A Timeline of the Modern Sex Worker Movement from $pread Magazine

In reference to a previous post on sex positivity, I wanted to put up this link to an incredible tool from the late $pread Magazine. In its six or so year span, $pread was a revolutionary publication and incomparable resource. Founded by three sex workers in 2004, it was the only magazine which published articles, editorials, advertisements, information and art contributed exclusively by and for working members of the sex industry. While it constantly gave voice to a remarkable range of views, perspectives and ideas, it never ceased in its efforts to provide comprehensive resources to communities which needed them, to coax sex positivity out of the closet, and to advocate for workers’ and human rights as they were–and are–integrally related to sex work. While I only learned of the magazine after its truly lamentable demise, it has been an incredible help and inspiration for me as I have been navigating the questions raised by sex work in the queer communities of which I am a part. Though the magazine is no longer in publication, the conversations which it mobilized and the resources it gathered are still largely available in archives and online, and must be shared by all working, feminist, queer and sex positive movements for justice.

In one of the magazine’s final issues, Will Rockwell and Christina Cicchelli compiled a collection of some of the most important dates in the modern sex workers’ movement, entitled The Red Thread: A Time Line. A truly radical effort centered around anti-violence, community organizing, unionizing and sexual self-determination, the sex workers’ movement is one which draws from and continues the legacies of the countless civil rights, feminist and queer struggles which proceed and interlink with it. It is a fight which is taking place on a global scale, and one which many radical communities still remain unaware of. This quick but informative timeline is a crucial introduction to some of the movement’s key victories and voices from over the past three decades or so. Please check out the link to the timeline, and also consider reading Melissa Hope Ditmore’s book Prostitution and Sex Work for more context and information on the movement.

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