A transgender woman of color named Monica Jones was convicted last week for walking down the street. The charge? “Manifestation of prostitution.” But Jones isn’t a sex worker. She just happens to live in Phoenix, Arizona, where a new tactic to reduce sex work provides new opportunities for police to profile vulnerable populations.
While Jones’ conviction is fully legal in Phoenix, it’s become a rallying cry for trans rights issues, since it so clearly illustrated biases ingrained in the law. Here’s a break down of all the elements that led to Jones’ arrest:
“Manifestation Of Prostitution”
One of the first problems is the incredibly vague way that Phoenix’s law against prostitutionactually defines what constitutes an arrest-worthy offense. In addition to literally offering or soliciting prostitution, the law also enumerates a number of actions that can constitute an “intent” to break the law:
Is in a public place, a place open to public view or in a motor vehicle on a public roadway and manifests an intent to commit or solicit an act of prostitution. Among the circumstances that may be considered in determining whether such an intent is manifested are: that the person repeatedly beckons to, stops or attempts to stop or engage passersby in conversation or repeatedly, stops or attempts to stop, motor vehicle operators by hailing, waiving of arms or any other bodily gesture; that the person inquires whether a potential patron, procurer or prostitute is a police officer or searches for articles that would identify a police officer; or that the person requests the touching or exposure of genitals or female breast.
According to the law, it doesn’t matter if prostitution solicitation actually takes place; simply conveying one of these other actions constitutes a violation of the law. For example, a group of cheerleaders holding a carwash could be arrested under this law for trying to advertise their fundraiser by waving at passing cars.
Additionally, the law dictates that a first offense results in a mandatory minimum of 15 days in jail, up to a maximum of six months, as well as the possibility of a fine up to $2,500. The mandatory minimums increase significantly with each prior charge a person carries. These vague “manifestations” of prostitution thus create opportunity to entrap and punish individuals with prostitution charges even if they are not actually engaging in sex work.
Monica Jones’ Arrest and Conviction
Monica Jones is a student at ASU’s School of Social Work, a sex worker rights advocate with SWOP, and a trans woman of color. When Phoenix police were conducting a Project ROSE sweep in May of 2013, Jones spoke at a community event against the program. The following evening, she was offered a ride home from a bar, only to be not-arrested by the undercover cop, who placed her in handcuffs and drove her to Bethany Bible Church. Jones, however, was not eligible for Project ROSE because of a prior prostitution conviction, despite no longer being a sex worker. Jones was charged with “manifestation of prostitution” and last week, she was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in a men’s prison.
The prosecution’s only witness was the arresting officer, who repeatedly referred to Jones with the male pronouns “he” and “him.” He alleged that she “exposed her breast,” though advocates for Jones suggest her only crime was asking if he was a police officer (knowing full well that Project ROSE sweeps were underway that weekend). The judge deliberated for less than one minute before handing down a guilty verdict. According to the ACLU, which helped represent Jones, the judge’s assumption that the officer’s testimony was credible while hers was hearsay is “erroneous and improper.”
During the time between her arrest and her trial, Jones says she was stopped by police on four more occasions while walking around her neighborhood and threatened with additional “manifestation of prostitution” charges. She explained to the ACLU how “walking while trans” has become a crime in and of itself:
JONES: “Walking while trans” is a saying we use in the trans community to refer to the excessive harassment and targeting that we as trans people experience on a daily basis. “Walking while trans” is a way to talk about the overlapping biases against trans people — trans women specifically — and against sex workers. It’s a known experience in our community of being routinely and regularly harassed and facing the threat of violence or arrest because we are trans and therefore often assumed to be sex workers.
I have been harassed by police four times since my initial arrest last May. The police have stopped me for no real reason when I have been walking to the grocery store, to the local bar, or visiting with a friend on the sidewalk. The police have even threatened me with ‘manifestation with intent to prostitute’ charge, while I was just walking to my local bar!
Police harassment of transgender people is not unusual even absent sex work profiling. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 29 percent of trans people have experienced police harassment or disrespect. Rates were much higher for people of color. Additionally, 46 percent of trans people report they are generally uncomfortable even seeking police assistance.
