If we’re happy, we’re just the exceptions

This article in New York Magazine, titled “The Affairs of Men”, attempts to explore “the trouble with sex and marriage”.

I have no doubt that most readers on Bound, Not Gagged will find the entire article interesting, to say the least. But I want to call your attention to page 5 of this lengthy piece.

The author speaks with Sven-Axel Mansson, a man who “had spent many years studying prostitutes in Sweden and argued that the desire of men for prostitutes had nothing to do with sexual “needs.” Rather, the drive is socially ordained: because men need to project their own sexual feelings onto a “dirty whore,” or because powerful men like Spitzer want to give up power for an hour or two.”

Armed with print-outs from Debauchette’s blog, the author asks Mansson “about the implicit argument in Debauchette’s writings that prostitution can be legalized, dignified.”

To which Mansson replied:

“I have a hard time from the research I’ve been doing to valorize this as a social institution … [But] I have met women who said that. Women who really think that they enjoy being prostitutes, being ‘sex workers,’ as they say. They would say, ‘I feel in command, I have determination over my life situation in a way I’ve never had it before. I’m loved by my customers.’ But these are the exceptions. They are not the main.” Had these women been given a choice, they would have chosen other things. “Because even among these women, you would find there it has a high cost. Problems with intimacy and sexuality after they quit their career. They dissociate their feelings in order to survive … The problem has been to make it whole again.”

If you have something to say in response, you can send a letter to New York Magazine at nyletters@nymag.com

146 Responses

  1. It would be irresponsible of us to simply dismiss the comments of this gentleman. Although as a group, we continue to focus on the positives of sex work, there are plenty of pitfalls. I am constantly grappling to understand the pros and cons myself. Trying to overlook the negatives in hopes that some day I will truly believe that there are more positives…but is this really true? I struggle with this question everyday. The money is great, the companionship is great, but something is missing and something is eating away at me that I am unable to express. If I feel this way, is it healthy for me to be a sex worker? Is sex work healthy is general? I don’t know and I don’t believe that any body of research will be able to answer this question for me personally.

    I also don’t believe that this gentleman is able to express how I feel or what I feel but maybe he ressonates with someone else. Sex work is as complex as there are different types of people. I wish that I had answers but I don’t and I can’t seem to find them. Maybe if it was legalized we could all come out of the closet and have some serious discussions without fear.

  2. That’s kinda funny, Anony….because I don’t see anyone here on this blog EVER denying the negatives of sex work, or ever glossing over all the pitfalls and risks of being sex workers.

    Far from it, every single one of the commentators here on this blog is more than willing to point out the pitfalls and negatives of being a sex worker, which is what animates them to their activism in making sex work att the safer and destigmatized and decriminalized. and reducing harm for both client and worker.

    Since he is NOT a practicing sex worker, and he only extrapolates his own opinions and alleged superiority about how women in sex work SHOULD act rather than actually listen to actual sex workers on how they feel about their lives, I fail to see why his word should be taken as the absolute gospel. His “exception” proves no rule whatsoever; it simply rejustifies his own presupposed biases against sex work.

    Anthony

  3. Had these women been given a choice, they would have chosen other things.

    I’d suggest that is true for a great many women (nay, people) in a great many jobs. Not sure there is a valid point there.

  4. Why is it so important to prove that many sex workers are happy? Aren’t decrim and sex workers rights better served by addressing the things that need to be fixed, i.e. pitfalls and negatives?

  5. And that means pitfalls and negatives for everyone, not just the college-educated and paying back their student loans set.

  6. Focusing on the positives of sex work? Really? Have we been reading the same blog?

    And why does everything have to be cast in a black-and-white “negative” or “positive” light? It makes no sense.

  7. If he had simply said that not all sex workers are happy with what they do for a living, and that many are emotionally scarred by the experience, that would have been one thing; but instead he takes on a condescending tone, suggesting that the pro-sex workers merely “think” that they’re happy, and claiming that, despite what they say, they’re emotionally damaged by their work. He can’t concede the point that some sex workers ARE happy.

    Of course that’s no big surprise, given that he’s the male, Swedish version of Norma Hotaling. He depends on public opinion of sex work as degrading and prostitutes as victims in need of saving, because his paycheck hinges on it. I would have no problem with the work they’re doing if they acknowleged that not every hooker is wrecked by the experience.

    Being a hooker for nearly six years didn’t damage my psyche. I am now a happily married woman, who wouldn’t go back and change my decision to become a sex worker even if I could. I take offense to his claim that we develop problems with intimacy and sexuality after exiting the business. He’s probably basing that claim on his own experience with the women he “helped” get out of sex work (none of whom were responsive to his sexual advances).

  8. Prostitutes help men. They provide a valuable service. Most men who pay prostitutes are very happy with the services they receive.

    I know why this is hard so to understand:

    1) civilian women feel extremely threatened by the notion that their husbands/boyfriends would ever even think of “cheating” on them

    2) men like Sven Mansson can’t admit to themselves that it’s ok to pay a woman in exchange for sexual favors

    Instead of facing their own emotional problems these people choose to blame and criminalize us. Often they do it under the disguise of “trying to help”.

    Instead of taking the time to really look at us as the diverse individuals that we are they choose to demonize prostitution. That way it’s easy for them. Prostitution is the problem. They have the solution. And therefore we end up in jail, thanks to their “help.”

  9. oh gee, yet more patronization out of “experts”…

    i still say, for me, one of the biggest pitfalls of sex work for me are the condescending attitudes out of other people that get thrown my way…like from this guy.

    no one round here has ever said it’s all mad cash and fun, but really, this shit gets old.

  10. […] If we’re happy, we’re just the exceptions « Bound, Not Gagged Once again, a male non-sex worker speaking with authority about “these women.” Color me shocked… oh wait, I mean not at all shocked. (tags: assholes men women sexwork bullshit) […]

  11. In all my readings of essays, articles and the like by pro-sex worker authors (that is to say, sex workers themselves) I have never seen one ‘gloss’ over the negative experiences. In fact they go out of their way to point them out and to point out the fact that not everyone is suited for that line of work. Since marriage was also brought up, I have heard so many times happily married couples condescend to the unhappily married that they’re mistaken, aren’t trying hard enough, don’t know what they’re talking about, should just ‘tough it out’, are ‘overreacting’ etc even if the situation is abusive or dehumanizing.

  12. Y’all keep saying that, but there’s a reason you get those criticisms and there’s a reason alot of people who weren’t “high-priced” or “high-class” feel alienated by your movement and you’re either going to have to address that or have a seriously weakened movement as a result.

    Plus, people are just going to say, “Oh, great, everyone’s happy? Why the fuck should we worry about that, then?” You know? You have to talk about what needs to be FIXED and why your solutions DO THAT instead of talking about how fucking “high-class” and “happy” and how fucking PERFECT you are all the fucking time.

  13. BTW, you should compare the coverage of Deborah Jean Palfrey here to the woman murdered in Canada (whose killer more or less got off with time served, etc.). That woman’s murder was only posted after I begged Ren on her own blog to cross-post it. It showed up on *Feministe* before it showed up here. Whereas Palfrey’s death got WEEKS of coverage.

    And that’s just one example.

  14. Ahhh, Anony:

    i would think that the reason Deborah Jean Palfrey got so much more ink than the case of the sex worker in Canada’s murder trial is kinda obvious to even the most blind person: Ms. Palfrey was part of a major ring involving serious political people, including a United States Senator, the architect of the “Shock and Awe” strategy on the Iraq War, and a high cabinet official.

    The Canadian case, on the other hand, was a local case that only made national and international headlines because of the outcome of the verdict and the judge’s ruling for a excessively lenient sentence for the assailant.

    To say that that justifies your view that what you call “your movement” (as opposed to who?? CATV?? Fairley??) dismisses the fate of non-“perfect” and non-“happy” and non-“high class” sex workers, is a bit peculiar.

    Last time I’ll say this: no one here says that sex workers are universally “happy” or “perfect”; only that those who do NOT suffer some of the more extreme discrimination should have at least some say in their profession and their lives without anti-sexworker organizations claiming to speak for them.

    And BTW….remember that Ren did cross post the article….which is more than I can say for some on the other side.

    Come back when you have a better line of argument…and when you can get a username, too.

    Anthony

  15. i would think that the reason Deborah Jean Palfrey got so much more ink than the case of the sex worker in Canada’s murder trial is kinda obvious to even the most blind person: Ms. Palfrey was part of a major ring involving serious political people, including a United States Senator, the architect of the “Shock and Awe” strategy on the Iraq War, and a high cabinet official.

    Um, right, maybe that explains why her death got more play in the MSM, because they’re all about those “serious political people,” but it doesn’t explain why people here mourned her for weeks, did countless posts about her death, tears were probably shed…you only save that kind of treatment for the ones you don’t already just expect to die. Or else you’d be doing the same for the woman in Canada and also all the sex workers who die unmourned.

    That crap about “some on the other side” is part of the problem btw. You’re all invested in fighting the radfems but why is that so urgent and why make that your biggest battle? Their best argument is that prostitution is harmful, so you invest yourselves in showing that you’re not harmed by it, but what you apparently don’t see is that this UNDERMINES YOUR MOVEMENT. Because if nobody’s getting hurt, no one cares. But people are getting hurt, and they DO need decrim and they DO need rights (and sometimes a host of other things like affordable housing, drug treatment, other options…). But going on and on about being fucking “high-class” and how being a prostitute is so fantastic, even in this world, is NOT going to make people care about ANY of that.

    Quibbling over statistics is the same thing, like arguing whether or not it’s true that 2/3 of sex workers were sexually abused or the average age of entry is 12. This UNDERMINES YOUR MOVEMENT. First, it makes you come off as though you don’t give a shit about sex workers who WERE abused and/or started young. Also, if people believe you that it isn’t such a problem, it makes them CARE LESS about the movement as a whole.

    The best thing to do is admit that the radfems have a point that people are getting hurt. Because it’s true, people are getting hurt, abused; all sorts of things happen in the sex industry and/or to those who participate in it. THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE FIGHTING AGAINST, supposedly, or a lot of it. Say, “yes, this happens, and that’s WHY we do what we do.” Point out that the radfems are RIGHT when it comes to harm, but WRONG when it comes to approach.

    There are people who take this tactic, but most of you go on and on about how “prostitution isn’t really like that” and how you “love” it and how “high-class” you are. The thing with that is, if it’s really so wonderful, who is honestly going to give a fuck about sex worker’s rights? No one. And you know what else? It’s hell on earth for some people. People who still want to fight for our rights, but who see this movement…and see a bunch of “high-class escorts” talking about how they get to have fun and pay back their student loans at the same time.

    Come back when you have a better line of argument…and when you can get a username, too.

    And fuck you very much too. Thanks for convincing me to never, ever take another username, asshole. Just get used to feeling uncomfortable with it, I guess.

  16. Also, THIS: only that those who do NOT suffer some of the more extreme discrimination should have at least some say in their profession and their lives without anti-sexworker organizations claiming to speak for them. REEEEALLY makes it sound like you want to throw the MOST VULNERABLE in our community under the bus just so you can get yours. Fuck that.

    Well, either that or you’re trying to make yourselves look “respectable” enough to “deserve” rights…and again, FUCK THAT.

    Of course, it’s not as bad as the shit on COYOTE’s webpage.

    COYOTE’s position on prostitution is that it should be decriminalized rather than legalized, for all private, consenting adult commercial sex. Any public activity (such as solicitation) can be regulated as other public activities are, and thus the concern over prostitution in one’s neighborhood on the street is not a factor in decriminalization.

    There is a criteria which can be applied to any activity that occurs anywhere, and that is this- is the activity in and of itself illegal- regardless of the exchange of money? If it is not illegal, then the exchange of money has nothing to do with it- if, however, activity is prohibited regardless of any financial considerations, the exchange of money is totally irrelevant. For instance, can people currently engage in public sex (without the exchange of money)? The answer is no. Neither can they trespass, litter, loiter or cause traffic congestion. . . etc. So activities (regardless of the exchange of money) which result in violations of existing private property rights or other individual rights will continue to be illegal.

    …The Center for Disease Control has conducted many studies on both legal and the underground prostitution businesses, and the studies show that the majority of sexually transmitted diseases are attributable to high school and college age people, and that prostitutes (unless we are talking about the street-walking, drug addicted kind- which accounts for about 10-15% of all working prostitutes, and again, would not be included in the decriminalization of private, consenting adult commercial sex for the reasons discussed before) have been practicing safe sex and using condoms for years

    http://www.freedomusa.org/coyotela/decrim.html

    Now, if that’s not throwing the MOST vulnerable under the bus so you can get yours, then NOTHING is.

