. People of color are systematically excluded from harm reduction services, such as healthcare and violence prevention. Instead, individuals are criminalized for trying to survive in a world that fails to make space for them. This month is Pride Month; there is no pride for some of us without justice for all of us.

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly, Frances Steele, and Melissa Broudo (left to right) march for Black lives in NYC. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

Gizelle Marie — dancer, community activist, and founder of the NYC Stripper’s Strike — is raising money to support Black sex workers. (Photo: Tasha J. Fierce, 2020)

The GLITS fundraiser raised $1 million to provide safe and stable housing for trans people of color in NYC. (Photo: GLITS, 2020)

DSW Newsletter #15 (June 2020)

Black Lives Matter

June 2020 Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither...
Read More
Black Lives Matter

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020 DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC)...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020 A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is...
Read More
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020 The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets...
Read More
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News

May 22, 2020 An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion...
Read More
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow,...
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex...
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and...
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the...

DSW Newsletter Archive

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020

DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC) rights movements. Ceyenne, a Black transwoman, is also the founder and executive director of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (GLITS) in NYC.

GLITS helps to address the barriers to health and human rights faced by transgender sex workers through crisis support, health care, housing access, advocacy, and public education. Building off of Ceyenne’s deep network of advocates and service providers, the organization works to improve the safety and equity of TGNC sex workers in NYC.

Ceyenne and GLITS have received widespread acclaim for their recent work, both with supporting sex workers and other communities ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the protests against senseless state-sponsored violence directed at Black people in our country. She has emerged as one of the preeminent figures in the national movement for Black trans lives. For example, Ceyenne helped organize the historic 20,000+ person rally in support of Black trans lives in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on June 14.

The Brooklyn Liberation Rally was part of the larger Black Lives Matter and police-accountability movement that has been mobilizing across the country. This day of action, in particular, highlighted the pervasive violence, discrimination, and harassment that transgender people of color are routinely subjected to at the hands of law enforcement. The rally was co-sponsored by GLITS, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Okra Project, For the Gworls, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts.

Ceyenne was one of six speakers at the rally, including Raquel Willis of Out magazine, Ianne Fields Stewart of The Okra Project, and the sister of Layleen Polanco, a transwoman who was killed at Rikers Island. The enormous crowd that gathered filled the Brooklyn Museum Plaza, spilling down the Eastern Parkway towards Grand Army Plaza. “I love each and every one of my trans family members. I love you, and I want you to live,” Ceyenne declared to the audience, which cheered so dramatically that she had to pause her speech to wait for the noise to die down. “I want you to breathe and sustain. I want you to stand tall and proud and Black and live. We have always been last, but that’s not going to happen anymore.”

In the march that followed, protesters demanded justice for Layleen Polanco, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, and countless other Black trans people who have been senselessly murdered across the country. Ceyenne and other leaders have been speaking out about these injustices for decades. People are starting to listen.

The event and Ceyenne’s work has been covered by CNN, Jezebel, GQ, Teen Vogue, Vogue, U.S. News and World Report, and other news outlets. To support the work of GLITS and the movement they’re building, please visit their donation page here.

Surrounded by her GLITS staffers, activists, and movement allies, Ceyenne delivered a moving speech to thousands of protesters gathered at Brooklyn Museum Plaza. (Photo: GLITS, 2020)

A view from the podium at the rally for Black Trans Lives. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

L to R: Melissa Broudo, Ceyenne Doroshow, and J. Leigh Brantly march to support justice and pride. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

L to R: Ceyenne Doroshow, Ceyenne’s friend Shamar, Melissa Broudo, and J. Leigh Brantly catch some shade before marching.

Shamar, Melissa Broudo, and J. Leigh Brantly join the silent march after listening to Ceyenne’s speech.

DSW Newsletter #15 (June 2020)

Black Lives Matter

June 2020 Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither...
Read More
Black Lives Matter

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020 DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC)...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020 A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is...
Read More
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020 The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets...
Read More
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News

May 22, 2020 An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion...
Read More
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow,...
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex...
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and...
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the...

