Shout out of support for Victoria Thorne in UK!

Latest adult woman persecuted by zealous prohibitionist police. She’s going to jail for 15 months!

Some choice quotes:

“It is plain that those who thought they knew you, and knew you well, are at a loss as to how you came to be involved in such a seedy world.” ~the judge who sentenced her

“In this case Vicky Thorne showed complete disregard for both the law and our own high standards and paid the price through the loss of her career and freedom.” ~ Det. Insp. Andy Jones

Policewoman turned escort jailed in UK

Sex industry cultures: Photos on facebook

phone_box_prostitute_calling_cards_1

escort ads London

I finally joined facebook and have started a photo album called Sex Industry. This is a public link, you don’t have to be a member of facebook to see the photos. Sometimes I worry that cultural interests, rather than overtly, campaigning, political ones are not so interesting to people here, but then I think that I must be wrong. And anyway, cultural work is just another kind of politics.

Here are a few other cultural landmarks in the past month or so:

Do you know whether or not you are a prostitute? which I published on Susie Bright’s Journal first.

Will a famous prostitute be allowed to rest beside Calvin in Geneva?

I’m a girlfriend, they’re my friends

I am also partial to satire when it comes to miserable topics. Here’s a marvellous piece on Norway’s new dreadful law

If anyone has photos to add to my collection, let me know!

Best, Laura

Sex Workers: Once again, what’s best for us?

As you may or not may be aware, under the auspices of a woman named Jacqui Smith, the UK is considering a law that will criminalize the purchase of sexual services, namely, men who participate in, as they call it in the UK, “kerb crawling” (street based work). As usual, the evidence Smith is basing her proposal off of is questionable, but the proposed law is there none the less.

A blogger and ally Caroline, who is in the UK, has written extensively about the downsides of this law, and what very real consequences and potential consequences it has on sex workers of all kinds within the UK, she was even given quest posts at the UK based the F-Word and a US blog, Feministe!

The responses to her posts were, how shall I say, typical, and the reaction to her stance on the matter, equally so. Both Caroline and sex workers who bothered to participate were bogged down by generally radical leaning feminists with countless issues not necessarily germane to the legal issue at hand, shouted down as “unthinking”, “idiots”, or “happy hookers”…

I have to ask, to those of you who have met me and what not, do I generally come across as Teeheeeheee I can by Prada woo-hoo happy? Do most sex workers? Umm, no. Yet this is, consistently, how any who disagree with the pervading theme of repression of sex workers are written off and thusly discounted.

But as usual, those of us who oppose Swedish-like models, even considering the troublesome evidence that has shown such models to be far from perfect and the words of actual sex workers, as is typical, we are a tiny minority who truly know nothing about our business and do not care about all the poor trafficked women and girls. Which is bullshit, and I note, these people so concerned, from feminist anti sex work people to world governments, find it far more easy to criminalize the people who buy sex and attempt to play (often unwanted) savior to the people who sell it than to actually go after criminal organizations that deal in trafficking or take on the underlying causes, such as lack of education, poverty, drug abused, and lack of other job opportunities that face people who are unwillingly involved in prostitution…but apparently that is too hard and too messy…it’s easier to play Capitan save a ho.

I’ve also noted, in this particular latest round and in countless others, the apparent need of these people to demonize any and all sex worker outreach/activist programs which do not tout a 100% exit / prohibition stance. Currently, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and International Union of Sexworkers (IUSW) are under attack by supporters of the proposed UK law. The same sorts of tactics have been used against SWOP, COYOTE, the Scarlet Alliance, and countless other Sex Worker Organizations in the past.

And while all the smoke and mud about happy hookers and how sex worker orgs don’t really care about sex workers and what about the poor trafficked women and girls (no mention of the transwomen, men and boys, for that matter) rages on one simple thing remains fact: a law which will affect countless sex workers adversely is poised to go on the books in the UK, with, best as I can tell, no input from any sex workers and no real ear to the objections of any sex workers…

So once again, we have people building law and political prestige on our backs.