  17. In other words, COYOTE wants decrim, but only for those who need it least, and they also want to keep those lovely “criminalization of poverty” laws around that make it harder for, well, *anyone* on the street to get by, sex workers and non-sex workers both.

  18. First off, Anon…I am not a sex worker, so it would not be “my movement”. I am just a supporter of sex-positive sex workers who is commenting on your attempt to smear people I support as “high class” elitists who don’t care about the reality of the majority. I’m sure that once Jill and the rest of the BNG staff get wind of your insults, they will be more than capable of dispatching your BS. I only represent myself, no one else.

    Secondly, if you are going to attack COYOTE and other sex-positive sex worker support groups as evil elitists, you might want to actually speak to members of that organization rather than merely impose your biases and assertions about that organization on them. Last time I checked, most members of COYOTE and other such groups were very much opposed to the “criminalization of poverty” and supported all the usual anti[poverty programs that aimed to eliminate poverty In fact, some of COYOTE’s members were even outright Leftists and socialists…that is, until they were basically purged and alienated from the Left by the rise of radical feminism and the antiporn feminist ideological takeover of much of the Left in the late 1970s and 1980s.

    As for COYOTE’s current policy, as quoted in the excerpt you use to smear them for “throwing the most vulnerable under the bus”: you seem to forget that the main root of their concern about regulation was and still is that regulation would be focused more on regulating the activities and sexual practices of the sex workers to fit them into traditional conservative ideology, rather than any concern for harm prevention or safety for both client and worker alike. You also seem to ignore the basic fact that that paper was produced in 1979, before the HIV/AIDS pandemic took shape and before the major backlash against both sex work and sexually explicit media took place. Not to mention my aformentioned fact that most members of COYOTE were indeed concerned with classical issues of poverty; they just expressed those issues in venues outside of the issue of decriminalization of sex work.

    And besides, I hardly think that lecturing current sex worker support organizations such as SWOPEast for ignoring the hostile side of sex work is that effective, especially considering that the other side has tended to openly ignore the issue of poverty (except when it can be used as a ideological wedge to support their abolitionist ideology); if not actively join forces with the same political reactionary forces who exist on deepening and exploiting poverty for their own social and financial gain.

    Anthony

  19. Now, let’s go to the root of your nonsense, shall we??

    Um, right, maybe that explains why her death got more play in the MSM, because they’re all about those “serious political people,” but it doesn’t explain why people here mourned her for weeks, did countless posts about her death, tears were probably shed…you only save that kind of treatment for the ones you don’t already just expect to die. Or else you’d be doing the same for the woman in Canada and also all the sex workers who die unmourned.

    That crap about “some on the other side” is part of the problem btw. You’re all invested in fighting the radfems but why is that so urgent and why make that your biggest battle? Their best argument is that prostitution is harmful, so you invest yourselves in showing that you’re not harmed by it, but what you apparently don’t see is that this UNDERMINES YOUR MOVEMENT. Because if nobody’s getting hurt, no one cares. But people are getting hurt, and they DO need decrim and they DO need rights (and sometimes a host of other things like affordable housing, drug treatment, other options…). But going on and on about being fucking “high-class” and how being a prostitute is so fantastic, even in this world, is NOT going to make people care about ANY of that.

    Uhhh, Anon…what part of my reply did you miss?? I DARE you to quote anywhere where me or Jill Brenneman or Karchy or Amanda Brooks or anyone else here who run this blog EVEN come close to implying that sex work is innately “fantastic” for everyone, and that no one suffers from the darker side of sex work.

    And since when did the death of any woman who was persecuted by the government mean anything less merely because she was a “high class” escort?? The tears vetted here about Deborah Palfrey’s death were based on respect for her as a human being; just because she isn’t poor or a drug addict does not mean that she wasn’t a real, live, vibrant human being who was forced to suicide by an unjust system that punished her for offering services to clients. The only reason why there hasn’t been enough anger vetted here about the Canadian sex worker case is because it hasn’t been talked about here…but rest assured, Anon, there is enough anger here about the totally lenient sentence given to the assailant as ever. There is no “elitism: here…except in your own twisted mind.

    Quibbling over statistics is the same thing, like arguing whether or not it’s true that 2/3 of sex workers were sexually abused or the average age of entry is 12. This UNDERMINES YOUR MOVEMENT. First, it makes you come off as though you don’t give a shit about sex workers who WERE abused and/or started young. Also, if people believe you that it isn’t such a problem, it makes them CARE LESS about the movement as a whole.

    You call it “quibbing” if you will….but when someone like Melissa Fairley trots out cooked up stats stating that only prepubescent girls are used as “prostitutes” or that the majority of sex workers were “sexually abused” by men, thus rendering them incapable of any means of consent and control over their own bodies; well, I guess that those who are smeared and libeled by her activism have a right to challenge her stats. But I guess that “we” shouldn’t really “undermine ourselves” by actually attempting to say the truth about real live sex workers, as compared to merely accepting all the trumped up lies and strawpeople invented out of thin cloth by abolitionists and “radfems” claiming to speak for them.

    [me] Come back when you have a better line of argument…and when you can get a username, too.

    [Anon] And fuck you very much too. Thanks for convincing me to never, ever take another username, asshole. Just get used to feeling uncomfortable with it, I guess.

    Oh, really, Anon….if the best you can do is to insult your opponents (remember, I’m not the one hiding behind a pseudomym; and I didn’t call you any names, either); then maybe it’s you who has the problem, not me. But, I guess that what ultimately happens when one can’t address the issues…..

    Anthony

  20. I’m sure that once Jill and the rest of the BNG staff get wind of your insults, they will be more than capable of dispatching your BS.

    Well, I happen to respect Jill based on what I’ve read of her writing here. Can’t say the same for you, but I do respect her. And I actually happen to think more highly of her than that, and of a few other people I’ve noticed in this movement. I happen to think some people here are probably capable of accepting the fact that the sex workers rights movement is not immune to criticism and actually stopping to think about it, unlike yourself, sir.

    As for COYOTE’s current policy, as quoted in the excerpt you use to smear them for “throwing the most vulnerable under the bus”: you seem to forget that the main root of their concern about regulation was and still is that regulation would be focused more on regulating the activities and sexual practices of the sex workers to fit them into traditional conservative ideology, rather than any concern for harm prevention or safety for both client and worker alike.

    That is completely irrelevant. That’s not what I object to in the piece; in fact, that’s the only part of the piece I agree with. Regulation does look like it can be problematic. How is that a defense of 1) arguing in FAVOR of criminalization of poverty laws like loitering, especially as they apply to prostitutes and 2) stating flat-out that their vision of decriminalization would NOT apply to street workers.

    You also seem to ignore the basic fact that that paper was produced in 1979, before the HIV/AIDS pandemic took shape and before the major backlash against both sex work and sexually explicit media took place. Not to mention my aformentioned fact that most members of COYOTE were indeed concerned with classical issues of poverty; they just expressed those issues in venues outside of the issue of decriminalization of sex work.

    Again, so the fuck what? If that no longer represents that organization’s views, it shouldn’t be online and it shouldn’t have their name on it. And that’s great for them if they believed in anti-poverty work outside of sex work activism, but if they won’t apply it to their sex work activism, or will even actively work against it in their sex work activism, then where the fuck do you think that leaves poor sex workers?

    And besides, I hardly think that lecturing current sex worker support organizations such as SWOPEast for ignoring the hostile side of sex work is that effective, especially considering that the other side has tended to openly ignore the issue of poverty (except when it can be used as a ideological wedge to support their abolitionist ideology); if not actively join forces with the same political reactionary forces who exist on deepening and exploiting poverty for their own social and financial gain.

    I never said anything about SWOPEast. They may have the same kind of thing going on or they may not, I don’t really know. But there you go again with this “other side” bullshit. Do you really think the fact that you have this big evil radfem enemy in your head to fight against means that you can’t take a critical look at your own “side”?

    Uhhh, Anon…what part of my reply did you miss?? I DARE you to quote anywhere where me or Jill Brenneman or Karchy or Amanda Brooks or anyone else here who run this blog EVEN come close to implying that sex work is innately “fantastic” for everyone, and that no one suffers from the darker side of sex work.

    And now you’re just spinning what *I* said. I never said that you imply that it’s “innately fantastic” for “everyone” but y’all spend a fucking lot of time on this blog talking about how fantastic it is for all those “high-class” or “high-paid” escorts, how you aren’t damaged by it or anything…and worrying about the image that y’all want to build of sex workers as “respectable” above all else. So…if all this is true, then what the fuck do you think you are fighting for? And why should anyone care? If everything is fantastic, if you EMPHASIZE the parts that you personally LIKE at the expense of people living in a personal HELL, then NO ONE WILL CARE about sex workers rights. And the people who need help the most, who need decrim and rights and everything else the MOST, will NEVER get it. It becomes a fight for an image and a fight for “respectability” at the expense of the weakest and most vulnerable in the community.

    The tears vetted here about Deborah Palfrey’s death were based on respect for her as a human being; just because she isn’t poor or a drug addict does not mean that she wasn’t a real, live, vibrant human being who was forced to suicide by an unjust system that punished her for offering services to clients.

    “Just because she wasn’t poor or a drug addict”? Are you listening to yourself, dude? Are you really trying to argue for your right to cry about the rich and famous? Fine, you can cry about Palfrey. Her death was unjust, and she deserves to be mourned…but take a look at who you aren’t mourning. At who doesn’t get coverage here, tears, fucking support, and try to tell me that this blog isn’t fucking elitist.

    The only reason why there hasn’t been enough anger vetted here about the Canadian sex worker case is because it hasn’t been talked about here…

    Ok, so why wasn’t it talked about here? The folks on Feministe can mourn her but y’all are too good for that?

    …but rest assured, Anon, there is enough anger here about the totally lenient sentence given to the assailant as ever.

    It’s a start, I guess, to be angry about that huge in-your-face injustice that huge numbers of people who even have nothing to do with sex workers rights are also angry about. But no support, no emotion for this woman, nothing even remotely close to the weeks of blog posts about Palfrey, or fuck, even Ashley Alexandra Dupre…who deserves support, no doubt, but again, LOOK at who you’re NOT supporting and who you shed NO tears over…or relatively few.

    You call it “quibbing” if you will….but when someone like Melissa Fairley trots out cooked up stats stating that only prepubescent girls are used as “prostitutes” or that the majority of sex workers were “sexually abused” by men, thus rendering them incapable of any means of consent and control over their own bodies; well, I guess that those who are smeared and libeled by her activism have a right to challenge her stats.

    FUCK YOU. I’m not sure if I’d get banned for threatening you but fuck if it isn’t far from my mind at this point. You are honestly going to sit there and tell me that saying that a girl was sexually abused or that she started as a prostitute you (or even that she had a pimp) IS A FUCKING SMEAR…on HER???? Being sexually abused didn’t make me any less of a person and it doesn’t make anyone else less of a person either. It means she’s fucking STRONG, people who can get through that kind of hell are fucking STRONG and…nothing I could say would be strong enough to express what kind of disgusting scumbag pig I think you are.

    But I guess that “we” shouldn’t really “undermine ourselves” by actually attempting to say the truth about real live sex workers, as compared to merely accepting all the trumped up lies and strawpeople invented out of thin cloth by abolitionists and “radfems” claiming to speak for them.

    Hmmm, how about asshole “allies” who claim to speak for real live sex workers, like you, who happens to be speaking to a reall live former sex worker now (*gasp*)! If you think the stats are trumped up, go ahead and try to come up with some better ones, but again I really really wonder why you go to all this fucking effort just to PROVE that “things aren’t that bad.” This movement is about RIGHTS! Why aren’t you fighting for the RIGHTS of the abused, of the addicted, of the poor in this movement instead of trying to WISH THEM OUT OF EXISTENCE? What the fuck do you think this movement is about if it isn’t about protecting people, ESPECIALLY the most vulnerable among us? You know what? THINGS ARE THAT BAD SOMETIMES…OFTEN, EVEN. You know it, I know it, everyone here knows it. So why the fuck aren’t we fighting THAT? Do you think that respectability is more IMPORTANT than REAL RIGHTS? That some sex workers are worth more than others? Hard to conclude otherwise really.

    You can’t get out of this one by arguing that the “other side” is just as bad or worse…so fucking what? Do you want to emulate them? No? Then don’t compare yourself to them, compare yourself to what you SHOULD BE.

    Blah blah blah remember, I’m not the one hiding behind a pseudomym; blah blah….

    Right, sure dude, because “Anthony Kennerson” means so much more to me than “anon” does to you. What the fuck ever dude.