Jones has already filed an appeal and is continuing her fight.
if you say you don’t want this as a pet you’re a liar
What a baby!!!! AWWW
noooo no no no im tired of people who glorify exotic animals as pets, it’s not good, especially in the case of slow lorises
they’re very hard to breed so most slow lorises are taken from the wild and illegally sold. these are still wild, endangered animals that are taken from their habitat and given to people who aren’t qualified to take care of them properly with stressful environments.
furthermore, slow lorises have a special set of teeth that allows them to inflict a toxic bite to predators. so their captors remove the set of teeth with nail clippers which is extremely painful and often results in infection and slow death.
do not support slow lorises as pets. it’s a trend that’s leading to their extinction and the continued idea that it’s fine to steal and mutilate animals for money and human entertainment
Comedian Jamie Kilstein thinks we shouldn’t joke about violence against women. That view got him notably shunned from the comedy community; other famous comedians weighed in, called him names, it was a whole thing. As a result, he lost a TV deal, promotional gigs, and friends — all because he said rape jokes are bad.
When I say people want to see more diversity in stories, no, I really don’t mean different stories about straight white dudes. I really, really don’t mean that at all. This isn’t about types of stories being told. This is specifically about people. I’m not letting you make this about something else. You are not hijacking this message to make sure we’re still talking about straight white dudes.
The saga continues:
This made me actually sputter with frustration. Saliva exited my mouth. Why do you think your opinion SHOULD matter on this subject? Why should your opinion be given the same weight over people who are actually living these experiences? Especially when my original point was about how minorities rarely get to tell their own stories. I’ve been really patient with him but he’s taken up way too much of my time and he’s still missing the point like he’s trying to actively avoid it.
Hey, fellow straight, cis, white dudes, learn when to shut the fuck up.
Isn’t having our stories told in every form of media almost all of the time enough? Nobody needs to hear our side. They’ve fucking heard it.
Keiko playing with one of the crabs in his tank.
Keiko’s tank in Oregon was made as natural as possible to prepare him for the ocean, so small sea animals like crabs was put in the tank.
Not having seen a crab during all his years in captivity in Canada and Mexico this was very new and exciting to Keiko and he would often pick up the crabs in his mouth and swim around with them. Never once did any of his trainers witness him killing a crab, in fact he was very gentle and careful with them.
This is a good example of how orcas know their own strength.
This attests to Keiko’s gentle spirit after all those years of confinement…
Keiko is one of my favorite orcas because he appeared to have such a gentle heart (I know that’s not a very scientific way of putting it. Maybe I should instead say he had an inherently gentle disposition). A caretaker’s 18-month old child once fell into his tank, and Keiko rescued the child before anyone even realized what had happened. This was even added as a scene in Free Willy, and Keiko himself performed the staged rescue again flawlessly.
When he was rehabilitated and released, he would let his caretakers swim with him and lounge on his back. When he arrived in Norway after his journey from Iceland, he let local children play with him and ride on him.
And while some might argue this is all simply because he was so used to humans, I like to use this little example with the crabs to suggest otherwise. There are plenty of other captive orcas who are “used” to humans who aren’t nearly as gentle and empathetic.
Keiko was a very special individual.
Correcting Internet DisInformation: The American Space Pen / The Russian Pencil
thank you for this.
And then from his initial investment of >$1,000,000, the Fisher Pen Co. was able to make a lot of money and grow the overall size of the U.S. economy and create lots of jobs.
So essentially a story that is supposed to be about government inefficiency turns out to be a story about how the U.S. government worked with a private company to make space travel safer while also stimulating economic growth.
The moral of the story is not that the Soviet Union was more efficient. The moral of the story is that by failing to allow private investment in innovation, the Soviet Union was doomed.
Incidentally, Paul Fisher, who invented the Fisher space pen, was a fascinating guy. He had this plan to eliminate income and property taxes with a progressive asset tax and even ran for President. And the Fisher Space Pen Co. is still a going concern, still employing people, and still generating a return on Fisher’s million-dollar investment.