Archive for sex work

Raise a Solidarity Fist!

Posted in Legal, News, Politics and Sex with tags , , , , on September 29, 2010 by paigetsindfw

Canada did it!

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As reported in the Huffington Post, a Canadian court has struck down many of the key provisions that effectively rendered their supposed freedom to engage in prostitution meaningless. Yes the government plans on a repeal, and yes there is a 30 day waiting period before the decision can take effect, but solicitation and operating a brothel will soon likely be entirely legal!

The news is NOT perfect. We can very much expect the problems of pimps to remain in some form (they have also been legalized), and an abusive employer is an abusive employer in ANY industry. But this is why decriminalization is so important and so much better than “legalization”, which implies regulation of behavior that is implicitly dangerous. Decriminalization says you are completely free to make your own decisions on this matter. Sex workers may now report safely on bad johns and abusive pimps. This clearly motivated the court, as shown in their opinion, which we hope so very much to become common sense around the world, that the laws banning prostitution and the like only serve to further harm and marginalize a huge segment of all societies, condemning them to further victimization and no voice to protect themselves.

Go Canada! May we learn from example!

Get Sarkozy With Me

Posted in Legal, News, Politics and Sex with tags , , , on March 19, 2010 by paigetsindfw

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

It begins!!!

Get some, sister!

Ok, this is potentially very premature. However, I still have cause to be excited. When Nicolas Sarkozy rode into power, one of the things he ground a personal ax against was sex work. The guy even made it a jail worthy offense to commit “passive solicitation”. What does that mean? That women could serve time without having even approached a John, based purely on “looking like a whore”. In France. Let me repeat that… France. Looking like a whore, in France.

FRANCE

But now, I’m just about ready to whistle La Marseillaise as a French MP, Chantal Brunel, has called for the return of legalized brothels to the land of liberte, fraternite, and good old egalite. Not surprisingly perhaps, the men support it by a wide margin, but women at least are only about 13 percent against. And, see, Chantal GETS it, man. She knows repressive policies have only made sex worked more at risk of victimization by pimps and johns and made the market almost entirely the province of sex slave, human traffickers.

Make no mistake here, ya’ll, that problem is real. What we need to get people to understand and, it seems, may actually be getting some traction now is the idea that those who CHOOSE sex work can be allies in the fight, not enemies. I mean, fuck, if you don’t believe our altruistic love for all our sisters, then at LEAST think about how it’s in our selfish interest not to have to fight for market share with those who are forced to give it up for pennies on the dollar. I can accept that it’ll take a long time for people to believe, you know, that we’re human beings and that we also care about reducing suffering and privation around the world.

But this is a damn fine start!

What many may not know is that this proposal would only be restoring something to France that it had for a significant period of time already. And, like then, there will need to be a fierce watch kept to ensure the brothels do not become abusive or attract dangerous criminal behavior. I’m not saying, hey, let’s just open it all up without any respect for what the rest of society thinks. I don’t want to open up a fleshpit across from a school or see this whole thing turn into just another way for sex workers to get taken advantage of by pimps who’ll be able to make a too liberal law work in their favor against our rights.

This is just an example of what I’ve long been trying to say. A REAL common sense approach to politics isn’t governed by stigma or fear, but rather by hope, a mutual desire for the common good, and respect of diverse interests in the pursuit of a million different visions of freedom.

Guys Who Pay For it Turn Out … Kinda Normal Actually

Posted in Legal, News with tags , , , on January 20, 2010 by paigetsindfw

Nope, I'm Really Not Gonna Let Him Live This Down

I’d never really inquired very far into why our clients are colloquially known as “Johns”. I’d always assumed it was because of the old joke about a couple checking into a motel as the “Smiths” or something or other intended to sort of nod and wink at the hush hush nature of sex work or the idea that clients are all pretty much the same.

Turns out there’s an element of truth there.

Jessica O’Reilly, writing for Carnalnation.com (article found here), shares the results of new research out of Simon Fraser University that suggests men who pay for sexual intimacy are not any more or less likely to become violent.

The article explains itself, so I’d just like to draw attention to a couple of points. One, I’m very glad the writer sought the comments of the Sex Workers Outreach Projects, one of the few groups out there that has any business speaking for us.

However I’m one of those who feels the need to raise a little suspicion about the research methodology. First of all, it’s based on surveys. Anonymous surveys, insist the researchers, with no reward, implied or real, for concealing the truth. Maybe.

But these are 1000 online volunteer surveys. To me, that raises a host of issues. Not everyone is online. I would venture to guess most sex workers in fact are still invisible and don’t maintain an online presence.

I also mistrust what I suspect is a narrow definition of sex worker. They asked self described clients of sex workers. This can encourage unintended bias by not getting responses from men who say, oh, strippers don’t really count.

But perhaps my biggest gripe is this: Let’s say for the sake of argument that their figures are true, there is no greater incidence of violence committed by “johns” when compared to the population at large. Can we then conclude that “johns” are no more or less risky?

For every appointment I make and keep, there are probably 9 or more who raise giant red flags for me. Some are aggressive. Many are drunk. MANY show me pictures of themselves naked as if I’ll sacrifice my livelihood to be with them for free. Many insist on seeing pictures of my face. Many try to talk me out of my non-negotiable fee. These are just a fraction of the troubles I manage trying to get and keep reliable, clean gentlemen. And I want to add here, I am very grateful and genuinely warm and loving with those gentlemen. You guys make my day!

Point is though, the rest? This is why we SCREEN. We screen because we know we’re at greater risk. We weed out as much as possible anyone who asks things like “Have you had a busy day?” and then tries to arrange a late night appointment so they can jack us. We weed out the naked pics alot of the time, because these guys can be really easy to provoke and their pride is sickened at the idea of paying.

Personally, I suspect that these results tell us less about would be “johns” and alot more about how many sex workers are getting more educated, safer, and more careful every day, often with the help of groups like SWOP, The Desiree Alliance, COYOTE and others.

You Go… Guyfriend?

Posted in Gender Issues, Legal, News, Politics and Sex with tags , , , on January 15, 2010 by paigetsindfw

Equal opportunity in all professions may have just taken a big step forward in the last couple days when the “oldest” profession welcomed in a long suffering minority to its ranks.

Men.

And here he is!

Nevada's First, Legal, Male Prostitute (he prefers "gigolo", please)

He’s been profiled in Details and this story comes to us by way of The Huffington Post, the link for which is right here.

What they don’t mention here is that, until recently, despite prostitution being legal in Nevada (Las Vegas remains a bizarre exception. Just quit it, LV. That family friendly campaign went over like a lead enema bag.), the law was written in such a way that, probably unintentionally, forbade men from participating, because it made specific reference to organs men don’t generally have.

I doubt I’ll be the first to welcome him into the ranks, but with the Desiree Alliance conference coming up and lots of workin’ gals there, myself included, to talk about rights, activism, and other things, I’d still like to extend a warm handj… shake, handshake, to the new feller. He might want to stop comparing himself to Rosa Parks though. There are anilingus fetishists with better taste than that notion.

Now let’s get started on ensuring people of all genders, who DON’T want to work in a desert brothel, have the sexual freedom to decide for themselves who they’ll be intimate with, when, and if they’re willing to give it up for dinner or 300 an hour.

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