Siobhan Brooks (born 1972) is an African American lesbian feminist sociologist known for her work with African American women in the sex worker industry and feminists issues affecting the women. She is a sociologist and holds a B.A. in women's studies from San Francisco State University, and a graduate degree in sociology from New School University in New York.
She was born in the Sunnydale Housing Projects in San Francisco. Her mother, who is deceased, was mentally ill, and Brooks did not start school until age 8.
The Lusty Lady IncidentEdit
While a student at SFSU, she worked at the Lusty Lady peep-show to support herself through college, and noticed that the club hired very few black women, and that they were restricted from working in the "private booth" section of the theater, where dancers have the opportunity to make more money. After raising her concerns to the club's manager, Brooks was reprimanded and even told that "black women make the club lose money." Brooks worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 790, to file a racial discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her efforts proved successful: the club hired more black women than ever before in its fourteen-year history.
Work on sex workersEdit
Brooks has gone on to interview sex workers across the country and has published several articles as a result. Her work has appeared in the anthology Whores and Other Feminists (ed. Jill Nagle Routledge,1998), Z Magazine, Feminism and Anti-Racism (eds. France Winddance Twine and Kathleen Blee, 2000), Revolutionary Voices (ed. Amy Sonnie), and she interviewed Angela Y. Davis about her views on race, gender, and the sex industry in the post-Civil Rights era for the University of California Hastings Law Journal (Winter, 1999). She also appeared on the cover of Colorlines Magazine in the winter 2004 issue, "Sex, Race, Gender." Brooks helped organize the country's first and only workplace union of sex workers at The Lusty Lady, a well-known peep show in San Francisco's North Beach district.
While she is known as a sex worker activist, her academic interest and activism expands to gender and institutions, women of color and mental illness, queer race identities, women in the media, race and class. In October 2005 Brooks co-organized a conference on Hip hop music's global impact at Lehman College, where she is an adjunct professor in the department of sociology.