Today is Giving Tuesday, and just in case you’re feeling generous, here are some causes I very passionately support. Click the organization’s name to go to their website to donate.
Bonus: If you schedule an appointment with me today or tomorrow and make a donation of $50 to one of the causes I support, you can take $50 off the total “donation” to me.
Their website is getting a makeover right now, but I can vouch for the fact that this is an awesome organization that has been fighting the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans for years.
You’ve probably heard me talk about them in the past. Here’s a bit about them from their website:
Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV) is a community-based non-profit, founded in 1989 by a grassroots collective of African-American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color. Created by and for women of color, WWAV is a social justice non-profit that addresses issues faced by women within our community and region. Major areas of focus include Sex Worker Rights, Drug Policy Reform, HIV Positive Women’s Advocacy, and Reproductive Justice outreach.
Women With a Vision is the organization that ultimately got the Louisiana Crimes Against Nature by Solicitation law–a law that required anyone convicted of offering oral or anal sex for money to register as a sex offender FOR LIFE–changed, and got hundreds of names removed from the sex offender registry. If that’s not a win for sex workers, women, LGBTQ people, and fairness in general, then I don’t know what is. Check out their website for other awesome stuff they do/have done.
I love the LA-SPCA. They do everything from low-cost (sometimes free!) spay/neuter and vaccinations, to investigating reports of animal cruelty, to taking down dog fighting rings, to providing free dog food to low-income households or homeless individuals who need to feed the dogs in their care, to taking in unwanted dogs and providing them with food, shelter, medical care, a home if possible, and humane euthanasia if not. I support them because they do the dirty work that is a consequence of other people’s failure to take responsibility for their animals. Also, if you’ve lost a pet and you go up there to make a report and chat with the people at the front counter, you’ll see that, in addition to all the regular work duties they have, they spend their spare minutes of the whole damn day checking Craigslist and various Facebook pages and groups for missing pets in an effort to reunite pets and their owners. That’s pretty damn cool.
Street dogs are a huge problem in the developing world. Rabies kills tens of thousands of people each year, and the vast majority were infected after being bitten by dogs. Street dogs contribute to unsanitary conditions in places with substandard water and sanitation access, and vehicular accidents (and human deaths and injuries) by roaming the streets.
And that’s just the effect they have on the human population. I’m not the type to prioritize the needs of animals over those of people, but I do think that we have an ethical obligation to prevent the suffering of the animals we interact with every day. Street dogs die of horrific diseases (in addition to rabies, there are other painful infections like parvovirus, heart worms, distemper, etc.), starvation, traumatic injuries, intentional and unintentional poisonings, and violence perpetrated by humans. But because the dogs are either stray or owned by families for whom spay/neuter and vaccination are cost-prohibitive, no matter how many die, there are always tons more sick, starving animals roaming around. In some countries, citizens are encouraged to shoot strays or kill them in whatever way gets the job done, but this doesn’t come close to solving the problem.
Humane Society International is working on spay/neuter and vaccination programs for street dogs in developing countries and encouraging better relationships between humans and the street dogs around them. Even if you aren’t a dog person, this is huge: spay/neuter reduces the amount of nuisance animals, and vaccination programs reduce human deaths from rabies. And encouraging empathy for other sentient beings can only have good effects in the community. Everybody wins!
In addition, Humane Society International works to shut down puppy mills, implement more humane living conditions (and more humane slaughter) for livestock and working animals, and all kinds of other good deeds. Like I said, I am realistic about the plight of animals in the world, but I believe that we should work toward systems that prevent and/or limit the suffering of the animals we eat, use, and profit from. This attitude gets me in trouble with a lot of people, strangely enough.
Anywayyyyy…on to another organization that promotes a worthy cause that many, many people vehemently oppose:
From their website:
Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people involved in the sex trade and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.
On the national level, SWOP helps build stronger communities and a stronger movement through technical assistance, funding, and direct support and advocacy. On a local level, our chapters address structural, cultural, and interpersonal violence individuals in the sex trade face by working to change attitudes, change policies, and create alternative community-led systems of support.
One of these days, the US will come to its senses and decriminalize sex work.** Then, and only then, will all escorts, street sex workers, full-body sensual massage practitioners, fetish pros, et. al. be free to work safely and without fear of exploitation, violence (in the form of not only assault, but arrest/imprisonment as well), or the life-altering affects of being “outed.” Sex workers will have financial opportunities that are currently all but closed to us (home ownership, securing loans, starting small businesses with employees and payroll). Maybe we’ll even be able to unionize for health benefits! Wouldn’t that be something?
But today is not that day. Until then, we have organizations like SWOP-USA and Desiree Alliance for the purpose of organizing, networking, activism, and advocacy. Oh, and Amnesty International, which supports full decriminalization of sex work.
**Sidenote: If you’ve never heard me talk about decriminalization of sex work (maybe you’re new here? LOL) and you’d like to read a
long, angry screeder…impassioned tirade, check out my Open Rant to Sexwork Prohibitionists Everywhere or my client-prompted explanation of decriminalization vs. legalization.
As I mentioned above, Desiree Alliance is one of the organizations that advocates for sex workers and promotes activism for sex workers’ rights in the US and beyond. They also hold a national conference every two years. I attended the Desiree Alliance conference in Las Vegas soon after I started working as an escort, and it kinda changed my life. From their site:
Contribute to the Scholarship Fund to assist with Desiree’s commitment to social justice, inclusion and leadership for all sex workers from the most to least marginalized among us. These social justice efforts are central to Desiree’s mission and to the sex worker movement in general. ANY amount is greatly appreciated as a token of your support for social justice in the sex workers movement.