  21. I DARE you to quote anywhere where me or Jill Brenneman or Karchy or Amanda Brooks…

    I don’t know who Karchy is and I respect Jill Brenneman but Amanda Brooks seems to have demonized “common” prostitutes in her book:

    First, the demonizing of “common” (i.e., street-based) prostitutes could have been avoided, without compromising the value of the book…
    -Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality January 15, 2007

    I never said anyone argues that “all sex workers are happy” but the ones who aren’t and the “common prostitutes” sure as hell don’t seem to be a part of the sex workers rights movement on the whole, and it’s really no wonder why.

  22. Jill Brenneman and William Rockwell and probably a few others are exceptions to most of what I was talking about, and they have my respect. Jill Brenneman has my admiration too.

  23. …she may not want it, but hey, my admiration is mine to give.

    ____________

    Oh, here’s another example. Paraphrased from the Red Light District Chicago videos that get touted on this blog:

    Woman on the street talking about poverty as a reason women get involved in the sex industry.
    KittenInfinite: “Oh, yeah, I think that’s definitely true, because I know some of my friends who need the money to pay off their student loans.”

  24. I have known many women who wanted to get out of prostitution, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that NONE of them wanted to get arrested, and NONE of them wanted a decrease in demand. The tactics of MF et all are actually harmful to women in all levels of prostitution. Do you honestly think it helps to starve women out of the business? If you want to help unhappy hookers, you can offer job training and scholarships to those who are wanting out and quit trying to rob them of their only viable means of earning a living wage.

    Melissa Farley doesn’t give a crap about helping sex workers or even “prostituted women.” What she cares about is abolishing prostitution (regardless of the impact it would have on even the lowest class of hookers) and getting grant money for her research.

    I have always been in favor of helping women who want to get out of the business, and if that’s what SAGE and CATW were all about, I’d say kudos to them. If anything, I stood to benefit from a decrease in competition, and I certainly don’t benefit from them now. But I am OUTRAGED by what the anti- crowd are doing to women who consider sex work to be their best or only option. Women like Donna Hughes, Norma Hotaling and your pal M. Farley have made it their life’s goal to wreak havoc in the lives of prostitutes while offering them no alternative means of survival.

    I find it extremely offensive that you claim that any of their work is being done to help the poorest of prostitutes when they harm women all around the globe with their campaigning. As if it weren’t bad enough that our struggle for self determination was stamped out in our own country… now sex workers of all income levels around the globe are being bullied by the all powerful (and very “patriarchal”) US.

    http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/db/read.php?idx=1195

    “I understand there are some sex workers being abused or misused by owners of the brothels,” said the woman. “Yet, there are many more of us suffering from this oppression from the government.”

    “The social adaptation programs prepared by the government are not helpful in real life in the society,” she continued.

    http://asia.unninetwork.net/issue/issueView.asp?bIdx=8&page=1
    How can this kind of atrocity, this kind of black or white logic be possible among feminists? This case, in which women in sex trade are directly voicing out, is a one that is in complete contradiction to the feminists’ logic arguing for elimination of sex trade, based on their perspective that the women are victims.

    http://theseoultimes.com/ST/?url=/ST/db/read.php?idx=1115
    On Oct. 8, 2004, a 35-year-old woman cut her wrist with a sharp razor in her rented room in the red light district of the remote eastern coastal city of Donghae in Gangwon Province. The sex worker was lucky when she was found groaning by one of her fellow workers and taken to the hospital.

    Barely conscious, she called for the withdrawal of the enforcement of the special law banning the sex trade, which put her out of a job that she has had for nearly 10 years.

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2007/09/07/2003377574
    “After prostitution was banned, many of our sisters became illegal workers, because they all have families to feed and they don’t know anything else,” a former licensed sex worker nicknamed Ching (小青) said.

    “Many of them ended up committing suicide because of the enormous economic pressure and the fear of prosecution,” she said.

    Of the 16 sex workers that the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) has been tracking for 10 years, three have already committed suicide due to economic pressure and long-term unemployment.

  25. I have NO idea how that smiley face wound up in my post. I believe I did an end parenthesis followed by a period, but never meant for it to become an emoticon. I didn’t even know they had them on this blog.

  26. Another think I’d like to add is that decriminalization would most certainly apply to street walkers because they would NOT be subjected to arrest for exchanging sex for money. Other crimes like loitering would continue to be citeable offenses, but at least they wouldn’t get hauled in to jail for them, and the cops would not be able to take all the cash they had on them as they do now.

  27. I’m pretty sure cops can’t legally do most of the shit that they harass people on the street with. But sex work criminalization is only half of the story. As long as they don’t think you have the power to fight back then they can still shake you down if they want, no matter what your doing. Cops would definately have way less leverage but if city hall wants to do a quality of life job on an area then the cops will get the message regardless of if they can charges on prostitutes *for prostitution* or not. They got a dozen other ways to “legally push around people on the street.

  28. Anon,

    For the record, I do not “demonize” street prostitutes in my book. If you have not read it, don’t take another reviewer’s word as gospel.

    I do, however, differentiate between street work and the type of escort work that my series is aimed at. I could’ve worded my sentences better, but since I believe I only mention street prostitution three times in Book 1 (two of the times from the perspective of civilians), I don’t really spend that much time on street work anyway. It’s not my point of focus.

    The reviewer also quibbled that I stereotyped men because I made a sports comparison. Perhaps lazy writing on my part — and I won’t argue that — but my point was something else. I guess I also demonized men as well.

    I would like to see any other examples of things I’ve publicly written demonizing street workers. I’m sure I’ve made clumsy statements — but demonizing? I don’t think so.

    I feel street workers are the ones who would benefit most from a change in societal perception and a change in laws. I also feel they need support most.

    Deborah Palfrey…I don’t know about anyone else, but I mourned her death because I was rooting for her. She seemed like someone strong enough to create change and I was hoping she would be a catalyst. She was not going to be another “victim”. But every day in my Google Alerts I read about sex workers killed or brutalized and I’m saddened by every single one. I just felt like I knew Palfrey and her death was shocking.

    Now that I’ve justified myself to a complete unknown…
    interesting I’d have to do that on a forum meant for me and my colleagues — who are not strangers to me.

  29. “Now that I’ve justified myself to a complete unknown…
    interesting I’d have to do that on a forum meant for me and my colleagues — who are not strangers to me.”

    In any movement for justice, the people with the loudest voices have that responsibility to be accountable to the rest of the community.

  30. Stephanie, I believe anon was arguing for MORE decrim not against it. And taking issue with how it would be applied or where it *wouldn’t* be applied–like will decrim be fought for in a way that leaves street prostitutes still faced with criminalization in other ways.

  31. But I am OUTRAGED by what the anti- crowd are doing to women who consider sex work to be their best or only option. Women like Donna Hughes, Norma Hotaling and your pal M. Farley have made it their life’s goal to wreak havoc in the lives of prostitutes while offering them no alternative means of survival.

    I find it extremely offensive that you claim that any of their work is being done to help the poorest of prostitutes when they harm women all around the globe with their campaigning.

    My pal? WTF are you talking about? I’m not defending them and I don’t agree with the whole “abolitionist” thing either, though I think it’s kinda weird, since they’re essentially fighting for something that has already happened…I mean, it’s already illegal.

    No, I am criticizing YOU. And I do NOT have to be a fan of Melissa Farley et al. to do that. I don’t think they’re helping prostitutes, but I don’t have to think that in order to find this movement elitist, either.

  32. Another think I’d like to add is that decriminalization would most certainly apply to street walkers because they would NOT be subjected to arrest for exchanging sex for money.

    Well, the COYOTE article went out of its way to point out that decrim would NOT apply to street workers in practice, because of other “quality of life” laws. They did this presumably to assure their middle-class audience that they wouldn’t be seeing more prostitution out on the streets…that is ELITIST.

    Yes, decrim would make things better. But your approach to decrim would benefit the elite disproportionately to the poor, and this is stated outright and even celebrated, because what, the elite deserve rights while the poor don’t?

  33. Amanda, you’re right, I have not read your book and if I am mistaken, I apologize. However, the fact that you mentioned street prostitutes “from the perspective of civilians” does set off alarm bells for me. What was your objective in doing that? Were you trying to differentiate yourself or distance yourself from “common” prostitutes, or did you have another (less elitist) purpose in doing that?

  34. The petition drive to get decriminalization on the ballot in the City and County of San Francisco this November includes the decriminalization of all prostitution both street and indoor.
    I worked both street and indoor and would never support the idea of throwing any group of workers under the bus. So far, the sex worker rights organizations I have had a chance to talk to about their position on street based workers have supported decrim for all workers, or none at all.

    I started out on the streets of New York as a teenage girl and finished my career indoors and I will tell you what- you will not hear any words come out of my mouth that could in any way be used by the anti-pros forces as weapons against us. That is what they do with our stories, use them to further the oppression against our workers. I have said this before and I will say it again-in any other industry exploitation or unsafe working conditions are used as organizing tools to bring rights to workers. In our industry it is just the opposite. If my intention is to tell it like it is in order to improve the safety and lives of my sisters currently working you can bet your ass the anti’s have and will use our words against us to continue or further repression.
    This is the bed the anti-prostitution forces have made for us and by the way whether I was an unhappy hooker or a happy one does not matter in the least when we have a group of workers who desperatley need rights.

  35. They did not point out that decrim would not apply to street workers. They said that it would not undo other pre-existing crimes. Lets face it, people do not want to walk out of their homes to find used condoms, used syringes and other trash on the ground. People do not want to hear people shouting obscenities outside their window when they’re trying to sleep. A big problem in trying to pass decriminalization is the quality of life issues that affect innocent people living in areas rife with street prostitution. One cannot gloss over the concerns of single mothers trying to raise a child in lower income areas (where much of street based prostitution occurs) who worry about accidental needle sticks every time their child plays at the local playground. These are genuine concerns of people who live where it occurs, and they need to be assured that these things will continue to be a crime.

    Not only that but physical assault will continue to be a crime, as will rape and murder. Decriminalizing prostitution doesn’t make it legal to commit crimes that are often associated with prostitution but not directly a part of. It does however mean that we can’t have our earnings seized by the police or government for being illegally earned (yes they CAN do that and DO that based on laws prohibiting ill-begotten gain). They do it to streetwalkers and they do it to escorts. It would also mean we could deduct condoms and lube on our income taxes (which even low income workers are required to file) .

    I was never a high class escort and spent most of my adult life living beneath the poverty line (by my state’s standards). I enjoyed a brief period where I could live like a normal adult, not worrying about having my phone shut off or my bank account overdrawn, and then they started up with efforts to wipe out prostitution and I became so paralyzed with fear of getting arrested and being kicked out of my studio apartment (as CA law requires landlords to do) that I would only see men I knew I had seen before based on their brief phone message. I wouldn’t return calls from friendly sounding men who claimed they’d seen me before, but occasionally when I really needed the money I’d call back the asshole I vowed never to see again, because I knew he wasn’t a cop.

    Just because we own computers and work indoors does not make us elitists.

  36. Anon,

    In discussing stereotypes (which I do in all my books), I discuss them from the perspective of prospective clients — who are civilians and buy into common media images just like anyone else. Sometimes this means the escort has an extra burden on her, sometimes it means she can work these things to her advantage.

    The “common” prostitute remark the reviewer referenced was in discussing arrest of women based on “common prostitution” laws some cities have. It was certainly a passage he mis-read or perhaps I needed to create clearer phrasing. I was actually poking fun at the stupid laws created, not street workers themselves.

    I never claim escorts are somehow better than street workers, only different. Often the safety factor is better and the money is better — advantages to be had. It does not change the basic value of one human life over another.

    Kimberly,

    I have to justify my existence to so many people all the damn time. It gets old, especially when the other person does not bother to identify themselves. I have no idea if Anon is part of my “community” or not.

    Sometimes I’m ready to rumble, other times I really don’t like feeling forced into it.

  37. Perhaps my inclination to discard the used condoms in the street might be because under criminalization, the condoms are used as evidence against me.

    “One cannot gloss over the concerns of single mothers trying to raise a child in lower income areas (where much of street based prostitution occurs) who worry about accidental needle sticks every time their child plays at the local playground.”

    Many, maybe even most of the women working on the street are the single mothers.

  38. And Stephamie, perhaps you will agree that the problems you listed are social problems and will never be solved by law enforcement.

  39. “Lets face it, people do not want to walk out of their homes to find used condoms, used syringes and other trash on the ground. People do not want to hear people shouting obscenities outside their window when they’re trying to sleep. A big problem in trying to pass decriminalization is the quality of life issues that affect innocent people living in areas rife with street prostitution.”

    The same arguments for decrim of prostitution apply to drug use and other “quality of life” crimes too. And the gov’t never enforces quality of life for the benefit of low-income single mothers. The point of these laws is to push out the riff-raff but to where? Just like criminalizing prostitution doesn’t stop it. Criminalizing poverty doesn’t bring people out of it. It just pushes poor people with all their property value lowering problems somewhere else so that the “respectable” people don’t have to see it.

