Alex Tigchelaar has been a sex worker rights activist since 1993. Many Montréalers will know her as Sasha, the sex columnist at the now defunct Montreal Mirror. Currently she is a member and active volunteer at Stella, l’amie de Maimie. She has been creating installations, burlesque, and cabaret theatre that center sex worker histories since 1998. Her most recent project was The Viminal Space at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, which united four sex worker rights organizations to inform the public about issues faced by sex workers under criminalization.
Alex is pursuing a PhD in HUMA at Concordia, where her focus is on sex work and the built environment in Montréal. Her project makes such inquiries as: how is Montréal’s tourism industry permitted to exploit its sex working past while sex workers in the present remain criminalized? How is it that gentrifying neighbourhoods enthusiastically host creative representations of sex work while real sex workers themselves are considered an unwelcome presence? How do sex workers imagine their futures when dominant narratives continuously situate them in the past?
Since 2014, Alex has been a research assistant on Recounting Huronia, an arts-based project that joins a group of artists and scholars with survivors of the Huronia Regional Centre to update the public record through keynote speaker and workshop presentations.
Alex's research is funded by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship.