I am writing to you about someone who has been honored in our community by the most recognized print resource for sex workers in the US, that is $pread magazine . The full article is attached. In 2011 Gigi Thomas was highlighted by $pread as one of our heroes for her devoted grassroots work for our cause. I’ve known Gigi for more than 15 years and she has helped everyone she met. She helped me find a place for Different Avenues to have its first office, she helped so many sex workers and transgender people, she constantly went to court standing side by side with people facing charges. She worked at HIPS for many years as a steady presence for all who sought services there. Along the way, she earned her Masters in Social Work. Gigi has been truly fearless in the face of oppression. For example, while collecting surveys about policing via “prostitution free zones”, she herself had to face police violence because she was targeted for gathering key information that was ultimately used to hold the police accountable. In 2014 the District of Columbia repealed the “prostitution free zone” legislation and the data that Gigi collected was integral to that work (see http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org/2014/10/08/washington-d-c-passes-bill-to-repeal-discredited-prostitution-free-zones/).
Last year Gigi was arrested. In an event that cannot be discussed because the case is currently before the courts, Gigi saved her own life. How often is it that our trans sisters and leaders are murdered? Against all odds, our friend Gigi lived. She saved her own life, after saving so many others in our community. But what is the price for saving her own life? She is incarcerated and awaiting trial.
Please get the word out to donate to Gigi’s fund. It is a great shame that so little has been raised in her name, help us change that: https://www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/support-gigi-thomas
Want to read more about Gigi? Check out a recent piece in Tits and Sass where advocate Bonnie recalls, “In 2001, I met GiGi. I was 2 hours away from her in Virginia; she was in DC. She drove two hours to get me, two hours to my mother’s for clothes, and two hours back to DC. She paid for storage and allowed me to call her all weekend until I got into Covenant House, which provided a 30 day apartment with a pregnant peer. Two weeks after the 30 day stay in Covenant House, I got an apartment in southeast DC. She never left me. She never found a reason not to help me…” http://titsandsass.com/activist-spotlight-bonnie-on-violence-and-endurance/