    “These are genuine concerns of people who live where it occurs, and they need to be assured that these things will continue to be a crime.”

    The only assurance that there won’t be quality of life crimes in a community is if *everybody* in it has some quality of life.

  40. anon makes a valid argument pointing out that there are major differences between sex workers. For example, I am in favor of legalizing (and regulating) indoor prostitution but I totally oppose legalizing outdoor prostitution.

  41. Lisa, I respect everything you say, but…..it’s not that sex workers rights orgs specifically say that street prostitution won’t be included in decrim. But COYOTE does say on their website (with pride, as a fucking selling point!!) that street prostitutes and other poor prostitutes will still be punished for prostitution under quality of life laws that other prostitutes don’t have to deal with. This is a good thing, according to COYOTE!

    Of course, I think some “sex workers rights” proponents take that a step further and actually DO support decrim ONLY for indoor workers…take this quote from iamcuriousblue here

    Well, I think street prostitution is a complex issue, to say the least. I think the same arguments apply to it that apply to open-air drug markets, regardless of how you feel about drug legalization overall. Its an activity that’s associated with a lot of negative outcomes for both the sex workers and the larger community, compared to indoor sex work. And, yes, the larger community does have a right to regulate commerce – its why we have zoning laws, after all.

    IMO, a lot of sex workers rights folks focus on the problems and lives of the “upper echelon” of prostitutes at the expense of everyone else in general…you can see this based on who gets mourned and who doesn’t, and also in sometimes explicit demonization of street prostitutes or just people trying to distance themselves from that, distance themselves from that image, make themselves seem more respectable and “deserving” of rights! Again, at the expense of prostitutes who don’t fit that “respectable” image but, of course, are MOST in need of rights.

    That is what they do with our stories, use them to further the oppression against our workers. I have said this before and I will say it again-in any other industry exploitation or unsafe working conditions are used as organizing tools to bring rights to workers. In our industry it is just the opposite. If my intention is to tell it like it is in order to improve the safety and lives of my sisters currently working you can bet your ass the anti’s have and will use our words against us to continue or further repression.

    That’s horrible, but why let them define/frame the debate like that? It really puts you in a bind. If you play that game, you know, and do nothing but talk about how wonderful it is and how the anti-prostitution forces are wrong in calling it harmful, then:

    1) you’re walking right into the accusation that you gloss over the hurt and poor and abused, etc. and throw the most vulnerable under the bus, because that’s what this movement is doing and I think its a result of playing this game and

    2) you set it up so that people don’t care about sex workers rights, because if it’s all so wonderful and you’re all so happy, then why should they care?

    If you tell it like it is, idk, the worst the anti-prostitution folks can do is say, “look, it’s harmful, like we’ve been saying,” at which point you say, “yes, that’s my point, and that’s why I’m fighting for what I’m fighting for, now, knowing what you know, how can you possibly justify fighting against me and my rights? how can you justify taking my freedom and livelihood from me, after all that you know?” You know?

    …and by the way whether I was an unhappy hooker or a happy one does not matter in the least when we have a group of workers who desperatley need rights.

    Agreed, so why are all these people talking continually about how happy they are? It’s not relevant…like you said. And we need to tell people WHY we so desperately need rights, and we need to not let the anti-prostitution people define the debate like that.

  42. There is never an excuse to litter dirty condoms, unless you get hit by a bus or attacked on your way to the trash can. And since we’re talking about it still being a citeable offense AFTER decriminalization, the “evidence” excuse would not apply. It would be great if decrim would result in fewer condoms littered, but I’m guessing that the same people who have no qualms about dropping bio-hazardous, non-biodegradable rubbage in the street now would continue to do so afterwards.

    And yes, sadly, there is nothing we can do to change that. We can’t go back in time and have them brought up properly. Of course, if we’re talking about street based prostitution, I would definitely consider it the john’s responsibility to dispose of the condom.

    I think it is relevant that some sex workers are happy, because so many so-called “specialists” keep insisting that all are miserable and in need of rescuing. They use it to defend tougher persecution of johns and cracking down on all levels of prostitution. The truth is that many are happy doing it, and many who are not happy still prefer it over other options available to them. No one ever said that because some found the work fulfilling that everyone else should. What I said for a long time was that I didn’t want or need to be rescued. Why waste resources trying to save those who don’t want to be saved? And why waste resources punishing valued clients who would never mistreat a woman? If they would just admit that not all sex workers are miserable and not all johns are bad, we wouldn’t have an argument on that point.

  43. Well shit…

    Do I actually come across as happy? If so, I’m doing something very, very wrong.

    i like my job, yes….but happy with the way things are, the way those in the sex industry – ALL of them- get treated? Crap like the Canadian Case, the Theft of Services Rape, the US Gov. vs. John Stagliano, Palfrey, Spitzer, The actual words of actual Swedish Sex Workers, the effects laws in NZ have had on sex workers, The UK porn laws, China’s ban on porn, the murder of a stripper by a cop, inexcusible violations of 2257…and other assorted shit…all things I’ve written about, if not here, at my place. I’ve also written extensively on outeach, the huge differences between the rad-fem method and the harm reduction view and a whole lot of other shit that is, well, none to happy.

    And me? I have a problem with rad fems for obvious reasons…dehumanization and threats being among them.

    And WHY is it important for people who are content, perhaps not even happy, to say that they are?

    Because otherwise you end up feeding an image or stereotype that paints you as a victim incapable of choice and subject to being a poster girl for causes you do not support in the least. That’s why. There are people out there who will make you whatever they need you to be in order for them to be able to save you, for your own good….and sorry, I’m not getting paid enough just to lay back and take it.

  44. Very well said, Ren.

  45. […] If we’re happy, we’re just the exceptions […]

  46. Tell it Stephanie and Lisa!

  47. anon, you say that using the name anon is the same as using a real user name. Then you go and quote iamcuriousblue to make one of your points. You couldn’t have done that if she also was anonymous.

    It absolutely does make a difference when you use an actual name because then you can be distinguished from others. How can we differentiate you from the millions of other anon’s in cyberspace? How do we know where you are coming from otherwise? Maybe you just have a bone to pick with COYOTE. Also, anon, do you have another sex worker rights organization that you think is better? Do you do anything positive to organize, or do you sit on the sidelines and complain about existing organizations?

    Also, Stephanie, I would love to find out more about CA law requiring landlords to evict sex workers. This is an issue that comes up when I talk to people on the street about the petition to decriminalize prostitution. Do you think that most of the workers on the street would end up indoors if we decriminalized? Do you think a lot of workers are on the street because they either fear eviction, or have been evicted?

    I am not saying we should arrest people working outdoors, and I really like some of the points people were making that we should not be criminalizing poverty, either. But it does seem like it would solve a lot of problems if we could do something that would encourage workers to work indoors. And I am also guessing that is where workers want to be anyway. Can someone enlighten me about this???

  48. It does look like anon has a bone to pick with coyote.
    It probably a disgruntled coyote member from years ago who was an underaged worker who felt left out of the movement and rightly so.

  49. “It would be great if decrim would result in fewer condoms littered, but I’m guessing that the same people who have no qualms about dropping bio-hazardous, non-biodegradable rubbage in the street now would continue to do so afterwards.”

    Stephanie, I think the liter in the streets will continue as long as the streets are not owned by the folks who walk them.
    .

    “Do you think that most of the workers on the street would end up indoors if we decriminalized? Do you think a lot of workers are on the street because they either fear eviction, or have been evicted?”

    Even if decrim happens tomorrow it still is a reform under the capitalist system, an important reform but a reform none the less. Might I suggest perhaps the solution would be to decriminalize the sex workers but criminalize landlords and bankers so that everyone had a roof over their head and a place to call home.

  50. Stepanie,

    I hope I have not been harsh to you because I recognize you not just as an ally but as a current worker. I am merely a former worker but I confess not just a former worker but also a Socialist.
    Peace my Sister.

  51. “I think it is relevant that some sex workers are happy, because so many so-called “specialists” keep insisting that all are miserable and in need of rescuing. They use it to defend tougher persecution of johns and cracking down on all levels of prostitution. The truth is that many are happy doing it, and many who are not happy still prefer it over other options available to them.”

    Okay Stephnanie, I hear you and you are right. Much better said and put.

  52. Anom,
    In regards to your difficulites with COYOTE, I can not join in. I have no idea with what is up with COYOTE currently or their current or former position on street work. I can only say as an organizer, we all make mistakes. After all we are all coming from positions of no rights and certainly all sex workers organized or unorgainzed are coming to orgainzation from a position of occupation and extreme repression.
    I will say only this about COYOTE, when I was a youngster coming fresh off working the streets of New York for three and a half years and attempting to undertake the “straight world” amd having some difficulties, COYOTE was who I called when I came back home to San Francisco. All I can rememebr is that I was having difficulty in my transition and that some body at COYOTE answered the call when I phoned and that they had helped me and that is an understatement. Who ever I had talked to had saved my life in sharing what had been their own experiience which transformed in their words to me.
    I had at that time been only a street based worker. It was 1983. I would not retire from the industry until 2005.
    Thank you COYOTE, 1983 and thank you Erotic Service Providers Union 2005.
    Lisa Roellig

  53. Oops I mean Erotic Service providers Union 2007. I forgot about my wasted time at SAGE. Who could blame me.

  54. “Oops I mean Erotic Service providers Union 2007. I forgot about my wasted time at SAGE. Who could blame me.”
    Actually to be more explicit, it was my meeting with Maxine Doogan in 2007 that saved my life, again. Still floundering after twenty years in the industry, it was Maxine Doogan who got me into labor school and now after her direction, love and support, I have a job with a union organization and am acitve member of my socialist organization.

  55. Grace, you say,
    anon makes a valid argument pointing out that there are major differences between sex workers. For example, I am in favor of legalizing (and regulating) indoor prostitution but I totally oppose legalizing outdoor prostitution.

    You can’t say you agree with me and then make an argument that is diametrically opposite to mine. Since, you know, I said that I’m against regulation and that I think that the sex workers rights movement should be about ALL sex workers and should be less elitist about issues of poverty. But, you know, if you would consider yourself a sex workers rights advocate, then you make my point pretty well.

  56. Slava,

    It absolutely does make a difference when you use an actual name because then you can be distinguished from others. How can we differentiate you from the millions of other anon’s in cyberspace? How do we know where you are coming from otherwise? Maybe you just have a bone to pick with COYOTE. Also, anon, do you have another sex worker rights organization that you think is better? Do you do anything positive to organize, or do you sit on the sidelines and complain about existing organizations?

    1) I do not have a bone to pick with COYOTE specifically. I object to *everything* that I cited here as examples of elitism in the sex workers rights movement, and I have been emphasizing the document by COYOTE because it is the most flagrant and horribly offensive example I could find.

    2) No, I don’t have an example of a better sex workers rights organization because as far as I know one doesn’t exist. I would LOVE to have an example of a better organization or hell, one I’d feel comfortable joining or getting involved with or one I felt represented me. As it is, I’m stuck in a place where even the sex workers rights movement looks down on me and/or “my kind” and doesn’t represent me, and pointing out what’s wrong with that is all I can do as an individual at this point. Maybe you should ask yourself why you’re unable to look at yourselves critically or improve yourselves unless there’s a better org out there somewhere. It seems like a weird standard to have.

    3) I could pick a name if it’s really going to be an issue, but it wouldn’t matter at all at this point because none of you know me anyway.

    Do you think a lot of workers are on the street because they either fear eviction, or have been evicted?

    IDK, but I’d say some are on the street because they have no or marginal housing and/or no other way to advertise.

  57. Maxine,

    It does look like anon has a bone to pick with coyote.
    It probably a disgruntled coyote member from years ago who was an underaged worker who felt left out of the movement and rightly so.

    Huh? No. It’s not an issue I have just with COYOTE specifically, it’s an issue I have with what I’ve seen of the sex workers rights movement as a whole. I gave several examples of what I was talking about. They stuff from COYOTE was the most out there and offensive and awful, true, but it was one example of many.

    And I just turned 23, which feels old to me, but I definitely wasn’t around when that document I cited was put together if it really was from 1979.

    Sex workers rights is something I desperately, desperately, desperately want to organize for or get involved in but I CAN’T get involved in a movement that doesn’t represent everyone and I CAN’T get involved in a movement that is elitist and classist.

  58. Stephanie,

    I think it is relevant that some sex workers are happy, because so many so-called “specialists” keep insisting that all are miserable and in need of rescuing. They use it to defend tougher persecution of johns and cracking down on all levels of prostitution. The truth is that many are happy doing it, and many who are not happy still prefer it over other options available to them.

