What I Love About Being a Sex Worker

New video from Red Light District Chicago podcast…

4th Desiree Alliance Conference Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics

July 25-30, 2010
Las Vegas, NV

Conference to Unify and Educate in the areas of: Academics & Policy; Activism;
Arts, Entertainment & Media; Business Development; and Harm Reduction &
Outreach!

REGISTER NOW!
Space is limited and WE WANT YOU!
No on-site registration will be permitted so ACT NOW!
Don’t forget to book your hotel…conference participants pay $25!!

Who is Desiree Alliance?
The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of
organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm
reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex
workers.

How do I fit in?
Desiree Alliance is a forum for people who have experience of sex work (this
could mean working as an escort, sex worker, prostitute, street worker, massage
worker, exotic dancer, hustler, living with the support of a sugar-daddy or a
sugar-mama, having sex for housing / food / clothing, drugs, or having sex to
get the money needed to survive) and allies of sex workers. Desiree Alliance is
committed to support for representation and inclusiveness of people from varied
backgrounds including different cultural, racial, economic, age, size/figure,
sexual orientation and gender identities.

How do I sign up?
You are required to send an introductory email to
desiree2010@desireealliance.org with “Introduction for Registration” as the
subject. Please include the following:
• Name, email address and contact phone number (including best time to call);

o You may use any name or pronoun that you identify with when applying for
the conference and while attending.
• How you found out about the conference;
• Why you would like to come;
• If you are a student (you will be required to provide 2009-2010 student ID)

What are the conference fees?
NOW – July 15, 2010
Registration Fee: $250
Student Fee**: $200
Group Fee*: -$10

*Group fee: When 10 or more registrations are made and paid for from the same
source
**Student fee: Must provide proof of enrollment for school (student ID)

Registration fees for the conference include: Attendance at any or all of the
workshops, presentations and sessions; name badge and registration packet;
Welcome Reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (July 25, 6pm); Continental
breakfast (July 26-29); Lunch (July 27 & 29); Farewell Brunch with keynote
speaker (July 30); and a significant discount on lodging (please note that this
location will not be disclosed until registration is complete);

Registration fees do NOT include (though we wish it could): Transportation;
lodging; lunch on July 26 and 28, dinner; Fundraiser After Party (you will have
the option of purchasing a ticket during registration); dinners, souvenirs,
extra-curricular activities or personal expenses

Who can I contact for…?
Program Advertising / Tabling / Vending (click link for details):
http://www.desireealliance.org/conference/tabling.htm#Program_Advertising

Media: Please direct all inquiries to serpentlibertine@gmail.com

General Inquiries: info@desireealliance.org or 866-525-7967 (Toll Free)

I made it! First night at Bellas…not bad.

Thanks for all of your comments, folks who read and commented.  It was great to read them as I was travelling up the highways of Nevada…In the morning I felt stronger and more empowered, I decided to go because this was indeed the plan before I left for Mexico and I just felt that I needed to give it a try.  Plus, other options seemed pretty bleak and going forward on a desolate road flanked with rocky mountains didn’t seem so bad after all.  It’s the long drives alone that gives me a sense of peace and focus.  Hours with nothing to do but think, sing, reflect and smoke pot…:)  Watching the Olympics always gives me hope to think big like they do.  41 year old silver medalist Dara Torres gave me a great quote: Be defined by your dreams, not your age.

I’m not sure about the reconstructive face surgery comment, Will, but everything else seemed like awesome support.  I think lots of us are in bad relationships some of the time.  If it isn’t battling partner stigma, its self stigma, family, community, etc.etc.etc.

The road to Wells Nevada is quite beautiful if you like mountains.  I passed through Ely, the last big town with a McDonalds and GAS STATION and did not for some reason think that there wouldn’t be another gas station for 143 MILES AND NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION.  I was praying for the whole 75 miles that the gas light in my car was illuminated.  Please, let me make it to Wells.  Cmon Scion, you can do it.  Si Se Puede.  You can get us there. What a nightmare that would have been to start my brothel experience sleeping in the desert in my car.  I wish someone would have warned me when I talked to them on the phone as I was arriving.

