Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C.

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3rd Annual RED UMBRELLA MARCH
For Sex Work Solidarity
, June 13, 2014

Red Umbrella March

My Rights Are Sex Worker Rights!

Now – more than ever – it is important to show our solidarity against Harper's unjust and unconstitutional prostitution laws. And, that's exactly what we did! I think it was our best march ever. Thank goodness we brought umbrellas! The sun was hot and brilliant. Red Umbrella March hard-core supporters gathered on the Art Gallery steps. Even a masked Superhero! Popular media personalities were there too. (Check out the press listings at the end.) And this year's signs were more numerous and creative than ever.

Red Umbrella March hard-core supporters gather on the Art Gallery steps. Courtesy: Kerry Porth
Red Umbrella March hard-core supporters gathered on the Art Gallery steps.
Courtesy: Kerry Porth

Sex workers and allies gathered on the South Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery to listen to this year's awesome list of speakers. Media milled around and recorded interviews. Long-time client of sex workers, Patrick Clark was there. "We have to fundamentally change how the client-sex worker relationship," Clark told the Georgia Straight. (Read Vancouver client of sex workers speaks out against federal law despite risk of being prosecuted by Charlie Smith.)

EASE Canada came out in support. Courtesy: EASE Canada
EASE Canada came out in support.
Courtesy: EASE Canada

The Naked Truth at the Red Umbrella Rally. Photo: Esther Shannon
The Naked Truth at the Red Umbrella Rally.
Photo: Esther Shannon

Thank goodness we brought umbrellas! Photo: Elaine Ayres
Thank goodness we brought umbrellas!
Photo: Elaine Ayres

And there were so many stylish outfits! Photo: Elaine Ayres
And there were so many stylish outfits!
Photo: Elaine Ayres

Triple-X secretary, Kerry Porth emcee'd the event. First up was Maggie McNeill, The Honest Courtesan, who drove all the way here from Seattle to speak at our march! Maggie compared the war on sex workers to the war on drugs. "Just like the drug war undermined civil rights for everyone — even tea-totallers — so the war on sex workers is going to undermine rights for everybody, even people who are absolutely celebate." You can read more from Maggie's speech in the Georgia Straight (Retired call girl Maggie McNeill says everyone's rights are jeopardized when the government targets sex workers).

Maggie McNeill, The Honest Courtesan, compares the war on sex workers to the war on drugs. Courtesy: Kerry Porth
"The war on sex workers is going to undermine rights for everybody."
Courtesy: Kerry Porth

Next up was Sheri Kiselbach, who joined Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) in their Supreme Court challenge of Canada's prostitution laws. The challenge resulted in the Kiselbach decision, allowing members of the public standing in constitutional court challenges in the name of the public interest. "Sex work is complex, as are the lives of the people who are involved at every level. The new laws only add to the complexity. They do not provide a rational approach to safety because they have been constructed through ideology, and will tragically end the lives of beautiful human beings." Sheri is the violence prevention co-ordinator at PACE Society. Read Sheri's speech!

Sheri Kiselbach. Photo: Katrina Pacey
Sheri Kiselbach.
Photo: Katrina Pacey

The next speaker, also a sex worker, was Margaret. Sex workers were excluded by Harper's government. Margaret told us she personally was denied a chance to speak to Bill C-36 in Ottawa. And the bill was passed so quickly! Her last line: "Just say NO to Captain Save-A-Ho!"

Just say NO to Captain Save-A-Ho!. Photo: Kerry Porth
"Just say NO to Captain Save-A-Ho!"
Photo: Kerry Porth

The final speech was made by Chili Bean from Sex Workers United Against Violence. Her speech was short and powerful. Chili Bean stressed the importance of solidarity, of us standing together!

Chili Bean (left) from Sex Workers United Against Violence, gives a rousing speech about solidarity and the importance of standing together. That's SWUAV comrade, DJ on the right. Photo: Esther Shannon
Chili Bean (left) from Sex Workers United Against Violence, gives a rousing speech about solidarity and the importance of standing together. That's SWUAV comrade, DJ on the right.
Photo: Esther Shannon

Triple-X president Andy Sorfleet and secretary Kerry Porth gave the police our cue, and we stepped off the curb into Robson Street. Our numbers grew as we headed down Granville Street to the surprise and delight of crowds of tourists. Granville is Vancouver's entertainment district and destination. There were approximately 100 marchers at the peak of our parade!