    The problem is that they use the miserable conditions to make them worse. I don’t think it’s a good idea to respond to that by trying to wish the miserable conditions out of existence and whitewash out workers who don’t fit your “respectable” image. I think a better way to respond to that is by arguing that yes of course things are miserable and THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING AGAINST. For all the reasons I’ve already said.

    Preferring it over other options does not mean that the way things are is RIGHT. It is very WRONG.

  59. wait, wait….am i being called respectable and elitest now too?

    Grrrrruagh.

    Do I have nice things in life now? Yes. Did I always? No. Did fucking pay for them? Yes. Did I come up with half the advantages a shit load of people throw away seeing them as deserved or as nothing? No.

    Does fucking Farley drive a way nicer car than me that she takes for granted? Yes.

    Do Not EVER call me respectable, it’s an insult.

  60. Ok, well whatever you personally believe, I see all the things I already talked about, all the examples…these are people fighting for their ability to be seen as respectable, not like those low-class, abused, drug-abusing hookers, or else to wish the latter out of existence. And why would they do that if not to make themselves look more respectable and more “deserving” of rights and mainstream acceptance, like I said?

    Anyway what does Farley have to do with anything?

  61. And I wasn’t really calling you specifically respectable and elitist, more like the movement as a whole, plus COYOTE and the other examples I talked about. And all these people who are so worried about their image that they will put all this effort into making it seem like “things aren’t really that bad.” Assholes.

  62. Also, anyone who will argue in FAVOR of criminalization of poverty laws, especially as they apply to prostitutes.

  63. I argue for decrim across the board. This is all too familiar, people seeing and hearing what they want to hear. Am I a junkie? No. Do I have an education? Yep, that sex work paid for. Do I come from money and privilege? Hell no. Do I (and many others) realize it IS that bad for a lot of people? Yep. I don’t bust my ass in the dead of winter seeing that women less fortunate than me have condoms, warm jackets, rides to the free clinic and other assorted shit for nothing…or to make me seem more respectable.

  64. oh, and Farley? A prime cheerleader for the ALL sexworkers are THIS image….that’s what she has to do with it.

  65. I argue for decrim across the board.

    How about solicitation? Loitering laws?

  66. I don’t bust my ass in the dead of winter seeing that women less fortunate than me have condoms, warm jackets, rides to the free clinic and other assorted shit for nothing…or to make me seem more respectable.

    That’s really great and admirable that you do that imo. Of course, it’s different from fighting for their rights and including them in your organizing.

    but, i do want to say that I really wasn’t talking about you specifically.

  67. To the person who does not have courage to have a user-name, I say this:

    There is a very good, fucking reason why this blog, COYOTE, and other organizations you are dissing do not overly focus on the drug-addicted/abused/coerced sex-worker. And that is because they are trying to break the stereotype that all sex-workers are drug-addicted/abused/coerced.

    And what does Farley have do with it, you ask? Why everything. Farley’s number one goal, the one thing she gets paid all that grant money for, is to make the functional sex-worker-by-choice invisible, and therefore non-existent. And by you coming here like a bull in a china shop trying to get everyone focused on the abused/coerced sex-worker, YOU are trying to do the same thing: make the functional sex-worker invisible and non-existent.

    The jig is up, Anon. You’ve just been exposed as a radfem, possibly even Farley herself. Get lost.

  68. Right, so, I don’t get what’s so brave about picking a random username. “Anon” is more descriptive…..just means y’all don’t know who the fuck I am. I could put my full legal name down and y’all still wouldn’t know who the fuck I am (of course, someone I know irl who doesn’t know I was ever a prostitute would know who I was, so I’m not gonna go there). At this point, even, if I changed my username y’all might get confused, because I’ve been “anon” throughout this thread.

    The jig is up, Anon. You’ve just been exposed as a radfem, possibly even Farley herself. Get lost.

    Uh, sure. You know, if Farley supported everything I’ve advocated in this thread I’d be honored to be associated, but she doesn’t. Farley supports decrim for all sex workers and non-abusive johns now? Decrim for those criminalization of poverty laws?

    There is a very good, fucking reason why this blog, COYOTE, and other organizations you are dissing do not overly focus on the drug-addicted/abused/coerced sex-worker. And that is because they are trying to break the stereotype that all sex-workers are drug-addicted/abused/coerced.

    And THAT is fucking EXACTLY what I am talking about. You are worried about your image, right Susan? You’re more “respectable” than that? You don’t want to be associated with those low-lifes? FUCK YOU. You are THROWING the MOST VULNERABLE in your community UNDER THE BUS so that you can GET YOURS.

  69. You only want to distinguish yourself from that image because you think it’s BAD, that it shows you in a bad light. That being abused or coerced or addicted to drugs makes someone less of a person or less deserving of the rights you are fighting for. That, as Mr. Kennerson said above, it’s a fucking SMEAR.

    Here’s another example, from the sex work 101 blog:

    If I took them up on having a concealed identity, I would be forfeiting my time so they could have a story, and I’d hope they didn’t edit too brutally to make me look stupid, slutty, or victimized.

    Stupid, slutty, or victimized? Victimized is lumped in with stupid as though it’s a fucking insult (and “slutty” which is a different discussion but weird to see on a “sex-positive” blog). Do you know how it makes me feel to see that? Like I’ve just been slapped in the face, pretty much.

    You’re not just actively working against anti-poverty stuff with sex work activism, you’re working to SHAME women and girls who have been victimized sexually! That is one of the worst things you can do imo.

  70. Anon-

    In an Ideal World- IMHO:

    Any Sex Worker who was engaged in sex work could do so free from police harassment, free from harassment from society in general, without fear of criminal prosecution, and knowing that if assaulted/robbed/raped/whatever they could go to the police and expect the same consideration as anyone else.

    Any Sex Worker who wished to leave the business could find assistance in doing so- including help in housing, child care, job training, psychological care if needed, detox if needed, and without having their former profession look like a blight upon their resume.

    Any sex worker would have access to legal and medical care as needed. (that goes for people in general, really).

    Underlying causes such as poverty, drug addiction, and lack of other reasonable options that lead to some people engaging in sex work would be addressed and countered.

    Any sex worker who wanted it could find access to information on known bad clients/johns in their area and information on how to remain as safe as possible.

    Sex Work would be decriminalized.

    AND there would be no ‘one stereotype’: The abused victim, the bimbo too dumb to do anything else, the happy hooker, the over the hill drugged out party girl-whatever else image anyone likes to slap on sex workers….because we are all different, with our own histories and reasoning and feelings.

  71. Anon,

    you should check out the following organizations.

    Sex Worker’s Project: http://www.sexworkersproject.org

    Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS): http://www.hips.org/

    St. James Infirmary: http://www.stjamesinfirmary.org/

    SWOP East: http://www.swopeast.org/

    In fact, all of the SWOP chapters have critical programs: http://www.swopusa.org/node/26

    Foundation for Research on STD’s (FROST’D): http://www.frostd.org/about.html

    Those are just the organizations where I’ve either worked myself, or known someone working there. I’m sure I’ve missed a few.

    You may find things about them to pick apart, but they are out there, helping sex workers—all sex workers.

  72. Jessica: I’d add UBUNTU to that list
    http://iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/

  73. Anon, you become a radfem by default when you want
    us to focus on pointing out abused/coerced sex-workers instead of focusing that there are sex-workers who aren’t.

    And as Jessica and Ren are pointing out above, there are organizations that help all sex-workers. Do you really think the St. James Infirmary turns someone away because they are prostituting to support their habit? That they say “Sorry, but you don’t fit our image of a proper sex-worker” and turn this person away?

    Nonsense. They would help this person, and give them resources to fight their addiction.

  74. Anon, thanks for some of the clarification.

    It seems that you are picking bones that aren’t your own. Your answers to folks’ questions and assumptions don’t have any ownership in the issue you claim.

    It seems you are looking for an organization to be daddy to address some problems you yourself haven’t experienced, been apart of or haven’t actually seen with your own eyes.

    I don’t understand why say you say; ‘Sex workers rights is something I desperately, desperately, desperately want to organize for or get involved in but …”

    Why is it important to you? What rights are you specifically identifying that we aren’t addressing that you think we should?

  75. Maxine just said it: the labor movement is all about people advocating for THEMSELVES. That is the difference between a labor union and a charitable organization.

    The best any sex worker organization can do is to try to include their voices when they DO speak, and to actually listen to what THEY are saying, rather than what we think they would/should be saying.

    I therefore defer to Lisa, who actually was a street based worker for over 20 years.

    The other thing is that we need to get our definition of “class” right. As a union member, our goal is to organize the ENTIRE working class. Working class doesn’t have to do with how much money you make. It includes people who are highly paid and also low paid. Probably the most powerful union in the USA is the longshoremen, who make 6 figure salaries. They are just as much working class as any low wage MacDonalds worker.

    The idea behind the labor movement is to unite both high and low paid workers and to find common interests between those groups.

    The beauty of the petition to decriminalize prostitution is that it is decriminalization across the board. It affects both high paid and low paid prostitutes. Also, it is the street based workers that are targeted for arrest most often, so it follows that they stand to benefit the most from decrim – they will not be targeted any more.

    anon- I encourage you to look at http://www.espu-ca.org

  76. Maxine, so being a former prostitute isn’t enough to have a right to feel left out of the movement? I have to actually have been involved with these specific organizations that say these horrible things?

  77. anon,
    you can find a excuse when you need one to not do what you say you want to do any day of the week. Blaming isn’t acceptable nor is it effective organizing.
    Jump in any time.

  78. Maxine just said it: the labor movement is all about people advocating for THEMSELVES. That is the difference between a labor union and a charitable organization.

    Yes, that’s what I was trying to say also. Ren and Jessica are talking about charity, and that’s not what I was talking about.

  79. Maxine, fuck you.

  80. anon – you are making no sense and saying fuck you is not helpful.

    i dont understand what you want at this point. maybe you should take some time to cool off before making your next post.

  81. anon – i’m sorry you feel left out of “the movement.”

    The fact of the matter is that “the movement” is tiny and practically non-existent. The biggest movement that is actually happening over the past few decades is the conservative movement.

    If you actually want to help create a real movement that is positive and includes everyone, then take some initiative and make it happen. Don’t just blame others for the work they are doing. Actually this is the reason that the movement is going nowhere – people like you who criticize from the sidelines but don’t actually do the work of creating an alternative.

    Props to Maxine for founding the Erotic Service Providers Union. I think it is actually going somewhere at this point.

  82. anon,
    your contempt prior to investigation is indicative of hostility, a barrier. Isolation is not a good organizing stategy either. Are you the one with the drug problem?
    Maybe, the anonymous programs like AA or NA or maybe Al-anon? http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

    when you give of our time and money to something let us know how it goes.

  83. Maxine, I don’t mean this in a combative way, but please don’t psycho-analyze my gf. I mean your right anon definately does feel isolated. She feels like she wouldn’t be wanted in sex workers’ rights groups. And she has no obligation to join a group thats going to restigmatize her by editing out her experiences because there inconvenient.

    I hope that she’s wrong but i’m not going to second guess her reactions. It comes from her getting the message tht she doesn’t have a place when she really needs one. It didn’t come out of thin air and it didn’t come from being brainwashed about ideology. Likes shes said a hundred times, she wants decrim for everyone. I’m really hoping that she does get involved with organizing and finds that theres a place for her there, or is able to make a place for herself. But if she’s caught between rad fem’s trying to capitalize on her experiences and sex worker rights advocates reacting to the rad fem’s agenda then she’s going to have a really hard time finding a place in sex worker rights organizing. And i respect it if she decides its overall gonna be an unhealthy thing to do to get involved.

    I think the most important question she raises though is do sex worker rights advocates have to edit out experiences of abuse in order to counter rad fems. Personally i feel like even if they painted a totally accurate picture of how bad the industry is–I still don’t see how it adds up to criminalzation and attempted abolition. Decriminalization and destigmatization still would seem like the best way to go.

    (and just to be clear I don’t id as a sex worker, and anon is my partner.)

  84. I think y’all should join Farley or whoever, else you’re just sitting on the sidelines complaining.

    Slava, I was saying exactly what you said Maxine said…that it’s about people advocating for *themselves* and that’s why the orgs that Ren was talking about are not good examples of being inclusive. Because they are service/outreach charities, which is not about advocating for yourself.

    Why is it important to you? What rights are you specifically identifying that we aren’t addressing that you think we should?

    I don’t have to be already involved in organizing for MY RIGHTS (and others’ rights) to be important to me. Especially when all the organizations out there are all about their image and it makes me feel like shit. Some things you aren’t fighting for, well, like I’ve said a million times, decrim for criminalization of poverty laws. Also, some things you *are* fighting for, like this respectable image thing, are horrible.

