So many men, so little time. – Mae West
There’s been another explosion of short news stories of note lately, none of which are really long enough (or quite topical enough) to merit a column; one might describe them as stocking stuffers if Santa was in a really strange mood and mixed coal in with treats. We’ll start with the top story, released yesterday:
Derrick Burts, the porn actor who tested HIV positive in October has outed himself and now demands that condoms should be required in all porn. The 24-year-old opportunist performed under the names Cameron Reid and Derrick Chambers, but now claims that “he wishes he had known more about the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases in the industry.” Burts claims that he contracted HIV during oral sex in a gay porn shot in Florida, but isn’t sure. Condoms had been used for penetration in that instance, as it often is in gay porn, but not during oral sex. He claims that AIM told him that they’d traced his infection to a “known positive” but wouldn’t tell him who it was, citing patient confidentiality; AIM denies that and said Burts was told he’d contracted HIV through personal activity. Predictably, Burts denies that, claiming “There is no possible way. The only person I had sex with in my personal life was my girlfriend.” But in the months before he tested positive for HIV, he had also contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes. Burts also claims that AIM deliberately misled the public to try to tamp down fears about infection in the industry, and excuses the fact that he now works for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation by claiming that AIM didn’t follow up for his care.
Am I the only one who is incredibly disgusted by people who get hurt due to their own adult choices and then react by loudly advocating that the nanny state henceforth deny those same choices to others? A gay guy born several years after AIDS was first discovered now claims he didn’t know you could get HIV through unprotected sex? Either he’s incredibly stupid or he thinks everyone else is. His claim that AIM told him that he contracted HIV through oral sex (despite the fact that, as I have said before, there has never been a single documented case of oral HIV transmission) is even less credible than his claim to his beard that he wasn’t screwing other guys outside of film sets. And his going to work for the moralistic control freaks at AHC demonstrates that he can’t tell the difference between professional nudity and personal transparency.
Melissa Petro, on the other hand, apparently can; in a new column on Huffington Post she reveals that she was completely open about her background when applying to be a teacher:
I was also a former sex worker. Of this, I made no secret. My academic and creative writing has appeared in numerous publications online and in print since 2006. My work is included in the NY Times acclaimed anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Love, Sex, Money and Work as well as in Sex Work Matters: Power and Intimacy in the Sex Industry. I have presented at multiple conferences on the issue of women’s participation in the sex industry and regularly participate in literary readings around the city. My thesis at the New School, completed the same semester I was accepted into the Fellows program, was entitled “Selling Sex.”
It was not until the tabloid New York Post decided to out her that the school suddenly decided her “sex rays” were dangerous to children. I still believe that Miss Petro was incredibly unwise in revealing her past with her real name and picture, but in light of these revelations I’m willing to consider the possibility that her actions may have been due to incredible naivety about the trustworthiness of the bureaucrats who run the public school system rather than the desire to court publicity via self-martyrdom.
I’m not so willing to give Annie Lobert the benefit of the doubt, since she is obviously another member of the “do as I say, not as I do” club. She’s also completely full of shit, because even though she claims to have been an escort for 16 years before being “born again”, she spouts neofeminist drivel about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder mixed with Bible-beating and TV-friendly nonsense about “pimps”; her so-called “Prostitution Glossary” contains not ONE SINGLE TERM from the escort world, unlike the real one which appeared in my column of September 7th. I have no idea if these terms are real ones from the narrow little world of pimped streetwalkers, but even if they are how the hell does a former escort know about them and why is she representing them as general industry terms? Either she’s lying about having been an escort or lying about our lives to pander to the male “pimps and hos” masturbatory fantasy; either one constitutes “bearing false witness” in my book. Shame, shame, Annie; Jesus doesn’t like liars.
Speaking of popular delusions about harlotry, Huffington Post recently featured a two-part series about an NPR radio program about “child sex trafficking” (i.e. underage prostitution) in Oakland, California. Now, I’m sure that the interviews themselves are honest and the stories representative of the lives of underage streetwalkers in Oakland, California. The problem lies in the fact that the true stories are peppered with bogus police “trafficking statistics” and, as usual, the distinction between escort and streetwalker is deliberately smeared and voluntary adult prostitution is conflated with coerced underage prostitution. Here’s one particularly sneaky example, deceptively entitled “The Story of an Escort”:
Youth Radio’s investigation of online sex classifieds found countless “escort reviews” like this one on a Bay Area review site, featuring partially nude photos of a young woman and the following description: “I have the charm of the girl next door, the sexiness of your newest crush, the sophistication of your business partner, and the youth of a college girl.” Youth Radio called the woman whose phone number was posted with the ad and she agreed to an interview if we didn’t use her name. She said she is 24 years old and that while a pimp coerced her into prostitution as a teenager, she now worked on her own – a so-called renegade or rogue.
First of all, that is an ad, not a review; reviews are written by clients. But that bit of misinformation pales into insignificance beside the last line: Not only is the fact that she walked away from her pimp and set up her own business presented as unusual (because obviously we can’t admit that most hookers can take care of ourselves without the help of cops and other “rescuers”, and that pimps aren’t all-powerful and inescapable slavemasters), the bogus terms “renegade” and “rogue” imply some sort of pimp-run establishment which, simply put, does not exist. “Renegade” implies that independent escorts are ostracized outsiders in the escort world, and “rogue” implies they are rare, when in actuality it’s the other way around. As I discussed in my column of July 27th, true pimps (as opposed to boyfriends, shady escort services and male employees) are in the minority even among streetwalkers and vanishingly rare among escorts. “Hobbyists” dislike seeing girls with pimps and other escorts look down on them and/or work toward convincing them to dump their “managers” and do it themselves. In the escort world, it is the pimped girls who are the rare outcasts, not the other way around!
Tomorrow we’ll look more at the government campaign to spread disinformation about prostitution and other subjects, and the shockingly widespread compliance of the mainstream news media with the rapidly-developing Ministry of Truth.