Janet Mock wrote a poignant essay explaining why it’s integral that sex workers’ rights be included in the values that anchor the Women’s March on Washington.
According to a Tumblr post Mock published on Tuesday, the author and transgender activist helped create the march’s beautifully intersectional policy platform. That platform includes the guiding principles of the march and what it will represent. The four-page agenda, which has reportedly been edited since it was published last week, originally included the line: “Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labor protections, and we stand in solidarity with sex workers’ rights movements.”
In her Tumblr post, Mock explains that she authored that line which has since been changed to read: “We stand in solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.” According to writer Melissa Gira Grant the line was edited multiples times in the span of 24 hours. At one point the line was edited to only include: “We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.”
I know sex work to be work. It’s not something I need to tiptoe around. It’s not a radical statement. It’s a fact.
Although the present draft of the agenda includes Mock’s original line, the writer, TV host and activist wrote a piece on Tumblr explaining why that line is so essential.
“It is not a statement that is controversial to me because as a trans woman of color who grew up in low-income communities and who advocates, resists, dreams and writes alongside these communities, I know that underground economies are essential parts of the lived realities of women and folk,” Mock wrote. “I know sex work to be work. It’s not something I need to tiptoe around. It’s not a radical statement. It’s a fact.”
Mock explained that her feminism rejects the notion that sex workers “need to be saved” or that they are “colluding with the patriarchy by ‘selling their bodies.’”
She also addressed the edits made to the march’s policy platform:
I cannot speak to the internal conflicts at the Women’s March that have led to the erasure of the line I wrote for our collective vision but I have been assured that the line will remain in OUR document. The conflicts that may have led to its temporary editing will not leave until we, as feminists, respect THE rights of every woman and person to do what they want with their body and their lives.
Mock ended her essay on a powerful note, writing: “There are no throwaway people, and I hope every sex worker who has felt shamed by this momentary erasure shows up to their local March and holds the collective accountable to our vast, diverse, complicated realities.”
Head over to Tumblr to read Mock’s full essay.