Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud. – W.H. Auden
As regular readers know, all last week I was attending the Desiree Alliance convention in Las Vegas. My specific intention was to meet readers and other activists, and I had ample opportunity to do so: I was kept busy from morning until night every day, and well past my bedtime on several days. I talked until I was hoarse, and met so many people I can barely remember them all! Some of them were folks I knew by reputation (such as Carol Leigh and Stacey Swimme); others I knew from Twitter or blogging (such as Mistress Matisse, Sabrina Morgan and Joyce Arthur). But many others were people I was meeting for the first time (such as my roommate, Ms. Kat). Most of my time was spent with Kat, Matisse, her friend Jae, activists Tizzy Wall and Steph Wilcock, and a Swedish academic named Ida Kock who is studying the effects of the Swedish model on sex workers; however, I also tried to make as much time as possible for every one of my readers who came up and introduced themselves (and there were many).
In fact, those readers were responsible for what was for me the most profound experience of the conference. For some time now, my husband has been telling me that I’ve become a celebrity; I’ve always denied it, saying that a celebrity has to be a “household name”. But after this week, I’m forced to admit that, at least in the small world of sex work, he’s exactly right: so many people told me how excited they were to meet me, that obviously they couldn’t all be attempting to make me feel good. Some even said they felt honored, but I feel I must respectfully correct them on that account: the honor is all mine. Many hundreds of readers, both inside and outside of our community, give their attention and their precious time to my efforts every day, despite the fact that all I’m doing is writing about how I feel or sharing information I’ve uncovered. That’s amazing, flattering and (paradoxically) humbling; it inspires me to keep investing my energies in the project, to keep speaking out for liberty and justice, and to work even harder so as deserve the praise, respect and yes, celebrity, all of y’all have conferred on me.