    And when I found this movement online I thought maybe I could find community here, but I was very very wrong.

  85. Whoops, that wasn’t Kimberly, that was me, anon.

  86. But for the record what Kimberly said was really sweet and yes, please stop trying to psychoanalyze me. I don’t really feel “caught” or whatever, though, more like EVERYBODY out there is fucked up. The rad fems are all caught up in ideology but so are a lot of you.

  87. I do like Ren’s ideal world though. I like that one a lot. I’d fight for that. I’d fight with Ren.

  88. Kimberly wrote: “I think the most important question she (anon) raises though is do sex worker rights advocates have to edit out experiences of abuse in order to counter rad fems.”

    We do a lot more to address abuse in the sex industry than the rad fems do. The rad fems’ tactic is to conflate all sex industry work with abuse, which does nothing to stop abuse and waters down the issue of abuse. I mean, if we were to accept the rad fem position and call all sex industry work abuse, then what would we do when somebody actually is abused in the sex industry? When people conflate all sex industry work with abuse, there’s a tendency to overlook the cases that actually are abuse. The rad fems promote the dangerous “violence is part of the job description” perspective.
    We, on the other hand, are at the forefront of fighting abuse in the sex industry. We address how the criminalization of prostitution encourages violence and we contend that violence should never be treated like just part of the job description. Violence against sex workers needs to be treated like violence, not just like nothing more than an inherent part of the industry. Furthermore, sex worker advocates put on annual “International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers” events. Also, sex worker advocates have helped sex workers to report violence and been there in court to support these workers. However, this doesn’t negate how various prostitutes are scared to report abuse under a criminalized system of prostitution out of fear incrimating themselves and because under a criminalized system, the prostitutes are trying to run away from the police, not go to the police. Also, sex worker activists advocated against the ruling by Judge Deni (sp?) in Philadelphia, in which she charged somebody who raped a prostitute with theft of services, rather than with rape. So, in conclusion, sex worker advocates do a lot to address abuses.

  89. I don’t think anon is saying that the radfems are better than sex worker advocates. All of her criticisms have been of the movement itself, not in comparison to anyone else.
    I’ve also been surprised to see comments here which seem to directly contradict this post Jill did awhile back, which no one had anything but praise for at the time:
    https://deepthroated.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/reaching-the-media-sex-workers-against-rape/

  90. Anon- I mentioned one org…UBUNTU.

    And sometimes, it is hard to get to the organization of labor stage without a little “charity” first…

    Hummm, food on the table, immediate health concerns or…fuck that, let’s organize now and demand shit while we let bills go unpaid and let herpes go untreated!

    Uncouth of me to say, maybe, but let’s be realistic.

  91. Well you know what they say, feelings are like opinions, everybody has one.
    The sex worker rights movement and organizations aren’t about fitting you in on at your convenience,
    It’s about do you have to offer us besides your complaining about how we’re not perfect enough for you.

  92. Slava,
    Greetings brother! I agree with you in that our purpose as organizers is to unite the entire working class. Division of any sort does not serve us.

    I have to correct you on my work history. I wish I could say I had the armor to last the streets twenty years but that is not the case. I started on the streets and did return to the streets from time to time but spent much of my career indoors.

    Anom and Kim,

    It is extremely difficult to sort out our personal history as sex workers, as women and then form our ideas and turn them into political action. You are very young women and seem to be already starting this process. At least that is what I think is going on here with some careful consideration.

  93. “The sex worker rights movement and organizations aren’t about fitting you in on at your convenience,
    It’s about do you have to offer us besides your complaining about how we’re not perfect enough for you.”

    But isn’t organizing about what everyone in a community has to offer *eachother*? Isn’t it about collectively responding to issues that community members are facing?

    I really hope anon can get involved with organizing like that. Yes, she needs a lot of support around these issues right now but also has a lot to give too and would make a great organizer.

  94. The problem with this “movement” is that the loudest pimp has basically put herself in charge of the “sex workers” movement. When Maxine Doogan talks about “us” organizing “ourselves” in “our” movement, she is defining herself as a sexworker although she openly admits she is a pimp.

    Everybody else here just shuts up or rolls their eyes a little and grabs the pom poms to give a big cheerleader “go Maxine” because Maxine demands solidarity and support and on her terms and you had better not cross her.

    Those of us who have had to deal with abusive pimps recognize all this for what it is…macho bullshit….designed to shut people up unless they fall in line.

    If the so called ‘independent” escorts here can’t take on one crazy pimp and call her on her crap, how does that make us feel? I don’t need you to be my mamas, but I do need you to be my sisters…that is if you really do want a movement.

    This is not Maxine’s movement and it’s not really up to her to decide who is in and who is out and the proper way organize.

    My real sisters, the ones on the street tonight, ARE suffering. And in San Francisco at least, Maxine is making their suffering worse so she can promote her big organizing career. Well screw that.

  95. Slava, I was saying exactly what you said Maxine said…that it’s about people advocating for *themselves* and that’s why the orgs that Ren was talking about are not good examples of being inclusive. Because they are service/outreach charities, which is not about advocating for yourself.

    Actually, I worked at FROST’D for nearly 5 years, and my coworkers WERE women who did street-based work for many years. Their mission has changed over time, as the org has grown, because it’s driven by members of the communities the organization serves. We need MORE sex workers active in those organizations so that we can drive the operations, so that our voices are loudest in those planning meetings.

    I will never ever say that a sex worker isn’t the best person to deliver harm reduction information to sex workers!!

    I find the accusation that the work of those orgs is all “charity” and not about empowerment offensive. I wouldn’t have listed them had I not known for a fact that they incorporate the real sex worker community.

  96. anon writes:

    “Of course, I think some “sex workers rights” proponents take that a step further and actually DO support decrim ONLY for indoor workers…take this quote from iamcuriousblue here

    ‘Well, I think street prostitution is a complex issue, to say the least. I think the same arguments apply to it that apply to open-air drug markets, regardless of how you feel about drug legalization overall. Its an activity that’s associated with a lot of negative outcomes for both the sex workers and the larger community, compared to indoor sex work. And, yes, the larger community does have a right to regulate commerce – its why we have zoning laws, after all.'”

    Wow, nice way to drag me into the conversation, anon. I was actually trying to stay out of this, since it does seem to be a conversation between sex workers and I’d rather throw in my two cents.

    But really freaking nice of you to half-quote me, considering the other half of what I said kind of does add a little context:

    “On the other hand, I wouldn’t say enforcement strategies are working “just fine” either. Once again, like open-air drug markets, its resulting in the disproportionate criminalization and institutionalization of the most marginalized parts of the community where these laws are enforced.”

    OK, excuse me for recognizing the inherent complexity of situations like open-air sex or drug markets where there’s a very real conflict of valid rights and social responsibilities between several parties. No, it must just be my clueless middle-class self wanting to throw the poor under a bus.

    Agh!

  97. who’s profiting off the criminalization of prostitution?
    Who’s is using redbating or in this case, pimp bating tactics?
    To do what?
    point to who?
    You who oppose stop arresting prostitutes and customers are not a street based workers, yet, you point class of workers you are not.
    To discredit me and my good work of calling you profiteers out on your arresting and profiting schemes, who’s benefiting off of whose labor?

  98. This isn’t radical feminist activism. We can each do differing parts of activism, have different views, be in different places and feel different feelings without being removed from the movement or viewed as a traitor. We don’t all adhere to a set of Biblicalesque books by our holy authors as do rad fems. And we can still respect and care about each other while having diversity. Anon, my sense is that you are here to divide and have a very rad fem methodology.

    This isn’t a one faith movement/one God belief. Trying to vent the heresy bullshit isn’t going to cut it here.

  99. Since we’re on the subject of feminism, I think there were some good things that feminists have pointed out. When a guy makes a statement, people often take it at face value and answer it. When a woman makes a statement, the response is often to assassinate her character or discredit her.

    That is what bluebell is doing here. Nobody is in charge of any movement. What is happening is that we are putting out a petition to decriminalize prostitution and I believe that is a good thing.

    picture a gay male cheerleader: GOOOO Maxine!

  100. Last night a friend of mine was jumped and beaten pretty badly. She got what she needed, a roof, a space away from the street, some decent food and some first aid.

    Maxine’s petition is going to take services like that away from the real women and men and children doing prostitution on the street and thruogh craigs list. Those people need more help not less. But Maxine doesn’t care about them. She just wants the ability to pimp in SF without the cops on her back. She needs those vulnerable people on the streets because she thinks she can groom and train and organize them and make money off them. It’s her fucking retirement plan.

    Don’t tell me I’m assasinating her character because I point out her motives and the problems with her petition. She is responsible for what she is choosing to do which is to ruin people’s lives and take services away that can save real peoples lives.

    Some of us are tough enough to be independent escorts or we are fortunate enough to have supportive friends like me who let me stay in thier extra room for months at a time. But what Maxine is doing is hurting people who might not be as tough – some of them should NOT be in prostitution. Doesn’t anybody here give a crap about them? Are you all just worshipping at the church of the imaginary benfits of decriminalization? Are you willing to sacrifice real people to get your political dreams?

    Sorry to be the dirty fly at your happy decrim picnic but it ain’t quite so simple here in real life.

  101. FYI, bluebell, or bluebird or blue whatever is alway been a euphemism for the police.
    Now we’ve got the police bloggin on b not g.
    Well I guess it’s a free country, right?

  102. Bluebell:

    “Doesn’t anybody here give a crap about them? Are you all just worshipping at the church of the imaginary benfits of decriminalization? Are you willing to sacrifice real people to get your political dreams?”

    Excuse me? Oh, cupcake, you can take that shit and blow it right out your ass. Seriously, what a fucked up, uniformed, generalized accustation to throw out there.

  103. Bluebell there isn’t even a sequential thought process in your argument to discuss. How you link your assaulted friend, first aid, a roof over her head and those all disappearing under decriminalization is an argument with gaping holes.

    If Maxine was the evil doing pimp that you posture about she would support the current system as criminalization is an abusers greatest in coercion and the creation of control over a victim. Advocating for freedom, for the worker’s human, civil and labor rights is not consistent with the position of a business owner or an abuser. Which you are implying Maxine is both an abuser and a business owner. Your arguments defy logic.

    Of course coming here to present them isn’t high on the logic scale either. This isn’t the prime audience to preach opposition to decrim.

    Using the reality whether constructed or actual of a homeless, sex worker that has been victimized by assault as a mechanism to drop shit on Maxine or anyone else is ethically bankrupt. You sound like an executive from Exxon Mobil trying to sell the message of how 140 dollar a barrel oil, 40 billion in quarterly profits and 4 plus dollar a gallon gas most benefit the poor. Your argument is so hollow it’s absurd and thus it becomes an obvious seagull flight. You fly in make a lot of noise dump some shit on Maxine and others and fly away.

    Your motive is transparent. There is a lot in the status quo for you or you wouldn’t oppose change as there aren’t a whole lot of sex workers of any genre that feel criminalization is beneficial.

    This week Maxine is the ultra powerful monolithic evil doer. Last month it was Ren, two months ago me, before that Robyn Few.

    I’m disappointed. I kind of liked the NIna Myers evil doer role for myself. I have to get rid of these fucking migraines so that I can spool up my evil doing and regain my most evil status.

  104. I don’t think it’s fair to equate running an escort agency with being a pimp. I realize that state law does so, but in most people’s minds the word pimp conjures up images of an abusive thug who takes all (or at least most) of a prostitutes earnings using fear as a means of control.

    While I never worked for an agency myself, I can see there are some clear advantages to doing so. For one thing, women working for an agency don’t have to deal with advertising or booking appointments. The agency calls when there is work, and the escorts can accept or decline the job depending on their schedules. The clients don’t have access to the workers’ phone numbers or have any identifiable information on them (unless an individual chooses to give it). The agency knows where the appointments are at, when they’re over and call to check in afterwards. I don’t know what the exact stats are, but I’m guessing it is one of the safest options for women in the business.

    Agencies usually take between 30% and 50% of their workers’ earnings. Having been a beautician prior to my involvement in sex work I can tell you that it is standard for a hair salon to take 60%. When you’re doing $30-$40 hair cuts, that’s a lot rougher than keeping half of a $300+ trick. And an escort doesn’t have to wait in the back room in between gigs like a hairstylist (or brothel worker).

    I don’t know the timeframe for Maxine Doogan’s stint running an agency, but up until just about the turn of the millenium, the only options for sex workers were working in bordellos or massage parlors, walking the streets, and working for an agency.

    So what was the name of the organization that took in your friend, bluebell? Maxine’s petition was for San Francisco only, and I know of no charitable organizations in the city that provide shelter and assistance to sex workers exclusively. I know SAGE has a house for teenage prostitutes that apparently is now taking any girl at risk of prostitution because they couldn’t fill the 8 beds by restricting it to only prostituted girls.