Our numbers grew as we headed down the street along Granville. Photo: Esther Shannon
Our numbers grew as we headed down the street along Granville.
Photo: Esther Shannon

There were approximately 100 marchers at the peak of the parade. Photo: Elaine Ayres
There were approximately 100 marchers at the peak of the parade!
Photo: Elaine Ayres

There were quite a few kids and even some dogs! Photo: Elaine Ayres
There were quite a few kids and even some dogs!
Photo: Elaine Ayres

Once again, we'd like to thank the Vancouver Police Department for our professional and friendly police escorts — on motorcycles.

Thank you, Vancouver Police Department for our professional and friendly escorts. Photo: Elaine Ayres
Thank you, Vancouver Police Department for our professional and friendly escorts.
Photo: Elaine Ayres

When we headed down Hastings Street the crowd got a little more rowdy. Let's just say there was a LOT of cussin'. Rave led us in a chant that rang through the street. "When I say F---!, You say Harper!" "F---!" "Harper!" "F---!" "Harper!" "When I say Harper! You say F---!" "F---!" "Harper!" "F---!" "Harper!" "F---!" "Harper!" I admit it. It was a LOT of fun!

Heading down Hastings Street the crowd got a little more rowdy. Photo: Elaine Ayres
Heading down Hastings Street the crowd got a little more rowdy.
Photo: Elaine Ayres

We took over the the intersection of Main & Hastings and formed a huge circle, stopping six lanes of traffic. We gathered in the circle to honour sex workers, as marchers were led in singing the powerful Women's Warrior Song, a song especially significant to the Aboriginal women who live and work in the Downtown Eastside.

We took over the the intersection of Main and Hastings. Photo: Esther Shannon
We took over the the intersection of Main & Hastings.
Photo: Esther Shannon

Big thank you to Brenda from PIVOT for running the kitchen and having all that fresh-sliced watermelon and oranges and bottles of water on ice, ready for our arrival at CRAB Park. It was a hot day!

After a few moments to cool down and relax, I got ready for an interview on News Talk 980 CKNW. Liza Yuzda was a great host. What a terrific day! Thank you to everyone who came out, helped out and had fun!

— Andy Sorfleet, President

Red Umbrella marchers arrive to fresh-sliced watermelon and oranges. Photo: Kerry Porth
Red Umbrella marchers arrive to fresh-sliced watermelon and oranges.
Photo: Kerry Porth

Thank you PIVOT volunteers for a warm reception. Photo: Annie Temple
Thank you PIVOT volunteers for a warm reception.
Photo: Annie Temple

A great finish at the Red Umbrella reception. Photo: Annnie Temple
A great finish at the Red Umbrella reception.
Photo: Annie Temple

The Red Umbrella March is part of a national day of action, with events in cities across Canada, including Montreal, Québec City, Saint John's, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg.

The Red Umbrella March is organized by the following Vancouver groups: Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C., Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence, Pivot Legal Society, PACE Society, B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities, FIRST: Feminists Advocating for the Decriminalization of Sex Work.

For an analysis of the laws by Triple-X president, Andrew Sorfleet, please read How Harper's new prostitution law violates Canada's Rights and Freedoms at The Naked Truth.


Red Umbrella March HOT in the Press!

Radio:

Print:

Patrick Clark with Triple-X director, Anna Smith.
Patrick Clark with Triple-X director, Anna Smith.
Courtesy: Anna Smith

Red Umbrella March Promotion Materials

Triple-X president, Andy Sorfleet and secretary, Kerry Porth. Photo: Elaine Ayres
Triple-X president, Andy Sorfleet and secretary, Kerry Porth.
Photo: Elaine Ayres

Contact Us

  • Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C.
    3075-349 Georgia Street West
    Vancouver, B.C.  V6B 3X6
  • Web: Triple-X.org
  • E-mail: info@triple-x.org

Last modified: July 3, 2015
Created: March 9, 2012
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