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020

A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is the first-ever anti-trafficking and sex-worker-rights organization to be based in Vermont. The organization is run by and for current and former sex workers, industry allies, and survivors of human trafficking local to VT. Through advocacy, direct services, and community education, the collective supports the intersectional issues of sex work, LGBTQIA+, race, class, gender, and disability equity.

The organization’s launch party was a five-hour-long, live-streamed music festival that raised money for sex workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lineup included musicians from around the world, as well as presentations on timely policy issues by activists and service providers. Mosaic Vermont, one of the state’s only sexual violence prevention and response organizations, co-sponsored the event. Johanna De Graffenreid, one of its directors, spoke about the importance of decriminalizing sex work in creating a world free of sexual violence. DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey led an irreverent and informative discussion about sex work and the history of Ishtar.

“The Ishtar Collective is the only organization made up of current and former sex workers and survivors in the state of Vermont,” said Brantly following the launch. “We are here to support our communities, both rural and urban. We are working directly with state legislators and anti-violence organizations to have our voices heard and fight against labor exploitation.” The Ishtar Collective is collaborating with state Reps. Selene Colburn (P-Burlington) and Diana Gonzalez (P-Winooski) to pass a bill to create a study commission on the impact of different decriminalization models on the health and safety of sex workers. After that bill is passed, the organization will collaborate with Rep. Colburn on another piece of legislation — repealing the criminalization of adult, consensual sex work in VT.

To support the work of The Ishtar Collective, please visit their donation page here.

Henri (left) and J. Leigh Brantly, co-founders of The Ishtar Collective, introduce the collective’s Coming Out Livestream Music Festival and Fundraiser. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

J. Leigh Brantly and Kaytlin Bailey discuss Kaytlin’s presentation on the history of sex worker rights and Ishtar.

The Ishtar Collective’s launch raised funds for sex workers who have lost their livelihoods because of the COVID pandemic.

Closing out the event, state Reps. Selene Colburn (left) and Diana Gonzalez (right) led a discussion on the intersectional realities of how laws related to sex work impact our lives.

DSW Newsletter #15 (June 2020)

Black Lives Matter

June 2020 Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither...
Read More
Black Lives Matter

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020 DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC)...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020 A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is...
Read More
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020 The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets...
Read More
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News

May 22, 2020 An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion...
Read More
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow,...
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex...
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and...
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the...

DSW Newsletter Archive

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020

The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets across the country. This year, the IWDNYC Coalition collaborated with Kink Out Events to launch an online rally and social media takeover honoring protests for sex worker rights around the world. The live stream featured NYC-based sex workers, organizers, and activists who spoke about survival, community, and resilience in a criminalized industry.

Speakers included Ceyenne Doroshow of GLITS and DSW, who highlighted her organization’s harm-reduction work, providing relief to sex workers amidst the pandemic; Aneesha and Alisha of the Black trans-led organization, SWOP Bronx; Bianney Garcia of Make the Road, a formerly undocumented, Mexican-born, trans human rights activist who survived 18 months on Rikers Island after a transphobic attack; and so many more inspirational figures.

IWD commemorates an eight-day occupation by over 100 sex workers at Saint-Nizier Church in Lyon, France, in 1975. The strike called attention to the increasing violence against sex workers perpetrated by the French government. They demanded an end to fines, stigma, and police harassment — and the release of 10 sex workers who had been imprisoned a few days earlier for solicitation. The movement was widely covered by international media, prompting support from labor and feminist organizations. Eight days after the occupation began, the police forcibly removed the protesters from the church, but their mark had already been made.

DSW tuned in to the NYC event, along with hundreds of other participants. Attendees also participated in the social media rally, flooding feeds with stories of survival and expressions of respect for sex worker communities. We were honored to be part of this incredible event — led by sex workers and supported by allies — utilizing the power of art and storytelling to spread public awareness around the issues facing our community.

