San Francisco Sex Workers’ Convergence, Insomnia, and the fog

Everytime I travel I hate leaving home.  I ask myself why I make these decisions, why I commit myself to things that I won’t even quite understand until I get there, and then I get there.  And it’s amazing.  As is San Francisco.  Is it possible to so deeply miss a place I’ve never called home?  Cities.  Sf. New Orleans.  NY.  San Cristobal.  Places that I crave.  Would it be different if I lived here?  Certainly.  But now, the chance encounters, the processes, the people all surprise me.  Only in San Francisco can these things happen.  Only in SF can I post an ad on craigslist, and have forty valuable replies in 10 minutes.  Only in SF can I do a gallery show, and get the audience naked.  Only in SF is being a queer sex worker POC tattooed single mama not only accepted, but common.

Got into Oakland on Saturday, went straight to the gallery for the opening show “Asian Prostitute Sensitivity Training”  with Mariko Passion.  Amazing.  Parked in front of the gallery and realized, right across the street are a leather shop, a thrift store, and Indian restaurant, and a photo printer.  What else does a ho on the go need?  Not much.

Last nights show was so good.  Mariko and I, we pulled it all off.  In spite of chaos, she’s the same kind of artist I am.  You got tricks up your sleeve, and you’ll use them when neccessary.  It was good.  I did reverse lap dances and stripped the audience.  I caned a willing slaveboy, just for kicks.  I read a piece, and had the best time in ages.  Thank you, San Francisco.  The “We, Asian Sex Workers” show is stunning.  It’s one of those conversations I didn’t even know I needed to have, but has become so essential to my experience here.

I want to be closer to the bay.  California…vessel of my need and imagination.

Today, lead an Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression training for SWOP sex workers and allies.  So much work needs to be done in this community.  We have so many complicated identitites, and so many things that need to be laid out on the table.  It was such a different experience than trainings I’ve been a part of in the past.  It is a markedly different perspective that we have, a markedly different rhetoric that we espouse.

Here’s a question:  What is choice when it comes to sex workers protecting themselves?  When you have survived certain encounters, had certain experiences, and developed prejudices against certain demographics based on those encounters…how can we address the experience of race on such a visceral level, how can we confront oppression in intimate relations?  How can we change the dynamic of sex workers forced to make decisions about who they see, and who they do not based on a quick phone conversation, leaning your head in the car window, an email, in which your gut instinct is all you have, in which it can be a matter of life or death?  Decisions where every detail matters?  How do we dismantle racism when it comes to sex, intimacy, eroticism, and arousal?  What is different about this discussion, versus community, organizing, institutions?  Where do we begin?

Thinking of you,
Surgeon

5 Responses

  1. […] San Francisco Sex Workers’ Convergence, Insomnia, and the fog « Bound, Not Gagged “How do we dismantle racism when it comes to sex, intimacy, eroticism, and arousal? What is different about this discussion, versus community, organizing, institutions?” Thought-provoking post. (tags: sexwork activism race) […]

  2. nice

  3. hi. i know you don’t know me, but i’m an oaklander, going to perform in the kitty cabaret at fest’s end this sunday, and i hope to connect with you at some point. i’m quite a fan of this commentary of yours, and also curious about your experiences of working in the midwest. gina, scarlot, sherilyn, annalee, etc, know how to get in touch w/me if you’re interested. with great regards, and regret i missed your show at the art opening, sq

  4. i apologize, somehow i thought you were currently midwest-based, instead of southwest. anyway, i hope all your time in the bay was fruitful, and would be glad to correspond with you at some point. regards, sq

  5. Thank you so much for your work, Surgeon!
    I was really excited to hear (after the fact) that there was an Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression training at SWOP. I was really sad that I missed it….just returning home myself, from a trip to the East Coast. I have heard rumors of a more in-depth training and I look forward to attending.

    The world of sex workers and their rights is very complicated and complex. I happen to enjoy and find empowerment in sex work. For me it is so many things, and among them, a tool for social critique, as well as something that gives insight into social justice issues, and the time to fight for social justice. I also enjoy many privileges in society and therefore in the industry which gives me the opportunity for all of the above mentioned things.

    Many of the people in the section of the Sex Workers Rights Movement present at this past week’s festival are white. Certainly, it was not a proportionate representation. I see active attempts to make room for people with all sex work experiences, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Of course there are the systematic oppressions that make it difficult, but this is why I find it so important to carefully examine and include Oppression in general, in part of what we as Sex Workers are fighting against.

    It does seem that in some way, many of us are doing that just by being sex workers.

    …and I also find it important to connect with other social justice movements as part of the sex workers rights activists, because really many of these other issues: housing, harm reduction, reproductive justice, immigration, etc….are all related.

    Where do we begin?
    Can we start to tackle some of the questions that you have raised?
    When is the next training?

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