A brief history of the red umbrella
The symbol of the Red Umbrella was first used in 2001 by sex workers in Venice, Italy. A collaboration between Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar and sex workers to create the “Prostitute Pavillion” and the CODE: RED art installation. In 2001 n the 49th Venice Biennial of Art, they proudly walked the streets together in the first Red Umbrellas March. Using megaphones and holding their red umbrellas, sex workers marched the streets drawing attention to the horrid working conditions and human rights abuses they face on a daily basis. The march started at the Pavillion, with the route incorporating the geography of the social history of sex workers, including the famous Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco and Gaspara Stampa. In 2005 we saw the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) adopt the red umbrella as a symbol of resistance to discrimination.
Why it’s important & Awareness
The Red Umbrella acts as a symbol of beauty, vulnerability, and a need for protection. As well as, shows a call for action to end discriminatory laws, policing, and social attitudes that increase exposure to many forms of violence and prevent sex workers from reporting violence and discrimination. The laws intersect with sexism, racism, and classism to perpetuate a social stigma and create a cultural environment in which the violence perpetrated upon sex workers of all genders is seen as different from the violence perpetrated against others. It is urgent that sex workers have access to safe working conditions, legal recourse, health services, and “all human rights and civil liberties” (World Charter for Prostitutes’ Rights).
Wold Wide Red Umbrella Events
DECEMBER 17th : International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers