Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Diary #277

0818152252-1Another thing I’ve learned about the medical bureaucracy:  discharges sometimes happen unexpectedly and with lightning speed.  One can go to bed after being told, “discharge will be in the next few days”, and wake up eight hours later to “it’s happening right now!  Why aren’t you here yet?”  It happened to a friend of mine when she had a baby; it happened to another friend after major surgery.  And yesterday, it happened to Jae.  After over two months of constant hospitalization in four different facilities altogether, the doctors suddenly decided that it was time for her to go home.  And then it was wham, bam, here are your discharge papers and sayonara.  Needless to say, we weren’t ready; we still thought we had several days in which to make preparations, but nope!  That all went out the window.  I started moving about 8:30 yesterday morning, and only stopped about 12 hours later; I didn’t even realize I hadn’t eaten dinner until sometime after 9 PM.  And now tomorrow is her first outpatient doctor appointment, and I still haven’t filled out the rehab application that I originally planned to do first thing yesterday morning.  But at least she’s home, and I reckon that by the end of the week we’ll be more or less where we should’ve been today.  Ah, well, what’s life without stress?

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Any act that would not be illegal if no money changed hands is not a crime just because money changes hands.  –  Mistress Matisse

R.I.P. Grace Bellavue Grace Bellavue

The prominent Australian sex worker and activist, Grace Bellavue, died on Sunday.  I’m told she wrote her own obituary some time ago, and I’ll publish it in its entirety as soon as it can be located; in the meantime, this profile  and this account of how she came out to her family may give you some vague idea of what this extraordinary woman – one of the first in Australia to risk legal and social consequences by showing her face as an activist – was like, and why she will be sorely missed.

Rough Trade 

A King County Superior Court judge sentenced [Christopher Beck] to 33 1/3 years in prison…for raping three women — two of them sex workers — over 15 days in March 2014…should he be released, Beck will be required to register as a sex offender for life…defense attorney Walt Peale said…each victim “contributed significantly to the crime being committed” by engaging in illegal sex work…[in reality] Beck is a serial rapist who terrorized women he specifically targeted because he thought they wouldn’t report the rapes to police and if they did, that no one would believe them…Beck didn’t pay any of the women…

Profit from Panic 

Listed below are job openings in non-profit organizations and for-profit (FP) companies that are fighting human trafficking.”  I’m sure it won’t surprise you to see that most of them are in either PR or finance.

The Public Eye

Here’s a profile of Denver’s Domina Elle:

I like to call myself an adult play facilitator.  The type of work I do is much broader than just BDSM or fetishistic type stuff.  I specialize in helping people to open this part of their sexual selves, and be playful and creative.  That’s one reason I love balloons.  It’s a very friendly catalyst.  It’s erotic and playful, and yet it’s not as scary as some of the other stuff when you start looking at BDSM…

Cuckoo Advertising

Uber-sleaze Dennis Hof is another master of tricking gullible reporters into printing his ads for free as “news items”:

…the owner of Nevada’s Bunny Ranch…announced a new perk for his…employees:  He will match their student loan payments 100% for two months, up to the amount they make as prostitutes at the ranch.  Brothel owner Dennis Hof says he was inspired by the growing number of debt-laden college students he’s seen turning to sex work as a fast way to pay off their loans.  His offer covers payments for education at any two- or four-year university…

The Privilege Paradigm

I’m part of a nascent but growing movement within the left to question the efficacy of current left political and rhetorical tactics, particularly concerning the privilege frame…[it] is a deeply limited way to look at the world, and at times it leads to perverse consequences.  To see the way in which they can really screw up political analysis, check out this Daily Kos piece by Shaun King…The question for people like King…is whether or not they really want to oppose mass incarceration and our current police state.  Because that edifice is so powerful, and so deeply embedded into our system, that it will take a genuinely unified front to oppose it.  That means not siding with the police…What’s the priority?  Scoring the purely rhetorical point of identifying privilege?  Or actually transforming the system that hurts so many poor people and people of color?

