Pye Jacobsson on the realities of the “Swedish Model”

Very interesting, and decidedly unfeminist. And criminal!!

Sexism in Prosecution

So a woman and a man were caught by police while engaging in sex for goods (he offered her a case of chips in exchange for oral sex, to which she agreed). The woman got arrested, the man did not. The woman had her mug shot taken and released, and now published, the man did not. Nor was his name published. The woman’s was.

WTF??

Here is the story. (I am including the link to the SWOP LV News blog instead of original to try to give the woman some anonymity.)

Donna Hughes and Criminalizing Prostitution

Posted on behalf of B.

In her May 2, 2009 email, Professor Donna Hughes claims that criminalizing prostitution in Rhode Island will some how help victims of sex trafficking in the state. Despite what she says, Professor Hughes’ position amounts to a claim that the best way to help the victims of the crime of slavery is to spend large amounts of public money to arrest the very small number of victims of this serious crime and the much larger number of women who are not victims of any crime. This proposition makes no sense, violates any sense of justice and fairness and won’t work.

Arresting the victims of a serious crime so we can, in theory, get at the real criminals is just not an answer to anything. By making the victims criminals themselves, we would only strengthen the hold that the slavers have on them by increasing the victims’ fear of identifying themselves as victims to the police or anyone else. It will make the victims less talkative, not more talkative, since they will fear criminal punishment and deportation.

If Professor Hughes’ theory were correct, Rhode Island would be the sex trafficking capital of the US, and there would be no sex trafficking anywhere else in the country, except the two counties in Nevada where prostitution is legal. Obviously, this is not the case. Continue reading

“Erotic Services” Denied: Craigslist and Attorneys General Are Putting Sex Workers At Risk

This is a collaborative press release – please distribute and repost widely!

Contact:
Dylan Wolfe – Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK), swank@riseup.net
Will Rockwell – $pread Magazine, will@spreadmagazine.org
Audacia Ray – Sex Work Awareness (SWA), aray@sexworkawareness.org
Susan Blake – Prostitutes of New York (PONY), pony@panix.com
Michael Bottoms – Sex Workers Outreach Project – New York City (SWOP-NYC), info@swop-nyc.org

With Craigslist’s recent announcement that its Erotic Services category will be discontinued within the week, hundreds of thousands of erotic service providers will become more vulnerable to dangerous predators. Eliminating erotic listings as Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others propose will only drive us further underground.

Policing the masseuses, phone workers, pro-dominants, and escorts using Craigslist fails to protect those of us who are coerced into the sex industry. Preventing the use of Craigslist advertisements also eliminates the advantage of screening clients online, which makes for a safer work experience by filtering out potentially dangerous individuals. Furthermore, keeping us offline hinders police investigations of violent crime. In the Boston murder of Julissa Brisman, it was online tracking that enabled the police to identify the suspect. One has to wonder: are the Attorneys General examining the evidence or simply enforcing their moral values?

“Removing the erotic services category from Craigslist does not help prevent violence against escorts and other sex workers. It only pushes me and people like me out of the places where advertising is available,” said Jessica Bloom, a sex worker from Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK). In the face of increasing criminalization, we insist upon respect. As mothers, daughters, brothers, and members of your community, we claim that sex work is real work, work that we are entitled to conduct in safety. As such, we must be accorded the human right of full protection under the law.

Rhode Island getting closer to outlawing indoor sex work.

Today is a busy day for Sex Worker Rights.  With news of Craigslist(only in the US) canceling the Erotic Services section, we’ve had a flurry of press calls.  Plus Rhode Island (the only state where indoor prostitution is legal) just had the house pass H5044 Sub A, the vote was 62 to 8, and this is the 4th year they’ve tried it, and it’s gotten way farther (it’s never even got out of committee before).  If you care about this issue, especially if you are in Rhode Island, PLEASE CALL a state senator in RI, by filling out the bottom form at this page: http://www.sec.state.ri.us/vic/ to track down who your senator is. (Yes they make it complicated, so that you WON’T talk to them, prove them wrong!)

Does anyone have an update on Michigan 2L?

Michigan 2L

I posted this at Christmas, and it probably didn’t get a lot of views because of the holidays, but I feel this is extremely improtant to follow up on. Does anyone know anything else about this case?

