Shaan Lashun and TT Baum never expected that a conference presentation would lead them to create an organization together. The self-described “co-founders, co-directors, co-everythingers” now host a critical space in a sex worker movement that has long been missing. Molly House Project started in 2019 as an organizing and social platform for masculine-of-center sex workers, including cisgender men, transgender men, transmasculine people, and anyone who identifies as male or was assigned male at birth.

Baum and Lashun have been longtime activists in the sex worker movement. They both intimately know the needs that come with being invisible, vulnerable, and unable to get support. In starting Molly House Project, they are working to change that.

The program started as a digital platform to connect masculine-of-center sex workers across the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered in-person support groups of all kinds, the Molly House Project didn’t miss a step. In reality, they found that being a digital-only space for support, connection, and organizing allowed workers from all across the county to feel like part of something larger, breaking down the walls of isolation that many workers feel in their local communities.

TheBody correspondent Emmett Patterson recently caught up with Baum and Lashun to see how the project had evolved and what has been going on for masculine-of-center workers throughout the pandemic.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Emmett Patterson: It’s always a joy to see you two. I would love to hear a little bit about Molly House Project. When, why, and how did it start?

TT Baum: Back in—what year is it? [Laughs] Ugh, this is the shortest, longest decade of my life. Back in March 2019, I was coming out of a fog of having not been involved in activist spaces for a long time. I found out about a call for proposals for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s annual conference. There was a sex worker track that I was interested in submitting a proposal for. I had been wanting to do a panel for a long time about the challenges that [sex workers] who are masculine of center, assigned male at birth, or male-identified face, within the larger conversations and organizing within sex worker rights. I put out a call on Twitter to see who would be interested in this kind of space.

Then, I met [gesturing largely to Lashun] this person who I am now co-directing an organization with. Shaan showed up with ideas and really proved that they wanted to contribute a lot to this work. We prepared this talk, and it became apparent to us shortly afterwards that if we didn’t do something, this gap would still exist in the field.

Patterson: Shaan, why did you initially reach out?

Shaan Lashun: I’ve always been interested particularly in the invisibility of trans men and transmasculine folks. I mean, we’re so invisible that when I say that I’m trans, people assume I’m a trans woman, even trans women themselves. I had been working on this particular intersection that transmasculine people have in sex worker organizing with Reframe Health and Justice and S.W.O.P. [Sex Worker Organizing Project].

I thought TT’s tweet was dope, and we started to talk about the panel. Since then, [ours] has been a working relationship that I really appreciate. The development of the project has also been my ability to work with someone.

Read the Full Article Here:

Meet the Founders of the Molly House, Where Masculine-of-Center Sex Workers Are Mobilizing Online by Emmit Patterson

Jan. 28 2021