Cheeky Kitty takes on walking tours

August-October 2018
Our tours raised $2,052 for  
SWOP Minneapolis!

Cheeky Kitty proudly presented “Erotic City,” a walking tour written and guided by Dr. Beth Hartman. This walking tour dove into the history of sex work in our city, from Minneapolis’ red light districts and burlesque halls to its gentlemen’s clubs and strip joints. Guests learned how laws around the sex industry shaped the Gateway District, plus how they could get involved and help during the harsh political climate.

Cheeky Kitty is dedicated to celebrating and honoring sex workers through educating and activating allies. “Erotic City” was created in response to Congress’s ill-informed passing of the SESTA/FOSTA bill. This bill puts sex workers in danger and has been extremely harmful to immigrants, queer and trans people, people of color, people with disabilities, and people experiencing homelessness. By losing access to websites and online groups, sex workers’ business, safety, and communities have been put in jeopardy.

SWOP Minneapolis is a volunteer-run, peer-based sex worker support collective. They focus on harm reduction, outreach, and building community for sex workers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Their priorities include: direct support for sex workers, advocating for decriminalization, public education/outreach, and collecting meaningful data. SWOP-Minneapolis is supported in part by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities. SWOP focuses on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.

Pedi Bourgeois_Dennis Driscoll_low res head.jpg

About Dr. Beth Hartman

Beth Hartman is a lecturer in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.  She holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University, and she wrote her dissertation on striptease and music, focusing primarily on exotic dance and burlesque in the Twin Cities. She is also a musician, Feldenkrais practitioner, and burlesque performer (stage name: "Pedi Bourgeois").

How to keep supporting this work

DONATE – money can be given directly to organizations who are supporting sex workers' rights: SWOP Minneapolis, Desiree Alliance, Woodhull Freedom Foundation

VOTE – or campaign for lawmakers who are in favor of decriminalizing sex work. Be sure to vote for reproductive health champions this November!

USE YOUR PRIVILEGE – talk to people about this. People need to be aware that the long term effects of SESTA/FOSTA are extremely harmful and are not protective of sex workers’ human rights.

SUPPORT – if you are a client, continue to support your independent sex worker! If you know a sex worker, check in on them and offer your support!

LISTEN TO SEX WORKERS – learn how we can do better to be more compassionate and effective allies.

Want to learn more?

Erotic City References

The Historyapolis Project

Kabrud, Jack, and the Hennepin History Museum. "Hips, Pips and Strips:
A Revealing History of Burlesque in Hennepin County.” Exhibit materials, 2006.

The Ohio State University Special Collections. “Charles H. McCaghy Collection of
Exotic Dance From Burlesque to Clubs.”
Archival research conducted by Beth Hartman.

Petersen, Penny A. Minneapolis Madams: The Lost History of Prostitution on the Riverfront.
Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.

Shiffer, James Eli. The King of Skid Row: John Bacich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis.
Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Note: SESTA/FOSTA became law on April 11, 2018, so the “Act Now” call is out of date.
The information about SESTA/FOSTA is still relevant.