She is a law student at UM, Ann Arbor, and she posted an ad on craigslist. The ad was answered by one of her professors, making for an awkward moment for both. They both decided to go through with the appt, and he wanted to experiment with spanking. He ended up beating the shit out of her, and she was able to get away. She went to the cops to report assault (she was bruised and couldn’t see out of one eye), and the cops told her that they could arrest both of them for prostitution or she could just go away and forget it.

Modern-Day Witch Hunt

Prostitution is now apparently a federal crime

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Remember when we were all discussing the silly idea that the House had come up with in their version of the TVPRA? The one that proposed that the FBI should be fighting prostitution as it is “synonymous with trafficking”? Well, turns out that legislation never needed to be passed. The FBI is currently fighting prostitution in a nation-wide sweep under the guise of fighting child prostitution. It is a modern-day witch-hunt. How many consenting adult women’s lives have been ruined by these costly and ineffective arrests?

…some 17 FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women…

Seventeen to two??

…one of the women screamed at the top of her lungs, then rolled around on the floor hyperventilating…

Wow.

…the FBI, Boston police, and State Police said they were at the hotel conducting an undercover investigation as part of “Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide initiative of the US Justice Department aimed at cracking down on child prostitution…

Didn’t the Justice Department come out against the demands of the House version?

“Generally, these things can be investigated and taken down quietly, but sometimes circumstances outside our control occur,” said Russell Kleber, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, adding that the arrests were “aimed at combating sex trafficking of children.”

The goal of the sweeps, being conducted in over 30 cities, is to target pimps, rescue juveniles, and gather intelligence, according to law enforcement officials.

The Boston sting led to the arrests of five women, ages 19 to 33, who allegedly showed up at the Marriott after agreeing to provide sex for up to $300 an hour to undercover officers. The officers had responded to advertisements posted on the Craigslist website, according to Boston police reports.

Apparently as of last October they had arrested 600 adult prostitutes in this “sweep”.  According to a report from 1987 (quoted in this article– I have a copy of the actual paper if anyone wants one), it cost police about $2000 per arrest. That’s $1.2 million 1987 dollars. Extrapolate that to today’s dosh, and then add in how much more the FBI officers presumably make than the local and state police, and you’ve got a hefty sum of cash being spent on arresting adults engaging in consensual activity. Shouldn’t they be investigating other things? Like terrorism or fraud, perhaps?

This “sweep” is clearly a modern-day witch hunt, persecuting women.  The house seems to have gotten their way. Will this continue under Obama?

Meanwhile, working folks, beware of Craigslist. They’re out to get you.

Holy Shit

This is absolutely imperative for everyone here to read. It was posted on Feministe on December 17th- unbelievably appropriate. We must contact this young lady somehow to let her know we are there for her.

“Perhaps she should have cracked a legal textbook before coming in to the police station to talk about this,” Ann Arbor Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

This is a direct cut-and-paste:

The Michigan 2L Speaks Out

Posted by: Jill in Crime, Law, Law School, Sex Work

The woman who was charged for reporting her assault has spoken out, sending an email to law school networks and posting a comment on Above the Law. A lot of people have been talking about her and she certainly deserves space to respond and to tell her story, so I’m posting her comment in full below.

My word of (unsolicited) advice for her, should she read this: You have people behind you. Really. You have me. You have a whole community of women and men who read this blog, some of whom are commenting on this post to show their support for you. You are incredibly brave and strong for reporting your assault. You are incredibly selfless and kind in thinking about the other women who might be protected by your report. You do not deserve the treatment you’ve gotten.

Don’t bother with the comments on ATL, or worry about what the loudest law students will say on a private listserve. I haven’t read them, but I know from some experience that a lot of people who sit around commenting anonymously on law school and legal practice websites are among the nastiest on the internet. They do not represent most lawyers or most law students or most people. You have people, all over the country, who are supporting you, and we’re all sending our best wishes your way. If there’s anything the Feministe community can do to show our support, feel free to email me.

For this thread, I will be deleting any nasty comments, or comments that treat the Michigan 2L like a hypothetical and not like a real person. That said, I do ask that Feministe readers — even lurkers! — leave messages of support for the Michigan 2L, in case she reads this.

2L, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Keep fighting. You have an army of supporters right behind you.

______________________________________________
Dear Law School,

I’m the girl who got into the mess with the professor. I posted a version of this in the comments on ATL, because using my uniquename email on lawopen means outing myself, which gives the press permission to publish my name. Fortunately, one of my classmates has offered to transmit this message to you on my behalf. Those of you who don’t know who I am yet will find out soon enough.

