Press Appearances

“Pittsburgh Sex Workers Are Being Charged With Carrying Condoms, or, ‘Instruments of Crime’–Raising the Question of Who Is at Risk,” Jezebel

Published: June 17, 2018

Jezebel highlights the controversial practice of characterizing condoms as instruments of crime, and using this characterization to file charges against sex workers.

But cracking down on sex work and ending human trafficking isn’t necessarily a causal relationship, according to Jessie and PJ Sage of Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP), whom DA Zappala characterized in his statement as “a group that represents an industry that is illegal in Pennsylvania.”

At one of their meetings, they heard from a woman who said she had been charged years ago for possessing condoms; she set up the appointment with an officer, and only after he asked her for a condom did he arrest her.

“She then had to decide what was a greater risk–not using condoms and endangering her longterm health or getting more charges,” Jessie said.

The woman ultimately decided to use condoms, but even then, she said that carrying them had put her life in peril.

“Because she had to hide the condoms in her car [in case the client was a police officer], one of her clients escorted her to her car at gunpoint,” Jessie said. The client had apparently wanted to make sure she didn’t drive off with their money.

“Pittsburgh Sex Workers Are Being Charged With Carrying Condoms, or, ‘Instruments of Crime’–Raising the Question of Who Is at Risk,” Jezebel

Read more of my press.

“Opinion | Stand up for sex workers: Cancel the hackathon,” The Pitt News

March 20, 2019

The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute should listen to the mounting pressure and do the right thing: cancel Hacking4Humanity. It’s time to listen to people who may suffer the inadvertent consequences of an otherwise well-intentioned idea — not dismiss them.

“Sex-Work Decriminalization Is Becoming an Issue For 2020,” Rolling Stone

March 6, 2019

Harris’s about-face on the issue of decriminalization speaks volumes about the increasing prominence of sex workers’ rights on the national stage, says Jessie Sage, a sex columnist for the Pittsburgh City Paper, an organizer with the advocacy group SWOP Pittsburgh and a cohost of the Peepshow Podcast, which covers the sex industry. “The sex work community doesn’t trust Harris or have a clear sense of what she means by [her stated support of decriminalization],” Sage says. “But I do think that the fact that she would find it politically advantageous to say this is important, and tells us something about changing attitudes.”

“From our new sex advice column to Scott Wagner’s golf spikes, these are CP’s favorites stories of 2018,” Pittsburgh City Paper

December 31, 2018

Peepshow, Jessie’s sex and social-justice column, brings something to the table no other media outlet in town offers: brilliant commentary on taboo subjects from a local woman’s perspective. Jessie has tackled porn, BDSM, politics, and has recently started answering readers’ questions.