    There may be shelters for women in general in need of assistance (which aren’t targeted by Maxine’s proposal) but I know of no organization that exclusively provides these benefits to hookers in San Francisco. I’m sure if you will provide the name here, the information can be made available to women in need.

  105. Djiril,
    I don’t think anon is saying that the radfems are better than sex worker advocates. All of her criticisms have been of the movement itself, not in comparison to anyone else.

    Thank you!!! Yes. I don’t give a flying fuck about radfems honestly, but everyone else here keeps bringing them up. Are folks trying to defend themselves by pointing to someone worse? I don’t get it. At least some of y’all have actually accused me of being one which is bizarre to say the least.

    Maxine,
    Well you know what they say, feelings are like opinions, everybody has one.
    The sex worker rights movement and organizations aren’t about fitting you in on at your convenience,
    It’s about do you have to offer us besides your complaining about how we’re not perfect enough for you.

    You asked me what I thought you should do differently and what I thought you should address that you weren’t addressing. I told you, and now you accuse me of making this all about me.

    Also, I’m not sure if I ever responded directly to this:
    It seems you are looking for an organization to be daddy to address some problems you yourself haven’t experienced, been apart of or haven’t actually seen with your own eyes.
    but all I can say is YES I fucking have. But please stop making this about me. The more personal it gets, the harder it is going to be for me, and I’m not up for that right now.

    Jessica,
    Actually, I worked at FROST’D for nearly 5 years, and my coworkers WERE women who did street-based work for many years. Their mission has changed over time, as the org has grown, because it’s driven by members of the communities the organization serves. We need MORE sex workers active in those organizations so that we can drive the operations, so that our voices are loudest in those planning meetings.

    Ok, well that’s definitely a plus imo. But they are still a service org, right? I think that’s great, but all I was saying was that it isn’t really what I was talking about…because I was talking about sex workers rights organizing. Now I’m sure there are some orgs like that which are also inclusive. But all I was saying about the orgs that you mentioned was that they (most of them?) were service orgs and charities. I didn’t mean “charity” in a derogatory way. By advocating for “yourself” I meant advocating for your own rights; I guess I could have phrased that better.

    Lisa, I am not sure what you are saying entirely, but thank you. 🙂

  106. >>Doesn’t anybody here give a crap about them? Are you all just worshipping at the church of the imaginary benfits of decriminalization? Are you willing to sacrifice real people to get your political dreams?”>>

    Yes we are. Maxine and I are trying to re-create the Aztec dynasty. My goal is to restore Mexico City back to Tenochtitlan, rename myself Cuauhtemotzin,One That Has Descended Like an Eagle please refer to Maxine as Montezuma as we wish to sacrifice as many as possible for our true political dream of the return of Quetzalcoatl. As many sacrifices as are needed to restore Tenochtitlan to glory is our true goal. Viaje de San Francisco hasta Tenochtitlan. Hoy San Francisco, Manaña Tenochtitlan! Viva las Aztecas, Viva la Revolucion!

    But you have figured us out. Meddling Bluebells…………..

  107. Si Se Puede

  108. iamcuriousblue,
    OK, excuse me for recognizing the inherent complexity of situations like open-air sex or drug markets where there’s a very real conflict of valid rights and social responsibilities between several parties.

    Even with the rest of the quote, your argument was essentially that decrim shouldn’t apply to everyone, or at least that it’s a “complicated issue” meaning you think it’s debatable whether or not it should apply to everyone. Right? And you think folks should take into account residents who don’t want to deal with sex workers on the streets. It’s only a complicated issue if you’re trying to balance sex workers rights against others prejudice. I think that’s horrible, which is why I quoted what you said among a bunch of other horrible things.

    Jill,
    Anon, my sense is that you are here to divide and have a very rad fem methodology.

    What does that even mean, rad fem methodology? I knew I would be stirring shit up, sure, but I was mostly trying to air my frustrations (which I’m sure are not unique to me) with what I have seen and read…I’ve been reading this blog faithfully for a while, and also to make people think. I’ve been emotional but I’m only human. That’s why you have the comments open to everyone right? To be able to talk and think about what everyone has to say, not just an in-group of organizers? Otherwise it would be closed? IDK. I don’t know where these requirements about being involved in organizing before you can comment come from, and I’m still not even sure that’s the best choice for me based on what I have read about the movement. Rights are important but it;s not something that I really want to do if I am not even going to get community out of it. But frankly I’m proud that I’ve done this…maybe I could’ve cussed y’all out less, but at least I got my point across, at least to some people if not the ones who are going around randomly and illogically calling me a “rad fem” or whatever.

  109. Bye everyone (at least for a while).

  110. rad fem methodology……….. description or example?

    You come in here offering nothing but criticism and analysis through your specific lenses chastise what everyone is doing other than towing whatever political line in the sand you feel is the correct one and that others who focus differently than you are just not seeing things correctly.

    There are many of us who focus on those individuals harmed in the sex industry while working for sex worker rights. The two don’t have to be and aren’t inherently separate. There are others who focus their work differently. But the goals are constructive toward positive social change. But you miss the nuance through the steep spectrum of your lens. If you want to fly there are four components. Pitch, yaw, roll and power. All four have to be right or else you crash and burn. Your yaw is so far off you can’t see the horizon. Add power fixation to that and you have stall. Welcome to radical feminism by virtue of aviation analogy.

    Example.
    “nd THAT is fucking EXACTLY what I am talking about. You are worried about your image, right Susan? You’re more “respectable” than that? You don’t want to be associated with those low-lifes? FUCK YOU. You are THROWING the MOST VULNERABLE in your community UNDER THE BUS so that you can GET YOUR

  111. Damn, I’m sorry, just reading that Anon quote above really irritates me.

    Can anyone who knows susan believe that she would be accused of throwing anyone “under the bus”?

    It’s fucking unbelievable and couldn’t be any further from the truth!

  112. Anon if radical feminism wants converts to board the plane and do constructive social change, level the pitch, align the yaw, use the level of power needed for flight and use the horizon, instruments and guidance from those who have and can fly. Radical feminism’s yaw is right centered, too much power consumption, the pitch is so off it’s a stall and using the other aircraft for comparison rather than horizon and both IFR and VFR otherwise you crash and harm many others and do a lot of collateral damage. That my dear anon is radical feminism.

  113. I have a great idea. Let’s all get together and thrown bluebell under the bus.

  114. how bout under the plane

  115. Bluebell wrote: “Last night a friend of mine was jumped and beaten pretty badly. She got what she needed, a roof, a space away from the street, some decent food and some first aid.
    Maxine’s petition is going to take services like that away from the real women and men and children doing prostitution on the street and through Craig’s list.” *end quote

    How would Maxine’s petition take those services away? What evidence do you have of this? Decriminalizing prostitution wouldn’t take the services you described away. Under the criminalization of prostitution, perpetrators of abuses such as the ones you described can rest assured that they are almost guaranteed to get away with it because sex workers in prostitution hardly ever report violence out of fear of incriminating themselves, concerns about not being taken seriously, and because they are trying to run away from the police rather than go to the police. Thus, the criminalization of prostitution makes sex workers in prostitution especially easy targets for violence.

  116. Bluebell and Anon, greetings to our latest seagull poster types. Fly in make a lot of noise, shit on someone, make some more noise and fly away.

  117. I’m going to go back to Anon’s original post, which is this:

    “Aren’t decrim and sex workers rights better served by addressing the things that need to be fixed, i.e. pitfalls and negatives?”

    Anon is putting the cart before the horse. Criminalization of sex-work and the lack of sex-worker rights are two MAJOR pitfalls and negatives, if not the two MOST major pitfall and negatives that need to be dealt with. But that’s just my opinion.

    Also, I suspect something else, although I can’t prove it. The “Anonymous” of the very first post and “anon/bluebell” are the same person. Anonymous writes:

    “It would be irresponsible of us to simply dismiss the comments of this gentleman (Sven-Axel Mansson). Although as a group, we continue to focus on the positives of sex work, there are plenty of pitfalls. I am constantly grappling to understand the pros and cons myself. Trying to overlook the negatives in hopes that some day I will truly believe that there are more positives…but is this really true? I struggle with this question everyday. The money is great, the companionship is great, but something is missing and something is eating away at me that I am unable to express. If I feel this way, is it healthy for me to be a sex worker? Is sex work healthy is general? I don’t know and I don’t believe that any body of research will be able to answer this question for me personally.

    I also don’t believe that this gentleman is able to express how I feel or what I feel but maybe he ressonates with someone else. Sex work is as complex as there are different types of people. I wish that I had answers but I don’t and I can’t seem to find them. Maybe if it was legalized we could all come out of the closet and have some serious discussions without fear.”

    I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but to me, this post absolutely stinks of Psy-Ops, that is, what is called psychological-operations. “Anonymous”, in posting something like this, hoped to draw out the sex-workers at this blog to say, “Yes I’m miserable I want out too.” When this didn’t work she (assuming it’s a she) became “anon” who started bickering and using abusive language. This is also a Psy-Ops tactic as well, to get everyone arguing. This is the classic divide-and-conquer strategy.

    The definition of Psy-Ops is: The mind-fucking of a group of individuals or a select population in order to achieve your aims.

    Anon’s aim in this whole diatribe, from start to finish, is to dissolve the decriminalization movement. First by pretended solidarity, then by divide-and-conquer when this didn’t work.

    So in essence, whether she is an agent, a radfem, or simply off her meds, these “anon” postings functioned as psychological-operations.

    So the next time “anon” graces us with her presence, maybe the best thing so say is that, yes, abused/addicted/coerced sex-workers’ needs are important, but those needs are best served by 1) the decriminalization of sex-work and 2) the establishment of sex-worker rights and institutions.

    And that’s that.

  118. Excuse me for butting into what seems to be an on-going personal agenda issue….which I have tried to follow. As a sexworker (uk) myself & writer, I have seen this pattern before….it seems that both bluebell & anon are bored & need some attention & the rest are flying to the bait!! When I`ve got in arguement/differences with others before & there is no obvious point of agreement..then it gets personal…walk away! Stop giving them the `food` they crave! Nothing is being acheived by this back & forth meanless personal crap now,,this is`nt about sexwork anymore its about personal agenda`s….just a thought!

  119. The psych ops shit isn’t going to work here. It doesn’t fit within our movements ideology. We are diverse, accepting of diversity, accepting of each other as differing human beings and even when we disagree strongly I have seen the same activists stand with each other in times of need. There isn’t an adherence to some party line, we all have differing views, world views, histories, etc, yet those bring us together not divide.

    The people that threw shit in this thread, Blueberry, Anon etc, also seemed to pick out various people repeatedly in an effort to cause division between the movement and certain people. That shit doesn’t fly because we aren’t bogged down by the need for blind faith to a particular charismatic leader type, or bound to sacred words, holy nuggets of beliefs etc, such as radical feminism. The shit that Maxine is somehow “our leader” shows the people throwing the shit are coming from a rad fem perspective where that type of view is mandatory. I don’t know that the sex worker rights movement has anyone that is the “leader”. We each work on sex worker rights, campaigns etc, but from our own perspectives, and from what works where the activists are geographically. We aren’t bound to some Dworkinesque leadership type or all using mantras like pornstitution or shit like that.

    The psych ops efforts of the haters aren’t going to fly in this movement. Cultural setup isn’t right.

  120. I am not convinced that bluebird or bluebell is anom. Nor am I convinced that anom is a rad fem or that she is engaging in some mental warfare here. I am going to take anom at face value because I did not leave the industry entirely clear and frankly, as a former street worker, if I had come across any language coming from any sex worker organization that did not include the rights and decriminalization of all workers in our industry, street and immigrant workers, I would have been pissed and posting the same questions and comments as anom.
    Because all sex workers work under stigma, criminalization, oppression as women and as sex workers and that we live and work under occupation let us all recognize not just the questions raised by our sisters currently working but also with an understanding of the historical context in which some mistakes of the sex worker leaders and organizers have made in the past. I can tell you with complete certainty that their intent was never to abandon us but to come back for us. I do not agree on their tactics but on the other hand I was not there during this time of struggle and can only tell you we all make mistakes. It is time to look forward.
    The petition to decrim in the City and County of San Francsico is close to getting close to the signatures needed to get on ther ballot. Inspite of our diiferences and past conflicts and/or personalities, let us all do what we can to bring decriminalization to San Francisco. I worked in the best of condions in this industry and worked in the most horrible conditions and I can say with complete conviction and with my fist in the air as I say it, decrim will save the lives of sex workers and improve the lives of all women working whether it be street, house, escort or marriage.

  121. For the record, I strongly support Maxine’s petition drive. If I lived in California instead of NC, I would be much more active in it myself.