Driving up to the 2 brothels with their neon signs in the night was interesting.  We should challenge the rival brothel in a beanbag race and BBQ.  Good thing for me I like country music.  People greet me and are friendly but I am exhausted as all from praying that I wouldn’t run out of gas and get stranded on a lone Nevada highway with the coyotes.  The town is an old railroad town from the 1800s.  This means that my people (Chinese railroad workers) have been here before.  Probably even the ghosts of Chinese prostitutes can be found here too…I am intrigued.

It looks like any old truck stop, not bad.  I’ve worked at strip clubs that are dirtier.  Each girl gets her OWN ROOM w/ a bathroom (bathtub too).  The dungeon is pretty equipped, has a medical table and has lots of flogging and corporeal equipment which is pretty impressive.  I note that the rooms do not smell like some private rooms in strip clubs that I have worked at.

The manager is overly cheery.  She spanks me on the butt and calls me sweet cheeks.  There are lots of different girls here.  Only one other woman of color that I saw…

My room is cute, almost equal to the size of my own bedroom at home, and it isn’t loud here, except when the train rolls by.  You can hear the bell ring but it isn’t something that you couldn’t sleep through if you wanted to.  I was worried it was going to be like my college days in the dorm.  Bunk beds, shared bathroom, and bitches bitching.  quite the opposite.  I am able to have alone time, bath time where I will put my Mexican bath oil that I bought from the saint supply place to call prosperous clientele and relax after future days of hard work.

This is such an important element in creating a positive sex work incall environment.  Adequate alone time and decompression space.  I am ready to hit the sack, supposed to get up early to get my STD tests 40 minutes in town.  I have felt stronger since this afternoon.  I’ve suvived worse settings in sex work for sure.  I guess I was imagining I might become an Asian sex slave (!) or something.  Amanda mentioned that the windows open up to a courtyard with locks on them and I imagined the worse..but its not that bad here so far, people.  I am going to continue my reports on my own blog, but come on by if you are curious about how my brothel experience goes.  Please comment there too!  I only have 3 comments in total and would love some more!

LA is dead! Off to Bellas?((scared!))

Ack!  Sitting up late in my hotel room in Vegas..kicking myself because I had signed up for the “adventure” of trying out brothel life by way of Madam Bella who presented to us at the Chicago Desiree conference.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the ideal situation, but hey, it was only 10 days right?

Vegas is 6 hours from LA.  and 6 hours from Wells, Nevada.

I am sort of homeless and playing travelling hooker just to ease my mind of ending fighting relationship with a boyfriend I had sugarmama’d (meaning somewhat non consensually) for the last year.  My emotions are already in turmoil.  And then I read Amanda Brooks’ blog on her experience at Bellas. Terrified.

Is it too late to turn back? to give up?  Yes.  Unfortunately.  It is.  Bellas was my one hope in dark shithole of LA escort market and I had planned this trip based on the fact that I have fallen short of my monthly expense minimum because of my credit card debt and it has caused me to be constantly frantic about money, fighting with the boyfriend over money, taking bigger risks in sex work, GETTING ARRESTED.  Yes, I also must somehow raise money for my legal fund, as I recently get charged with prostitution in the city of LA in May of this year.  Need to pay for the lawyer to fly down for the pre-trial conference (where we will plead NOT GUILTY) on September 5th.

I have subletted my apartment for the month, because of going to Mexico for 2 weeks made it impossible to pay rent, so in many ways, I cannot go back.

I just got into a wicked screaming fight with my ex/boyfriend…finally got him to move out and finally he returned his key to my house…He was blaming me again for irregular bumps on his penis.

I swear the amount of fights with partners where you have to scream to defend yourself against the title of reigning Ms.Disesase is tiring enough to make you give up sex work forever…It doesn’t matter how much you get tested, or how many barriers you use, you can still catch things, break condoms and/or flaw so in an unsupportive partner’s eyes (8 out of 10) you can still be blamed if ANYTHING happens.

