A letter to Obama and Biden

I wrote this letter at a site I found via a link from NOW. You can write a letter too! It is quite a neat idea.

http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision
Dear President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden,

I am so pleased with your victory, particularly because I worked very hard on your campaign, and had vowed to leave the country for the next four years if you didn’t win (I don’t want to leave, thus, my volunteering and working so hard for your election!). But as your landslide victory proves, there is amazing alacrity in this country and its people!

My vision for the country includes making social justice issues a priority. One of those issues that is close to my heart is human rights, and seeing the US recommit to a rights-based approach in policies to address HIV/AIDS, economic disparity, and women’s, minorities’, and marginalized communities’ issues.

I am a sex worker rights advocate, and assistant director of the Desiree Alliance. We work towards decriminalizing prostitution with New Zealand as our model, as theirs is a policy approach that has been the best in terms of safety for those it purports to help: the very people who engage in the sex industry. This approach is supported by Ban Ki Moon of the UN, Peter Piot of UNAIDS, and Michel Kazatchkine of Global Fund for Aids.

We are discouraged at the current administration’s approach to sex policy in America- from extremely harmful (and ineffective) abstinence-only education to fight teen pregnancy (which has increased teen pregnancy exponentially, and left up to one out of four teenaged girls in Las Vegas with an STD), the dangerous conflation of trafficking and prostitution (which ameliorates neither situation), to the fatal anti-prostitution oath* that has been tied to USAID and PEPFAR funding (which has condemned millions world wide to death from AIDS, or has otherwise-unfunded organizations teaching abstinence to sex workers as a means of averting HIV infection). These policies have been disastrous, scientifically unfounded, and fly in the face of all evidence-based approaches which are taken as best practices globally.

We have a vision of an America where we can have logical, educated, and evidence-based discussions about sex policies that affect our communities. We envision an America in which an entire class of women (mostly minorities) are not criminalized and imprisoned for making an economically feasible occupational decision to engage in consensual transactional sex, and we envision an America where sex workers and their allies can participate in discussions surrounding the making of policies which directly affect them.

We take great heart in the fact that you’re a reasoned and balanced team, and we look forward to working with you to renew America’s leadership in sound, sane, and sensible sex policies both here and internationally.

With warmest congratulations and in great anticipation of great things to come,

S

*Please take a moment to watch this short 13-minute video about how this oath has affected people globally:

http://www.sexworkersproject.org/media-toolkit/TakingThePledgeVideo.html

4 Responses

  1. yeah, we need to have our list of demands/principals ready to go and we ought to rate what issues are the most important so we don’t have one group of ‘sex worker rights activists’ stepping on the efforts of other like we don now.

  2. Or, we can work together with folks who understand the DC machine and know how to get things done. A list of demands couched in divisive language won’t get us anywhere.

  3. You know Melissa, It feeling like your responses to me are hostile. Maybe that’s not what you intend but that’s what it feels like on my end. If you really have any concerns, you have my contact information and you are always welcome to talk to me as I’ve always return people’s calls and email, which hasn’t been my personal experience with you. So your comment about ‘working together’ is seems disingenuous to me. My record speaks for it’s self. I’m the one who forged certain connects that contributed to congress not passing H.R. 3887. And I see that ESPU principal of putting worker voices center being employed in the above letter and that’s right and the next step are what I stated above. And I will continue on that line as well as making the list of demands of things that have to be changed. And I’m interested in hearing what others think in terms of demands and priorities, not your interpretation of me. Try to get some principals and put them before my personality.

  4. Maxine, we’ve had this discussion before. My comments are not aimed at you personally — though I have significant disagreement with your tactics and priorities — but at keeping an open community on this blog. I’m not going to turn it into a fight with you. And if you take it to a personal place, or make hostile accusations about anyone in this community, you will soon not be permitted to comment or post to BNG. Consider this a public warning.

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