The Bay Area Reporter is a newspaper founded in 1971 with the slogan that it is “for every faction of the Gay community.” Although it claims such as a mission statement, in truth most news is written by and for white cisgender gay men, with very little representation from even cis-women. Therefore, this instance in which the Reporter reaches out to the sex work community is an instance of recognition at the very least. Trans people are inherently part of this community as they frequently advertised as sex workers in The Berkeley Barb. Interestingly, this particular crackdown of prostitutes sparked a series of opposing op-eds that spanned across three issues.
Trans people were frequently targeted in such prostitution arrest raids as anti-cross dressing laws, like San Francisco’s 650.5 or Oakland’s 9.08.080, were in effect and frequently levied against trans people. Both laws worked to put trans sex workers at a high risk for being put in jail. A 1968 KPFA radio interview between trans people working with Conversion Our Goal and a San Francisco police officer offers personal testimonials regarding arrest for both prostitution and cross-dressing. Listen to it here
Additionally, California penal code 185, still in effect, persecutes people for wearing false disguise in an attempt to evade recognition, which can easily be interpreted by police as reason to arrest trans people. Additionally, anti-prostitution statewide penal code 447B still targets sex workers and can be levied at the discretion of law enforcement, which as we know is transphobic and racist. Trans women are and always have been disproportionately persecuted for sex work due to multiple sources of police discrimination.