Sex and gender at work, in bed, and on the street

Sex work, stigma, and HIV: Your sex and gender morning roundup

December 16, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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Taking a hard look at American AIDS policy (Photo: Associated Press)

A new report [PDF] investigates the effects on sex worker criminalization and stigmatization on the fight against HIV:

From 2000 to 2008, as part of its response to both human trafficking and the global HIV epidemic, the U.S. government developed anti-prostitution policies and Congress passed antiprostitution provisions that directly undermine U.S. efforts to prevent trafficking and HIV/AIDS. The focus of these policies is directed at stopping women from selling sex to earn a living. However, sex work is not the same as human trafficking into the sex sector and should not be conflated as such.

Conflating human trafficking with prostitution results in ineffective antitrafficking efforts and human rights violations because domestic policing efforts focus on shutting down brothels and arresting sex workers, rather than targeting the more elusive traffickers.

Moreover, a growing body of research finds that sex workers’ high risk of HIV infection is due in part to their marginalized and illegal status. Criminalizing sex work thwarts workers’ access to health care services and government benefits and makes them vulnerable to police abuse and exploitation.

 AFTER THE JUMP: Olbermann gets sensitive on Twitter; on false rape accusations; a year in D.C.'s LGBT community.

DADT gains steam.

DISTRICT residents talk dating: "I'm pretty open. I do have a list of things I hate, like beards. They creep me out." KEY EXCHANGE: Q: "Have you had sex anywhere unusual in DC?" A: "Yeah, at the Wall." Q: "The Vietnam Memorial?!" A: "Yeah, sorry. It was one of those nights."

THE DC CENTER, D.C.'s LGBT community center, recaps its year:

SAGE Metro DC partnered with Capital Pride for a Town Hall meeting on Aging in the LGBT Community. The HIV Working Group continued to grow our FUK!T safer sex campaign and held a town hall meeting to discuss new data on men who have sex with men in the District. The DC Crystal Meth Working Group held a series of facilitated meetings to support couples struggling with addiction. DC for Marriage saw Marriage Equality become a reality in the District of Columbia. Our Tobacco Working Group conducted two seven-week Freedom from Smoking Programs to support LGBT folks ready to quit smoking. GLOV continues to to advocate for victims of Hate Crimes in the District and works in partnership with other local organizations to tran GLLU officers.

We also launched several new events and programs in 2010 driven by our local community. Gabriel Atchison facilitated our Bereavement Support Group. Mike Brazell hosted our monthly Open Mic Nights as well as the always popular Bears do Yoga. Gregory Jones hosted the film and discussion Do I Look Fat? exploring body image issues among gay, bi, and tran men. Adrian Krishnashany organized an excellent Communication for Couples workshop. And we had the pleasure of hosting wonderful performances including The Femme Show and Tom Goss.

KEITH OLBERMANN gets sensitive on Twitter.

FALSE RAPE ACCUSATIONS are rare, and they're harmful, writes Rachael Larimore for the XX Factor:

Fortunately, her story fell apart before police could arrest a suspect, so no man will sit in jail unfairly accused. But this is bad news for genuine victims everywhere. The woman, Heidi Jones, is attractive enough (her photos are plastered everywhere online in what I can only imagine is a shameless ploy to drive Internet traffic) and just well-known enough to have this case sensationalized and nationalized. (Hello, Drudge Report.) It serves to remind potential jurors—everywhere, not just New York City—that women, on occasion, really do make this stuff up.

And that’s not the only negative fallout. Such cases strike a huge psychological blow and are a source of frustration to the poor “regular” woman clutching her phone at all times waiting to hear from detectives that there’s been a break in her case. I myself was attacked when I was a young woman, and that whole summer I had to sit through nightly news reports about an ongoing case that happened at a similar time that was shaky, sensational, and ultimately never proved. In a word (or two), it sucks.

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