Working for Sex Workers

The 1969 Stonewall riots, which protested police brutality, are widely recognized as a historic moment in the gay-rights movement. But Melinda Chateauvert also identifies the riots as a cornerstone of the fight for sex workers’ rights. “This is a movement that we haven’t paid attention to, but we need to,” she says. And in her new book, Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement From Stonewall to SlutWalk, the author, activist and historian starts with the protests of the 1960s and from there traces the history of the push to end violence against sex workers and change discriminatory legislation.

“This book, to me, is about a human-rights movement,” says Chateauvert, citing the complicated issues surrounding sex work, which span everything from immigration and class to sexual health. “It’s about a movement that began as a civil-rights movement, with people who identified as transgender and as women of color and as sex workers, and their efforts to challenge the stigmas that they faced be-cause of their identity and to gain rights and freedom to be able to do a lot more than merely be identified as prostitutes.”

Chateauvert will discuss the movement and sign her book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is free; visit tatteredcover.com for more information.
Fri., Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., 2014

 
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