A former Aberdeen lapdancer has launched a petition to save the city’s strip clubs – and invited councillors on a night out to see them in action.
Legislation introduced by the Scottish Government allows local authorities to limit the number of adult venues – including setting a zero limit.
Aberdeen City Council has committed to holding a consultation on the issue after the change in legislation.
Now, Mandy Rose Jones, who worked in Aberdeen as a dancer last summer and founded The Empowered Woman Project, has started a petition to secure the future of Scotland’s adult entertainment industry.
So far it has gained more than 4,000 signatures.
The 29-year-old, who lives in Glasgow, said old-fashioned viewpoints are pushing for clubs to be closed.
She said: “I really enjoyed my time in Aberdeen and I would consider dancing there again. It has always been a job which I have fallen back on.
“This is about body autonomy. It is about choice. I have never met a dancer who is doing it against their choice.
“They are happy and they are safe. I feel more safe in a strip club than I do in a regular club.
“People think it is seedy but it is not. No man has ever put money down my pants.
“If a man in a strip club even talked to me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable he would be thrown out.
“For most women this is their main source of income and a lot them are mothers. This could force some into sex work to make up for the loss of money.
“There is obviously still a demand for it, and if they did close, it would risk it going into unregulated places.”
Mandy, who used to dance at Private Eyes 2 in the city, extended an invitation to city councillors to join her at the clubs.
She said: “I would be happy for any Aberdeen politician to come on a night out with me so they can see how safe the clubs are.
“This is not the progressive Scotland that I want to live in.
“There seems to be no talk on what would happen to the girls if the clubs close. If this was a factory or a store, there would definitely be people talking about what would happen to the workers.”
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Aberdeen councillor Jennifer Stewart wants to see the number of strip clubs cut.
She said: “Women should not have to sell themselves for the titillation of men.
“This is not about empowerment and I feel like these clubs set women’s equality back years.
“I just want women to be safe and I am happy to meet with anyone in terms of the safety of these clubs.”
Consultations in Glasgow and Edinburgh have already taken place while the local authorities in Inverness and Fife intend to hold them in the future. Dundee City Council says it has made “no decision” on the issue.