Two Goddess Temples Raided in Arizona

Two Goddess temples were raided in Arizona, and some people were arrested on prostitution charges. More arrests may be coming: http://veganvixen1.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/phoenix-goddess-temple-raided/  .

‘No Humans Involved:’ Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers

Updated: Today the Gay City News, which is the most widely circulated gay weekly in the United States, published this editorial entitled “No Humans Involved’: End Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers.” I’m linking it here, because I didn’t just write it for the ‘gaystream.’ I also wrote it for the sex worker movement, which produced some very nontrans ‘woman’-centric statements for the Day to End Violence. The fact is that queer and transgender sex workers, especially people of color, low-income folks, and homeless persons, have long been targets of cops and serial killers. In response to some of the comments this post has already generated; acknowledging this fact does not in any way ‘fragment’ the movement and it doesn’t ‘blame’ or ‘scare off’ some ‘invisible majority’ of sex workers that would somehow tip the scales of public opinion in our favor.

In any case, if acknowledging that racism and homophobia and transphobia are all tied up in the policing of sex work is frightening your ‘majority’ off, that’s because of racism, homophobia, transphobia and internalized whorephobia itself. It’s absolutely criminal that you are accusing people organizing around their identities, and this editorial itself, of being ‘fragmenting’ for the movement. Read it yourself. Tell me again why I should shut up and let the ‘majority’ keep flapping their gums about this supposedly universal ‘good girl’ whore. Tell me again why you need this rotten ‘respectability’ in order to lure the straights and the Republican strippers and the property owning madames who would sooner take her 50 percent than give a damn.

What’s more, acknowledging our differences can strengthen our alliances with other movements. The fact that this editorial was published in a major ‘gay’ publication speaks to this possibility. This is a small step in the direction of remembering and reclaiming the names of those who have died but who have been ignored by us: like the young hustlers who faced death alone in the cold arms of heartless killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy, Jr., but also those of us who have been raped by the police, kicked out of our homes, incarcerated, and abandoned by our families.

‘No Humans Involved’: Ending Violence Against Queer and Transgender Sex Workers

To mourn the victims of murder, incarceration, and intimate partner violence in their midst, this past December 17, sex workers, clients, and allies filled New York City’s Metropolitan Community Church and marked the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The Day was honored by more than 27 cities this year, from Nairobi to Hong Kong. Here in New York, the high-ceiling room of the church reverberated with the names of the dead.

Continue reading

A ‘course’ on trafficking with only one hurdle

Following up on the issue of misuse of academic status and questionable credentials, last year she included a piece of my writing in the syllabus of a course at the University of Rhode Island called Human Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery. Mine appears to be the only reading not taking an avidly ‘anti-trafficking’ stance. The goals for learning about the week’s topic, Analyses of Sex Trafficking & Prostitution, were:  ‘Read different analyses and perspectives on sex trafficking and prostitution from different philosophical and analytical perspectives: Christian, feminist, psychological, and economic migrant workers rights.’ This sounds good, but here is the list of readings:

Enslaved in America, Tina Frundt
A Christian Perspective on Sexual Trafficking, Lisa Thompson
Prostitution and Male Supremacy: A Feminist Analysis, Andrea Dworkin
Working in the European Sex Industry: Migrant Possibilities, Laura Agustín
The Swedish Law that Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services, Gunilla Ekberg
Survivors of Trafficking and Prostitution Manifesto
Not Sex Work

I believe all the other pieces are fundamentally against prostitution per se and against the idea of sex work as work ever. In that case, students are not getting a rounded view of the varying ways to think about the issues. My piece is anthropological, an exposition of what I’d learned through spending years hanging out/doing research with migrants who sell sex. I wrote it at the request of the editor of a Madrid migration journal who asked for an article about migrants who sell sex that would be free of moralising. I agreed without for a moment imagining the enormous conflict that would arise when I turned in what to me seemed to be a harmless, purely descriptive piece. You can read more about that drama in this piece today on Harlot’s Parlour.

The following section is, I’m told, what totally winds up certain people – theory and background information apart. It’s from ‘Working in the European Sex Industry: Migrant Possibilities,’ Laura Agustín, translated from the original ‘Trabajar en la industria del sexo’, OFRIM/Suplementos, June 2000. This piece wins me endless emails from kids in Latin America looking for employment, by the way.