Most of you probably don’t know what it’s like to push a boxcutter into your own wrist and neck. Or what it’s like to walk home from the psych ward, and set to the task of cleaning a room covered in your own blood. Or how humiliating and degrading it is to be penetrated against your will. You probably read the newspaper story, but you should know that it contained factual errors, and that it omitted significant details from the police report. I had no idea what I was walking into, and I’m lucky that I’ve made it through alive.

A month after I was assaulted, I attempted suicide over the whole mess. I’ve been unable to sleep or study, for fear of this story being published. I’ve had PTSD rape dreams. Everything I’ve worked for my entire life, personally, academically, professionally, has been harmed, and I’ve spent $20,000 trying to put it all right again. And I have, in fact, been prosecuted and will be required to pay a debt to society. All I can hope is that the bar will see that this was an aberrant moment in the life of a severely depressed, suicidal, isolated person.

Reading some of your comments makes me want to go crawl under a rock and never come out. But some of your comments have made me think that maybe I can show my face again. It’s difficult reading all of these things written about me without being able to offer an explanation/defense/vignette:

I worked my way through undergrad on my own, doing crazy hours on top of a full course-load. In fact, I’ve worked every kind of menial, low-paid job since I was 15; I’ve never thought I was above any kind of work, or better than anyone else I worked with, because we were all there together. But last semester I’d been so depressed that I could barely even get myself to class, let alone keep up with my finances. In April I realized I couldn’t pay the rent for May, and my parents weren’t an option. Nor was anyone else, because there weren’t really very many people in my life at that time. The housing crisis made it so that I couldn’t get an additional loan without a co-signer. I should have found some other way, but at the time none of my thoughts were very healthy.

I love the law just as much as you do, and I like to think about the ways that it shapes the world we live in. I watch a lot of movies, and go to the gym when I can. I have dear friends at other law schools who I try to keep in touch with. I’m a quiet, introverted, sensitive person; I think I’ve read every post on lawopen and ATL, and taken them all very personally. I used to be a proud atheist, but now I know that God saved my life the night I tried to take it. I also know that God kept the man in that hotel room from killing me, because he was completely out-of-control.

I went to the police the following morning because my vision was blurred from having been hit in the face. The bruises from his belt didn’t go away for a week. I later found out that this man had targeted other sex workers, making him a serial sexual sadist. Violent men target sex workers because they know sex workers are isolated, fearful, and ashamed, and won’t go to the police.

Going to the police seems like a stupid move, as many of you have pointed out. But I was afraid for the next woman he “contracted with.” And I felt so worthless and used that I didn’t care about throwing everything I’d ever worked for. I felt so terrible, and I thought that the police would make it right… that’s what the justice system is about, right?

It’s clear to me now that the AAPD thinks this is funny. That’s why they’re not going through with the assault charge.

What I did was wrong, and I’m a criminal for having done it. But if this had been any other misdemeanor like drug use/possession, DUI, public intoxication, open container, gambling, vandalism, petty theft, or simple assault, there wouldn’t have been a two-page article in the paper. And if you got rid of all of the lawyers who had done one of the above at some point, there’d be a severe shortage.

I also feel compelled to say that despite what many of you have expressed, I am not disease-ridden; my lifetime number is still under 20. I consider myself to be well-informed in the area of reproductive rights and health, and I think everyone has a responsibility to inform their partners of their sexual history, not just sex workers. I’m recently tested, and I don’t have AIDS, herpes, Hep B, syphilis, the clap, or chancroid. And I don’t judge those people who have contracted an STD at some point, because if you’re not a virgin, you take a calculated risk every time you have sex. If you have had sex with more than one person and you don’t have a viral STD, it’s because you’re lucky.

I’m not writing because I want pity. I’m writing because the future lawyers who read this need to understand that the answer is seldom ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but often ‘it depends.’ Good people do bad things sometimes, for a variety of reasons. The reason we have ‘bright line’ rules is because there is so much gray out there. And it’s only through compassion and understanding that anyone is able to make sense of it all. My crime was a cry for help.

Finally, I wish to apologize for having brought negative attention to this prestigious law school. But I expect that every amazing thing you do will outshine my mistake- it really is an honor to be a member of such an accomplished community of people. I hope that you won’t shun me, or completely expel me from social/academic/service life at the University. Many seem to think about this as if it were some complicated hypothetical on a Torts exam. But, I’m still the same girl you knew before. And right now I’m struggling with the reality of public humiliation. I haven’t directly talked to any of you about this because I imagine some of you will want to distance yourselves from me, and I don’t wish to impose myself upon you; I don’t really know who I can still call a friend, but I’ll find out soon enough.

