Dan Savage

Dan Savage

Author, advice columnist, pundit, and LGBTQAI+ activist and advocate, Savage is known for founding the It Gets Better campaign, creating Savage Love (a podcast on sex, love, and relationships), and being a proponent for relaxing laws against porn and sale of sex toys. He is also vocal in his support of sex workers and is quoted saying in an article on theStranger.com: “I have good friends who do sex work — women and men — and they’re not human shields. Their lives are valuable and, like Fagen says, they’re not here to soak up male rage. They deserve safe working conditions and they deserve our respect — not despite the work they do, but because of it.”

Photo credit: savagelovecast.com

Erika Jayne

Erika Jayne

Erika Jayne is the professional name for Erika Girardi, a singer with chart-topping hit singles, a star on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. She proudly expresses herself artistically through her fashion and sexuality and has been slut-shamed for her choices. In a comment from another Real Housewife calling her a “hooker,” Girardi responds, “And being called a hooker … well, you know what? Hookers are kinda fabulous, in my opinion. So, if I have to represent for all the hookers in the world, I’ll have to do that.”

Photo credit: Nicole Weingart/Bravo

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Bill Maher hosts his own show on HBO and is a famous stand-up comedian. His poignant comedy focuses on topics ranging from religion, politics, mass media, and political correctness. He is an ardent supporter of pragmatic, harm reduction policies such as the legalization of marijuana.

Photo credit: clture.com

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose is a model, singer, fashion icon, business woman, and former stripper. She created the annual SlutWalk in order to combat the war on women’s bodies and freedom of sexual expression. SlutWalk is a transnational movement that aims to reveal the hypocrisy of rape culture, name the evils of gender inequality, and overall give women and femme-bodied persons the support to fully express themselves without shame. The Amber Rose Foundation and MUVA also created OpenED, a series of lectures, panelists, and workshops to disseminate knowledge and empower attendees.

Photo credit: Alexander Tamargo WireImage Copyright 2017 Alexander Tamargo

Cardi B

Cardi B

Bronx-born rapper, former stripper, and internet sensation Cardi B has released several hits, topped charts, and accumulated several accolades. Throughout her music career she has been open about being a stripper before her music career was launched. By being open about her sex work history, she has been an icon for many strippers.

Photo credit: sandrarose.com

Dave Attell

Dave Attell

Outspoken Queens-native comedian Attell is no stranger to the limelight. Known especially for his bawdy and often dark humor, his show Insomniac with Dave Attell garnered a cult following. Attell is not shy about discussing his love of porn, and even hosted a Showtime show entitled Dave’s Old Porn.

Photo credit: lenovo

Jim Norton

Jim Norton

Jim Norton is an actor, writer, host of The Jim Norton Show, and comedian who has been very vocal in his support of decriminalizing sex work. He understands the dangers of condemning an entire labor sector that fulfills the needs of many people from many walks of life, including those living with sex addiction. Norton succinctly breaks it down in his opinion article for Time Magazine: “By keeping prostitution illegal and demonizing all of its parties, we (you) are empowering pimps and human traffickers and anyone else who wants to victimize sex workers because they feel helpless under the law. Give sex workers rights. Give johns a break.” (The full article is here.)

Photo credit: Christopher Lovenguth Copyright 2014 Time Magazine

Stormy Daniels

“The deck has always been stacked against me, but I own my story and the choices I made.”  — Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels is a porn star, stripper, director, author, and ambitious entrepreneur. In 2018, she became involved in the very famous legal dispute between herself, U.S. President Donald J. Trump, and Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels came forward with the information that she was paid $130,000 in hush money so she would not go public with the affair between herself and Trump. We applaud her bravery to stand by her convictions and speak the truth despite scrutiny and stigma. Her book, Full Disclosure, is available now.

Photo credit: Ethan Miller, copyright Getty Images 2018

Serial Killers

Because of the stigma, marginalization, and criminalization of the sex work industry, serial killers often target sex workers, knowing that they will likely be able to get away with killing people who are not valued by society or law enforcement.

Juan David Ortiz, a Border Patrol Agent, was apprehended after a woman in his captivity escaped and linked him to the four murders of sex workers working by the border of U.S. and Mexico. All four murders were committed in a short two-week span and in a similar way. Had his last potential victim not escaped, it is not clear how long it would have taken until he was caught.

Gary Leon Ridgway aka Green River Killer was convicted of murdering 49 sex workers but admitted to 80 murders although the bodies were never found. He stated that killing prostitutes was best because no one would know they were gone and they were easy to pick up.

The Giglo Beach killer targeted sex workers in Long Island in 2013.

Peter Sutcliff, the Yorkshire Killer, killed  13 women in England, some of them sex workers.

Steve Wright killed five sex workers in Ipswitch, England.

Robert Hanson killed 17 sex workers in Anchorage, Alaska. Again, he discovered that strippers and full service providers were less likely to be missed by the people around them and, as a result, reduced his chances of getting caught.

Joel Rifkin killed 17 sex workers in the New York area.

Robert William Pickton killed 49 women, most of them sex workers, in Canada.

Jack the Ripper was famous for killing full service providers in the late 1800s in Whitechapel, a low-income area of London. He was never caught, but the horrific and gruesome murders mysteriously stopped in 1888.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

Famously dubbed “The DC Madam” by media, Palfrey ran an escort agency in Washington, DC. Unable to convict on trafficking charges, prosecutors convicted her on racketeering and money laundering charges. After she was sentenced to 5 to 6 years in prison, she was found hanged along with her black book of clients and messages to her family. It was ruled a suicide, although she did not seem suicidal according to her mother. She catered to DC’s elite, including several senators.

The New York Times, May 2, 2008