Photo: Alex Woodward

Eric A Stanley, Che Gossett, Tourmaline, English Collective of Prostitutes & Scot-Pep/ Umbrella Lane

Captive Genders - Criminalisation

What is happening when systems of repression try to grasp communities’ ways of being, living or surviving, applying laws of sexuality, gender or race to cast them as criminal?

What is happening when systems of repression try to grasp communities’ ways of being, living or surviving, applying laws of sexuality, gender or race to cast them as criminal, exclude them from formal (legal) economies, and threaten their survival? And while survival requires those laws to be changed, what happens when those systems co-opt the language of social movements and turn it against them? How do those communities respond? And, is there anything to be gained in claiming criminality as a political position, if it means embracing the un-governability of our social entanglements?

Eric A. Stanley

Eric is a co-editor of the vital anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, whose transformational insights, mini-memoirs, analyses and theories about captivity have been a huge influence on our thinking, and of which Chelsea Manning has said “[Captive Genders] had a forceful and immediate impact on my understanding of myself.” Eric’s other writing can be found in the journals Social Text, American Quarterly, Women and Performance, and TSQ. Along with Chris Vargas, Eric directed the films Homotopia and Criminal Queers. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. 


Che Gossett

Che is a Black genderqueer archivist and activist whose work excavates the queer of colour AIDS activist and trans archives. A recipient of multiple awards and grants, they have spoken publically and written about legacies of black queer solidarity with queer necropolitics in Palestine, prison abolition and (anti)blackness. Right now Che is especially interested in abolition as worlding, the radical potentiality of black study/thought and how it forces a rethinking of critical animal studies. They are working on a book project titled Blackness, the Beast and the Non Sovereign.


English Collective of Prostitutes

The ECP is a self-help organisation of sex workers, working both on the street and in premises, with a national network throughout the UK. “We campaign for the decriminalisation of prostitution, for sex workers’ rights and safety, and for resources to enable people to get out of prostitution if they want to. Since 1975, the ECP has been campaigning for the abolition of the prostitution laws, which criminalize sex workers and our families, and for economic alternatives and higher benefits and wages.” At Episode 8 the ECP is represented by Niki Adams & Sarah Walker.



“SCOT-PEP is a registered charity dedicated to the promotion of sex workers’ rights, health and dignity. We are members of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) and the UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP), and although our primary focus is on Scotland, we view ourselves as a proud and active member of the global movement to have sex work recognised as work.” Their principled work is based on beliefs in harm reduction, organising and unionizing, that everyone who sells or trades sex deserves to be listened to, strengthening and upholding the rights of migrants who sell sex, especially undocumented migrants, and that the decriminalisation of sex work best upholds the safety and rights of people who sell sex.


Umbrella Lane

Umbrella Lane is a sex worker-led peer project based in Glasgow which offers free condoms, safety and legal information and support to all sex workers. “At Umbrella Lane, we first and foremost provide a safe space for all sex workers to use to seek advice and support. It is a conducive environment to discuss what sex workers disclose are immediate concerns, like safety, welfare, issues around child raising and single parenthood, sexual and reproductive health and HIV, exploitation in the workplace, mental health, violence and fear of violence.

Tourmaline Gossett joined the above folks for the discussion and to hold and faciliate the space.

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