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Thread: Hour Magazine's brief piece on Stella can use some informed posts!

  1. #1

    Hour Magazine's brief piece on Stella can use some informed posts!

    I haven't the energy to start up with this, but please, if any of you care to explain things here - - that would be a good thing. I'm talking specifically about the reader's feedback section at the bottom of the page, where misinformed people with strong opinions are posting.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Never the safest place
    Gazette has an article today on the tenth anniversary of Stella.

    (In the last few minutes, the article has been available for free on line, then subscriber only, now free again.)

    That mural of plaster casts is an interesting and exciting work of art.
    Last edited by HaywoodJabloemy; 04-25-2005 at 04:44 PM.
    "and reports indicate she has also consumed a record amount of seamen."
    "Well, that sounds like one powerful hurricane, Diane."

  3. #3
    Stella marks decade of empowering sex workers, but struggle far from over
    Proactive approach is a success; Outreach group has made strides sensitizing people about erotic labourers

    The Gazette

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Stella, a drop-in centre for sex workers, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Claire Thiboutot, the centre's director-general, stands in front of a mural of plaster casts of sex workers' breasts.

    At the turn of the 20th century, former Philadelphia prostitute Maimie Pinzer moved to Montreal and set up an apartment in the red-light district for "self-respecting errant women."

    She named the place Stella in honour of the woman she referred to in her memoirs, The Maimie Papers: Letters From an Ex-Prostitute, as the most beautiful and intelligent of all the city's streetwalkers.

    Ninety years later, a new version of Stella is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

    Following in Finzer's footsteps, Claire Thiboutot is running the latest incarnation, which opened its doors April 27, 1995.

    But how the world of sex workers has evolved since the days Pinzer plied the oldest trade.

    "We can reach workers in a lot of milieus now," said Thiboutot, a founding member of Stella and it's executive director since 1998.

    Besides street prostitutes, Stella helps massage parlour employees, escorts, exotic dancers, women in the porn industry, those who operate Internet or phone-sex lines from their homes as well as jailed sex workers.

    "Our early strategy was to be proactive," Thiboutot, 40, recalled. "We wanted to sensitize people and demystify prejudices against sex workers."

    An erotic labourer herself from 1988 to 1995 (Stella supported the creation last year of the Canadian Guild for Erotic Labour), Thiboutot said it was important as well that Stella be highly visible to sex workers.

    It has obviously been successful, fielding more than 5,000 contacts annually the past few years with the numbers increasing exponentially.

    Started by Thiboutot, three other women and a $90,000 federal government grant a decade ago, Stella now boasts 15 full-time employees and 50 volunteers operating on a yearly budget of $500,000. All three levels of government provide subsidies, while private and religious foundations provide donations.

    Stella is also more than just a drop-in and support centre for the metropolitan area that includes Laval, the South Shore and beyond.

    "We hear from women in Quebec City, Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke and other places by phone or via the Internet," Thiboutot pointed out.

    There is a project for aboriginal women, a medical clinic (offering treatment, references, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, testing for sexually transmitted infections and gynecological exams) two nights a month, free hepatitis A and B vaccinations at strip clubs, workshops for women living with HIV and even help filing income tax returns.

    On April 7, Thiboutot was one of nine people recognized as heroes by the Farha Foundation.

    The province's leading AIDS fundraising organization praised her "exceptional contributions" to the fight against AIDS.

    Before co-founding Stella, Thiboutot was involved with the Centre for Studies on AIDS and in 2002 teamed up with Medecins du Monde Canada to establish a program for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis for sex workers and injection drug users in Vietnam.

    She stressed that Stella's continuing challenge is to "continue to mobilize in all sectors of the sex industry to assure better working conditions and take action for sex workers' human rights to be respected."

    One of the events planned to mark the 10th anniversary is Forum XXX 2005, to be held May 18-22 at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal.

    More than 250 female and male sex workers from five continents will gather to share strategies for the recognition of their human rights.

    The forum will have three main themes: Sex work and me; sex work and society; sex work and the law.

    For more information about Stella or the Forum XXX 2005, visit

    or call (514) 285-1599.

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