Frequently Told Lies

Eithne Crow explains the problems with common responses to prohibitionist propaganda:

When someone is telling you that you don’t know your own life or your own experiences, that you don’t know what you do or don’t consent to, and they’re making no attempt to hide their revulsion – asking invasive questions and telling you that you’re damaged and a liar and a victim – it’s hard to keep it all together.  The implication that we’re dirty, disgusting and desperate draws on a narrative so firmly established, institutionalised and legitimised by nearly everything in our culture that sometimes it’s hard to keep swimming against the tide…I still see these narratives of empowerment versus exploitation being perpetuated all over the place. and I think we need to start saying to each other: “I see you, and I understand that your back’s against the wall and that’s really hard, but when we’re trying to demand rights and you say ‘I like my job’, what does that mean for people who don’t?”…

Another Fine Mess

No, Rhode Island didn’t “accidentally” decriminalize prostitution.  But maybe Georgia did:

In Georgia, it is an absolute defense to a charge of prostitution that the defendant was being sexually trafficked….but the law is so broad that virtually any…prostitute can make a credible claim to being trafficked.  Coercion can mean threats of “bodily harm,” but it can also mean “threatening to expose… information… that if revealed would tend to subject to…. ridicule,” “providing a controlled substance,” or “threatening financial harm.”  So a prostitute who accepts crack cocaine…meets all the elements of the statute…Or let’s say a prostitute…asks the john for $40, and the john declines, saying it will be either $30 or nothing.  Now there’s a threat of financial harm.  Deception is even broader.  It can include promising a benefit…then not delivering.  Or “[c]reating or confirming another’s impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false”…Arguably, [this] might even apply to police officers making undercover busts…

Little Boxes (#504)

It looks like the “cuddlers” are competing with masseuses to see who can come up with the most pompous rationalizations of why they aren’t sex workers:

…To help [pretend that it’s]…an…industry with no connection to prostitution, the therapeutic massage industry emphasizes training and certification.  Most states have massage therapy licensing boards that regulate practitioners. To obtain a license typically takes at least 500 hours of supervised, in-class training…Such requirements help reinforce the [notion] that massage therapy is a skilled discipline practiced by experienced professionals who possess genuine medical knowledge and hard-to-acquire skills…Along with the training costs, some states or municipalities impose additional fees [and legal restrictions] on therapeutic massage businesses…But if professional cuddling attempts to go this route, an obvious issue arises.  “There’s only so much information you can give on teaching cuddling versus massage,” says Evan Carp…

Guinea Pigs Female Head with biometric facial map

Note Facebook’s half-assed “correction” near the bottom of the original:

…New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Facebook engineers will help his office use “innovative data and analytical methods” to combat online child sex operations…Facebook declined to further provide details, but a likely guess is the project will draw on Facebook’s massive database of “faceprints” to identify victims who appear in the sex ads…law enforcement agencies could cross-check images of their faces to discover their identities—and possibly pictures of the people who are controlling them…

What Were You All Waiting For?

Another pro-decrim article, this one quoting Mistress Matisse:

…In August, Amnesty International voted that the best policy to protect sex workers is the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…the recommendation…served as a mainstream wake-up call about the dangers of the current legislation in the U.S…Current laws regarding sex work can be seen as the criminalization of an exchange between consenting adults.  However, Nevada is currently the only state in the U.S. that allows for the legal exchange of sexual service, legalizing prostitution in regulated brothels (as opposed to decriminalization, as argued for by most sex work activists)…

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

This is what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

[On October 5th, Alabama] Police received a call from family members of a 14-year-old saying she wasn’t where she was supposed to be and was missing.  Moments later, an anonymous caller told police a girl about that same age was being used as a prostitute inside a residence…“After talking with the parties there, we located the juvenile,” explained Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan…[he] said there were drugs and money exchanged to have sexual contact with the 14-year-old girl in a back bedroom…Rashard Ricks, has been charged with human trafficking…Jerrin Donley is charged with rape…

Broken Record (#575) 

The descent of “sex trafficking” hysteria into self-parody continues unabated:

…The New Colossus is a…group in Sioux Falls that raises awareness about…human trafficking…[they] say here in South Dakota there’s two times a year when there’s a spike in trafficking – during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the [pheasant] hunting season….[which] brings the problem into rural communities…[Polly] Dean says some of the girls being trafficked…are from reservations in the state, but also from places like Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.  While people will be keeping an eye out for birds…The New Colossus want everyone to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity as well…Some of the things people should look for are women who appear in multiple locations…

That’s right, women moving around in public (instead of staying in the home, presumably) are inherently suspicious.