‘If we look at the description of what constitutes the industry, we find possible jobs as a telephone worker, in which the client is not even seen. Or as a striptease artist, which in many places involves dancing nude and nothing more. Even if we talk about ‘full sex’, it isn’t the same doing it for a pornographic film as in a brothel (or, for example, with clients of sexologists. Obviously, they are different jobs, some carried out in bars, others in houses, offices or examination rooms. In some the worker controls the situation and the hours more; in others he lacks control. Some are well paid, others not. Some services seem easy to perform to some people, while to others they seem difficult. The boss or owner of the place may be the most important element in some jobs. In short, everything depends on the specific situation. It’s the same if we look at the many forms of physical/sexual contact, of serving the client. [5] Obviously, performing oral sex on a client in a car or in an alley in the rain is not the same as spending a shift inside a club with heating, where you talk and have drinks as well as sex with clients. We can however point out some necessary abilities for carrying out these jobs well, that is, in the most efficient and less problematic manner. In general terms:

• The essence of the work is giving pleasure to others. The worker who doesn’t want to or can’t do this, no matter how good-looking, will fail. The client wants to feel some kind of pleasure.

• As in other service work, the ability to relate to others is very important. To know how to listen ‘actively’, negotiate, encourage, read the body language of the other, sense what is not said and the psychology of the other. To judge when the other is not all right (and not to confuse this with physical appearance). Capacity to smooth situations and calm violent people, confronting or manipulating them. Also necessary for those who work over the telephone.

• Ability to relate to and come to appreciate people from other cultures or ethnic groups or with values different from one’s own. Diplomacy. Clients may be rejected, but income is lost. Being able to imagine the situation of the other, as much through what he wants to hide as through what he reveals. Understanding more than one language.

• Knowing oneself well is extremely important in sex work. Knowing how to use the body sexually and how to take care of oneself, minimising infections, strains and exhaustion, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. It’s necessary to know when one is tired or with little desire to work, because states of neglect often lead to danger. Self-esteem is essential.

• The worker needs a lack of shame about bodies. To be able to talk about sex and show sexual things. A good sense of humour helps.

• As with the jobs of nurses and stewardesses, it is essential to give the client the sensation that he really is desired, that giving him pleasure or taking care of him matters. This is also necessary for cultivating a loyal clientele, one that comes back.

• Often the client wants to talk about his life: problems in his marriage, with his children or at his job. He may have lost his wife or need counseling. The ability to satisfy this type of desire or to want to help to resolve the problems of others is part of sex work. Sometimes this kind of attention matters even more than sex to the client.

• Knowing how to put limits, control what happens and protect oneself from excessive demands. Being able to maintain boundaries with client, who may have many emotional needs.

• Knowing how to sell is key, including over the telephone and in written messages (electronic mail, chat, mobile phones). Seduction is an art that few command, which helps explain the high status of courtesans and geishas in the past. Nowadays transsexuals are often most famous for knowing how to seduce.

• For people who work on their own or have a business it is fundamental to know how to manage funds: accounting, taxes and investments. Knowing how to negotiate, decide on prices.

• The ability to manage, organise and oversee a business is necessary in whatever level the worker works. Working freelance can be done successfully only by someone with the self-discipline to evaluate his efforts and manage his time.

• When employed in someone else’s business, workers need the talent of being able to please the boss or owner as well as the client, who often demand contrary things (for example, to the boss it matters that the work is done rapidly, while the client wants more personal attention).

• If one dances or performs, it’s essential to stay in good shape and act with confidence. Knowing how to take advantage of one’s own good points. Knowing how to dress and make up according to the situation.

• Much of sex work is performance: it’s necessary to know how to present oneself, project oneself and play roles. An example: the stereotype exists of ‘passive’ Asian women, so, for an Asian woman, knowing how to play the passive role may be a key talent. If one works in domination or submission, one needs to know how to create scenes, act, involve and convince the client. Knowing how to flirt.

• The client is not necessarily of the same gender or ‘sexual orientation’ that the worker wants for his or her own partner. Thought of another way, the worker’s personal taste does not have to match what he does at work: a lesbian can work with men, a heterosexual with gays, a transsexual with heterosexuals, a homosexual man with women and so on. In the world of the sex industry, flexibility and ambiguity in tastes and desires are the norm; binary visions (like masculinity/feminity or passivity/activity cease to be very useful.

• Since it’s a market, one needs the ability to compete, create new services and change with the times. Inventing new ways to make money, using new technologies and trying to match services to desires.

