After SESTA/FOSTA: How Policy Affects Sex Workers

Friday, February 25, 3020 at 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Doheny Library, DML 240

Current policies, such as SESTA/FOSTA, attempt to dismantle the sex work industry and endanger the safety of sex workers. This panel will address many of these policies through a discussion between sex workers, podcasters and academics.
We will be serving food (vegetarian options available).


  • Siouxsie Q - LGBTQ Rights Community Engagement and Policy Advocate
    • Siouxsie Q is an American journalist, pornographic actress, and outspoken sex workers’ rights activist who identifies herself as a feminist and sex worker. She is a podcaster, singer/songwriter and playwright as well as a widely-read columnist with SF Weekly in San Francisco.  Siouxsie is a policy advocate and organizer for the ACLU Southern California.  She has been an LGBTQ organizer and advocate since helping found the first Gay-Straight Alliance at her central coast high school in 2001. She carried on her activism at the University of Oregon where she managed a Queer Speakers Bureau and was active with the LGBTQ and Women's Centers. Since graduating, she has become an outspoken leader in her community, working in leadership positions the Free Speech Coalition, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, and the winning campaign against California's Proposition 60 during the 2016 election. She has written two books and her writing and perspectives have been published in Rolling Stone, Wired, the Sacramento Bee, and many other mainstream publications. 
  • Vanessa Carlisle - Professor Queer Studies, California State University Northridge
    • Vanessa Carlisle holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, Literature, and Gender Studies from USC. Recent work has appeared in Pulp Magazine, PRISM International, and the award-winning zine she co-edited: Don't Hate My Heels: A Confrontation with Whorephobia in which the Whores Win. Vanessa has over 20 years of experience in the sex industries and regularly gives talks in classrooms and conferences to dispel myths and build the movement toward bodily autonomy for all. She co-founded the Hookers Army of Los Angeles, a peer-support and self-defense collective for sex workers, and her essay How to Build Hookers Army is forthcoming from the Feminist Press. Vanessa's second novel, Take Me With You, is forthcoming from Running Wild Press.
  • Lotus Lain-Industry Relations Advocate, Free Speech Coalition
    • From retail merchandising to Dominatricing to becoming an onscreen porn performer, then sex worker rights activist, to the published writer; Lotus Lain has crafted her way to becoming an influencer among her peers in the competitive adult industry, now in her role as Industry Relations Advocate for Free Speech Coalition.

Moderator: Lauren Levitt - Ph.D. candidate, USC Annenberg

  • Lauren Levitt is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication at USC, where she is pursuing a graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and her ethnographic dissertation project examines how sex workers and sex workers’ rights activists in New York and Los Angeles create alternative kinship structures and engage in non-capitalist caring and sharing practices in order to manage criminalization, precarity, and stigma. Lauren holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from King’s College London and an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. Her work has been published in Interventions Journal, the online journal of Columbia University’s Graduate Program in Modern Art, and she has chapters in the anthologies Sontag and the Camp Aesthetic: Advancing New Perspectives and Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination: Case Studies for Creative Social Change. She also has a chapter in the forthcoming anthology Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence.
Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


University Park Campus




Gender and Sexuality Studies

#Sex work, women in policy

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