Sex Workers are a diverse group of people who range in sexuality and orientation. Historically LGBT+ individuals are more likely to be Sex Workers, owing to the socio-economic factors that affect them and this disproportionate representation continues today. Unfortunately, it is challenging to estimate the proportion of LGBT+ Workers accurately, as they often face exclusion from services that work with and support Sex Workers. LGBT+ Sex Workers also face additional stigma from services, which use terminology that assumes only cis-gendered and straight women enter the industry.
Umbrella Lane is proud not only to welcome LGBT+ Workers, but also to strive actively to build communication and connections with LGBT+ Sex Workers, including those who may not have known inclusive communities and support are available to them. Umbrella Lane has grown significantly in the past two years, and the contributions of LGBT+ members to the community has proven a benefit to all.
There is a strong historical link between Sex Workers, the LGBT+ Community and their respective activism. The LGBT+ rights movement started to capture public attention following the Stonewall Riots, which was initiated by LGBT+ Sex Workers. They sought to promote the well-being of the whole queer community, including gay men and lesbians and notably including trans and gender non-conforming people and queer Sex Workers. Despite this and the continued prominence of Sex Workers in LGBT+ activism, there has been a tendency to ignore or actively erase their role within the movement. LGBT+ rights have come a lot further than Sex Workers’ Rights, yet there is still significant work to be done for both, even in countries like the UK; this is particularly true in regards to Trans rights, even within the LGBT+ community itself.
By acknowledging the role of Sex Workers in the LGBT+ rights movement, we can work to ensuring the rights and dignity of all are accepting. LGBT+ rights activists and supporters have a responsibility to support the Sex Workers’ Rights movement, not only due to historical factors but in respect of continued conditions that encourage large portions of the LGBT+ community to work as Sex Workers.
LGBT+ Sex Workers, particularly Trans Workers, are also subject to higher instances of violence and abuse both from clients and police, as well as additional barriers affecting their physical and mental health.
Why mention all this in a post about Pride?
The answer is simple- Pride was not and is not just a celebration; it is a call for action and a demand to the whole of society not to ignore the needs of the LGBT+ community but to see and respect them and to promote positive change. By demanding respect for Sex Workers, we can promote the wellbeing of the more vulnerable and stigmatised members of the LGBT+ community and work towards to more inclusive and safe society.
Umbrella Lane will continue to tirelessly advocate for the rights of the LGBT+ community and the Sex Workers who are a part of it. We will continue to listen to a diversity of LGBT+ Sex Workers and seek to respect their unique needs.
We at Umbrella Lane wish you a very Happy Pride Month; it’s important to celebrate, but it’s equally important to remember what Pride stands for by demanding tolerance and respect for all.
Happy Pride from Umbrella Lane x