French gay porn star to speak in Oxford

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Thierry Schaffauser will address the university LGBTQ Society in 4th Week to talk about his “life as a campaigning porn star and sex worker”. Schaffauser, who is winner of the 2010 Erotic Award, is a highly vocal and active defender of sex workers’ rights. He is co-founder of Les Putes, a sex worker’s rights group, president of the GMB Sex Workers Branch, Chair of Out East, and regularly contributes to the Guardian.

The OULGBTQ Society events organizer spoke to OUSU about his reasons for inviting Schaffauser to the University, a decision which was initially questioned by his friends.

The Wadham College student said he wanted to create an “ethical forum” and “to break taboos” by holding this talk: “Pornography is an interesting aspect for the LGBT community, it is how many people discover their sexuality. There is such a taboo surrounding it, which contributes to the taboo surrounding sexuality. It is a good thing for it to be out there and discussed openly”.

Tom Lewis, a student at St Peter’s College, agreed that, “there is absolutely nothing wrong with [Schaffuser] coming to speak”.

“Nothing is taboo to discuss, it shouldn’t be taboo. Prostitution exists so has to be discussed. It is quite a difficult topic but we can’t sweep stuff under the carpet, and the one place you should be able to discuss this is at university”.

Although the events organiser observed that “there is obviously a general interest in pornography”, he emphasised the welfare aspect of the talk: “Schaffauser is very radical and has done a lot for welfare in the LGBT community; he is campaigning to make pornographers use condoms”.

Schaffauser is also expected to address issues surrounding prostitution and sex worker’s rights. The student explained that although “prostitutes are very relevant in politics at the moment”, it is an issue that is “often discussed from a straight perspective to emphasize the degradation of women. The gay sex worker community is an interesting dimension to the discussion. Schaffauser will speak of his personal experiences with prostitution”.

He hopes that Schaffuser’s talk will provide a “different perspective” and not only be of interest to practising sex workers, but “educate people of the practicalities of it”. He added that he himself “had a negative perception of it when (he) first came to university”.

He added that there is already a very active, “huge LGBT community in Oxford” and was excited for Schaffuser’s upcoming visit. He added that he was keen to invite Schaffuser because “he’s really hot and I wanted to meet him…people can bring their DVDs to get signed too. I’ll be bringing mine”.

Katharine Xu