  122. Now, I wasn’t there either, but I do know the history of groups like COYOTE…and they sure as all hell didn’t sound like people who were willing to throw street hookers under the bus. Ask Ernest Greene (Nina Hartley’s husband), who was within the inner leadership of COYOTE at the time.

    I’m going to take anon and Bluebell at their word and say that they are merely people expressing their view (however wrongheaded and ridiculous I might think their view is) rather than a psych-ops operation by anti-sex work abolitionists. There is a lot of their concerns that do make genuine sense about the fear that many sex-positives and sex worker activists do tend to gloss over issues of class and economic status,That they use these concerns as a wedge to divide and conquer sex worker activist organizations rather than as a means to unite progressives to take on those issues is the main problem I have with them.

    Decriiminalization of sex work is one important step, but it isn’t the only step needed. Until we are able to confront and deal with the basic issues of economic and social inequality, then we will still end up in the same situation as before, whether sex work is criminalized or not.

    Anthony

  123. Anthony said,

    “Decriiminalization of sex work is one important step, but it isn’t the only step needed. Until we are able to confront and deal with the basic issues of economic and social inequality, then we will still end up in the same situation as before, whether sex work is criminalized or not.”

    .”Even if decrim happens tomorrow it still is a reform under the capitalist system, an important reform but a reform none the less. Might I suggest perhaps the solution would be to decriminalize the sex workers but criminalize landlords and bankers so that everyone had a roof over their head and a place to call home.”

    I have others to add to my list of criminals. None of them resemble sex workers.

    And Anthony, from this non-believer you get an amen.

  124. Sorry, the first quote Anthony and second one mine. I take full credit for promoting the criminalization of the landlords and bankers.

  125. I would say that there is a psycho warfare being waged by the anon writers on this site. It’s been directed as personal attacks on me. It seemed to coincide with a recent meeting of the anti’s to discuss the petition as we found out from one of the reporters covering the story.

    Decrim is the beginning of the end of the profiteering off our labor by the police state and it’s agents.
    Decrim is the vital first step for workers to come to take possession of our own agency in our work life. Decrim will enfranchise workers to make reports of violence against us.

    In dealing with the basic issues of economic disparity and social inequality, we need solidarity union style as a means to keep the movement worker centered and driven to end discrimination.

  126. Anon is supportive of decrim. She is not a former cia agent turned radical feminist. Nor is she a bird or a plane. She’s my girlfriend and happens to be a former sex worker, She had a shitty time in that industry but she is not an abolitionist. Never once has she said anything advocating abolition. She’s an intelligent person and realizes that aboltion has already happened in the only way it can–duh its already illegal and look how well thats worked out.

    i don’t know the class politics of sex workers rights movement well enuff to comment about it but I think basically her criticism is similar to how a lot of lgbt/queer ppl criticize mainstreaam gay rights–that the strategy is about saying hey were normal just like straight ppl. Which obviously leaves everybody out who isn’t “normal” or who have issues that are more complicated then middle class white person who happens to be gay.

    These critics of mainstream gay rights aren’t automatically on the same side of Focus on the Family. Or even being divisive. The leaders who are dismissing them are being divisive in their own passive, privileged way. I would never call anyone here an Human Rights Campaign–style sell out. i’m just trying to explain where Anon was coming from.

  127. Anthony,

    That they use these concerns as a wedge to divide and conquer sex worker activist organizations rather than as a means to unite progressives to take on those issues is the main problem I have with them.

    Huh? Are you taking about me or bluebird? I sort of resent being associated with her actually, most just because most of what she said was completely illogical. Anyway, justified CRITICISM is not “using a wedge to divide and conquer.”

    But thank you (and thank you, Lisa) for “taking me at face value.” Can’t y’all check the IP addresses and see that I’m not any of those other people?

  128. Decriiminalization of sex work is one important step, but it isn’t the only step needed. Until we are able to confront and deal with the basic issues of economic and social inequality, then we will still end up in the same situation as before, whether sex work is criminalized or not.

    I do agree with that.

  129. Susan,
    So the next time “anon” graces us with her presence, maybe the best thing so say is that, yes, abused/addicted/coerced sex-workers’ needs are important, but those needs are best served by 1) the decriminalization of sex-work and 2) the establishment of sex-worker rights and institutions.

    Which is exactly what I was saying, so it’s bizarre that you think I would disagree with you there.

    It does NOT absolve the sex workers rights movement from any criticism, ever, and it’s completely irrelevant to all the actual criticisms I brought up, like the classism and worrying about image above all else.

  130. or simply off her meds

    Great, mental health stigma too. Aren’t you lovely.

  131. I missed this response from Anon, but I’m going to respond to it even if it is a week later:

    “Even with the rest of the quote, your argument was essentially that decrim shouldn’t apply to everyone, or at least that it’s a “complicated issue” meaning you think it’s debatable whether or not it should apply to everyone. Right? And you think folks should take into account residents who don’t want to deal with sex workers on the streets. It’s only a complicated issue if you’re trying to balance sex workers rights against others prejudice. I think that’s horrible, which is why I quoted what you said among a bunch of other horrible things.”

    Well, yes, I do have this silly idea that residents in a neighborhood should have some say about what kind of business use, if any, a neighborhood is zoned for. While I think a lot of what drives these residents associations is prejudicial, it is utterly simplistic to say that if somebody doesn’t want their neighborhood to be a stroll and all the very public activity that goes with that, its based totally on bigotry against sex workers. Its just basic zoning – there are all kinds of regulations as to where you can or can’t put in a gas station or a widget factory, yet the overwhelming majority of people making or supporting those kind of laws are not anti-car or anti-technology.

    I don’t know if your beef is with having regulation of any kind or some kind of immature revolutionary animus that thinks anybody who, god forbid, owns a home is some kind of class enemy. I’m simply saying that in areas where very public commerce has very real effects on the surrounding community, the differing, conflicting members of that community should all have input about that commerce and their needs should be balanced. I think that’s true for any kind of business and I don’t see why sex work should be treated any differently.

    As for decriminalization not applying to everyone, I think that’s a facetious argument. I think sex work should be completely decriminalized or legalized, I don’t think sex workers of any class should be the subject of “status” regulation (such as they’re subject to in Nevada), but, yes, I do think the activity of sex workers should be subject to reasonable, good-faith regulation like any other kind of work. In other words, sex work should be treated by the law like any other kind of work – that’s a position that gets a lot of shit from the abolitionist side, but I guess gets some disagreement from some on the other side as well. Oh well.

  132. “i don’t know the class politics of sex workers rights movement well enuff to comment about it but I think basically her criticism is similar to how a lot of lgbt/queer ppl criticize mainstreaam gay rights–that the strategy is about saying hey were normal just like straight ppl. Which obviously leaves everybody out who isn’t “normal” or who have issues that are more complicated then middle class white person who happens to be gay.”

    So in other words, you’re staking out a position vis-a-vis the sex workers rights movement that Gay Shame does vis-a-vis the gay rights movement, correct? One can debate the role of Gay Shame in that movement, but I think characterizing the majority of gay rights activists as sell-outs based on the animus of Gay Shame is certainly unfair. Similarly for sex worker rights activists.

  133. “I don’t know if your beef is with having regulation of any kind or some kind of immature revolutionary animus that thinks anybody who, god forbid, owns a home is some kind of class enemy.”

    The definition of what makes some one a member of the capitalist class is not “home ownership.” Two million “home owners” will lose their homes to forclosure this year, making it clear that under the capitalist system, the real “home owner” is-the bank.

    “Immature revolutionary animus.” Give me a break.

  134. There is a major difference between owning the home you live in and being a landlord. And I would even say that a little old lady who rents out a room or even the upstairs apartment is not the “class enemy” either.

    As far as “Immature revolutionary animus” – Count me in!!

  135. Furtther and to the point of street based workers…there are over three million people in the United States with no place to live and over ten million vacant homes and apartments. This is a crime that could only happen under capitalism….housing based on profit and not on human need.
    If a Socialist Revolution were to happen tomorrow, everyone who owns their home could not have their home taken away by a bank or morgage company and everyone who rents could not be evicted by a landlord and of those three million who have no place at all to live they would be able to move into one of the ten million vacant apartments or houses.

  136. Slava,

    Only you could pull off being both gay male cheerleader and immature revolutionary animus.

    In Solidarity,
    Lisa

  137. “So in other words, you’re staking out a position vis-a-vis the sex workers rights movement that Gay Shame does vis-a-vis the gay rights movement, correct? One can debate the role of Gay Shame in that movement, but I think characterizing the majority of gay rights activists as sell-outs based on the animus of Gay Shame is certainly unfair. Similarly for sex worker rights activists.”

    No. I’m not staking out a position. And don’t know enough about gay shame to say how much I agree with what they do or say or not. I’m kinda suspicious of them taking a “queerer than thou” position that I don’t get. But i don’t know how much thats true or not.

  138. Anon says:

    Great, mental health stigma too. Aren’t you lovely.

    Susan says:

    Shut up and take your meds.

  139. Ladies and Gents, let me show you a brilliant example of psychological-operations, or Psy-Ops, in action. Example par-excellence:

    http://swedishsexworker.wordpress.com/

  140. Susan,

    Thanks for this blog.

    Wow.

    XX

  141. I’ve come late to this thread, but I wanted to put in my two and a half cents.

    I also believe anon is who she says she is. I think Bluebell is someone like Norma Hotaling.

    And, anon, I’d like to apologize that some of my sisters and brothers here do not understand, and perhaps were taking a more defensive approach than they had to.

    I hear you. I do, and I am sorry you’ve had unpleasant experiences in this world. That is awful. I’d love for us to be a group someone like you could come to for comfort and community, and I thought we were. I still think we are.

    But I think that sometimes people among us get so defensive because we have been attacked on this blog by antis posing as “potential” allies. I understand their jump to defensiveness. But perhaps we could try to be less so.

    But back to your issues in life and with the movement. I had never read that bit by COYOTE LA, and I would agree that it sounds like they didn’t care about their street-based sisters. I don’t know who wrote that bit. But I do know that one of the reasons we had difficulty with a particular group in NorCal was because they wanted to decriminalize indoor work and keep street prostitution illegal. Same with this dude called Dave in Phoenix. We consciously do not align ourselves with that ethos.

    On the issue of not giving enough space to the ills of sex work here this is what I have to say. I think the reason people come here to post about their experiences in a positive light is because it is one of the only places I know that we can. Nobody else listens to us. Public opinion has been shaped by the hegemonic anti-thought because they have had the funding and connections to get their voices out there. The Diane Sawyer piece is a perfect example- the entire show was dedicated to what amounts to about 10-15% of the industry, with only one small piece of the show dedicated to what amounts to about 5% of the industry. The majority of the people in the industry, and on BnG, lie somewhere in the middle. That part is NEVER given voice in any media. Just right here.

    I have also heard friends of mine from that middle portion complain that BnG is not representative of their needs either. They feel that often we are too concerned with street-based workers. When Desiree had our first conference here in Las Vegas, we tried very hard to include people from as many areas of the industry as possible. Comments we got back on our evaluation forms ranged from “very diverse” to “not diverse enough”. And comments made to me personally were to the effect of “most of those people are nothing like me, and I have nothing in common with them. I don’t feel this movement is representative of my needs.”

    I think the point I ma trying to make is that there is such incredible diversity in the industry that bringing all parties together to try and find common interest and cause is a delicate process. You have a point that we should pay more attention to that. But I disagree that to do that we should emphasize any experience more than others. And if you read here thoroughly, you will see an array of experiences- both positive and negative- being discussed. I personally didn’t know about the Canadian woman, and I am sad to hear about that. I have been immersed in a project for a few weeks now that has had me away form this board and the movement in general, so I haven’t been keeping up with the news. There are many issues out there I am sure I would have liked to post about, but just haven’t had the time.

    The beauty of this board is that we come from all kinds of backgrounds, and we speak on all kinds of experiences. Read some of Surgeon’s posts, Karly’s posts, and Fiammetta’s posts. There is a fabulous diversity of voices here if you read long enough.

    And among us are many people who have experienced the worst of the industry- Jill, Robyn, and many others. But they recognize that their problems didn’t happen because of a certain type of sex they were having under a certain type of arrangement, but because they were criminalized and stigmatized- threatened with arrest, afraid to go to authorities, marginalized from (and brutalized by) mainstream society, etc.

    Many sex workers, like you, are still unpacking many of their thoughts about the industry and their experiences in it. I want to support you in that process, and I’d like others to join me. This needs to be a place for all of us, and I personally welcome your perspective.

    Please feel free to email me personally if you want. info@swopl-lv.org

  142. SWOP-LV, thank you.

  143. Yes, thank you SWOP LV!

  144. *Muah!*

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