Written by PCVT communications intern, Lee Peet, of Keene State College, in collaboration with Pride Center staff.
Kelly Arbor, who uses warrior and they/them pronouns, is a testing and education manager working part-time with the Pride Center of Vermont and the GLAM team.
A few weeks ago, Kelly was part of hosting a sex work event called “Sex After Dark,” where, in order to support porn and sex workers, GLAM invited the Ishtar Collective, an organization dedicated to the issues of sex work and sex trafficking, to talk everything sex work. Some topics they talked about were the bill that recently passed in the Vermont House regarding sex work and human trafficking, which would decriminalize sex work. They also talked about different types of sex work, such as pornography and websites such as OnlyFans, which unfortunately is not a good website for sex work, as it has been over-used by celebrities. Overall, Kelly and GLAM, along with the Ishtar Collective, believe that sex work is real work, and sex workers should not feel shame for choosing that type of work.
Something else Kelly wants to bring attention to is at-home HIV testing. Pride Center of Vermont has begun administering at-home testing for HIV and other needed tests for those who are unable to physically go into the office, or who do not have times that work for them. Pride Center also gives out free safer sex barriers with the at-home testing kits. To access at-home HIV testing, anyone can go to the at-home HIV testing page on the Pride Center website, where they can enter their name, phone number, and why they want to test. This last question is important because in general, HIV testing tends to focus on “men who have sex with men,” but HIV can affect anyone, and all people should know how to screen their risk. At-home HIV testing is free, completely confidential, and can be shipped to your door or received as a curbside pickup at the Pride Center.
This weekend, on May 29th, Out of the Big Top Cabaret will be kicking off with a new health and wellness pop-up model, where condoms/barriers will be given out by the Pride Center and Vermont Cares teams. Acts such as fire spinning, aerialists, live animal acts, such as a juggling bear who can’t quite juggle, and plenty of drag and live nudity. Although the event is now sold out, ticketholders will have access to in-person HIV testing which will further increase access to testing. Please email Kelly at Kelly@vtcares.org for more information or with any questions you might have.