– That 2L Girl (’A’ & ‘384′ on ATL)

PLEASE, PLEASE go there and read the comments.

Trouble Viewing Dec. 17 Videos on BNG

I’m having trouble viewing the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers videos posted on BNG from my computer.  They’re coming up as empty squares with a box in the upper corner.  Is anybody else having this problem?

Sex Workers & HIV/AIDS: Reality Check

Melissa Ditmore’s latest piece at http://www.realitycheck.com: Punishing Sex Workers Won’t Cure HIV/AIDS, Says Ban Ki-moon

Add United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the list of people who understand that arresting and punishing sex workers is counter-productive in the battle against HIV/AIDS. And take the government of Cambodia off that list.

The Global Working Group on HIV and Sex Work Policy wrote to Ban in June to applaud his statement commending the findings of a March report that favored decriminalizing sex work. The Report of the Commission on AIDS in Asia noted that sex workers are part of the solution to preventing the spread of HIV, and advised countries to “avoid programs that accentuate AIDS-related stigma and can be counterproductive. Such programs may include ‘crack-downs’ on red-light areas and arrest of sex workers.”

To express their gratitude for this understanding, sex workers and advocates circulated a statement at the June 11-12 UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS as Ban spoke to the gathering in New York. “Sex workers thank [Ban] for his support of their efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” the statement said.

The March report strongly advised countries to enlist sex workers in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV. It included firm recommendations against punitive measures targeting sex work and other frowned-upon behaviors, on the grounds that such approaches have proven counter-productive. The UN Secretary-General supported these recommendations in his statement and sex workers everywhere are grateful.

Unfortunately, some governments continue to deny reality.

Under pressure from the United States, Cambodia outlawed prostitution in February. The government’s promotion of a “no condoms, no sex” program in legal brothels there had succeeded in reducing HIV infection rates, but now those brothels have closed or gone underground, along with bars, karaoke clubs and street areas. Hundreds of women have been arrested, jailed or displaced, while dozens have been raped and beaten by police and prison guards. The HIV prevention and care programs that were working have collapsed.

Move Along

Last week, I was reading over “Move Along: Policing Sex Work in Washington, D.C.”. I expected to find a post about the report up on BnG, but alas, there has been no mention as far as I can tell. And that’s a shame.

Released on May 1, 2008, the study is “the product of a year-long community based research project.” “The project is the result of work by representatives of communities affected by policing in the District including sex workers, transgender people, and immigrants.”

Key findings in the study include:

Survey respondents who had interactions with police reported negative experiences six times more often than positive experiences during those interactions and when locked up. These experiences included confiscation of condoms and other safe sex supplies by police, assault, strip search, being asked to provide sexual favors to the police, verbal abuse, discrimination and false arrest because officers profiled the person as a prostitute, and anti-immigrant discrimination.

Latinos, transgender people and youth and young adults were disproportionately subjected to police mistreatment and abuse “They attacked me instead of helping me,” said a young Latina transgender woman when describing the police reaction when she called for help after being sexually assaulted.

Communities affected by policing of prostitution want to see the District change its approach to the issue of commercial sex, including considering stopping prostitution-related arrests, holding police accountable for abuse, changing prostitution laws, increasing resources for services, and supporting sex workers and others to organize to defend their human rights.

To read more, you can view the Executive Summary and the full report
on the Different Avenues website. (Both documents are in pdf format.) The Executive Summary concludes with a list of Key Recommendations that BnG readers will appreciate!

Spitzer call girl sues ‘Girls Gone Wild’ for $10 million

By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI – The call girl linked to the downfall of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer sued the founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” series on Monday for $10 million, claiming he exploited her image and name to advertise the racy videos

Ashley Alexandra Dupre, 22, contended in the lawsuit that she was only 17 — too young to sign legally binding contracts — and drunk on spring break in 2003 when she agreed to be filmed for “Girls Gone Wild” in Miami Beach.

Dupre “did not understand the magnitude of her actions, nor that her image and likeness would be displayed in videos and DVDs,” says the lawsuit filed by Miami attorney Richard C. Wolfe.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami names as defendants “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis, two of his companies and a man purportedly involved in creation of two Internet sites that the lawsuit contends improperly use Dupre’s image to sell DVDs and other products.