• Sexual knowledge is fundamental to carrying out the work. Knowing how to stimulate bodies to produce pleasure, delay or precipitate orgasms and judge the sexual capacity of the other. Moreover there are many tricks that make the job easier for the person who knows them: putting condoms on without clients’ knowing, feigning penetration and many others. Often it’s necessary to teach principles of sexual health to improve the client’s experience: masturbatory techniques, self-control or permitting oneself ‘forbidden’ acts. It’s important to point out that not every client is the confident man of the machista stereotype; many feel shy, ashamed or incapable. There are prostitutes who specialise in therapeutic srvices with disabled people. As for education to avoid sexual illnesses, being able to convince clients that they can enjoy sex with condoms is an important talent.

• One can choose the services one wants to offer, whether oral or manual sex or vaginal or anal penetration. Moreover, in times of ‘safer sex’, less ‘classical’ forms are being accepted, such as mutual masturbation.

• Being able to offer massage, reflexology and other therapies offer more possibilities to make money.

• Working in the production of pornography, it’s possible to learn techniques of photography, video, etc.

• If one works via the Internet, one needs knowledge of computers, email, chat, databases and the construction of webpages.

• If one becomes a supervisor or even owner of a sex club or escort agency, one learns to deal with the necessities of the personnel, encouraging them to work well.’

The whole piece can be read here.

A shout of support for Tiffany Shepherd

Talk about whore shaming! This poor woman merely posed for some sexy photos and was fired.

Bikini-clad teacher Tiffany Shepherd, aka Leah Lust, turns to porn after being fired from school
BY Eitan Gavish
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Updated Tuesday, September 1st 2009, 12:05 AM

Tiffany Sheppard lost her job after racy photos of her in a bikini surfaced.
A Florida biology teacher fired after posing for racy pictures has landed a new career – in pornography.

Tiffany Shepherd, 31, made headlines in April after bikini-clad pictures of her on a fishing charter got her canned from Port St. Lucie High School. She turned to doing porn, she told a Florida news outlet, after losing custody of two of her three kids to her ex-husband and sending out 2,500 resumes – some even to prisons – without landing a new teaching job.

“I’m not particularly proud of it. To be honest, I hate it,” Shepherd told Page2live.com. “I’m an educated woman, but I never thought it would come to this. No one gets brought up thinking they’ll be a floozy.”

On screen, Shepherd goes by the name Leah Lust and has filmed five feature films, including one titled ‘My first sex teacher,’ where Shepherd portrays the very job she’s been trying to get back.

“It’s very professional,” says Shepherd on the Web site. “Everyone’s tested — for venereal diseases and AIDS — and I’m carrying around my little piece of paper that says I’m fine. They love me because I take care of myself and I don’t run out to party with my money.”

Shepherd got into the business after the captain of the fishing charter that got her into trouble in the first place recommended it as a way to make good money. Captain Gil Coombes, of the boat ‘Smokin ‘Em,’ owns a porn Web cam studio with his wife, Kat, called KLC productions.

“We sat down with her and told her she’d never get a teaching job again,” Coombes told Page2live.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2009/08/31/2009-08-31_bikiniclad_teacher_tiffany_shepherd__aka_turns_to_porn_after_being_fired_.html?print=1&page=all#ixzz0Q09KVsNj

Whore Lover: Sex Workers Queering Love

Whore Lover sepia 2SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 18th, 2009 – 8PM. Stories of romance in spite of social stigma, as told from both sides of the bed. Turns out it’s not actually true that sex workers are incapable of feeling love; or too generous, greedy, humiliated or gold-hearted to pursue it. Likewise, the city hosts hordes of humans who love whores. In fact, many of those who have turned a trick or courted a courtesan are luminaries of queer arts and performance.

<p>Whore Lover is a multimedia showcase of the art of balancing between erotic work and play; and establishing long-term intimacy with those of us who charge by the hour. Tales of love, lust and lucre, straight (but not narrow!) from the talented mouths of porn stars, hookers, rent boys, strippers, Dominatrices, and the lovely folks who love them. Featuring art, films,  and performances by: Sadie Lune, Kirk Read, Mariko Passion, Ed Wolf, Lorelei Lee, Ginger Virago, Seeley Quest, and Madsen Minax. Curated by Sadie Lune, and presented by the National Queer Arts Festival with support from the Creating Queer Community program.

<p>

Whore Lover: Sex Workers Queering Love
The Garage Theater
975 Howard St. @ 6th
June 18, 2009 @ 8:00
Tickets: $12-$20
Buy Tickets on-line:
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/66151

415-885-4006

For more information please visit: http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest09/WhrLvr.html

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

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.