I’ve decided to STOP PAYING ALL MY CREDIT CARD BILLS!  Another liberating but scary thing, and start work on something called Debt Settlement, which is something you might hear about on the radio.  If you have debt and it has become your PIMP like me, then you should consider it.  You pay 40% of your total debt with the help of a lawyer, but your credit rating tanks for a year and then you have to buy something called Credit Repair…

I am in the heart of where I’ve had the worst times in sex work–Las Vegas.  I tried casino cruising after Desiree 1 and had no luck.  I tried being a stripper here many many times, when I was in my supple 20s, and didn’t make $1000s a day like the girls next to me.  I HATE VEGAS.  If I don’t go to Wells, where will I go?

Part of me wants to chicken out of the ranch idea and just pay for an Eros visiting ad for a couple of weeks.  But then, I HATE VEGAS and it is 105 degrees out here.  My Comfort Inn is exactly that right now.  I am terrified of giving up my space, my peace, my sanity.

I burned out on stripped clubs because of the repetitive conversations and the repetitive music and stage fees and rules and endless bullshit.  Stripclubs in San Francisco are defacto brothels anyway, just like in Thailand, everyone knows that sex happens in the club and after the club but the local government is paid by club lawyers to turn a blind eye to labor and human rights violations.  But perhaps all that will be changing in San Francisco very shortly, and perhaps I will return there to be a whore.  I burned out on stripclubs because people who were endlessly profiting off of your sexual labor could give a flying shit about you.

I wanted to go to the brothel to experience being legal.  Having experienced jail and being an illegal for so many years, I thought it might be a refreshing experience.  But Amanda Brooks and I are very different people.  So there is a chance I could have a good experience.  But, from her blog, it doesn’t sound like she made a lot of money for the amount of work required.  All I remember reading was “how sore I was” and “the bell was ringing every 5 minutes.”

I have done a lot of hard sex work and have been hardened by the hustle in LA (where most of the money made is by upselling and bait and switch agency work).  You simply can’t make enough money to survive by being honest, using your real picture and posting your actual price.  My honest escort work is supplemental to my agency hustle.  This is why a lot of independent girls try to work in LA and hate it.  You have to be a hustler and willing to not care about most of the people you see in order to make it. In fact, many of the girls who do agency work are anti-prostitution sex worker perpetrators who, together with their drivers love to bully money out of all the “perverts who call them.”  I don’t feel that way about my clients, and actually make my money in de-escalating the suprise of the agency scam and the usually keep me even though they didn’t expect me and tip me another $100 even tho they didn’t expect to do that either…(upsell defined: I am the Jiffy Lube of escorting, go in thinking you’ll spend $39.99, leave with a bill of $300 🙂

You have to be willing to drive long hours in traffic, sometimes at the crack of dawn, sometimes for no shows.  Maybe Bellas wouldn’t seem so bad to agency work in LA.   I have had crackheads and multiple other druggies in motels, alcoholics sloshing around in drool like Nicholas Cage, recently released felons with fake credit cards and more at the low end of my client list.  Because of the hustle I do as an agency girl, I have been told off, insulted, kicked out of mansions and had countless doors slammed in my face–and that has hardened me to not feel guilty about the way I make my money.  This is not to say that there isn’t a high end of the typical $3-400/hr escort, getting paid just to talk to business men, record execs in boutique hotels on sunset strip and more..but LA is dead right now and the money is just not there.  I used to have an “agent” who had a system of spamming craigslist for me.  But, craigslist seems to be on to that game and craigslist is also the favorite tool of sting operations nationwide, and exactly how I fell into the trap that got me busted.

I just got back from an amazing experience singing and doing art work in Mexico City.  I never finished blogging about it for this page, but i did do so on my personal blog.

Will I make it to Bellas or chicken out of the ranch??

check out my fate in a couple of days, because at this moment, I feel like turning back.

