Sex Work for Free-An Indecent Proposal

I cannot be the whore you need. I know you wanted a muse, a non pro sugar baby who would not talk of needing money, who would not demand a donation or an hourly, who would just adhere to future promises of being your high paid mistress for free..but, no. It won’t be me. I can’t. I couldn’t make it past the first date. I’m sorry. I’m too lazy to dress up and pretend I care when there isn’t cold hard cash involved. Even if you are the one of the bigwigs in a certain huge AIDS foundation and promised to get my sex worker organization it’s dream start up budget from all his associates and more. Some women both within and outside of this movement are naturals at this type of sex work. Some can marry and date rich. Some girls date the big daddies and succeed, but I fear a worse ending, being strung along with promises and dropped off with nothing but cab fare home. And it was such an indecent proposal because I saw you string up my love and passion for sex workers rights as the carrot as you tried to manipulate yourself into my weekly calendar. The thing that got me was that he wouldn’t offer dinner with these late night meetings at the hotel bar that we were supposed to “work on my grant application.” The thing that gets me now is that he said he “didn’t want to even sleep with me until he got my organization funding.” Of course, in his eyes, waiting to sleep with me would justify not paying me for my time, because of course, all prostitutes should be paid for are the sex acts, right? Maybe I screwed up the opportunity for my chapter of SWOP to get funded in major ways in the next year, but let’s hope not. I don’t think that grant decisions, even in Hollywood are decided by the sway of one guy’s sex drive. Especially not the only straight guy in a gay office. I’m sure the gay/bi sleep your way to the dream game is similar. It’s how James Dean made it, I hear. A lot of things in business get done by who you know and who you sleep with, unfortunately, and not just in Hollywood, but in the Foundation/non profit world too. I am too much of a power freak to be a whore for free. Once you’ve been paid extraordinarily for your sexuality-which could take form in listening, smiling, giving advice, engaging in conversation, sucking dick, taking it in the ass or watching someone without judgment or attachment throw their lives away in a dirty motel room smoking crack. Once you’ve been paid, it is really hard to go back to ever going through similar motions for free. You feel somewhat degraded everytime you do. Unless it’s with someone you love, of course. But we don’t love our tricks. We love our jobs. We like and respect our clients at best. Oh, except the sugar babies..they actually do end up marrying their clients, and that is the ultimate win in their eyes, so maybe they do end up loving. Like Ivanna Trump did. Like my mom did… I’ve tried to control the daddy types, but they just won’t play along with my power game. They are the ones who ultimately control. And I just won’t be that girl, so they end up hating me soon enough.

As far as Mr.AIDS Foundation Mack Daddy, I bid silent farewell. He was asking me to mix the day job with the night job, but essentially work overtime doing both for free. I have worked endless hours for this movement without compensation, no doubt, but on my own watch and my own direction. I also don’t know if I want anyone to have access to all of my personas at once. That is priceless. I felt very conflicted for many days about it, but the last time I flaked on him, it felt like the right thing to do.

TODAY! Meditation remembrance for the DC Madame…and keeping it together.

Hey lovers,

Deborah Jeane Palfrey.  I can’t stop thinking about her. Her death cut me deeper than I ever could have imagined.

Her death has been heavy on the hearts of many a sex worker, indicative as it is of this juggernaut of a system that could grind us into nothing if we get caught up.  For me, I think her death translates into real fear.  A fear that is about fighting the good fight, and still going down.  If we manage to survive and thrive in a crazy industry; if we live ethically as sex workers and use all our faculties to operate our businesses and maintain what we believe is right, we still might end up dead.  Ms. Palfrey was a resourceful woman.  A woman connected, perhaps dangerously, to big players in the government.  And she got royally fucked. Someone, somewhere said, we’re going to bring her down.  We’re going to make an example of this one.  And they didn’t stop until she was swinging from a rope.

“Upon news of her death there was no shortage of those who suggested Jeane Palfrey had been killed by cloaked enemies in the government. They miss the point.

Jeane Palfrey of course had been killed by her government. She’d been unfairly ground down and hounded to death by shameless prosecutors and disinterested robed judges in our judicial branch.”

(Bill Keisling, Yardbirds.com )

I regret deeply now that I, we, did not do something more concrete to support her in her struggle.  It is a bare and unpleasant truth that the moment a sex worker comes under legal fire, s/he becomes untouchable.  Abandoned by clients, friends, etc…how did Palfrey end up in her mother’s home?  Why wasn’t she staying with me?  Where were her friends?  Where was her support network?

This blog was begun as a response to her original arrest.  She has, inadvertently, been an enormous catalyst in the sex workers rights movement.  And now she’s dead.

What the fuck.

There will be no procession, fanfare, or jazz funeral for the DC Madame.  Ain’t no crying in the streets for her, except by us, invisibly.  But I want to hold her up in this moment.

All the friends in Barcelona right now, doing the good work at the International harm reduction assoc. conference are making me remember that we are making progress.  Lateral steps toward a more just system.  And I want to thank Deborah Jeane Palfrey for her part in that.  As a contentious figure, a frustrating spin doctor, or a hero.   Whichever.

So today, beginning at midnight GMT (6pm Central, 4pm Pacific) for 24 hours we’re holding a conscious meditation, vigil, or remembrance of Ms. Deborah Jeane.  Light a candle, say some words, or sit in silent meditation with us.  We’ll be sitting for 1 hour at midnight pacific time (8am GMT) and consciously holding her, and what her death means for all of us,  in our thoughts all day.

Please join us!

thinking of you, with love and respect.

Surgeon and Faffs the Jackal

Update from International Sex Worker Harm Reduction Caucus

ihralogo

Some of our friends are currently in Barcelona, representing the International Sex Worker Harm Reduction Caucus at the International Harm Reduction Association’s 19th International Conference.

Over the weekend, Stacey sent us the official statement adopted by the International Sex Worker Harm Reduction Caucus for the event, and in multiple languages too. The introductory paragraph is included below, followed by attachments of the full statement, in English, Spanish, and Russian!

The International Sex Worker Harm Reduction Caucus is a working group of sex workers and sex worker rights advocates who are committed to increasing the participation of sex workers and their organizations in discussions of harm reduction at the international level. We are pleased to present the following key messages about sex workers rights and harm reduction issues to delegates and participants in Barcelona:

Sex Worker Statement IHRA 2008 – English

Sex Worker Statement IHRA 2008 – Espanol

Sex Worker Statement IHRA 2008 – Russian