This year’s digital rally was streamed in four languages, including ASL. (Image: IWD, 2020)

Protesters pictured inside Saint-Nizier Church in 1975 during the eight-day strike. (Photo: Carole Rousopoullos / Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, 1975)

Demonstrations for International Whore’s Day filled the West Village of Manhattan in 2018. (Photo: Danielle Blunt, 2018)

DSW Newsletter #15 (June 2020)

Black Lives Matter

June 2020 Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither...
Read More
Black Lives Matter

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020 DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNC)...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020 A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is...
Read More
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020 The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets...
Read More
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News

May 22, 2020 An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion...
Read More
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow,...
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex...
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and...
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the...

DSW Newsletter Archive

Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

May 7, 2020

DSW participated in Equality New York’s LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action. Community experts led panels and webinars on the movement’s policy priorities for this legislative session to improve the lives of LGBTQI New Yorkers and their families. After opening remarks from elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblymembers Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), and Harry Bronson (D-Rochester), webinars were held on the loitering repeal (“Walking While Trans”) bill, the Transgender Prisons and Jail Protection bill, and a law regarding comprehensive sexuality education.

Lobbying meetings for these pieces of legislation, along with the LGBTQI Long-Term Care Facility Residents Bill of Rights, took place in the afternoon. DSW’s Melissa Broudo facilitated a legislative meeting with Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn). Along with DSW’s Frances Steele, the group advocated for the passage of the Repeal of Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution, a dangerous and discriminatory law used overwhelmingly to target transgender people of color in New York State.

The day of action was a resounding success under unprecedented circumstances. The following day, the lieutenant governor voiced her official support for repealing the loitering statute, stating, “We have to repeal the walking while trans ban. It’s a buzzword, but it is also just people exercising their human right to be who they are, where they want to be, and they should not be harassed for that … [it’s] something we need to take up legislatively.” Thank you, lieutenant governor, for your support on this critical initiative to ensure that no individual is criminalized on the basis of their identity.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (bottom right) gives opening remarks. Also pictured are Amanda Babine, Executive Director of Equality NY; Assemblymembers Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), and Harry Bronson (D-Rochester); and Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) [from left to right, top to bottom]. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul released her statement of support for the “Walking While Trans” repeal bill following the LGBTQI Day of Action. (Image: DSW, 2020)

DSW Newsletter #14 (May 2020)

Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

May 5, 2020 This month, DSW honors Jaime Montejo, one of the founding members of the Elisa Martinez Street Brigade to Support Women; the sex worker support organization can be...
Read More
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

April 21, 2020 The New York State legislature is following social distancing protocol, and advocacy groups have organized virtual lobbying meetings to continue their activism. Through their work with the...
Read More
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

April 25, 2020 DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly were featured in the latest edition of New Pride Agenda’s virtual town-hall series entitled, “Let’s Talk Sex & Sex Work.”...
Read More
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

May 1, 2020 A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of four Wisconsin strip club owners who were denied eligibility to apply for SBA loans through the CARES...
Read More
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

May 7, 2020 DSW participated in Equality New York’s LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action. Community experts led panels and webinars on the movement’s policy priorities for this legislative session to...
Read More
Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly

May 14, 2020 DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly was a guest on the Crooked Media podcast “Six Feet Apart With Alex Wagner,” discussing sex work amidst the pandemic. Six Feet Apart...
Read More
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19 Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies...
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day...
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With...
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility...
Lobbying in the Time of COVID? Lobbying in the Time of COVID?
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly “Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex...

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

April 25, 2020

DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly were featured in the latest edition of New Pride Agenda’s virtual town-hall series entitled, “Let’s Talk Sex & Sex Work.” The webinar brought together activists, policy experts, and community members to explore the economic and cultural impacts of social distancing for LGBTQ+ people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LGBTQ+ communities are feeling the effect of social distancing in innumerable ways in response to COVID-19. Those who express themselves sexually, as well as those who work in the sex industry, face significant challenges, ranging from loss of work to social isolation. These realities can resurface past experiences of homophobia and transphobia, creating barriers to accessing health and safety resources.

The webinar was hosted by Cecilia Gentili, co-chair of NEW Pride Agenda and founder and CEO of Trans Equity Consulting. Experts who spoke on the panel also included Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Ceyenne Doroshow, DSW consultant and Founder and Executive Director of GLITS; and Jose, an HIV+ sex worker and advocate. The discussion combined the varying expertise of panelists to highlight gaps in services, explore potential solutions, and provide a space to share resources.

