An Interview with SerpentLibertine of Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago

1. What can you tell the world about SerpentLibertine?  What are you working on these days?

I’ve been involved in the sex industry in one way or another for about ten years and have worked as a dominatrix, escort, erotic masseuse, ran my own escort service, and have produced and shot porn locally here in the last few years. These days I’m organizing with SWOP-Chicago, shooting videos and recording podcasts for my website RedLightDistrictChicago.com, and shooting porn for my friends at MorganaMoon.com and Mistress JasmineTS. I also have a blog, SexPros.net and review sex toys for edenfantasys.com.

2. Please tell our readers about Red Light District Chicago Sex Worker Media. 

I’d been mulling over the idea of doing a cable access show called “Red Light District Chicago” for sometime that basically spotlighted anybody working in the sex industry in Chicago. It was going to be very general, just interviews and such, but like most of my projects, it just sat on the backburner for awhile. Then one day I had some audio recording equipment and went over to my friend (and SWOP-Chicago member) kittenINFINITE’s house and we recorded what were the initial audio podcasts for the website redlightdistrictchicago.com  .  We had such a blast that we recorded three one-hour podcasts in one sitting. I think they were a little long for a podcast, but they were a big hit and those basically launched the website.

After that, I was really, really pushing the other SWOP member to do some videos so I could get this cable access show off the ground. When the Eliot Spitzer scandal hit earlier this year, kitten suggested we go out on the streets of Chicago and ask people what they thought of Spitzer, the escort involved in the scandal (Kristen) and how people would react if our governor was involved in such a scandal. We got some great responses and most people seemed to have little or no problems with prostitution or men using the services of one, but disapproved of Spitzer’s hypocrisy and the amount of money he’d spent on sexual services. I started posting the videos online and also submitted them for airing on CAN-TV, where they usually run on Channel 19 at different times. They absolutely love the show at CAN and are always excited when I bring in new episodes. Since then we’ve done shows on a tantric massage provider who was arrested for prostitution and evicted from her condo, some on-the-street interviews about two anti-prostitution studies that came out of Chicago, and interviews with some of the leaders in the sex worker rights movement, including Carol Leigh, Robyn Few, and Amanda Brooks. Our latest video is my best to date, “Know Your Rights For Sex Workers” and has been getting a lot of publicity all over the web. We’re hoping people can use it as a training tool as kitten based most of what we cover in it off her workshop of the same name.

3. Tell us also about Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago.

SWOP-Chicago is a grassroots organization that was started a little over a year and a half ago by kittenINFINITE and Betty Devoe, two local sex workers who had met each other at the first Desiree Alliance Conference in Las Vegas in 2006. It is one of the many local shapers of Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA (www.swop-usa.org), a national organization dedicated to supporting the rights of sex workers founded by Robyn Few and Stacey Swimme. The basic mission of SWOP is to promote human rights for sex workers through education and advocacy. We are made up of current and former sex workers, as well as allies and have meetings about twice monthly. Right now we have several projects we’re working on, including implementing a street-based outreach program that includes condom/lube distribution, Red Light District Chicago, developing a list of legal resources for sex workers in Chicago, various speaking engagements at local colleges, a series of sex work related forums at Early to Bed, fundraising, and basically reaching out to sex workers in Chicago in any way possible (not as easy as it seems). We also have a 24-hour hotline staffed by sex workers that people can call if they need legal or social referrals, or any information about SWOP-Chicago activities. This summer we hosted the Desiree Alliance Conference, our biggest event so far, and had three days of presentations on sex work from activists all over the country. We’re still a small organization at this point and are always looking for more dedicated volunteers to get involved, so please if anybody is interested, get in touch with us at sexworkchicago@gmail.com.

4. How was SexPo 08?

Fun! As far as I know, it was the first event of its kind in Chicago so it was great that SWOP had the opportunity to be a part of it. It’s kind of sad how out of touch all the people involved in the sex industry are in Chicago, but I’ve been trying to bridge that gap with RedLight and it seems like Larry (the SexPo organizer) is trying to do that with the SexPo.  It seems like a step in the right direction. Still, I don’t think we were able to network with other sex workers there so much. The strippers and dommes from the dungeons that were also there didn’t stop by our table and didn’t seem too interested in our message. It was mostly the “regular” people atending the event that came up and talked to us. That’s another problem in the sex industry-everybody acts like they’re the enemy of the others in different professions and nobody wants to create a conversation with one another. It’s sad that everybody can’t see we’re all fighting the same enemy and should work together to create a stronger community. I did do an interview with the Sun-Times, though, and that got us some good publicity.

5. What are your plans for the future? 

I’ll be hosting in the first in what I hope to be a regular series of forums at Early to Bed (www.early2bed.com) on October 7. The topic will be “Basics of Sex with people with Disabilities” and will be presented by William Takahashi, a man with cerebral palsy that is involved with SWOP and has been really vocal in trying to get adult providers to be sensitive to the needs of clients with disabilities. I’m always working on RedLightDistrict and am open to ideas from people in Chicago who’d like to be profiled on the show or have a podcast idea. I’ll be writing a column on sex worker rights for the new EdenFantasys blog that should be debuting in the next month. Shooting more porn for my friends and hoping to get more gigs doing that and producing my own stuff. I’ve been thinking about doing a a porn film festival in Chicago for some time now and am hoping to maybe get that off the ground next year. It’s such a conservative environment here, but I really hope that can change. I just want to prevent myself from ever having to move to LA, you know?

* * * * * * *

Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago and Red Light District Chicago Present

 

BASICS OF SEX WITH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

 

Date: Tuesday October 7, 2008

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Early to Bed, 5232 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago

Donation- $5 with proceeds benefitting Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago.

www.swop-chicago.org

 

Hosted by SerpentLibertine of SWOP-Chicago

                 

  

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION:

 

 

A large number of disabled people have never experienced sex in their life. This lack of physical contact produces emotional pain. The disabled have the same desires and needs as everyone else. This is a presentation on how to  interact and approach sexual activity with people who have disabilities. We will explore practical ways to physically interact with disabled partners.

 

Our presentation is intended to be a guide to help able-bodied people interact with people with disabilities in the best possible way.  I will begin with a brief discussion about how people with disabilities should be viewed by able-bodied people. I will then provide correct terminology and etiquette, which may be utilized with people who have different disabilities.  The presentation concludes with a short discussion of correct sexual etiquette between able-bodied people and the disabled(differently-abled).  

 

 

PRESENTER’S BIOGRAPHY:

 

William Takahashi is a college graduate with a background in graphic arts and social work. He is disabled and has Cerebral Palsy. The effect of Cerebral Palsy, or CP, is characterized by lack of muscle control and body movement.  He decided to enter the adult design world three years ago because he saw a real need for education, understanding, and integration of the disabled into the adult industry. It’s unfortunate that sex and disability are more often seen as a medical or academic research topic, but not seen as erotic or hot.  He splits his time between doing disability awareness  training in the adult entertainment industry, and marketing his erotic art greeting cards to adult product retail stores. He also enjoys being in front of a camera.

 

William’s websites-

http://www.adult-performer-resources.com

http://www.access-design-services.com

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