Monday, March 7, 2011

Sex-Worker Social Networking

Working in the sex-industry I hear time and again people expressing a desire for some sort of fellowship with other sex-workers for both professional insight and camaraderie. This kind of work can be isolating, with fear of exposure and prejudice keeping many from sharing major parts of their life from even their closest friends and family. Many, like myself and others at the Lusty Lady, create second social networking profiles on websites like facebook and twitter to connect with the outside world and other sex-workers, however the hypersexualization understandably overshadows the persons deeper persona and many are ever mindful of posting too true information, timid of giving patrons too much.

So what about our own social networking site?

While there are a plethora of sex-worker advocacy specialty groups (COYOTE, St. James Infirmary, BAYSWAN etc), they are often disjointed and there is absolutely nothing in terms of mutual social support. The site would allow members (who would be screened for authenticity) to create profiles revealing as little or as much true information about themselves as they would like without fear of discrimination, persecution, unwanted sexual advancements, exposure etc, form groups based around background, interests, and experiences, promote events (social, activist, kink etc), start discussions on public forums, and have private chats with each other.

I believe that having a social networking site like this would build unity in the local sex-worker community across the various profession, age, sexual identity, gender, and race spectrums and will be a valid and useful tool in forming and boosting social and personal identity, increasing sex-worker companionship and support, and holding space for sex-worker activist groups and resources.

Recently speaking with one of the leaders of SWOP (Sex Worker Outreach Project) Bay Area chapter I found that once upon a time there once was a social networking site catering to SWOP members on a national level. While I believe their attempts at a national unity are ambitious and awe inspiring I feel like the only way to successfully build such an intricate forum is to go another route, basing the membership first on location, as opposed to whether or not the person is affiliated with that specific group (whose work or ideals an individual may not claim), gender, or type of sex-work (like another national site does), prompting people to form tangible and lasting connections in a more grassroots way.

Within the nest couple of weeks I will be meeting up with the Bay Area SWOP membership again soon and will start the process of applying for grants.

Anyone with any interest, fears, advice, or questions please message me! All of our voices are important. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi I was thrilled to see this post, a friend sent it to me. I would love to talk to you off line. We will be launching an international social site that has been in development for that last year and half, at the end of next month.
    I would love to talk to you and get your input and thoughts re it's development. Please email and I will send my phone and we can chat?