View the full webinar here.

The New Pride Agenda hosted a virtual town hall series on issues facing the LGBTQ+ community during the pandemic. (Image: The New Pride Agenda, 2020)

DSW Newsletter #14 (May 2020)

Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

May 5, 2020 This month, DSW honors Jaime Montejo, one of the founding members of the Elisa Martinez Street Brigade to Support Women; the sex worker support organization can be...
Read More
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

April 21, 2020 The New York State legislature is following social distancing protocol, and advocacy groups have organized virtual lobbying meetings to continue their activism. Through their work with the...
Read More
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

April 25, 2020 DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly were featured in the latest edition of New Pride Agenda’s virtual town-hall series entitled, “Let’s Talk Sex & Sex Work.”...
Read More
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

May 1, 2020 A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of four Wisconsin strip club owners who were denied eligibility to apply for SBA loans through the CARES...
Read More
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

May 7, 2020 DSW participated in Equality New York’s LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action. Community experts led panels and webinars on the movement’s policy priorities for this legislative session to...
Read More
Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly

May 14, 2020 DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly was a guest on the Crooked Media podcast “Six Feet Apart With Alex Wagner,” discussing sex work amidst the pandemic. Six Feet Apart...
Read More
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19 Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies...
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day...
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With...
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility...
Lobbying in the Time of COVID? Lobbying in the Time of COVID?
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly “Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex...

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

April 21, 2020

The New York State legislature is following social distancing protocol, and advocacy groups have organized virtual lobbying meetings to continue their activism. Through their work with the New York Gender Diversity Coalition and other organizations, DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly helped organize an historic day of activism. Transgender, Gender-Non Conforming, Non-Binary (TGNC/NB) Advocacy Day is an annual event where activists, community members, and policy experts from across the state travel to Albany to fight for legislative action on behalf of the TGNC/NB community. This year, thanks to the hard work of movement organizers like J, the community still met, albeit from a distance.

The event began with an address on the state of TGNC rights in New York State. Panels spanned topics of “Sex Work and COVID-19,” “TGNC Healing and Grief,” and lobbying. Brian Romero from the Walking While Trans Coalition taught a webinar on the legislative process in New York State. Jason Walker from the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) led a Twitter town hall in which participants used social media to advocate for two of the most critical active bills supporting TGNC/NB rights this session: the Gender Recognition Act (SB0056/A3457) and the Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution repeal bill (SB2253/A654), also known as the “Walking While Trans Ban.”

DSW’s Melissa Broudo facilitated the webinar panel, “Beyond the Transaction: TGNCNB Sex Work and COVID-19.” Panelists included Ceyenne Doroshow, from GLITS and DSW consultant; J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, NYTAG, the Sharmus Outlaw Advocacy & Rights (SOAR) Institute, and Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (GLITS); TS Candii of The Walking While Trans Coalition; and Kiara St. James of NYTAG. The discussion explored how COVID-19 has significantly impacted the sex-worker community; the ways this community has used mutual aid and emergency organizing to mitigate vulnerabilities; and the unique stress this puts on TGNC/NB sex workers.

Kiara St. James, Executive Director of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG), gives opening remarks to participants.

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly speaks on the webinar, “Beyond the Transaction: TGNCNB Sex Work and COVID-19.”

DSW Newsletter #14 (May 2020)

Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

May 5, 2020 This month, DSW honors Jaime Montejo, one of the founding members of the Elisa Martinez Street Brigade to Support Women; the sex worker support organization can be...
Read More
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19

DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

April 21, 2020 The New York State legislature is following social distancing protocol, and advocacy groups have organized virtual lobbying meetings to continue their activism. Through their work with the...
Read More
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY

DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

April 25, 2020 DSW’s Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Brantly were featured in the latest edition of New Pride Agenda’s virtual town-hall series entitled, “Let’s Talk Sex & Sex Work.”...
Read More
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts

Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

May 1, 2020 A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of four Wisconsin strip club owners who were denied eligibility to apply for SBA loans through the CARES...
Read More
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds

Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

May 7, 2020 DSW participated in Equality New York’s LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action. Community experts led panels and webinars on the movement’s policy priorities for this legislative session to...
Read More
Lobbying in the Time of COVID?