More

Um, if you want to use my story….

Yesterday I posted a very sincere post about a conversation that I had with my mother. Later, Jessica at Jezebel posted this:

Karly Kirchner of sex-worker site Bound, Not Gagged recounts a similarly accepting response from her mom, but adds that she wants her mother to start reading her posts on the blog.

She goes on to quote Morgan Winters, whose bio at Utne Reader says:

Morgan Winters graduated from the University of Minnesota. He enjoys writing about media, food, and uncomfortable social situations—but never a combination of the three. With confidence and authority, Morgan does his best to convince his two children to listen to him. He rarely succeeds.

Wow. This guy sounds like an expert on the sex industry. Jezebel continues:

Perhaps those posts will lead Ms. Kirchner’s mother to a deeper understanding of the oldest profession and her daughter’s reasons for choosing it. But, says Morgan Winter on the Utne Reader‘s website, “There seems to be two basic motivations for writing about one’s tenure as a hooker, neither educational. The prostitute either wants to glorify or vilify the industry and its consumers. Either of these seems simplistic and disingenuous. After all, not only are we talking about the oldest profession, we’re also trying to understand arguably the most complicated physiological aspect of nature—sex—through books about themes that, if authored by anybody other than former prostitutes, would fall under the ‘teen’ section in the local library.” Even with a more nuanced view of prostitution, I can’t imagine any mother would be particularly thrilled to discover that her daughter was a hooker. I got an awkwardly scolding phone call from my mother when I wrote about foreskins. I can’t even imagine what she’d say if I told her I touched them for a living!

I am sorry for (correction) Jessica that her family is so uncomfortable with the human body that she would be scolded, as an adult, for writing about a simple part of the male anatomy. It’s no wonder that Winters would simplify a sex worker’s desire to tell her own story as either glorifying or vilifying the industry. Of course. We are either rabid, angry victims who are shameful and resentful of our past, or we are deluded gold-diggers.

When Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross pull this kind of shit, I’m not surprised. But if gossip blogs want to be taken seriously, you may want to actually re-post material available in the wealth of writing available on the ‘net by actual sex workers, we are the ‘experts.’

And Mr. Winters, you may want to stick to writing about food and socially-awkward situations that you’ve actually experienced yourself. It’s sad that a writer from Utne, who gave $pread Magazine an award for best new publication in 2005 (or 2006?) a publication that we thought supported the voices of sex workers, would over-simplify and minimize the experience and writing of sex workers.

His quote really does summarize his own as well as Jessica’s posts:

Either of these seems simplistic and disingenuous.

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

Everyone, meet Alex…

He’s quite the charmer and businessman…and apparently, finds violence against sex workers amusing.

What kind of job do you have to pay just to go to work?

Many of us know this song and dance all too well.

Dancers at Queens Club Claim Wage Violations

If the dancers win their lawsuit, it could have ripple effects at the city’s many for-hire dance clubs, latter-day versions of Depression-era joints where men paid 10 cents for a dance. Many of today’s dancers, like their customers, are illegal immigrants who earn their money off the books. Amy Carroll, a lawyer for Make the Road, said it was ridiculous for the Flamingo to suggest that the dancers were independent contractors.

“It seems that Flamingo is doing the worst of both worlds,” she said. “They’re not paying the workers anything, and they’re controlling every aspect of the dancers’ work life. They tell them what days to work, what time to show up, what outfits to wear, what makeup to use. They even make the dancers sign in and out to go to the restroom. That level of control makes them employees, not independent contractors.”

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network on Blog Talk Radio

Here is the latest updated program listing. All shows available at www.xxbn.net www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast Times listed are Eastern time. All programing subject to change. All previous programs are archived, please check for great guests. Thank you to Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and The Naked Heroes for their music for our programs. Listener call number 646.200.3136

