Desiree Alliance 2.0

Since this year’s conference is going to be a week-long event, I know that many sex workers/conference attendees will be Tweeting/blogging/whatevering about their time in Las Vegas. For those who want to follow what’s going on from their own computer, I encourage everyone who is attending DA and publicizing it to add their names and links in the Comments section below.

Outdoor “street” work question answered.

I get asked a lot about street work, or as I like to call it Outdoor work.  These are my experiences and understanding, and may not be the same as someone else’s.

Briefly my experiences:  I’ve worked outdoors for a while, once while homeless, and more recently I’ve worked in front of grocery stores and the like.  I have done the ‘stroll’ type work, but only in small cities and towns, never in larger cities like LA or SF.

Experiences in larger cities, I can only speculate on, or share from friends/family that have done that type of work.  Also, I’m trans* not cisgendered, and that makes a difference in experiences as well.  I’m not trying to say these conclusions or thoughts below are always correct, but that from my perspective at this time, they seem correct.  My goal is only to help people realize that:

1) Not all outdoor work is unsafe (and that you can do any work safely)

2) It’s not like the stereotypical 3am drug addicted street walker who spends their entire career trying to avoid rape and get high, while avoiding physical abuse from their pimp, like in the movies.

YAY! On to the show and tell then:

Outdoor or (street) work is a very WIDE and BROAD subject, just like indoor work is.  People just assume the worst whenever I speak of outdoor work.
First, while 3AM walking the street in the worst neighborhoods does happen, it’s not as common in street or ‘outdoor’ work as one might think. (it’s much more common in BIG cities), but in smaller cities and towns it’s much less common.  (I’ve only worked in smaller towns and cities).
So, in outdoor work, there is homeless work, where you are always working, and your clientele is of the lower income variety.  (I’ve done this work), it’s mostly a lot of trade for sex work, and not a lot of actual cash.
Another type of work is opportunity work, i.e. someone hits on you while you are out doing your normal routine.  Most every woman has had the beginnings of this experience but few turn it into an opportunity to make money.
Another type is daytime work.  This can be waiting where people tend to congregate. Malls, grocery stores, big chain stores, stuff like that.  (I like grocery stores myself).  Obviously this is only valid during the day, and evening.  Trying to work from these places at 3AM is pointless as there is no foot traffic.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the varied outdoor work environments.
As for safety, some types of outdoor work can be unsafe, especially if you don’t know your fellow workers.  But to last out there you form relationships with as many as you can, and try to create a safe situation for yourself and others. Also the other difference is you get to look the client in the eyes, well before you agree to anything.  (unlike with indoor work)  All types of work require a ‘screening’ as we call it. Where we check the client over and get a feel for them as a person.  Some people do this better in person, and may be better situated for outdoor work, vs people doing this via email or telephone.  So
I wouldn’t say that it’s a LOT less safe, I would just say it’s a different type of safety.
For me, I love being outside, and would spend time out there anyway, so if there is an easy way to make a few dollars while hanging out outside, why shouldn’t I take the opportunity?

I’ll just wrap up and say one more thing about outdoor work (but also important in any work), boundaries are crazy important.  Think about and set hard firm boundaries of what you are willing and not willing to do.  Your boundaries WILL get tested, and you WILL get asked crazy ridiculous things.   Will you do Anal? Will  you do blowjobs? Condoms? Fluid Barriers for blowjobs or facials? These questions are the tip of the iceberg.

If you have experience (directly or indirectly) I’d love your thoughts and comments on what outdoor work is like for you.  I think the better we can share our experiences, the more people will come to think of street or outdoor work as not something ‘BAD’, but just different.

Desiree Conference 2010!!

Desiree Alliance

In conjunction with BAYSWAN, Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), Center for Sex and Culture (CSC), International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education (ISWFACE), St. James Infirmary, SWOP USA, SWOP Tucson, SWOP LV, SWOP Chicago, SWOP NorCal, SWOP Santa Cruz, Harm Reduction Coalition, Sex Work Awareness, and $pread Magazine

Presents

Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics

July 25 thru 30, 2010 in Sunny Las Vegas, NV!!

Join us for the Academic and Policy track. Network with established and developing scholars who are engaged with research, theory, and methods that impact the formation of policy and applied practices concerning sex work and sex workers. Academics have the opportunity to give back to the communities they study and create careers upon by participating in this dynamic space of diverse sex work scholar colleagues and diverse sex workers. Sex workers will have opportunities to interact with scholars who concern themselves with our issues while also sharing your own—and needed—perspective regarding where sex work scholarship has been and where it should be going.

