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SWOP Behind Bars Holiday Gift Staff Picks

Updated: Dec 11, 2023



Are you looking for really great gift ideas for the Sex Worker Social Justice Warrior on your holiday list? For activists who are passionate about social and environmental causes, meaningful and purposeful gifts that align with their values can be particularly appreciated. 


Sex Worker Activism is “intersectional,” meaning that most of us are working on two or three or more really macro social justice issues like Human Trafficking, Homelessness, LGBTQIA+ Rights, Harm Reduction, Reproductive Rights, Free Speech, Mass Incarceration, Labor Rights, Healthcare and Human Rights. Many sex workers work to provide ever widening ranges of services and support in their local communities and many others are drawn to work within Regional, National and International platforms. Regardless of the issue, sex workers have been giving back, stepping up and shouting out for centuries and a gift that is representative of their service is just plain thoughtful.


The best gift for your favorite sex worker, stripper or adult performer is almost always Cold Hard CASH


But if you want to add a little something special that shows you are paying attention and care about their ability to move freely in this world, here are a few ideas to inspire you. Its important to note that your favorite activist may have already posted their Wish List and its a guaranteed pleaser to order something from THAT list if you can.


But on the off chance that you are uninspired by cash or a posted wish list, The SWOP Behind Bars staff compiled the Top Ten Categories of gift ideas for Sex Worker Rights activists and we hope you find something you can give that will mean something special! 


Books by Sex Workers

Activists are always learning and giving them a book by influential activists or works that delve into social justice issues are the perfect way to further educate and inspire. 


The bookstore we love to recommend is Blue Stockings Cooperative in New York.


Bluestockings is a collectively-run activist center, community space and feminist bookstore that offers mutual aid, harm reduction support, non-judgemental resource research and a warming/cooling place that is radically inclusive of all genders, cultures, expansive sexualities and identities and they always carry books by sex worker authors! 


Buy a Gift Card for Your Favorite Sex Worker Run Charity

Are you looking for a way to share the experience of generosity?


Join the movement to #RedefineGifting with TisBest Charity Gift Cards. You choose the amount and your loved ones pay it forward to their favorite charities. Giving gifts for the holidays and other special occasions is a life-long tradition. Giving your family and friends the gift of giving back is life-changing. 



Activism Apparel and Accessories

T-shirts, hoodies, or accessories featuring messages and designs are awesome gifts for activists that promote the causes they care about. It’s especially cool to get apparel that is seasonally appropriate for the climate your favorite activist is living in and nothing is more inspirational than having a cup of coffee that reminds them about the importance of the work they are doing.


We are big fans of the kNOw Justice, kNOw Peace t-shirts from RestiStanceUS but they make a lot of great streetwear that speaks boldly and is reasonably priced. Activism Apparel often inspires people to ACT and lord knows, we need inspiration these days!


Art with a Message

Support local artists, many of whom are sex workers and survivors, who create a wide variety of artwork with powerful messages related to activism.


There are a lot of sex worker artists and artizans out there doing activism through their art and we were excited to see that Etsy has a lot of Sex Work positive merch at every price range. You can support local sex worker artists by gifting merchandise with a message!


Conferences, Educational Workshops or Courses

Pay for your favorite activist to attend a conference focused on intersectional activism, advocacy, or leadership.

Conferences are expensive to attend and to travel to, so there are multitudes of ways to help defray the high cost on these quests for justice by offering your hotel points, your airline miles or gift cards for food and beverages while your favorite activist is learning, teaching and growing!


Some upcoming Conferences, Dates and Locations that our community members show up for are the XBix Show in Hollywood CA, January 17 - 21st,  Creating Change in New Orleans, LA, January 17th - 21st and the Freedom Network Human Trafficking Conference in Salt Lake City Utah, April 18th and 19th. These conferences often offer opportunities to “table” and have face to face meetings with other conference attendees and these opportunities are expensive. Check in with your favorite org to see where they want to “level up” their activism or advocacy and then sponsor them to attend!


Activism and Protest Gear

Items like first aid kits, balaclavas, reusable masks, flags and collapsible flag poles, markers and paint, banners, signs, or megaphones for use in protests and demonstrations are great gifts for the social justice demonstrators in your life. 

  • We suggest ensuring that these items are sourced from ethical manufacturers, and if possible, that proceeds directly benefit the movement space in question. 

  • You may want to also consider providing the materials for DIY reusable signs or flags that are both eco-friendly, weather proof, and practical for carting around to different locations! These signs are created from poster board and handles constructed from lightweight material by stretching blackboard (also known as chalkboard) fabric over a sturdy piece of wood or other material to create a sign you can write on over and over again! 

Bi-POC Brands and Products

You can support fair trade by gifting products such as locally sourced food from BiPOC-Owned Brands that ensure fair wages and ethical production practices. Based on the simple idea that the products bought and sold every day are connected to the livelihoods of others, fair trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world because economic equity is good for every community and our entire society benefits when we are all able to particpate in our local economies! 