  [172657]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
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. We provide leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labour and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171963]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet pxrn performer, sex workers rights advocate
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/3/2008
6:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [172663]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Discussing the alleged “The Pimp Lobby” Maxine Doogan, Jill Brenneman and other guests..
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
12:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com​ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.com​ht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [172226]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Gracie Passette Gracie Passette is a sex worker, though no longer working directly with clients in the flesh; she now uses media to work with the issues of sexuality.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/5/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173836]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network SerpentLibertine
SerpentLibertine is a veteran sex worker and activist with Sex Worker’s Outreach Project-Chicago. She has worked in many facets of the sex industry as a dominatrix, escort, masseuse, and madam, as well as behind the camera doing castin, camera, and sound on shoots. She is currently creating sex worker made videos and podcasts for her new project, Red Light District Chicago and helping organize the Desiree Alliance Conference in Chicago in Summer of 2008. You can also visit her blog at http://www.sexpr Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/6/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173589]
XBN Swopeast Broadcast Network
Queen of the Sky the Most Famous Blog-Fired Flight Attendant”
Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/7/2008
4:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [171042]
XBN Special Guest Der Gregor
Der Gregor- FEMINISM UNMODIFIED Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/7/2008
11:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173109]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/8/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173858]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
The Naked Heroes, time to be determined Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/10/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173647]
TBD
TBD Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/22/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes

Ode to my favorite whore

Alternative title: From the outside to the inside – I’ll never be the same and that’s a good thing.

I am a college student. I have been one for a long, long time. I’ve been told I should try sex work. I would be open to it if I could get hard without being turned on. Plus, I get stage fright. I guess I am open to certain, very specific scenarios that I won’t ever find because I don’t have the time to seek them out (but the word is out with certain extremely competent Dom friends). So, I am a student for real, but I identify with whores. In another year, with a little luck and a shitload of work, some people will call me “Doctor.” My most recent stint began with a move across the country to a state I had never seen before. In fact, the first time I saw this state was from the driver’s seat of my U-Haul. I was moving to a town in which I didn’t know a single soul. All my friends said “Wow. Well, that place will be quite a bit different than here.” They couldn’t have been more correct. For all the shit we “Americans” get about how we supposedly all live—like we are all characters from Friends—our country is made of regions that might as well be different countries. My new town caused me culture shock that lasted for a couple of months. It was prolonged because I managed to talk a girl into driving out with me. I never intended for this to happen, but she ended up stayed for a month and a half before heading back to the other coast—which delayed my entire adjustment process. I was now all alone in a very strange place.

 

Like many other lonely people, I started cruising Craigslist. I found an ad that struck me in a way I couldn’t ignore. Since I was in my late 20s and good looking, it never occurred to me to check out the Casual Encounters section. Basically, I knew nothing at all about the sex industry. Well, not exactly nothing. I knew that I loved porn. In fact, it was a major source of friction with a previous girlfriend. In short, I stood up for my porn. At one point, my girlfriend said I had to choose between her and porn. I tried to tell her that was like choosing between air and water, but she didn’t understand. It ended up being more like choosing between air and a really fast car that broke down all the time. I am rambling now and that is another story.

 

I also had some minimal knowledge of strip clubs. However, they made me fairly uncomfortable and the drinks were way too much money. But, the dancers were hot and looked like they were having fun and many of them made their way into my memory—filed under “spanking material.”

 

At the time, sex work was not something I thought about a lot. I did believe a lot of the misinformation distributed by the media—but never gave it enough thought to discredit it. My mother was a second wave feminist, so I also had a bit of guilt about all my porn consumption (although the naughtiness of it was a big turn-on). BUT. I did know there had to be another side to the story. If sex work was so bad, why were so many girls and guys doing it? With the internet, I could see 40 different girls per session and not see the same girl twice in several months. Also, the girls at the strip club really did seem to enjoy themselves.

 

So, back to my new strange town and this Craigslist ad. The ad began like many other W4M ads—a checklist of requirements for the applicant. Oddly enough, I honestly met all of the requirements of this ad. Then, and this is what blew my mind, the ad described its author: Confident, attractive, intelligent, new to the area, and (I quote) “a vegetarian, so I taste good.” The woman was looking for “clean boys for dirty fun.” The woman also mentioned she traveled a lot and was very independent, so was not looking for a boyfriend. The ad was extremely well-written, it used proper grammar, and I could just tell the author was quite intelligent.

 

Holy Jesus! It was perfect. It was also one of the first times I actually responded to an online personal. I just had to meet this woman! I ruled out the possibility of her being a spammer—she mentioned the town by name in the ad AND it was way too witty and original to be a fake.

 

It took about an hour for me to write the response. I really had to give this my best shot since, I was certain she probably got about 3,000 responses.

 

By the next morning, there was a reply! The reply was also intelligent and interesting. It also came with a picture. The picture was obviously professionally done. This woman was beautiful! We exchanged a few more emails and decided to meet each other.

