Don’t Hate My Heels: A Confrontation with Whorephobia in Which the Whores Win (DHMH) is a collaborative zine in which all contributors, named or anonymous, identify as sex workers. The zine exists within larger sex work arts, healing, and justice projects straddling the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Co-editor Chatz of Love is also the lead singer of the Oakland-based band Copyslut, which connects sex workers to each other and to queer spaces. Co-editor Vanessa Carlisle runs Hookers Army Los Angeles, a peer support and self-defense collective, and co-hosts and produces On the Dresser, a podcast about sex and politics run by queer sex workers. Amber Dawn caught up with a few of the DHMH creators and contributors.
AD: What were your original goals when the zine began?
DHMH: Initially,Don’t Hate My Heels was a response to our experiences of stigma in activist/organizing spaces. Then, after SESTA/FOSTA (Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act and FightOnline Sex Trafficking Act) passed in the US, we began to see and feel the impacts. We did a rewrite with more collaborators, to connect with a wider community of sex workers and offer them a physical tool of support for combating stigma. We chose the zine format to get the information in as many hands as possible quickly and cheaply without being censored. We have been able to offer DHMH for free to many sex workers, and have sold out at almost every Copyslut show.
Did anything unexpected or particularly rewarding come from collaborating on DHMH?
Our relationships have deepened and evolved through the process of articulating ourselves and writing together. Our different, but parallel, healing projects (the band Copyslut, Hookers Army, On The Dresser podcast) are tangible resources for other sex workers and ourselves.
What do you want allies to think about when reading DHMH?
It’s important for allies to recognize that each worker has their own experience and perspective to share. We are not the only story. It’s also an ally’s responsibility to self educate. Allies can show support for sex workers by following sex worker accounts on social media — especially POC and trans narratives. Buy sex workers’ products and art! Tip extra when you go to strip clubs! Pay for your porn! Visit copyslutband.com, onthedresserpodcast.com, and swopla.org to learn more about the projects mentioned above. You can purchase Don’t Hate My Heels in the Broken Pencil online store or the Copyslut website.