Documentary explores rights of sex workers

Campus club, BRICK, (Building Revolution by Increasing Community Knowledge) hoped to open students’ eyes to the issues surrounding the usually tabooed sex work industry at a viewing of “Live Nude Girls Unite,” a documentary about the first strippers’ union in the United States.

The film follows the work of comedian/writer/exotic dancer, Julia Query as she and her colleagues work to combat exploitation by the management at the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco.

Their decision to form this union occurred after several accounts of illegal videotaping by customers, violence, racial discrimination and pay disputes.

Local cartoonist Ken Finch went to the viewing to gain insight for the graphic novel he is currently working on.

BRICK advisor, David Hyde, also has background knowledge on the issue of problems in the sex worker industry. While living in Seattle, Hyde worked with a few people who also worked at the city’s branch of the Lusty Lady Theater. Their accounts revealed terrible wages and working conditions, he said.

The showing of this particular film was first proposed last year by former BRICK member, Kendall Brookhart.

According to Hyde, it was Brookhart’s interest in women’s rights, discrimination against sex workers and labor unions that contributed to this choice.

BRICK planned to show the film last spring, but had to reschedule for fall to accommodate the arrival date of the DVD.

The prospect of strippers unionizing is not popular because of social misconceptions of the sex work, which, as an industry makes people uncomfortable. For this reason, the film was important because it can raise awareness of an entirely different perspective, said BRICK Treasurer Cameron Cumberland.

Because of the low attendance however, BRICK will probably organize another showing of the film, said Cumberland.

Cumberland hosted this event and said he joined BRICK after taking a Sociology class with Eric Chase, who suggested the club. Since then, this club has allowed him to get involved in the community and help make a difference.