 

When we met, I was nervous and there was no denying it or hiding it. I hadn’t felt like that since early in high school (the wall-flower days before I learned how to be confident—or apathetic, depending on the situation). Occasionally, a pretty girl can intimidate me, but usually I can hide it. This time, I could not hide it. This girl was not only beautiful, but her emails were incredibly witty and interesting. Now, I was finally seeing her in person and she was even better looking than her pictures (on a side note, she has since met better photographers and her pictures now approach her actual beauty). She smiled and I melted. So genuine and beautiful! I didn’t know what else to do, so I asked what she would like to drink and her request happened to be my usual drink. Wow.

 

Luckily, by the time those drinks were half gone, my nervousness was entirely gone. This girl was also a very skilled conversationalist—possibly even better than my father’s barber. We talked for a couple of hours and a few more drinks. Before long, it felt like I knew her for years. It really struck me how well developed her political and social ideas were—she was extremely radical, but to say her views were logical and well-supported is a tremendous understatement. Her radicalism was genuine. People who parrot radical ideas to impress other people piss me off. It takes passion to know how to support radical ideas and even more rare is the commitment and selflessness necessary to spread those ideas and make them seem like common sense. People who have this passion and commitment are able to spot their own kind—they have to. It is necessary because they are small in number, but through meeting and collaborating with each other, their ability to make change expands exponentially (I see this happening on BNG).

 

We talked about a very wide range of issues in a conversation that flowed very naturally. It was obvious we shared a lot of common ideals—mostly clustered around social justice and freedom of opportunity for marginalized groups.

 

One question was still rattling around in my head. This person was so articulate and honest, but three hours of intense political conversation and personal history had gone by and I still did not know how she made a living. She mentioned that she used to strip, but now works for herself and spends time working with advocacy groups who fight for sex worker’s rights. She had a lot of stories about traveling, political activism and volunteer work. I know from my experience that activism and volunteering cant support this kind of travel. I thought she was either a stripper or a trust fund baby who felt a social obligation. Pretty soon, bits of stories and mentions of her family ruled out the trust fund baby theory.

 

Three hours went by like 5 minutes and she asked me if I’d like to go to her place because she had some herb. Of course I went. Even if I didn’t enjoy it, I would have gone. We finally had a moment where there was a lull in the conversation and I asked what she did for a living. She said point blank, looking me directly in the eye, “I’m an escort.” I asked “does that mean you take men out to dinner and shit?” She said “Sometimes, but mostly we just fuck.”

 

At the time, I had a comfortable buzz (not drunk, mind you—we were talking too much for me to actually get drunk), so my reaction was to roll with it. She said something along the lines of how she liked stripping, but found that being an escort suited her better because she could work entirely independently. Then (about 30 seconds after telling me she was a hooker) she said she had a client coming in 15 minutes, but that she really enjoyed hanging out with me. I returned the compliment and she asked if I would like to come back in about an hour and a half. I said “sure—give me a call.”

 

When I was driving home, I was in the weirdest state of mind. I thought about how life is not at all random. This person was exactly who I needed to meet at this point in my life. For one thing, I was very horny, and I thought that this person had to be down with casual sex. For another, I was in need of a good friend. Oh shit. Sex plus very good friend in the past has equaled relationship. I remember thinking about how I promised myself not to give my heart to someone who would break it—which at that point, basically meant not having a serious, monogamous relationship. I thought to myself “This is good. A friend who will have sex, but won’t become my girlfriend.” At the time, I believed her choice of work would keep me from getting too serious with her. This was my first personal contact with whore stigma. I try to be an honest person, but how could I tell my friends and family that I was falling in love with a prostitute? I thought “if she actually calls me, I will go back.” She called and I went back to her place and we DIDN’T EVEN HAVE SEX—despite the fact we met looking for casual sex on Craigslist.

 

She and I developed a very deep love for each other. If felt natural—actually, it felt inevitable. She taught me how to teach myself about polyamory. Through her, I learned and explored things like how societal constructs and conventions can be so ingrained that we mistake them as natural, universal and sourced within ourselves—when really, they are as about as natural as any other thing humans create, like Styrofoam, Chicken McNuggets or AK-47s that come from society. A prime example is jealousy. We are taught to be jealous when someone we love fucks someone else. Once I realized that jealousy is really just a reaction to a personal insecurity—jealousy is a thing I got from society: a convenient, pre-packaged way to deal with my perception of inadequacy. Jealousy—at one time the cause of so much pain in my life, is now something I understand and can actually reject, because I realize now that it is a distraction—a misdirection of energy that prevents me from exploring something scary (which like many scary things become less threatening once you learn more about it). I learned enough from her to write a book (and someday, I might just do that). She is a great friend who introduced me to some amazing people. She even helped me with my professional work (advocating for a marginalized group of people). She became my best friend very quickly. We went on many adventures together and shared enormous portions of our lives with each other.

