A living legend in the US sex workers’ rights movement passed away yesterday. Robyn Few was responsible for establishing the United States version of the Sex Workers’ Outreach Program. She was also vital in launching the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, along with activists Dr. Annie Sprinkle and Carol Leigh, which is observed on December 17th.
I only had the opportunity to meet Robyn once, at the Desiree Alliance here in Chicago. At the end of one of the day’s meetings, Carol Leigh and Robyn Few gave me a ride home. As far as I was concerned, I was in a car with celebrities! I’d briefly met Robyn earlier that day and she was definitely one of those people you do not forget meeting. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “I think I met her, which one was she?” Though a petite woman, she was full of vitality and ambition and will and spirit. It’s those qualities that made her seem immortal.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, we all thought she would beat it and she did at first. But then it came back. One of our activist friends said on her Facebook wall that we all knew this day was coming but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Another pointed out that Robyn’s extended family were the members of the sex workers’ rights movement.
Robyn Few leaves a great legacy. When sex workers finally receive the rights we deserve, it will be in part because of Robyn’s tireless efforts to make it so. Thank you, Robyn. We’ll take it from here.