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March 26th, 2008

Sex Worker Solidarity: Amanda Brooks

Amanda Brooks

Sex Worker profile
I’m a native Texan who is currently a little out of water in California (the foggy part, not the sunny part). I’m someone who has been interested in sex work since 10 years old and I feel very at home within the adult industry. I’m creating a reference series for Internet escorts and am becoming involved in activism. It’s a way to try and right a lot of wrongs I’ve noticed since I was a kid.

What kind of sex work are you currently doing?
I spent my 20s as a stripper and independent Internet escort. I’m currently not engaged in sex work.

Are you active in sex worker activism? If so, what are you doing?
I’d always been curious about it, but it didn’t seem to be for me. A few months after my first book was out Jill Brenneman contacted me through MySpace and we started corresponding. She described my book (and series) as “harm reduction.” It’s an appropriate description and that got my interest. She invited me to join SWOP-East as a board member.

In July 2007 I attended (and presented at) the Desiree Alliance conference. It was a moving experience. There is no way I can let these passionate people down. Though everyone has a slightly different area of focus, the overwhelming impression is of motivated, informed people who are trying to make a difference in a positive way. There’s a lot of love among activists, even those who disagree with one another. Looking forward to the 2008 conference in Chicago!

Through SWOP-East I’ve gotten to start Pledging Action – a condom donation program for sex workers in Chile. I’ve recently joined the Desiree Alliance board. My focus there is as a liaison for SWOP-East and working to create a Media Center for sex workers through DA. (This is in the thought/planning stages, so don’t ask for specifics yet!)

My books are very much an activist statement even though they’re not overt. The idea of producing information for escorts so they can choose their work, determine their work environment and control their destiny in the safest manner is activism at a broad level. I’m all for empowering escorts as women and as sex workers.

What do you think is the best way to promote solidarity with fellow sex workers?
Since every sex worker has their own pet issues, it’s important for all of us to step back and view the big picture. The truth is, every sex worker faces the same basic social issues - only the degree and intensity changes. Those who work in criminalized fields face additional legal and social issues which are essentially the same regardless of what “class” the sex worker belongs to.

Promoting solidarity isn’t hard with blogs, discussion forums and real-live groups. When you start to feel a sense of belonging with others who understand your obstacles, it’s easy to present a united front in public even if you have disagreements in private.

Sometimes the distance of the Internet backfires and we splinter into arguments over things that matter only to us. Then it’s important to remember what I said above: we all face the same basic issues.

Promoting solidarity comes from every sex worker reaching out to another on an individual level. We’re all people-persons; otherwise we wouldn’t be sex workers. But feeling involved requires that we learn the individual. Sex workers aren’t going to feel loyalty to someone whom they only know from a mass e-mail (like current mainstream-marketing wisdom suggests). Meeting the individual sex worker isn’t hard to do and it isn’t difficult. But since there are so many sex workers it’s going to take a long time to reach everyone!

I have to add, this series is a great starting point for introducing an audience to sex workers we haven’t met before. I’ve contacted a couple of your interview subjects because of their interview here.

What project(s) are you working on now?
Too many!

Working on Book #2. The manuscript is back from the typographer and I’m proofing it before sending it to the printer. Yay! Also, working on fleshing out the outline for Book #3 and doing preliminary research (the basic outline has been in place for a couple years but this is detail-work).

Trying to promote Pledging Action and solicit condom donations. I’m not the best at this but I don’t consider it a closed issue.

Working with SWOP-East on whatever issues we have on the table. We have many things in the planning stages and hope to move forward on a lot of projects. Fundraising is a big issue right now.

Working with DA in whatever capacity I can.

Trying to promote Book#1 and myself

Writing a monthly column for

The Notebook (the book’s blog)
After Hours (personal blog)
Bound, not Gagged (moderator and contributor)
SWOP-East (news blogging)
Amazon and MySpace blogs (my stepchildren locked in the basement)

Working on my Squidoo lenses …and a million other little things that all connect to everything above and eat my time – but you don’t want me to list everything!

Amanda’s comment “There’s a lot of love among activists, even those who disagree with one another.” really struck a chord with me. Since the Spitzer scandal first broke I’ve been seeing a lot of the “love among activists” that Amanda mentions. While the many stories in the mainstream press focused on portraying Kristen as a “good girl gone bad” sex worker activists were not only supporting her but creating solidarity with each other as well.

Whenever I would get enraged or depressed with the Spitzer coverage I would turn to the sex worker community online. Writer after writer was bringing up important issues, using the scandal to shine a light on our many causes. Scandals like these seem to come as regularly as the seasons but this one really brought home to me just how much solidarity and activism is really out there.

Amanda’s makes an excellent point about the online community. It does create more solidarity and bring us closer. Just like she says, we sometimes “splinter into arguments” amongst ourselves. But again and again we return to support each other because “we all face the same basic issues”. Focusing on our common grounds makes us closer and our movement stronger.

Sex Worker Solidarity Series
Sex Worker Solidarity: Introduction
Sex Worker Solidarity: Audacia Ray
Sex Worker Solidarity: Dallas From Babeland
Sex Worker Solidarity: Secondhand Rose
Sex Worker Solidarity: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Sex Worker Solidarity: Libertine
Sex Worker Solidarity: Jesse Cox

Posted by Vixen in PSO Confessions, Interviews, Sex Workers

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 at 11:39 pm and is filed under PSO Confessions, Interviews, Sex Workers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Sex Worker Solidarity: Amanda Brooks”

  1. Bad Bad Girl says:

    I have to tell you how much I enjoy this series. I learn so much. It really opens my eyes and helps me see past media impressions and sometimes my own narrow views. Thanks you. bbg

  2. Serpentlibertine says:

    Another great sex worker profile! Can’t wait to meet Amanda this summer at the conference.

  3. Vixen says:

    BBG-Thanks! I’m really happy with how the series is turning out.

    SL-Thank you too! The conference sounds like to much fun. I can’t make it this year but hope to go to the next one.

  4. Amanda says:

    I’m very overdue on this, but I need to say “Thank you” to Vixen for this opportunity.

    Look foward to meeting you Serpentine!


  5. Vixen says:

    Amanda-I’m glad to have interviewed you!

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