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Exotic dancers react as Bristol council votes to keep strip clubs 

Women opposing Bristol council's proposed ban on strip clubs celebrate after it was rejected

Exotic dancers in Bristol were left ‘screaming, crying and vomiting with joy’ after council yesterday rejected a motion to ban strip clubs and other places of sexual entertainment (SEV) in the city.

a consortium of Women rights organizations and community groups have been campaigning for Bristol to follow in the footsteps of Edinburgh and impose a blanket ban.

Bristol currently has a limit of three strip clubs in the city center, although it currently only has two: Urban Tiger and Central Chambers.

Emotions ran high at a council licensing committee meeting on Thursday, where dozens of people on both sides of the debate weighed in with their views.

One dancer explained how she had started working at a strip club when she couldn’t make ends meet as a circus performer, and now has a “flexible enough schedule to pursue my dream career”, while another artist insisted on that stripping “provides stability.” ‘.

Women who oppose the proposed strip club ban celebrate after it was rejected

After the vote, the Bristol Sex Workers Collective said in a statement that its members were

After the vote, the Bristol Sex Workers Collective said in a statement that its members were “screaming, crying, vomiting with joy”.

He added (pictured above):

He added (pictured above): “Dancers have been through an incredible amount of stress in the last two years, not only having to defend their labor rights but also their humanity.”

“Striptease has allowed me to have a flexible enough schedule to pursue my dream career and at the same time, it allows me to live a comfortable life, without living in constant stress due to living paycheck to paycheck,” said the first dancer.

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Another artist, who only identified herself as Scarlett, said she suffered from chronic pain and fatigue, but stripping down had given her a future.

“I never saw a future for myself that didn’t end in poverty, hospitalization or suicide, because I never thought I would be able to survive in a world designed for neurotypical, mentally healthy, able-bodied people,” he said.

“Working in strip clubs has made me realize that I have the means to survive, and not only survive, but also have stability and opportunity for the future.”

The vote was the culmination of a review going back three years and two public consultations, one in 2019 and one in 2021, receiving more than 17,000 submissions between them.

Katy Taylor, director of Bristol Women’s Voice, argued that strip clubs and similar venues act as a “gateway to other areas of the sex industry, including prostitution”.

Reaction: People take to social media to celebrate yesterday's result

Reaction: People take to social media to celebrate yesterday’s result

He said they can also be a gateway for men to buy sex, adding: “Research shows that men who buy sex are more likely to have negative attitudes towards women and to perpetrate sexual and domestic violence.”

A representative of a trust created in memory of Hollie Gazzard, a hairdresser who was stabbed to death by her ex-partner while working in 2014, said strip clubs promote “sexist attitudes that can lead to tragic results.”

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Elsewhere, human resources specialist Clare Meraz called for dancers to be helped to break into other industries, calling sex work exploitative and unsafe.

“There is a wide range of job openings across the city, including council positions that tend to offer a safe range of benefits, including areas where women are currently underrepresented,” she said.

Ultimately, the council’s licensing committee voted nine to one to retain the current limit of three licensed SEVs.

Bristol Women's Voice tweeted:

Bristol Women’s Voice tweeted (pictured): “We are disappointed by Council’s decision today to continue to license SEVs”, while the Bristol Women’s Commission also shared their disappointment.

Several councilors commented that it was better for dancers to have well-regulated licensed venues rather than forcing strip clubs underground.

Several also noted that there is little empirical evidence linking places of sexual entertainment to violence against women and girls.

Green Party councilor Guy Poultney received a round of applause when he accused women’s rights groups of arguing that “we should discard some women’s voices to empower them and restrict their choices in the name of equality and take away their jobs.” on your own.” Okay’.

She added that they were acting “as if some women can’t be trusted to make decisions for themselves.”

There was a loud cheer after the motion to keep the current limit was passed, and several dancers in the public gallery broke down in tears of relief.

Following the vote, the Bristol Sex Workers Collective said in a statement that its members were “screaming, crying and vomiting with joy”.

“Our members have been organizing against this despite precarious working conditions, poverty from COVID-19, and a hostile system that set us up to fail,” the group said.

‘It should never be so difficult for a group of workers to defend our right to safe working conditions.’

He added: ‘Dancers have been through an incredible amount of stress in the last two years, not only having to defend their labor rights but also their humanity.

‘They have had to listen while being blamed for gender-based violence. His experiences dismissed as lobbying for the sex industry.

“We hope that in future Bristol Council will take this into consideration and work with workers to create an SEV leave policy that supports their rights, rather than hinders them. Up the damn workers’.

Bristol Women’s Voice tweeted: ‘We are disappointed by today’s Council decision to continue to license SEVs.

‘We will continue to raise our voice to help end all forms of male violence and harassment of women and girls.’

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