Amanda Brooks on the O’Reilly Factor

Our very own Amanda Brooks, brave soul that she is, was on the O’Reilly Factor last week.

Fox News posted this announcement: Former Prostitute Publishes Internet Escort’s Handbook for Aspiring Call Girls.

Callie Simms posted a brilliant article about the show here.

Panel discussion at William and Mary, ending the misrepresentations with facts

There are a series of blog posts circulating the internet of this nature, which, are presented as fact when in fact they are opinions of Sam Berg, opinions that are based upon her presumptions, which are often absolutely incorrect false and unacceptable. Thus, to me, it is imperative to put out a statement of fact about the William & Mary College events, about the organizer, Constance, members of the panel, SWOP staff that have been egregiously misrepresented and what truly transpired. While Sam Berg is certainly entitled to her opinion and perceptions, they remain just that opinions and perceptions not fact based, nor realistic analysis of the events.

Sam Berg’s factual misrepresentation

First, what did actually happen at the April 21, 2008 Conference on pornography. It was a three person debate with two moderators. The panelists were Karla Mantilla, Renegade Evolution and myself. It started late due to my late arrival as a result of major traffic delays caused by severe weather and a wrong turn which ironically lead me and my colleague Jessica Land being on a dirt road with sheep. The dirt road seemed to be a good indicator that I had gone the wrong way. For me the sheep confirmed this wasn’t the correct road to the college. It wasn’t. Correct assumption. Very cute sheep, even a mama feeding her babies.

I am very glad to have met Karla. I knew of her peripherally and respected her work and commitment to social justice from what I had seen of her work in the past. Meeting her in person and speaking with her both in the debate and afterward only further enhanced my respect for her. While we did not always agree, there were many times in which we did, many times in which all three of us did. Karla’s arguments were presented very well, she was respectful, civil, kind, and it was clear that she was there to debate issues not personalities which was completely consistent with the hopes and aspirations that Ren, I and other SWOP East members had. At no time did the discussion become heated, each person was given ample and equal opportunity to speak uninterrupted. And even when we disagreed it was respectful. I have no doubt that Karla is very dedicated to social justice and she is an articulate, approachable spokesperson for social justice. I was honored to debate with her, hope that we work together in the future as there is more than way to achieve social justice and the world is a better place when people are given different viewpoints toward that process and allowed to judge for themselves the best way to work for a better world. I don’t have all the answers and never claimed to, the world is a better place when many views are expressed and when differing views and diversity are respected we grow together and become stronger in our fight for social change. Karla’s presentation helped facilitate an event which brought people together despite differences of opinion rather than divide. Which in my opinion is what social justice movements should be focused on.

Continue reading

Radical Vixen Interviews Amanda Brooks

Sex Worker Solidarity: Amanda Brooks

What do you think is the best way to promote solidarity with fellow sex workers?
Since every sex worker has their own pet issues, it’s important for all of us to step back and view the big picture. The truth is, every sex worker faces the same basic social issues – only the degree and intensity changes. Those who work in criminalized fields face additional legal and social issues which are essentially the same regardless of what “class” the sex
worker belongs to.

Promoting solidarity isn’t hard with blogs, discussion forums and real-live groups. When you start to feel a sense of belonging with others who understand your obstacles, it’s easy to present a united front in public even if you have disagreements in private.

Sometimes the distance of the Internet backfires and we splinter into arguments over things that matter only to us. Then it’s important to remember what I said above: we all face the same basic issues.

Promoting solidarity comes from every sex worker reaching out to another on an individual level. We’re all people-persons; otherwise we wouldn’t be sex workers. But feeling involved requires that we learn the individual. Sex workers aren’t going to feel loyalty to someone whom they only know from a mass e-mail (like current mainstream-marketing wisdom suggests). Meeting the individual sex worker isn’t hard to do and it isn’t difficult. But since there are so many sex workers it’s going to take a long time to reach everyone!

I have to add, this series is a great starting point for introducing an audience to sex workers we haven’t met before. I’ve contacted a couple of your interview subjects because of their interview here.