 

Now, after two and a half years. It is time for a change. We both feel the need to step away from the fire. I need to retreat back into my solitude to confront personal demons that have hurt both of us and she has work to do as well. I managed to keep my promise not to let someone break my heart, but it is not because I protected it or kept it from her. It is because she is one of the best people I have ever met. She is that rare someone who lives by her own high standards (which means she is a fighter and can really piss people off). Once, I said one of the things that made me happiest about her was that I knew for certain that she was with me by choice—and if she was ever uncertain about that choice, she’d be gone. She, like many of the other whores I’ve come to know, is among the strongest and most capable people I know.

 

Our society has its good and its terrible aspects. I tend to believe our society must change because its terrible aspects are out of control. This is especially evident to me right now. Poor pitiful whores, it says. No way. OR it’s that nasty evil whore. Again—no way. This whore is anything but pitiful and certainly isn’t evil. She can have the piece of my heart I gave her. I know she will take care of it—just like how she takes care of her best clients. I also know the farthest I will ever be from her is a phone call—which at this time, seems like the best distance. And me, I took a test that said if I was an animal, I would be a wolf. I face a dilemma of being a social creature who cares very intensely for a few select people, but I also need a wide space to roam by myself. I know now that this whore I met on Craigslist also needs her space to roam—but she’s more like a queen bee (the test said she was a badger, I think that’s because she was in a bad mood when I made her take it after I found out I was a cool animal). And now, she needs to tend to her hive—which needs her more than ever. It seems like a tipping point for sex workers rights (and maybe, hopefully, even perceptions of sexuality in general) is on the horizon and her strength is better applied pushing the movement over that tipping point in the best direction than dealing with a crazy ass like me. She is a visionary, revolutionary, sharp as a fucking tack force of nature. She is flying away tomorrow, and I had to get this out—as much for myself as for her or, for anyone who doesn’t think whores are real people who are contributing to our society (and always have been–think: which women were the first to learn to read and write and more directly, who has been whispering into the ear of society’s most powerful men for as long as there has been society?) I feel like a more capable, stronger person for having met her–if for nothing else, if I am facing a tough decision or ethical dilemma I can now answer the question: “What would that whore I met on Craigslist do?” (WWTWIMOCLD?) I love her and always will—the whore I met on Craigslist.

Live on Blog Talk Radio XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network 5PM Eastern Saturday 3.29.08

XBN Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

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Upcoming Guests

Guest Carol Leigh! Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot Unrepentant Whore published by Last Gasp Carol Leigh,

3/31/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171865]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest to be determined

4/1/2008
8:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest to be determined

4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet porn performer, sex workers rights


Everyone 4/3/2008
9:30 PM
60 Minutes [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com
ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.comht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights. internet, jill brenneman XBN, Melissa Gira, sex work, sex workers, sex workers outreach project, swop, swopeast Politics Progressive
Mature 4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes

All previous shows are available for playback or download at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Previous Guests include:

Veronica Monet

Constance Sisk

Stacey from Desiree Alliance

Maxine Doogan

Amanda Brooks

And a live call in show after a Presentation by Jill Brenneman at William & Mary, this program hosted by Amanda Brooks, features many live calls from the presentation audience from the Brenneman presentation who stayed and joined XBN’s live broadcast which was being simulcast over the auditorium. This presentation was in response to the significant protest and backlash against the organizers and supporters of the Sex Worker’s Art Show Appearance at William & Mary and protests against the Sex Workers Art Show themselves. As the show demonstrates there is a lot of support for the Sex Workers Art Show at William and Mary.

Many outstanding guests are being scheduled, please watch for updates! If you would like to be a guest on this revolutionary project bringing sex workers voices to the media please contact www.swopeast.org

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XBN: Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

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Spitzer linked to most recent NYC bust

Woman arrested by NYC Vice still no legal consequences for Spitzer…

spitzer2.jpg

From Gawker:

We never thought we’d see the day when the Governor of New York’s illegal sex trysts would give us only a renewed sense of ennui, but: Okay, we get it. The guy liked hookers. If the Post keeps this up, lots of other valuable yellow journalism will fail to make the front page.