“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly

May 14, 2020 DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly was a guest on the Crooked Media podcast “Six Feet Apart With Alex Wagner,” discussing sex work amidst the pandemic. Six Feet Apart...
Read More
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly
Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies of COVID-19 Leader of Mexico Sex-Worker Group Dies...
DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day in NY DSW Participates in TGNC/NB Advocacy Day...
DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With Movement Experts DSW Joins Virtual Town Hall With...
Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility for Federal Funds Wisconsin Judge Grants Strip Clubs Eligibility...
Lobbying in the Time of COVID? Lobbying in the Time of COVID?
“Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex Wagner Features J. Leigh Brantly “Six Feet Apart” Podcast With Alex...

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal

March 3, 2020

On International Sex Worker Rights Day, the Walking While Trans Coalition gathered at the Million Dollar Staircase in the Albany Statehouse to speak out about trans rights in New York State. DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly joined activists representing the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) and the Sharmus Outlaw Advocacy and Rights (SOAR) Institute.

The coalition has been advocating tirelessly for the repeal of section 240.37 of New York’s state law. The statute criminalizes loitering for the purpose of prostitution, and its overbroad and vague language has led to discriminatory enforcement. Since §240.37 was enacted in 1976, its implementation has overwhelmingly relied upon profiling and false arrests of cisgender and transgender women of color, as well as feminine gender non-conforming people of color.

The Walking While Trans Ban Coalition — which is composed of sex workers, human rights organizations, and advocates in New York state and beyond — is fighting this unconstitutional law. Senate Bill 2253 and Assembly Bill 654, to repeal § 240.37, are being sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), respectively.

In a legislative memo endorsing the repeal, the New York Civil Liberties Union describes how the statutes make it a violation for anyone to publicly and repeatedly “ ‘beckon’ to, stop, or attempt to stop passers-by; to try to engage them in conversation; or to signal to motor vehicles ‘for the purpose of’ ” engaging in, patronizing, or promoting prostitution. The discriminatory application of this law is based on perceptions of what a prostitute ‘looks like,’ according to stereotypes of dress, perceived gender identity, sexuality, race, and place of activity. This classification unconstitutionally codifies into law racist, sexist, and socio-economically coded ideas of criminality.

DSW was honored to participate in this historic event. There is no better way to honor International Sex Worker Rights Day than to fight for the human rights of our most vulnerable community members. When merely “looking like a sex worker” means you can be arrested arbitrarily, no one is free.

State Senator Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) speaks at the March 3 press conference, endorsing the repeal of Walking While Trans. (Photo: Vince Marrone, 2020)

Attorney and activist Jared Trujillo of the Walking While Trans Coalition delivers a statement. (Photo: Vince Marrone, 2020)

TS Candii and fellow #WalkingWhileTrans activists read aloud personal stories of people who have been harmed by §240.37. (Photo: Vince Marrone, 2020)

DSW Newsletter #12 (March 2020)

Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis

March 30, 2020 The COVID-19 virus is a global crisis. There is not a single community that hasn’t been impacted by this pandemic. Businesses are shutting down, people are being...
Read More
Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis

DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance

February 13, 2020 DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey sat down with the African Sex Work Alliance (ASWA) at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. ASWA is a Pan-African alliance of sex worker-led organizations....
Read More
DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance

Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity

March 1, 2020 This month, DSW honors Ms. Seema Fokla as our Sex Worker Hero of the Month. Ms. Fokla is the current president of the Durbar Mahila Smanwaya Committee...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity

Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day

March 3, 2020 Sex workers and allied communities celebrated International Sex Worker Rights Day, a holiday that commemorates the tireless efforts of harm-reduction advocates around the world. The holiday began...
Read More
Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day

DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal

March 3, 2020 On International Sex Worker Rights Day, the Walking While Trans Coalition gathered at the Million Dollar Staircase in the Albany Statehouse to speak out about trans rights...
Read More
DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal

Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC

March 8, 2020 The International Women’s Strike, also known as Paró Internacional de Mujeres, is a global movement of coalitions in more than 50 countries, organizing around International Women’s Day...
Read More
Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC
Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around...
DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet...
Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla,...
Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker...
DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass...
Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets:...

