Federal coronavirus money going to Oregon prostitutes for ‘professional development’
November 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Prostitutes and strippers in Oregon are eligible for federally funded coronavirus relief money that a group called “PDX Stripper Strike” is distributing for “professional development” and to help “sex workers most impacted by prejudice and COVID.”
“PDX Stripper Strike, the Portland chapter of the Haymarket Pole Collective (warning: contains vulgar images and content), was recently awarded nearly $600,000 in a COVID-relief grant from the Oregon Health Authority,” KOIN 6 reported November 11. “The organization is now seeking applications from sex workers who are Black and/or Indigenous, are transgender, live with a minor dependent at their home or are experiencing homelessness. Meant to help mitigate sex workers’ financial hardships brought on by the pandemic, PDX Stripper Strike will distribute the money in the form of microgrants. Accepted applicants can receive $150 for internet access, $500 for utilities or $1,600 for rent relief.”
Additionally, the money from PDX Stripper Strike will provide prostitutes and strippers with “educational grants” and “professional development grants,” PDX Stripper Strike founder Cat Hollis told KOIN 6.
The Haymarket Pole Collective describes itself as “a group of autonomous sex workers who share a common vision of our labor liberated from the binds of racism, patriarchy, ableism, and other oppressive structures.” One of its stated goals is to “Advance Queer Liberation.”
“We are against all forms of whorephobia and the hierarchies entrenched within. The decriminalization of sex work maintains autonomy and protect marginalized populations,” the Haymarket Pole Collective declares on its “About Us” webpage.
Its application for microgrant money asks applicants, “Between March 2019 and March 2020 (before COVID), did you earn the majority of your income as an erotic service provider?” It defines “erotic service provider” as “including but not limited to: Nude or partially nude entertainer, digital erotic content, in person services, adult massage, camming, dominatrix or other BDSM services.” Applicants are also asked what their “gender identity” is, with seven different options as well as “prefer not to say” or “other.” Five options are available for “sexual orientation,” plus “prefer not to say” or “other.”
The Oregon Health Authority awarded state organizations $45 million in “Health Equity Grants” that the state government says flow from “legislatively-directed $45 million in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds.” The Haymarket Pole Collective received a $590,000 grant. The YWCA of Greater Portland is helping it distribute that money. It appears the YWCA is also fundraising for the stripper group.
“As an agency with over a century of innovative programming and community organizing, the YWCA of Greater Portland acts as an incubator for newer non-profit organizations that share our values through our fiscal sponsorship program,” the Haymarket Pole Collective says on its website. “This allows all cash and in-kind donations made to Stripper Strike Action to be tax deductible.”
The YWCA of Greater Portland also received its own “Health Equity Grant” of $450,000. Other “Health Equity Grant” recipients include Catholic Charities of Oregon ($450,000), food banks and pantries, and Native American tribes and organizations.