Skip to main content.
January 16th, 2012

Red Umbrella Day

Red Umbrella Day

Last month I went to Albuquerque, NM for a Red Umbrella Day event. I blogged about it some here and here. The event combined a Slut Walk with the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

I was tempted to dress up in a slutty costume-I love dressing up for protests. But December in Albuquerque is not warm weather so I went with warm clothes. I’m glad I did because no one else was dressed up either. Maybe the next Slut Walk I go to will be at a warmer time so I can wear my planned costume of a fishnet bodystocking and heels.

Roughly two dozen gathered for our event. Compared to bigger cities our group was small but that’s ok because every year our group grows a bit bigger. Before marching we gathered to make signs. Good signs are essential for a march. Ours said-My Consent Counts, Only “Yes” Means Yes, Rapists Cause Rape, Consent Is Sexy, Find The West Mesa Killer, My Clothes Can’t Consent. We walked down Central St. which is one of Albuquerque’s busiest streets. Central was also a symbolic choice because part of the street is known as the “War Zone” where many of the victims of the West Mesa Killer worked as street prostitutes.

We marched several blocks to gather at a local club that let us use a secluded room in back. While walking we came up with several chants, many of which repeated the messages on our signs. My favorite was “One two three four, we support sluts and whores”.

Once we arrived at the club we gathered in the back to read the list of fallen sex workers. Slips of papers with victims’ names were passed around the room. This is one of the hardest parts of Red Umbrella Day. Holding those slips of paper in my hand I wonder about the slain workers. Who were they? What was their story? We lit candles as we read aloud the victims’ names.

Our group was a diverse bunch-there were women and men, sex workers and non-sex workers, straight, gay and kinksters joined together for the night. As a sex worker myself I was particularly moved that so many people from different paths of life joined together to support us.

After all the names were read we held a moment of silence for all the sex worker victims that have not been identified. Then we invited the group to share their feelings. The space felt safe and non-judgmental. Several participants talked about being sexually assaulted, one person speaking about the assault for the first time. I was touched that we provided a safe and loving environment where these experiences could be shared. I felt a sense of community that night and walked away feeling renewed hope for both the sex worker and slut walk movements.

Posted by Vixen as Activism, Sex Workers at 10:43 PM CST

No Comments »