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If you're one of those people who still uses the word "prostitute," stand corrected — the term is officially obsolete. Most San Franciscans prefer "sex worker," which encompasses not only the choice of profession but also activism and a vital penchant for creating stuff. The San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival is an occasion on which unrepentant whores, die-hard activists, and firebrand artists all get together to glory in the world's oldest and most controversial profession. And the bulk of ´em will have you know that for centuries, from the hetaera (high-class ancient Greek courtesans) to the geisha to the streetwalker, sex workers have been vital to the world's art communities, as both artists and muses. Art, politics, and personal narrative intersect in today's film portion of the fest, the Sex Worker Film Festival, in which dozens of pieces made by and about sex workers cover ground from human rights to antitrafficking laws to personal musings on life as a whore. Amber Bemak's Kryptonite is an intimate glimpse into the lives of women who run a dominatrix house in Manhattan, while Anne Frisius' Otras Vias is an inspirational portrait of a cluster of Berlin women fighting for the rights of migrant sex workers. Dozens of short films are strewn throughout as well, and like their creators, they encompass many topics: love, fantasy, fairy tales, transgendered road trips. The films offer bold, sexy, and sometimes tragic stories that help to untangle both the hype and stereotypes from the more complex realities of sex work.

 
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