Local PDX artists BOUD and Bad have created original art in honor of Ashley Moody, a trans sex worker of color who was a beloved member of the sex work community in Portland. Cat Hollis of Haymarket Pole Collective interviewed Ashley Moody’s friends and family to learn more about Ashley’s life, and to help tell her story. The art process was documented through photography and videography by local artist Valentine.
Ashley Moody was an erotic adult service provider living and working in Portland. While outwardly vivacious and playful, Ashley was deeply impacted by struggles with mental health.
Ashley’s died from a lack of health and mental wellness resources, by suicide — an injustice we see far too often in our communities. Access to mental health resources are both vital and lacking in our society. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, these resources are particularly difficult for the most vulnerable among us to obtain.
Society needs to extend increased access to wellness resources, particularly for sex workers and people of color. Ashley’s community believes that with increased access to health and mental health resources, Ashley would still be with us today.
With this project, we hope to honor Ashley Moody and the impact she had on our community. We also aim to destigmatize mental health — specifically within the sex work community — to raise awareness about the ways in which racism, transphobia, and criminalization lead to the neglect and mistreatment of trans sex workers of color, and ultimately to connect the sex workers with resources that will keep them well and safe.