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“No reform, no perform”: Portland strippers march for racial equality

As part of the ongoing fight for justice, the PDX Stripper Strike have taken to the streets of Portland, campaigning for an end to discrimination in clubs across the city. Armed with the mantra “no justice, no booty”, dancers spoke out about the shameful lack of anti-racism policies currently employed in their workplaces.

“The thing I’ve heard over and over,” protest leader Cat Hollis told Dazed, “is that it’s the most fun they’ve ever had at a protest. We usually have a sound system blasting music, and people wearing eight-inch high heels to walk the mile routes.”

strippers
Photo: PDX Stripper Strike

Dancers, bartenders, DJs, strip club owners, and managers have all taken to the streets of Portland to protest the lack of racial equality within the industry.

“Separate is not equal,” Hollis explained. “Clubs say they have a certain aesthetic, or that they’re a rock and roll club, or suddenly aren’t holding auditions at the time they agreed on the phone after meeting someone in person – or they’re asking you to send photos beforehand.”  

“These are all dog whistles for racism. They are techniques that have been used for a long time in many industries to disenfranchise Black workers.”

With both dancers and customers turning out the event, participants called for equal shifts for equal work, cultural sensitivity training surrounding race and sexual assault, as well as public testimonials from employees about their experiences. “Hire Black strippers, tip Black strippers”, “No reform, no perform”, signs read.

“We aren’t asking for anything that we aren’t entitled to by our state, local, and federal laws,” Hollis added. “I’m experienced in advocating for my own rights as a Black woman. Seeing the efficiency of past movements in reconciliation in South Africa, post-Jim Crow integration, and #MeToo, it was obvious to me that restorative justice was necessary.”

You can donate to the PDXstripperstrike here.