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4:00 PM16:00

In Their Own Words: Sex Worker Narratives


Featured Event

In Their Own Words: Sex Worker Narratives

Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4:15pm—5:30pm
L61 Conference Room, New Building


This panel gathers sex workers and puts their stories first. Students and faculty will meet members of the Red Umbrella Project, a New York-based nonprofit—that amplifies the voices of people who have engaged in transactional sex—“through media, storytelling, and advocacy programs.” For more information: and @redupnyc on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram.


Audacia Ray
Audacia Ray is the founder and executive director of the Red Umbrella Project (RedUP), where she has led anti-violence, public health, and media campaigns to fight stigma and discrimination against sex workers, and has taught workshops on writing and media skills for dozens of sex workers in NYC and beyond.

Essence Revealed
Essence Revealed is a former lap dance engineer of the upscale gentlemen’s club scene, from NY to Vegas & sweet, sticky places in between. She performs and teaches burlesque and other dance workshops both solo and as a co-producer of Shades of Burlesque (NY’s only all Black Female Burlesque Review).

Rita Rachaels
Rita Rachaels is a transgender woman who has taken the road less traveled in NYC. In November 2013, Rita performed in the RedUP production "In My Skin," a play about the experiences of transgender women. She has been published in three issues of Prose & Lore and is currently working on a play.

Balder Rosado 
Balder Rosado is an energetic organizer who has roots built into queer organizing. A native New Yorker and a former FIERCE and Streetwise and Safe member, Balder grew up realizing the importance of community, community support, and people power. At RedUP, Balder works on the Access to Condoms campaign, as well as with the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts.

Ariel Wolf
Ariel Wolf is a community organizer with RedUP  and he is actively involved with RedUP's creative work and campaigns around the New York Human Trafficking Intervention Courts.


about this initiative

This initiative approaches sex work and the sex work industry broadly, including unconventional perspectives, and sparks conversations about the wide spectrum of social, cultural, and economic issues that shape sex workers’ lived experiences.

Over the course of the Fall 2014 semester, John Jay College students, faculty, and staff, as well as the broader community, will be invited to a series of panel discussions that consider sex work and the sex industry broadly. These panels cover topics including: sex workers’ own political-organizational efforts; how official governmental systems and institutions interact with the sex trade (and envision alternatives); sex workers’ own stories and interpretations of their work; occupational health and safety issues for sex workers; and how scholars may obtain funding from various sources to conduct more research about sex work. Students will also have an opportunity to gather and discuss the legality of sex work during a student-led debate that will follow a short film screening.

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