Under the Red Umbrella
The red umbrella was first used by sex workers in Venice, Italy in 2001. Slovenian artist Tadej Pogacar collaborated with sex workers to create the "Prostitute Pavillion" and CODE: RED art installation. On the occasion of the 49th Venice Biennale of Art in 2001 they walked the streets together out and proud in a Red Umbrellas March. Sex workers marched the streets of Venice and used megaphones and red umbrellas, drawing attention to the bad work conditions and the human rights abuses they face. The march started at the Pavilion tent and went through the city centre.
The march route incorporated the geography of the social history of sex workers, from the famous Venetian courtesans Veronica Franco and Gaspara Stampa until today.
In 2005 the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE) adopted the red umbrella as a symbol of resistance to discrimination. A march with almost 200 participants was organised as the closing event to the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration conference held in Brussels, Belgium. Since this day the red umbrella has been welcomed by sex worker activists and their allies around the world. What started as a simple idea is quickly becoming a global symbol for sex workers’ rights.
Red is a color of beauty and an umbrella is the resistance to sky's and humans' attacks. It symbolizes protection from the abuse and discrimination faced by sex workers everywhere but it is also a symbol of our strength. Continuing this tradition and in honour of all sex workers who dare to resist oppression everywhere, the ICRSE adopts the red umbrella as a symbol of sex worker rights. (Send your images and information about red umbrella events to info [at] sexworkeurope [dot] org )
Spread the word about the red umbrella. Place one on your website, in your letterhead, on a poster, in your email signature...where ever you know the public will see it. Make the red umbrella a global symbol for sex worker rights!