We understand that within the Activism and Advocacy of Sex Work, there is such a huge range, from organizing national marches, decriminalization propositions, to organizing you and one other Sex Worker to come together and talk about your rights and safety. All are forms of activism. Coming out to a friend, meeting a fellow Sex Worker and being able to talk about your work can be a HUGE form of activism for some that have been hiding in the closet so long! Join other activists in a safe space to discuss and learn about activism and activist leadership in the sex work community!

Arts, Entertainment, and Media: From beautiful burlesque, to majestic music, to powerful poetry, various art forms have been important parts of sex worker justice advocacy, and art is also a great way to highlight the diversity of talents so many sex workers have. Sex worker artists have in fact had a vibrant face on this movement and have been a unifying element in resistance campaigns across the globe. Join us at the Desiree Alliance 2010 Conference to explore, learn about, experience, and create sex worker art, media, and entertainment!

Business Development: Increase your confidence and your bottom line by attending workshops taught by people who excel in their fields! Learn new techniques for increasing your earnings, using the tools of your trade, and improving your business model. You will find valuable tips to improve your business regardless of the area you work! From workshops on web design, advertising, and networking to health and safety, and tax-saving tips especially relevant to cash-based earners just like you, this conference will be an opportunity for you to improve your business and your cash flow!

Harm Reduction and Outreach: Whether your expertise is the street corner, the classroom, or the clinic we are looking for you to show us what’s wrong, what’s right, and what can come to be the future of Harm Reduction and Outreach Services for Sex Workers. Come share your innovative ideas or learn how to provide outreach services. Be a part of an event that will inspire and pioneer a fresh perspective on how harm reduction and outreach services can be fine tuned to the ones that need it the most. Enjoy workshops and presentations from the best and brightest giving their unique take on harm reduction and outreach services to sex workers.

Registration is open!
We are accepting Proposals for Presentations! Hurry- deadline for submissions is March 1st.

To get involved, go to http://www.DesireeAlliance.org/conference.htm or email: Desiree2010@desireealliance.org

We’ll See You in Sin City!!

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

Posting Petitions on “Bound Not Gagged”

Change.org posts petitions online that people can sign onto electronically, and it would be great if we could also do this on “Bound Not Gagged.”  We could post petitions to decriminalize prostitution, to support or oppose specific pieces of legislation, and related to additional issues we’re concerned about.  Here is a link to what I’m referring to:  http://www.change.org/actions .  What do people think about setting up something like this on “Bound Not Gagged?”  Would it be possible?

Call for Applications: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker

Along with some former $pread Magazine staff members, I’m the co-founder of Sex Work Awareness, an organization that works toward the destigmatization of sex workers. Our work is partly focused on creating better information and resources about sex workers for the public and for journalists. Our online project Sex Work 101 is the tip of that iceberg. Sex Work 101 has been dormant for a while, but I’ve got some content for it now and will be updating it once a week. Last week I posted an answer to the question Does the average sex worker practice safe sex?

Public education is just one part of the work of Sex Work Awareness. We also aim to train sex workers to safely respond to media requests, craft a message, and make their own media products. To that end, we’ve created a workshop: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker (click to read more about it and download a PDF of the application form).

I’ve taught several versions of this workshop over the past few years, but I’ve never gotten the chance to teach a day-long version of it. On Saturday, April 18th, my co-facilitator Eliyanna Kaiser and I will be doing just that here in New York. The workshop will cover topics like when to say no to media, outness, crafting your message, interview techniques, and basic skills for creating text, video, and audio.

This is a day-long seminar in which meals will be provided. The workshop is limited to ten participants on the basis of a submitted application; each participant will receive a Flip camera and a $50 stipend. Only self-identified current and former sex workers are invited to apply, to ensure that all feel comfortable during the seminar. The workshop is lead by two English speakers, so participants must be fluent in English.

I know lots of people will be bummed that the workshop isn’t in (fill in place). We can’t offer to cover travel for anyone coming from outside NYC, but we have a limited amount of space to put people up if theydecide to shoulder travel costs. We are planning on traveling to other cities eventually, so if you are not in the New York City area but are interested in participating in a future workshop, please get in touch. We have limited time and resources, so if you truly want us to come to your city to do this workshop, your community needs to be invested in helping make it happen.

This workshop is financially made possible by the fundraising efforts of the Sex Blogger Calendar and the generous support of all our sponsors, especially Njoy. I know $20 for a calendar doesn’t seem like much (and now they’re actually on sale for $10 each), but it has made a huge difference for the ten sex workers and former sex workers who will be able to attend this workshop and get the training and support they need to seriously kick ass.

Deadline for applications is March 10th, and we’ll inform people of acceptance on March 17th. Please circulate this widely!

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.