Every person knows that he should do what unites, not divides, him and other people. - Leo Tolstoy
In the ‘60s, prostitutes and homosexuals were in the roughly the same place legally; both of us were treated as criminals for our private sexual behavior. Socially and psychologically, though, we had it better than they did: while prostitutes were recognized as essentially normal and sane, homosexuals were considered abnormal and mentally ill. Both groups started to fight for their civil rights about the same time, but while queers have won theirs whores have actually lost ground since then; most people now consider homosexuals sane and more or less normal, while the official position in many countries (especially the United States and several Scandinavian countries) is that whores are abnormal and mentally ill. How did this sorry turn of events come to pass, especially since exclusive homosexuals make up less than 5% of the population while a similar fraction of women have prostituted themselves at least occasionally, and 69% of men have paid for sex at least once?
The answer is simple: gay men and lesbians, two groups with almost nothing in common, banded together to defeat laws and policies which criminalized and marginalized them, but whores have instead allowed other women to undermine us by implementing policies which deny us agency and treat us like retarded children. In other words, gay rights leaders built a coalition of a number of very small groups, while women – over half the human race – allowed our energies to be divided by giving a “bully pulpit” to a twisted minority faction whose members hate men, sex and their own femininity, and wish to destroy every aspect of traditional male-female social relations…including one of the oldest forms, prostitution. And while the gay rights coalition just keeps growing (from “gay and lesbian” to “GLBT” to “GLBTQ” to whatever alphabet soup it is now), we divide our already-divided energies even further by wasting them in foolish infighting or spending them on gay rights efforts despite the fact that few of them help us in turn, and some of them even work against us! Fortunately, now that they’ve won their place at the “big table”, some few gay rights activists seem to be recognizing the shamefulness of this attitude:
…What is it that so disturbs us about sex workers? And do we even have a right to that judgment? Specifically, does a member of a marginalized community have the right to condemn another marginalized community? Do they still have that right if they are sitting on a bar stool watching hard bodied go go boys?…maybe it is not sex work we despise, but the public display of same. If that is the case, then what of cruising, and the hyper speed electronic cruising created by various phone apps? Maybe that is okay, and sex work is not, for financial reasons? If the working girls and guys of the world were out there giving freebies would we be okay with it? At that point it is just anonymous sex, and since nobody seems to be looking for a husband on Grindr, I presume we are mostly okay with that…
…The hard fast truth is a majority of sex workers are in the profession completely on a voluntary basis, and for many, it has more to do with the freedom the job offers than any financial consideration. This is the denied voice—the words not spoken when we attempt to co-opt the sex professions for our own advocacy needs. We will not help anyone by demeaning them, and as much as we may wish to rationalize otherwise, we are really just trying to forward our own agendas at the expense of others. Further, people generally make the mistake of assuming sex work is not a legitimate occupation, and so must be looked at differently. Are there sex workers who took the job because there were no others available to them? Because it meets their financial needs better than any other? Who suffer from the choice because they hate the job? Of course, but I know carpenters that would fit that description just as well. Is anyone advocating on their behalf?…How is sex work different?
But, you say, sex work is against the law. Okay, point taken. I can not argue against current illegality of sex work. But I can make the case for tolerance. For starters, the lynch mob, police crack down attitude is useless. Interesting that police are meeting with neighborhood residents to address a large uptick in prostitution, when there is not one. It is not as though a whole bunch of locals decided to turn tricks and all showed up on one block. No, they moved, to escape the last neighborhood crackdown. Sex work is not something you eliminate, just something you pawn off on the neighbor…
…we start by dropping our middle class puritanical objections and learn to accept that sex workers are humans and deserve basic rights and dignity just like everyone. We also learn to accept that they too have the right to self determination, and assure that efforts to help them are never confused with efforts to save them. We further recognize that this is a part of our community, as there are many LGBTIQ identified sex workers…We need to be, dare I say it, tolerant and accepting.
I’m disgusted to hear that some members of the queer community actually argue against prostitution on the grounds that it’s against the law, when male homosexual activity was illegal in most states within the lifetimes of most of these middle-class, puritanical homos, and only became legal in some states in 2003. The existence of evil laws is not a valid argument against whatever it is those laws ban, and it certainly isn’t an excuse for ignoring the rights of those who break those laws; homosexuals of all people should understand this, and it’s sad that some pretend not to. Though the people who have abandoned queerness (with all the word entails) for respectability may object to my borrowing their former slogan, I say to them: “We’re here, we’re whores, get used to it!”
One Year Ago Today
“License To Rape” is a power many cops grant themselves over whores…and some cops grant themselves over all women.