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  • Writer's pictureDevi Sparkles

Sex work is part of rainbow history

Sex work is part of rainbow history, but it is often hidden in the background. Many of those involved in Stonewall and the subsequent uprisings, such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, sold sex. Part of the "justification" for police harassment at the time was sex trafficking raids. The reason why so many LGBTQ people did sex work was largely that queer people had very limited job opportunities at the time. Today, for some queer people, sex work is a career choice like any other, for others, it remains the only option due to systemic inequality. The sex and erotic sector cover a wide range of services. This red umbrella includes erotic massage, stripping, BDSM and fetish services, porn, and many online fan sites. Whether choosing to do sex work or erotica as a means of survival, as a breadwinner, or as a vocation, every sex worker should have the right to do their job without shame or stigma. It should also be possible to work without fear of the authorities. In Finland, sex work and buying sex are legal. However, for example, sex work is grounds for refusal of entry, from outside the EU. The current vague pimping legislation does not allow two sex workers to work together without fear of being accused of pimping. Sex work should be treated like other work and its regulation of it should be dismantled. I, therefore, support the full decriminalization of sex work in Finland. As a concrete example, Helsinki Pride did not accept my application to partner with Pride in 2023. "We have discussed the matter with our legal advisor, who made it very clear that we cannot partner with or programme any organisation or event that could be considered as marketing sexual services."

I take it from this message that if they had accepted me as a partner, they could have been charged with pimping, which is ridiculous. I do not blame the Helsinki Pride community for this, but the unclear and outdated pimping legislation in Finland.

Although I cannot officially collaborate with Helsinki Pride, I will still participate in the Helsinki Pride parade in the Pro-tukipiste sex work block and march proudly for the decriminalisation of sex work and the rights of other queer sex workers.

*The first part of this blog was first published as a guest post in 2022 on @sonjasphoto instagram account instagram account

Devi mustalierinen hattu päässä sateenkaaren värisen taustan edessä
photographer Sonja Siikanen instagram @sonjasphoto


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