Now, I am not in the UK, nor are most of you, but that doesn’t mean this should not matter to us. Sex Workers in the UK are sex workers, just like us, and just as the UK looked to Sweden for inspiration, there is no guarantee where ever you are might not look to the UK for the same thing…

So yes, if you find this as annoying and patronizing and seriously ill advised as I do?

Say something, because if we don’t, nobody else will.

I’ve already said a few things

And why yes, please feel free to redistribute at will…

Noam Chomsky & Robert Jensen: Kinkphobes

This conversation was sent to us by a reader who wished to remain anonymous, and is referred to as such throughout this post.

I feel it’s time to discuss with my fellow kinksters (and a few others who might be sympathetic) the problem of certain alleged “progressives” who freely spout kink-hating bigotry, often in the name of feminism.

One of these is Robert Jensen, a journalism professor who’s made a side career of writing propaganda for the “feminist” anti-porn movement. One of his favorite pastimes seems to be reviewing works of pornography (to whose purported pernicious effects he seems inexplicably immune) and declaiming on which elements therein are “degrading” to women. In one piece last year, for instance, he informed the world that all DPs (double penetration scenes) are “degrading.” When some women responded to him by saying that they didn’t share this feeling, he swerved by insisting that however women felt about it, he knew that men liked watching these scenes because we perceive them that way. But did he offer any evidence to support this view? Not in the least. This looks for all the world like a case of projection to me! You can see some examples of his positions on this page, which references some of his work: https://againstpornography.org/.

Another kinkphobe is Noam Chomsky. This became apparent a couple years ago when he gave an interview to Hustler magazine, only to subsequently repudiate this action after being made aware of its other contents (Chomsky is totally clueless about popular culture by his own admission), including a photo spread accompanying the interview that included spanking. Unlike Jensen, Chomsky had not previously made plain that he was impervious to reason on this subject, so I attempted to engage him in conversation, stating up front how I felt his position denies the reality and legitimacy of my sexuality. (To avoid needlessly complicating the discussion, I identified to him as a bottom, though I’m actually a switch.) He totally refused to comprehend this point, and instead tried to claim that I was “telling him what he could feel” and even that I was arrogantly presuming to speak for 3 billion women — when that’s actually what he was doing!

A while later, thanks to other people on area kinkster lists, I became aware of a case in England illustrating the ugly ways kinkphobia can manifest, in the abusive treatment of a goth couple by a bus driver. I forwarded this to Chomsky, hoping it might induce him finally to see the light. Not only did he not see the light, he refused to even acknowledge the issue of kinkphobia in his response.

It’s now apparent that Chomsky is just as thoroughly blinded by bigotry on this question as Jensen, and I’ve advised both of them that I’ll protest if they come to this area. I urge everyone reading this to do likewise.

Copied below is my most recent correspondence with Chomsky.

Anonymous wrote:
‘I’m a human pet’: The Goth teenager whose fiance walks her around on a dog lead

So, where do you stand, Dr. Chomsky? Are Dani Graves and Tasha Maltby degrading women with their lifestyle choice, by doing in public exactly the same sort of thing which, when done in public through the medium of pornography, you’ve said is degrading to women? Or are they being degraded by this bus driver’s intolerance?

For my part, I just wrote the bus company via their webform (easily accessed via http://www.arrivabus.co.uk) and urged them to take the strongest possible disciplinary measures against the bus driver concerned. (I’ll follow up with a postal letter.) I encourage you to do likewise.

Noam Chomsky replied:
You’re entirely entitled to favor material that degrades women, just as racists are entitled to favor material that degrades blacks. But I don’t have time for either category, as I’ve repeatedly tried to explain

Anonymous replied:
So, you refuse to answer my question (and, yes, I really did take that long to read your response, because I was afraid it would be just what it was). Your bigotry toward erotic bottoms like me, and toward all sex workers, will be met with protest the next time you appear in my area.

BBC: The men who sleep with prostitutes

Awww, ‘Punters!’ I think we should adopt that term here in the US.