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Diary #276

1007151635This was not the best of weeks for us.  On Wednesday, a careless asshole decided to run a stop sign in the rain, and guess whose car he decided to do this directly in front of?  Luckily, the cop correctly placed the blame on him, so now I’m waiting for his insurance company to tell me where to go to get my car fixed; also luckily, it’s still driveable for the time being.  But that was just the warmup; apparently, the universe took exception to my stating that things were going to slow down for a while in Jae’s treatment, because on Saturday afternoon the hospital called to tell me that her low fever of the day before had turned into a high fever accompanied by an extensive rash.  I of course rushed over there and stayed with her for the next 11 hours, keeping her company, trying to calm her fears and answering many, many questions from doctors.  By about midnight the culprit had been identified:  a very rare but very serious allergic reaction to one of the drugs she’s been taking to stabilize her condition.  I left for home about 1:30 AM and got back to the hospital by 8 AM, to find her fever had soared dangerously high and she was about to be moved into the ICU.  Fortunately her fever was quickly brought under control, and by last night she was moved back into a regular room once the doctors deemed the danger was past; unfortunately the rash in question (and its related symptoms) are so severe the doctors estimate they’re going to take at least two weeks to clear up, perhaps longer.  And as if that weren’t bad enough, now a substitute will have to be found for the drug she had the reaction to.  Her poor body is just so worn out she slept through most of Sunday and yesterday, and she was not in a good mood last night.  But we are still working on the treatment plan to get her home, and as you read this I will probably be either at the hospital, getting ready to go there or coming from there; still, I have learned my lesson about overdoing it, and I do plan to take time for a little rest tonight now that we know she’s out of danger again.

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Diary #275

CatsAs I explained in last week’s diary, things have slowed down a bit in Jae’s treatment.  I don’t mean that nothing is happening; rather, I mean that the pace of change has slowed somewhat, and by the end of the month it should slow even more.  But we did make one big breakthrough last week: thanks to advice from a helpful social worker and a very large donation from someone who dearly loves Jae, I’ve hired a private case manager to handle the Herculean task of dealing with all the different doctors, therapists, rehab facilities and home care assistance she’s going to need when she’s released from the hospital in a few weeks.  In fact, my first planning meeting with him is this afternoon; the initial meeting last week was just for me to learn about the services his company provides and for them to get the background of the case.  But today, the work starts in earnest and I’m going to do everything I can to expedite things so as to hasten the day when I can bring my girl home where she belongs.  As I’m sure you can imagine, she’s pretty homesick; with the exception of the night of September 16th, she’s been gone since late July and she misses her friends, her own bed and her cats.

imageFor the first few weeks after she gets home, things are likely to be pretty hectic, so my dear friends are watching me closely to make sure I have enough food, relaxation and sleep until then.  Last week Savannah and Sol cooked for me, Vignette cleaned my place (twice!), Sola let me soak in her hot tub and then treated me to a massage, Abby May gave me some truly delicious sweets and Matisse got me blissfully inebriated.  One gentleman took me to dinner at a lovely Turkish restaurant, and another treated me to a 3-hour-long happy hour at a fine old Seattle establishment.  And I plan to do as much of the same sort of thing as possible as many times as I can this month.  Everyone tells me I’ve earned it, and though I usually take a dim view of that sort of talk, I guess it won’t hurt to listen just this once.  There’s only one other thing I need to really get myself recharged:  work.  From August 16th to September 16th I didn’t work at all because I was with Jae in Idaho, and since I’ve returned to Seattle I’ve only had time and energy for a very few dates.  But I think it will be therapeutic to get back to what I do best, so if you’ve been holding off on contacting me because you think I’m too busy or stressed, hold off no more!  There’s only one caveat:  for right now, I don’t want to leave Seattle for more than perhaps one night at a time, so I’m not available for weekends or long travel.  But if you’re local send me an email, and find out what nearly two months of pent-up Maggie McNeill mojo feels like!

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Diary #274

loose women 9-26-15Last week, we finally got Jae admitted to a proper hospital; it took until Thursday, a week after we first brought her to the main hospital as we had been instructed to do.  I appreciate the confidence everyone has displayed in me by assigning me credit for getting her placed, but I’m afraid I had very little (if anything) to do with it; after a week of inquiring, researching, making phone calls, talking to social workers and other staff, crying, complaining, pleading, demanding answers and otherwise attempting to move the mountain of indifference with which I had been confronted, a spot opened up in a hospital I was told she wasn’t being considered for admission to, and within a few hours she was admitted.  And with that, we have probably reached the end of the fast-moving part of her recovery; I’ve been told the next stage will probably go on for about as long as everything from the accident until now, and maybe even longer.  In other words, from now until probably late October or sometime in November I’m not going to have a lot to say about the subject.  This doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about her or that I don’t think y’all will be interested; I’m still going to be visiting her at the hospital every day and her other close friends will be visiting as often as they can, and as the doctors feel her condition is improving we’ll encourage others to visit as well.  What it does mean, however, is that the changes will be less profound and more incremental, and that the amount of change in a week may be easily covered in a mention in these diary entries rather than requiring the whole entry.

