Last December, I decided to give back to an organization that helps sex workers in London, Ontario from a harm reduction approach (and a truly harm reduction, non-judgmental approach). The timing was perfect because of the whole kerfuffle with the new bullshit anti-sex work law. Ultimately, I didn’t want to be thinking about that for the entire of month of December. I needed to shift my focus to something else. I also wanted to, as I said, to give back to an organization.
I wanted to say thank you to all the people who were able to purchase a tee-shirt. Your assistance with this campaign helped raised funds to help pay rent for Safe Space. As you know, they are an organization that is run by volunteers and they also support the decriminalization of sex work (because helloooooo! sex workers’ have the right to work safely too!). It really warmed my heart that many came forth wanting to buy tee-shirts. I also know that it was kind of bad timing since it was also Christmas. Immediately after Christmas, others began asking about how they could order shirts too. So, if you are still wondering how you can order shirts, you can order them here.
For me, as a person with sex working experience, I want to explain briefly the importance of organizations like Safe Space.
When I first moved to London, Safe Space was not around. I was moving to London in the context of sex work. I bought a one way bus ticket down to London. I had only a few bags of clothing. When I arrived, I only had a few bucks in my possession. I had no idea where I was going to live. As soon as I arrived in London, I went straight to work. I ended up finding temporary housing at the dancer’s house of a local club. But this housing wasn’t the best. I eventually befriended some of the other dancers and sometimes they invited me to stay at their place for a night or two. One even invited me to stay at her place permanently but it was a very unstable environment. I moved back to the dancer house and then another dancer invited me to stay at her place too. Again, it wasn’t a very stable environment. I eventually ended up leaving that place. I drifted in and out of homelessness. Soon enough, I decided to try to find my own place and I decide to go back to college.
When I first arrived to London, I was close to the Old East Village area. I didn’t know of that area until I was able to find my own place (with the help of another dancer and my then-boyfriend) and became more familiar with London and its neighbourhoods. When I first moved to London, it was a very isolating and alienating experience. I had no friends and no family. I didn’t even know if I wanted to live in London. I almost moved to Windsor (silly me! lol). I relied a lot on other dancers (and others employees of the places I worked at in London which was basically at all the clubs) for their support and their knowledge of living and working in London.
I never had the chance to use the services of an organization like Safe Space, an organization that provides non-judgmental assistance to sex workers in London. If Safe Space was around when I first moved to London, I think the initial move there would have been a lot more easier. London would have felt less alienating and isolating. So this is why I choose to help this organization for the month of December: Even though I didn’t utilize their services, I understand the importance of the services they offer, especially as someone who moved to London in the context of sex work.
If you still want to help Safe Space, you can still purchase a tee here. And ps. they are kind of badass thanks to the designer, Jess Gillis