A couple of days ago Denver’s Domina Elle was removed as a speaker during the Denver Women’s March. She has detailed the circumstances below, but what happened, and the the speech she had to give, is important and deserves a wider audience.
We’re presenting her Facebook post and speech here on DommeLinx in it’s entirety.
Domina Elle’s Post
I won’t be speaking at the march tomorrow. Of course. Two days back I was told I was given the green light that I was chosen as a speaker at the #Denver #WomensMarch tomorrow they even had me listed on their website as a speaker EARLIER TODAY. Numerous people witnessed this.
Just a few minutes ago the organizers voted unanimously that it didn’t “fit their theme” for me to speak after all. The theme of the march is “march to the polls” and a local addition to that theme is “hear my truth”. They made this decision within 30 minutes of me sending them my speech.
Here is the speech (had to be 3 minutes and I only had one day to work on it!):
The first line is IRONIC:
Sex worker voices are consistently silenced especially when we refuse to be framed as victims of the work we do.
We are denied bodily autonomy though we are women making choices based on the best options we have with the odds stacked against us.
Sex workers are women of every ethnicity, LGBTQ, migrant workers and immigrants, we are human beings working to survive, women who are working to take care of our families by way of a living wage. We are Survivors, warriors, healers, teachers, and dreamers and we want to be able to thrive
But sex workers are criminalized and this maintains our status of being underrepresented, marginalized, stigmatized, disenfranchised and easy prey.
Sex workers want and deserve access to basic human rights which are denied under criminalization
A legal distinction must be made between consensual erotic services as a profession, and forced labor.
To achieve this, prostitution must be decriminalized.
Opportunistic politicians have promoted and passed policies that have further criminalized prostitution under the guise of rescuing sex trafficked victims. These failed laws only serve to elevate politicians to their next elected office, these failed policies only serve to promote further criminalization and negative stigma against all types of sex workers.
Millions in your tax payer dollars have been wasted by police and NGO’s alike under the guise of providing us ‘services’ and ‘rescuing’ us.
Under the guise of rescuing us, sex workers are arrested given criminal records and we are forced into shaming treatment programs.
An arrest for prostitution amounts to a lifelong sentence that will block access to housing, employment and render other important life opportunities impossible.
I know a woman who was refused employment and housing based on a dismissed prostitution charge on her record!
When sex workers are witnesses or victims of crimes they are unable to report for fear of being arrested and they know if they do report they won’t be treated as equal human beings.
I ask that you open your minds and your hearts but mostly that you open your ears. Listen to what sex workers themselves are saying about what they want and need, and what THEIR TRUTH really IS.
When you GO TO THE POLLS We ask that you only support public officials who acknowledge the difference between erotic services as a profession and forced labor and who will vow to uphold the human rights of sex workers and stop the government abuse of criminalizing us under the guise of rescuing us.
Sex workers need equal protection under law, we want control of our labor, sex workers want and need to be decriminalized.
Sex worker rights are women’s rights
Sex worker rights are human rights
Only human rights can stop the wrongs
The Denver #womensmarch telling me no (after telling me yes and even listing me today on their site as a speaker then copping out at the LAST MINUTE) doesn’t dampen my motivation. I knew they’d likely behave as they have. They say they wanted me to talk about MY personal experiences…..
I saw this as a little bit of ‘social and political currency’ and I wasn’t about to spend it on myself and make it just about me- it’s NOT just about me! I wanted that currency to be on behalf of all sex workers. Three minutes is NOTHING when it comes to the erotic service provider community and the human rights violations we suffer in perpetuity.
It didn’t matter to them that out of EVERY other speaker who is speaking and who was turned away none of them would have been RISKING their lives and their family to speak.
Not one of them were risking getting arrested by standing up and speaking. None of them could potentially be discriminated against or ostracized in their communities for speaking out. It was no light thing to get up there, and I wasn’t exactly relishing it on that platform. The only scenario I can think of here would be an immigrant risking deportation.
I was motivated on principle.
Neither did I want to take the ‘sex work apologist’ route! Which I think would have bought me the ticket. I had spoke to one of the organizers about my personal experiences privately during the process of trying to get chosen.
WE DESERVE OUR RIGHTS and shouldn’t have to only frame ourselves as victims who only do sex work because we are poor, or addicted, as if the only time or reason we do it is out of desperation and that is how they can manage to wrap their brains around supporting us. I have been there, I know that path from lived experiences- but I want to provide erotic services!!
Poor addicted homeless or NOT, our liberty interests are being violated by criminalization!
The reasons they cited for going back on their word (you’re only as worthwhile as your word) – aren’t good enough up against what they CLAIM to stand for.
My speech originally spoke about cops coercing sex in exchange for not arresting, cops having sexual contact prior to arresting but they were being strict about the three minute limit and I had to decide carefully how to pack as much in there and not be totally overwhelming people’s brains. Assuming that most there wouldn’t have a damn clue about the issues sex workers face to begin with.
My speech originally said “people” instead of “women” because I didn’t want to exclude men who are sex workers or anyone. It’s natural for me to include everyone. But it being ‘the WOMENS march” and how I was already on a sharp edge- I changed it.
Maxine Doogan took time out of an already overwhelmed schedule to assist me with this speech.
#WOMENSMARCH YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.