Tag Archives: Queer Sex Work

Lyons, Tara, Andrea Krüsi, Leslie Pierre, Will Small, and Kate Shannon. “The Impact of Construction and Gentrification on an Outdoor Trans Sex Work Environment: Violence, Displacement and Policing.” Sexualities, January 10, 2017, 1363460716676990. doi:10.1177/1363460716676990.


The objective of this study was to investigate how environmental and structural changes to a trans outdoor work environment impacted sex workers in Vancouver, Canada. The issue of changes to the work area arose during qualitative interviews with 33 trans sex workers. In response, ethnographic walks that incorporated photography were undertaken with trans sex workers. Changes to the work environment were found to increase vulnerabilities to client violence, displace trans sex workers, and affect policing practices. Within a criminalized context, construction and gentrification enhanced vulnerabilities to violence and harassment from police and residents.


The 1889 “Cleveland Street Scandal” in London, which exposed a male brothel offering telegraph boys to elite men for sexual services, has long been recognized and evaluated as a window into late Victorian homoerotic subcultures and regulatory legislation. By focusing on the telegraph boys’ contribution to the scandal, particularly their roles as information service providers in relation to the broader ideologies associated with telecommunications work in this period, the scandal takes on new meanings for queer history. It reveals the relationship between queer urban encounters and the growth of clandestine communications surveillance in Britain and opens up possibilities for re-prioritizing service labor in historical accounts of queer interactions and subjectivities.

Burke, Nathaniel B. “Intimate Commodities: Intimate Labor and the Production and Circulation of Inequality.” Sexualities 19, no. 7 (October 1, 2016): 780–801. doi:10.1177/1363460715616948.
This article utilizes gay adult film as a means to understand the commodities generated through intimate labor. It offers a new concept, intimate commodities, in order to understand what, in addition to intimacy, is produced through intimate labor. Intimate commodities are material objects that are generated in conjunction with intimate labor, which are then traded or sold, and through their utilization generate intimate ties between individuals and themselves, other persons, or groups. Through ethnography and a survey of men who perform in the gay adult film industry, this study explores how the stratification of the conditions of production influence the commodities themselves, their use, and how, through their circulation, they may perpetuate inequalities. This conceptualization calls for increased attention to the illusory divide between productive and reproductive labor.
In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government engaged in a militarized campaign to clean up favelas, blighted areas, and red-light districts so that it could “develop” them. Based on ethnographic work in Rio de Janeiro, London, and Cape Town, this article argues that there is a pattern in host cities of such events in which neoliberal agents, state forces, and nongovernmental organizations use discourses of feminism and human rights—especially unfounded fears about a link between sex trafficking and sports—to enact such changes regardless of the political economic conditions or systems of governance. By destroying safe and legal venues for sex work, these actors have created the very exploitation they purport to prevent. The article also links these actions to US foreign policy mandates and a broader shift in governmentality in Brazil predicated on performing a commitment to sexual diversity, including promoting gay rights and tourism, and advancing liberal notions of sexual progress that, in actuality, marginalize more vulnerable sexual populations.

Marhoefer, Laurie. “Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933.” German Studies Review 34, no. 3 (2011): 529–49.

Ideas about hereditary degeneration animated two powerful movements for sexual liberation during the Weimar Republic. One reform won the decriminalization of female prostitution. The other nearly won the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law. Activists for these reforms argued that the state could extend greater sexual freedom to most Germans if it curtailed the excesses of supposedly degenerate men and women. The Weimar Republic offered greater sexual autonomy to many of its citizens, at the expense of a small minority of people who were defined as degenerate.
Full article available here. 
Cahill, Ann J. “The Difference Sameness Makes: Objectification, Sex Work, and Queerness.” Hypatia, September 1, 2014, n/a – n/a. doi:10.1111/hypa.12111.
With its implicit vilification of materiality, the notion of objectification has failed to produce a coherent and effective ethical analysis of heterosexual sex work. The concept of derivatization, grounded in an Irigarayan model of embodied intersubjectivity, is more effective. However, queer sex work poses new and different ethical challenges. This paper argues that although queer sex work can entail both objectification and derivatization, the former is not ethically objectionable, and the latter, although the cause for some justified ethical concern, must be analyzed within the context of structural sexual injustice.