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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Top Stories This Week

1. Sex work in the age of COVID-19;
2. Recent changes to Pornhub that jeopardize sex workers’ livelihoods; 
3. The promise of mutual aid;
4. A critique of the child welfare system;
5. Mental health outcomes in the trans community;
6. Solitary confinement as punishment for trauma; and
7. Rethinking accountability.


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What Sex Work in the Time of COVID-19 Looks Like (Rewire News Group) 

Shreya Bansal discusses sex work in the age of COVID-19: “Clients have stopped requesting in-person sessions, and many sex workers have stopped seeing customers due to fears of getting sick. So they’re finding other ways to earn money virtually—by selling video clips and images, and shooting their own content from home. But virtual work often doesn’t pay as much, and finding time to work is a challenge for sex workers with children. [...] Working virtually offers no guarantees, which is why some sex workers are still doing in-person sessions in order to earn money. But during a pandemic, that brings other risks, especially for workers who have underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.” Read more.


(Kaspars Grinvalds:Adobe Stock)

Pornhub Upended the Porn Industry. Now New Changes Could Destroy Sex Workers’ Livelihoods (Rolling Stone) 

EJ Dickson describes the repercussions of Visa and Mastercard’s recent decision to terminate their relationships with Pornhub: “Although it is largely known as a free porn website, many sex workers use Pornhub to sell their content and depend on it for their income, and they were outraged and terrified by the news. ‘It’s a huge blow to us as sex workers and models. It will not hurt Pornhub as they have always made money off of stolen content,’ says Dee Siren, a content creator and director. ‘This will only hurt models.’” Read more.


(Molly Landreth)

Dean Spade on the Promise of Mutual Aid (The Nation) 

Daniel Fernandez interviews law professor and activist Dean Spade about his new book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next) and how we can meet each other’s needs. Spade says: “We’ve seen the wealth divide grow and the police force grow and the deportation machine grow and US military imperialism expand and all of these incredibly long wars. One response to that, which is appropriate, is to be horrified and feel grief, and those realities and feelings can mobilize us too. We’ve been living through these incredible uprisings against white supremacy and police violence, where a lot of new people have gotten into the streets. And through this combination of mutual aid, political education, building solidarity, and direct, disruptive action in the streets, we’ve seen people develop a new way to think about what their role might be in confronting these crises and saving all of our lives.”
Read more.


(Mark Helenowski)

Do We Need to Abolish Child Protective Services? (Mother Jones) 

Molly Schwartz writes about the child welfare system and whether we should abolish it: “Critics of the child welfare system have argued that child protective services is a carceral institution masquerading as a social service. [...] Child protective services is just one strand in the vast and intricate web of institutions and public services that feed in and out of the criminal justice system. If children are separated from their parents and placed into foster care, 25 percent of foster youth will have interactions with the criminal justice system within two years of leaving care. As with the criminal justice system, those who are disproportionately affected are Black, Brown, and poor.” Read more.


(Wiktor Szymanowicz:Getty Images)

Negative Media Depictions Harm the Trans Community’s Mental Health (them.) 

Derrick Clifton shares the findings of a study focused on mental health outcomes among members of the trans community: “A recent report published in the peer-reviewed academic journal LGBT Health revealed that damaging media coverage of trans and gender nonconforming people was significantly correlated with clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in transgender people, along with increases in anxiety, depression, and psychological distress.” Read more.


(Frederic J. Brown:AFP:Getty Images)

Incarcerated Women Are Punished for Their Trauma With Solitary Confinement (Truthout) 

Elizabeth Hawes, who is currently incarcerated at Minnesota’s Shakopee Correctional Facility for women, details how solitary confinement is used as punishment for trauma: “People are led to believe that segregation is used to contain extremely dangerous, violent people. In a women’s prison at least, this is hardly the case. While women can be and are sent to solitary for fighting, the truth is women are more often there because of mental health issues and for a wide range of petty infractions that have nothing to do with violence. Between April and July 2019, I interviewed 51 people who had gone to segregation and discovered that regardless of age, race, or sexual orientation, the common denominator was not a tendency for violence, but a history of trauma.” Read more.


 (Alexis Hunley)

Uncaging Humanity: Rethinking Accountability in the Age of Abolition (Bitch Media) 

Reina Sultan shares a conversation between prison abolitionists Mariame Kaba and Josie Duffy Rice. Introducing the dialogue between Kaba and Duffy Rice, Sultan writes: “When most people are introduced to abolition, they first want to know how prison–industrial–complex abolitionists propose handling violence in a world without police or prisons. These conversations often become extreme: What about rape, murder, and hate crimes? What if the victim were a member of your family? Though it might not seem this way, we already have many choices to consider when reacting to violence, but society urges us to make the same choice over and over again: Call the police, demand vengeance, and hide ‘evil’ people away in prisons. What would happen if we made a different choice?” Read more.


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