A few snippets from Finlo Rohrer’s article in BBC News Magazine:

Fantasy

“She doesn’t know. I don’t believe it’s changed my relationship with her in any way. To some extent I feel closer to her.

“I don’t have to demand things that maybe I was demanding from her, like oral sex and things like that. She didn’t like doing that. Now I no longer have to ask.”

Forming friendships

“It is a mixture of the convenience and the time aspect. I work very, very long hours.”

He recognises there is a stigma, but it is one he utterly rejects.

“Some of my friends are fully aware that I visit prostitutes. Many of them do themselves. There is this fear that it is in some way abusive. I would disagree with the idea that nobody chooses to do it for a living.”

Patrick views it as a totally mundane transaction between adults.

Silhouette of man's head
They seem to enjoy my company, several have moved onto more of a friendship aspect
Mark

“I see us as adults. I want to pay and someone wants to sell. As long as I’m not hurting them in any way what harm am I doing. I’m distributing my wealth to people who don’t have it.”

Patrick, Mark and Pete say they have never encountered a trafficked woman and that conversations with prostitutes lead them to believe it is rare.

“The perception is that everybody is trafficked,” says Mark. “The figures bandied around for the numbers of trafficked women are absurd.”

Mark’s position is clear. If he did meet a woman he suspected was trafficked he would do something about it, there and then.

Our friends in the UK are experiencing the same hostility that has produced terrible ‘End Demand’ policies here in the US and in Sweden. They need our support. Go leave some comments at the end of the article if you have a moment! We’ll post related info here at the site.

San Francisco hosts Sex Worker Advocates from New Zealand and England

RECEPTION FOR:
CATHERINE HEALY, NEW ZEALAND PROSTITUTION LAW REVIEW COMMITTEE &
NIKI ADAMS, ENGLISH COLLECTIVE OF PROSTITUTES
February 10th  6PM-10PM

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce that the US PROStitutes Collective (US PROS) and Sex Worker Outreach Project USA (SWOP) are hosting Catherine Healy, member of the New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee[1], on a visit to San Francisco.  Catherine was appointed to the Committee by the Minister of Justice and was a key member of the broad based coalition which achieved the decriminalization of prostitution in New Zealand in 2003.

 
Catherine comes to San Francisco from London, where she spoke at the House of Commons and various meetings around the country, at the invitation of the Safety First Coalition (chaired by the English Collective of Prostitutes – ECP).  Her tour transformed the debate on prostitution in the UK so that decriminalization, as practiced in New Zealand, is now discussed as a viable option.  A packed meeting in Parliament was attended by over 10 Lords and Ladies and inspired them and many others to vigorously oppose a government Bill which proposes compulsory “rehabilitation” for sex workers and measures to criminalize men who buy sex.
 
We are also glad to announce that Niki Adams, spokeswoman for the ECP, will be accompanying Catherine on her visit to the San Francisco Bay Area and can tell us more about these groundbreaking events. Niki has organised for sex worker rights for over 15 years.  Her work has helped set legal precedents which challenge discrimination and establish prostitute women’s right to protection. She was key to the first private prosecution for rape in England, brought by two prostitute women — the rapist was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years, She co-ordinates Legal Action for Women (LAW), an anti-sexist, anti-racist, legal service, founded in 1982, for low income women and their families based in London.
 
Catherine and Niki will be arriving in San Francisco on February 5 and leaving on February 12.  US PROS and SWOP USA along with SWOP NORCAL will host a reception – February 10th  6PM-10PM @ the Center for Sex and Culture theatre (1519 mission street.  Look for the green awning next to the le Duplex bar).  Snacks and drink will be available, donations welcome. For more info please email rachelwest@crossroadswomen.net  or info@swopusa.org.
 
 
Robyn Few                                                            Rachel West
Sex Worker Outreach Project                        US Prostitutes Collective


[1] The Prostitution Law Review Committee is an eleven member Committee appointed by the Minister of Justice. Nominations to the Committee were provided by the Ministers of Justice, Health, Police, Commerce, Local Government and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in consultation with the Minister of Youth Affairs and the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.