Speaking Out: Red Umbrella Podcast Talks Sex Work
The podcast is an important step toward destigmatizing the commercial sex industry
Sex work has many different expressions and avenues, from escorts, erotic dancers, adult film performers, anti-censorship activists, and professional dominants. Despite the diversity of sex work, they all have something in common; representation on Laura Desiree and Ellen Stagg's innovative Red Umbrella podcast.
The podcast’s five-part series features sex workers’ personal experiences to educate people about what working in the sex industry is like—and what it isn't.
Produced by Naked News host Laura Desiree and erotic photographer Ellen Stagg, the podcast takes its namesake from the recent adoption of red umbrellas as a show of support for sex worker rights.
“After interviewing and interacting with so many sex workers over the years, I felt their voices needed to be heard,” Laura Desiree says in the show's press materials. “This was an incredible experience making the series, and I hope it will open a lot of people's eyes to what it's really like to be a sex worker.”
Separating fact from fantasy
The first of the five-part series has adult film performers Lotus Lain and Romi Rain answering question submissions like, “what are your thoughts on practices in pornography becoming practices in our reality?” And others like whether or not designating interracial sex as an adult entertainment category promotes racism.
In the second episode, Jacqueline Frances and Sinderella talk about the realities of erotic dancing, dispelling the many popular but wholly unrealistic myths surrounding it.
The third episode explores professional domination with Mistress Natalie King and Eva Oh. During their discussion with Desiree, both emphasized the services they can or cannot provide—and how sometimes these limitations are due to antiquated sex work legislation while others are their choice to maintain a healthy emotional distance between them and their clients.
Escorts are the subject of the fourth episode. Liara Roux and Kayla Katt discuss the risks they routinely face, from keeping their personal and professional lives separate to how the ongoing and misguided criminalization of sex work does more harm than good.
FOSTA-SESTA is the focus of the fifth and final installment. The contentious legislation was originally intended to penalize human trafficking but instead has led to discriminatory targeting of consensual sex work. Anti-Censorship Activists and First Amendment Rights Attorneys Larry Walters and Robert Corn-Revere talk about the negative impact these ambiguous laws have had on the commercial sex industry.
Speaking out, speaking true
It cannot be said loud or often enough that voluntary sex work (sex work performed without physical, emotional, or financial coercion) should be a legitimate and, dare we say, even respected occupation.
And why shouldn't it be? As those appearing on the Red Umbrella Podcast have shown, sex workers are intelligent, compassionate professionals dedicated to giving their customers an enjoyable experience.
On the future of Red Umbrella, Desiree says, “Although the five-part series has already been filmed, we're looking at the bigger picture and want this to be a series on a major network or cable channel to reach an even wider global audience.”
That idea, we are absolutely behind, as Red Umbrella, along with similar sex worker awareness projects, are about providing a much-needed platform for dispelling prejudice and countering misinformation by and for the people who are actually involved in the industry.
With the advent of Red Umbrella alongside other sex worker advocate projects, we may one day see a world where stigma, shame, and censorship no longer hinder the progress around acknowledging and respecting voluntary commercial sex work and the people who choose to provide these services.
Image Sources: Red Umbrella