DSW Newsletter Archive

Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day

March 3, 2020

Sex workers and allied communities celebrated International Sex Worker Rights Day, a holiday that commemorates the tireless efforts of harm-reduction advocates around the world. The holiday began in India in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers from around the world gathered there for a festival organized by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya. The Durbar is a Kolkata-based group that translates to “The Unstoppable Women’s Synthesis Committee.”

Every year on March 3, sex workers and activists organize protests, gatherings, art shows, and lectures across the globe to raise awareness about the human rights abuses sex workers face. Events shine a light on the resilience of the sex work community, the strides activists have made, and the battles to come.

This year, DSW collaborated with several organizations to honor the work of NYC-based groups. J. Leigh Brantly, of DSW and the New York State Gender Diversity Coalition, joined the #WalkingWhileTrans Coalition in Albany to advocate for S2253/A654. This bill, endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), would repeal the criminalization of loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was a featured guest on the Twitter chat #SexTalkTuesday discussing #sexworkerrights on International Sex Workers Rights Day. The conversation is a weekly inclusive dialogue around sex and sex-positive topics hosted by Sssh for Women (@ssshforwomen).

DSW also attended “Our Right to Thrive,” a pop-up art show and silent auction featuring the artwork of sex workers from around the world. The event benefited the outreach initiatives of Sex Worker’s Outreach Project Brooklyn (SWOP Brooklyn) and Lysistrata Mutual Care Collective’s crisis fund for sex workers. The show was a fantastic way to conclude the commemoration of sex worker rights and to celebrate such a resilient community.

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly is pictured with a story from the Walking While Trans Coalition at the March 3 press conference. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

L to R: DSW’s Melissa Broudo, Ryan Wall of Legal Aid Society’s Exploitation Intervention Unit, Jillian Modzeleski of Brooklyn Defender Services, and DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey are pictured at “Our Right to Thrive.” (Photo: DSW, 2020)

DSW Newsletter #12 (March 2020)

Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis

March 30, 2020 The COVID-19 virus is a global crisis. There is not a single community that hasn’t been impacted by this pandemic. Businesses are shutting down, people are being...
Read More
Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis

DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance

February 13, 2020 DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey sat down with the African Sex Work Alliance (ASWA) at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. ASWA is a Pan-African alliance of sex worker-led organizations....
Read More
DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance

Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity

March 1, 2020 This month, DSW honors Ms. Seema Fokla as our Sex Worker Hero of the Month. Ms. Fokla is the current president of the Durbar Mahila Smanwaya Committee...
Read More
Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity

Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day

March 3, 2020 Sex workers and allied communities celebrated International Sex Worker Rights Day, a holiday that commemorates the tireless efforts of harm-reduction advocates around the world. The holiday began...
Read More
Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day

DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal

March 3, 2020 On International Sex Worker Rights Day, the Walking While Trans Coalition gathered at the Million Dollar Staircase in the Albany Statehouse to speak out about trans rights...
Read More
DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal

Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC

March 8, 2020 The International Women’s Strike, also known as Paró Internacional de Mujeres, is a global movement of coalitions in more than 50 countries, organizing around International Women’s Day...
Read More
Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC
Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around COVID-19 Crisis Sex Worker Rights Community Rallies Around...
DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet With the African Sex Workers Alliance DSW Travels To Nairobi To Meet...
Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla, International Symbol of Sex Worker Unity Hero of the Month: Seema Fokla,...
Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker Rights Day Honoring Our Movement: International Sex Worker...
DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass the #WalkingWhileTrans Repeal DSW Rallies With Activists To Pass...
Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets: International Women’s Day in NYC Our Bodies, Our Labors, Our Streets:...

DSW Newsletter Archive