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Sex workers are already criminalized, and these vague, underhanded policies are usually just the beginning.

Last week there was yet another uproar about a social media site updating its ad policy — this time it was Twitter and not too long ago, Patreon did something similar. Many vanilla (non-sex worker) Twitter users response was to make light of the situation or to correct upset sex workers by citing the changes were for Twitter’s paid ads as opposed to their regular posts. Part of this dismissiveness was because many NSFW accounts were also making a fuss about the change, even though it has virtually no effect on them because Twitter filters user content and “sensitive media” and graphic content anyway. But I think another small part of it is that people forget that most sex workers are self-employed. Some of us pay taxes just like other freelancers, yet we are booted or soft-banned from every platform we use. The fact that we aren’t able to buy ad space when Twitter literally filters EVERYTHING for their users anyway is frustrating and an unfair targeting of a marginalized community which already struggles against violence, stereotyping and criminalization. That this is dismissed or left unexamined by other Black Twitter users amongst other cries of racism and misogynoir on Twitter and Facebook, frustrates me. Sex workers have not yet found a 100% safe way to process payments for our independent online work. Clips4Sale is a great option if you have enough content to fill a store, and the 25% cut they take from your tributes isn’t too unreasonable. For those who want to forgo that option and keep all of their money the options become slimmer. Many of us hop from platform to platform amidst ever-changing rules and regulations. Decriminalization, and being able to use PayPal without fear of our money being frozen and stolen by the same people who watch our porn and own the streaming companies we work for, or by companies who aren’t FDIC insured, is another necessary solution.

The labor that Black women contribute to the world and to movements for Black liberation is often condensed to supporting roles, or erased altogether.

NPR just ran a story about GiveDirectly, an organization that has been based in Africa since 2008 and gives money directly to those in “extreme poverty.” Now, they are coming to Texas, which will be “the first time they have tried this model in the U.S. and, for now, probably the only time. After [Texas], they plan on turning their focus back to their projects in East Africa.” Here’s the thing: a Black woman already organized direct giving efforts in and around Houston immediately following hurricane Harvey and raised over $30k in the first 24 hours, all of which went directly to Black women. Her name is Dr. Roni Dean-Burren and she was not mentioned in NPR’s story. Dean-Burren and several others reached out to the reporter of the story to notify them of their oversight, but none have received a response. This scenario is not uncommon because, too often, Black women's work goes overlooked in favor of others. You may know her as the Texas Textbook mom who took on McGraw-Hill two years ago when her son informed her of the dishonest way that their history textbook portrayed the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Since then, she has kept busy as an educator, activist, and mother raising free Black children and fiercely advocating for Black women. “I was enlightened by the death of Korryn Gaines,” Dean-Burren says. “Her murder by the Baltimore Police Department was met with such vitriol—from white people and from Black men alike. That left me feeling tons of acrimony, but it also helped me to focus my work, thoughts, and time into supporting Black women.”

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