One of our favorite BiPOC Marketplaces in California is CoOpportunity. 

In Business since 1974, Co-opportunity Market began as a food-buying club of four in West Los Angeles. Since then, their commitment to the community, cooperative values, and healthy living hasn’t changed. For over four decades, the Co-op has led the way in connecting people to local growers and producers with health and sustainability in mind. Together, they are strengthening the community through a commitment to a strong, local food system, clean ingredients and responsible sourcing. They also have the most delicious recipes available on their website! 

 

Want something a little more “gifty”?

Try one of the Holiday Gift Boxes from Nosh Posh! 

They specialize in “:snacks” and who doesn’t love a good snack that is also locally sourced, ethically produced and supports breaking down barriers to entry and expanding equity for BIPOC- and women-owned brands in the food space. So Nom Nom your holiday with some deliciousness that supports diversity, equity and inclusion in a meaningful way.




Memberships and Subscriptions

Sign your favorite activist up for memberships or subscriptions to organizations that align with their causes.


Many sex workers are part of a union or a collective effort and even when the membership fees or union dues are reasonable, its greatly appreciated to pay for a years worth of Union dues, membership fees or subscriptions to publications and this gift will last all year long!


Sex Worker Podcast patreon subscriptions are a great way to help the sex activist in your life stay connected with other parts of social justice movements. We love The Sexy Escort Guide, Old Pros and They Talk Sex but those are just a few of the many podcasts produced, researched and directed by real sex workers!
  • We love The Erotic Service Providers Union - USA. ESPU-USA is a "For Us By Us" effort for those who engage in erotic labor to gain agency through industrial organizing for our occupational, social, and economic rights through affiliating with organized labor. 

  • Strippers United is also an amazing sex worker led organization that provides infrastructure for organizing in clubs and fighting for labor protections that should be available to everyone who works there! They have a documented track record of success in helping strippers be accepted in the Actors Equity Union and they are not to be toyed with! 

  • The Adult Performance Artist Guild in a Union organized by and for Adult Content Creators and although their membership is currently free, they provide a lot of free resources to content creators that help them with legal issues and health insurance.


Sex Work Positive Jewelry, Oils, Lotions and Potions

Handmade jewelry crafted by artisans from marginalized communities that  support ethical and sustainable practices are great gifts.

Our top staff pick, The Thug Mermaid (Manifest That Shit!) made top of this category for their whimsical and well made sex positive jewelry, crystals, potions and super fast shipping! 




Jimmy Toast makes a line of Victorian Gothic inspired jewelry that will make your favorite sex worker activist squeal with joy!

All of the materials for each product are hand selected and ethically sourced. Jimmy Toast pieces are atmospheric in what they provoke. Sweet hearts encased in spikes, metal teeth on the end of a dew drop, a butterfly made of steel: in Jamie’s work, seemingly opposing imagery is juxtaposed to create new meaning. 


Into candles? 

Try That Gay Guy Candle Company for a special edition of their candle in your choice of scents.

Their 8.5 oz. soy candle is phthalate-free and features a cotton wick. Hand poured in a small batch, this candle offers more than 40 hours of burn time. All candles from That Gay Guy Candle Co. are environmentally friendly, chemical free, dye free, and are only made with ingredients that are never tested on animals. 


Want something a little more kinky for a special activist?  Check out these WORKING Vibrator Earrings from Candy Goblins, available in Pink, Purple and Orange! 








Funkit Toys has been supporting sex worker led organizations for almost a decade and their handmade custom products are the result of years of study and practice in various fields.

Using what they learned through studying graphic design, sculpting, sex education, color theory, sexual anatomy, material safety, 3D modeling, moldmaking, woodworking, and a lot of reading and listening to sexuality educators who know better, the goal of Funkit Toys is to connect the pieces gathered together to craft new and unique toys and experiences to share with the world. Kenton is a queer, classically trained chef and certified sexuality educator who sold his soul into making sex toys for a living. He makes wood and acrylic paddles, silicone, steel, and glass toys, and puts "Fucksmith" on his business cards.

We also love Beatings on a Dime 

They take what everyone else is discarding and turn it into sadistic or bizarre creations.James S Henry makes a lot of toys out of new materials, but that thought process is still behind what he does. “Look where others don't, do what others won't. Just be yourself and let your mind out of the box you keep it in.”




Donations to Sex Worker Led Causes

Make a donation to a cause or organization that is important to the activist in their name. Make sure you check with your fav sex worker about which organizations they also support in order to ensure your gift matches their values. If you can’t designate an “in honor of” donation on the organization's donation platform, just email them AFTER you’ve made the donation and ask that they be notified of your gift.


Remember to consider the specific causes and interests of the activist (for example environmental and climate justice, intersectional feminism, racial justice, LGBTQIA2S+ liberation, etc) when choosing a gift. A thoughtful and personalized approach can make the gift even more meaningful.


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