– Kate D’Adamo, Community Organizer, SWOP-NYC/SWANK
Next month will conclude a series of conferences for the adult film industry which have cris-crossed the country in the last few months. In its fifth year, Exxxotica now boasts an average of 20,000 attendees at each exhibition, bringing together adult film stars, devotees and exhibitors of every stripe. This year, SWOP-NYC has been invited to join in the event, and we are excited for the opportunity to attend, and reach a whole new group of people with our work and our advocacy.
But this event is bigger than just new membership. The adult film industry is an important area in the field of sex work, and one which is often overlooked in sex industry advocacy. One major difference between the adult film industry and many other sectors of sex worker are that it operates within legally established bounds, meaning many of the challenges around legalization are faced in a very different arena. But this also means that adult film performers are one of the most organized areas of the sex industry. The industry has a strong voice in expanding what is legally permissible, and has the capital and voice to engage directly in the political system to advocate for expanding its borders.
What is still lacking, though, is a stronger voice to advocate for the rights of performers, both at work and in their day-to-day lives. Adult performers still face issues such as stigmatization, mandatory health testing, privacy and copyright concerns, and exploitation. Just this year filmmaker and sex educator Tristan Taormino was uninvited from speaking at Oregon State University’s conference on “Modern Sex” for her body of work in progressive, often education-focused pornography. Three months later a site calling itself “Porn Wikileaks” revealed the legal names, stages names, home addresses, and HIV statuses of 15,000 current and former performers. According to a Gawker article on the subject, the site (which has since been closed) not only reveled in revealing legal names of performers, “but their addresses, family members’ information, copies of state identification—even Google Maps pictures of their homes.”
These very real hurdles are human and labor rights violations which are the exact reasons why advocacy exists, and what is needed is a voice not for the industry but for the worker. SWOP-NYC is ready and primed to be that voice. By attending the Exxxotica Conference, SWOP-NYC will be the only group bringing this much-needed message to a community primed and ready for change.
For the event, SWOP-NYC is trying to raise $1,000, both for attendance and the printing of new materials (including a swanky new t-shirt!). Please help SWOP and SWANK bring this message to an industry which is ready for action by donating today. We’re offering some great donor rewards for those who are kind enough to show their support.