Over the weekend I headed out to Brooklyn to check out Pay As You Go: An Evening of Sex Worker Shorts. Initially I was drawn to it by Audacia Ray's film short "VAMP: Sex Work Organizing in India". I've been following Audacia Ray for a good while now and was intrigued by the non-profit SANGRAM who helps organize VAMP as well as providing practical training ground for other NGO’s and GO’s interested in working on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
VAMP: Sex Work Organizing in India by Audacia Ray was beautifully made and captures the essence of both the women involved in the industry as well as those who run the programs that help them. One of the most intense and thought provoking parts of the film is whn a house wife and a sex worker are taped together discussing sex work, disease, HIV/AIDS,condom usage with sex workers as opposed to housewives, and actually getting to understand and relate to each other not only as women but as human beings.
Prostitution Free Zone by PJ Starr gives us a brief look into the anti-prostitution laws of D.C. which are being used to gentrify and push out those who have inhabited the areas for years. The compelling thing about this film was seeing how incredibly brave the sex workers were to be taped, to fight back for their rights and to make sure they have safe places to go. "Constitutional right to freedom of assembly? Not in DC, honey!" - from "Prostitution Free Zone"
The Line by Nancy Schwartzman discusses what happens when consensual sex turns turns into a forced encounted. What happens when the person raped is not a "perfect victim"? In the film she not only gives us a brief history of the evnts and emotions that led up to the attack but also her quest to confront her rapist and heal herself along the way. The film asks the question: where is the line defining consent?
Workin Girl Blues by Damien Lux is a wonderful little short on jobs and the pros and cons of each job she has had.
You Must Know Me by HOPS & WITNESS was one film that brought tears to my eyes. At one point a sex worker talks about how dangerous the job is. How one evening she was raped repeatedly until morning and then left to hitchhike home. Like most she was afraid to go to the police because they either A. Do Nothing or B. Expect favors for their services. It brings up the question: "If sex work is illegal, do sex workers have rights?".
The consistant theme throughout the night was human rights. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, every single human being deserves basic human rights and protection. My only wish was that I could have stayed for the second half. Of course I've just gotten word that Audacia will be hosting a repeat screening of sex worker docs the weekend of the NYC Sex Blogger Calendar party. 7:30 pm on 11/7 so I hope to see all of you there as well.