It’s International Whores’ Day! Let’s Celebrate!

Picture by Kaveh Golestan

 But We Also Need to Push Our Agenda a Little Harder.

What happened in history on June 2nd, 1975? Well, it was a Monday, for starters. The first ever recorded snow fall in June happened in the UK. VP Rockefeller found no pattern of illegal activity at the CIA. John Denver’s “Thank God I am a Country Boy” was #1 in the US & Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” was #1 in the UK. These are some basic, mundane events & facts that you will find when you look up “What Happened in History on June 2nd, 1975”. You will find page after page of the same boring things (well, I suppose snowfall in June isn’t boring; it’s not very useful of a fact, either though.) Ostentatiously left off all these lists however is a lesser known historical event that happened on June 2nd, 1975. The day that became known as International Whores’ Day.

The occupation of Eglise Saint-Nizier in Lyon took place, where over 100 sex workers took a position against appalling & inhumane working conditions.  In brief, what happened was that sex workers (or whores, if you will) were put under increased scrutiny & pressure from the police. They were forced into silence & were driven underground. As a result, they garnered no formal police protection. This only perpetuated more violence against them. After two murder victims and the British Government’s lack of response or willingness to remedy it, these wonderful women decided to go on strike at the Saint-Nizier.

What kind of outrageous demands were these whores seeking? Why, they had the audacity to ask for decent working conditions and asking for a call to end stigma. Well, holy shit! The nerve of some whores, huh? Eventually, after eight days of threats and the women not backing down, the police finally cleared the church. The event marked the starting point of an international movement of sex workers for sex workers’ rights. Every year since that fateful day in June, we have celebrated “International Whores’ Day”. And fucking right, let’s take the word back as our own, because it belongs to us!

Does anything that happened in history sound similar? It seems quite similar to the current landscape of sex workers fighting for their rights and the call to end stigma? It feels like this strike could have been on the 11 o’clock news tonight. Well, on the second thought, it likely would not have made the news. If the story was about human trafficking, then maybe so. But for the lack of headway in policy change or no to little changes in decriminalization against sex workers, this situation could very well be a present-day protest.

endstigmaWith our society growing more and more tolerant of things that were once considered “immoral” or “indecent”, one would naturally assume that the stigma of sex work would slowly start to dissipate. Not so much.

International Whores’ Day

Let’s celebrate this day where we praise the efforts of a-many brave whore souls, and yes, we do have them. But we need to work a little harder. We need to fervently support current efforts, in addition to standing up ourselves. We’re not out of the woods yet. It’s going to be a long night of work, so let’s do this. Good thing we happen to be ladies of the night.

Peace, Love, & a Hard Cock

Read: The Way We View Sex Work Is All Wrong

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