The important things are that she’s safe, she’s getting proper medical care and she’s in Seattle where her friends can visit her without having to fly or take an all-day drive.  And one result of this change is that, on some unconscious level, my brain has decided it’s safe for me to collapse.  I’ve been running at full throttle (emotionally speaking) since August 16th, and though all my friends (not to mention readers, supporters, doctors, nurses and nearly everyone else) have been warning me that I need to take care of myself physically and emotionally as well, I didn’t really believe that until about nine days ago.  Oh, I intellectually knew that they were probably right, but another part of me was saying, “It’s sweet and wonderful that everyone’s thinking about me, but with the exception of a few tough spots I can handle this pretty easily; after all, I’m Maggie Fucking McNeill the Wonder Harlot.”  And naturally that was the voice I preferred to listen to (and at the time, the one Jae really needed me to listen to).  But once we got into emergency room limbo my strength started to falter, and on the afternoon of Sunday the 20th I just collapsed in tears when Mistress Matisse arrived at the hospital to take over for me for the evening.  She, Savannah Sly, Abby May and my other friends are now enforcing my resting and recuperating nearly every night, and not one of them has breathed a syllable that sounds anything like “we told you so.”  I’ve never been someone who needed help to get to sleep at night, but now when I put my head down my brain starts processing the last two months at double-time.  I’m alternating now between various means of inducing restful sleep provided by various friends, and last Saturday night it was the visiting Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s turn; she chose good old-fashioned alcohol, and let me tell you it worked just fine.  Don’t worry, readers; I’m not going to poop out on Jae, and the wonderful ladies of Seattle are going to be sure that I don’t overdo it too often.  I’m going to keep working wonders as expected; I’m just going to make sure I recharge my super-batteries with enough wonder treats and super-sleep.

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Diary #273

IMG_7084As most of you probably know, Savannah Sly flew into Boise last Tuesday, and I drove over from Pocatello (where Jae was hospitalized for the past month) to pick her up.  On Wednesday morning we set out for Seattle and made good time; Jae slept in the back seat for the first half of the trip, and though she was much more wakeful on the second half (despite liberally-applied tranquilizers) Savannah was still able to keep her from getting too upset until we were crossing the Cascades, and then it was just a matter of time.  After a night at home, we took her into the hospital where we were told she had an appointment for her condition to be assessed for further rehabilitation; unfortunately, there is apparently a bed crunch going on in Seattle right now and we’ve been in limbo ever since.  Yes, you heard that correctly: she’s been kept in a room in the emergency department since Thursday, receiving medication and general care but no proper neurological rehab for her injury.  I’m really hoping that by the time you read this that situation will have changed, and she will have been properly admitted to the correct clinic; however, I’m not at all hopeful about it.  All in all, I’m pretty disgusted by the whole situation, which seems to have been created by lawyers inserting themselves into the doctor-patient relationship; everyone agrees that this hospital system is one of the best in the country for brain injuries, but bureaucrats have made getting anyone into it a nightmare unless they happen to be taken directly here after the accident.  And since Jae had her accident in Idaho rather than the Seattle area, we’re stuck in this asinine queue for an indeterminate amount of time.  Once she’s in the program, we can look forward to her getting top-notch care.  But until then, I’m more stressed out about the situation than I have been for weeks.  Let’s just hope I have much better news for you next week.

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It Had To Happen

I knew this day would come; I just didn’t expect it to come anything like this.  There is just no way I can get a column out on time today.  After driving all day Wednesday and spending all day yesterday at the hospital trying to navigate the Byzantine complexities of the medical admissions system, I am exhausted and desperately in need of sleep.  As regular readers know I’ve been staying with Jae in her hospital room for weeks, sleeping in an uncomfortable chair/bed thing and being awakened repeatedly throughout the night as she gets up or needs something; I’m totally worn out.  Tonight Savannah Sly volunteered to stay with her, so I’ve just come home for some much-needed shuteye (until the next doctor has a question I need to answer) and I just can’t spare the time to write the post I intended to write, which will now appear Monday.  So forgive me for my first miss, dear readers; I promise not to make a habit of it.IMG_7084

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