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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Live Free or DieAs I reported on January 13th, a bill to decriminalize prostitution has been introduced in the New Hampshire legislature.  The initial media coverage treated it as little more than a joke, a quixotic effort by a freshman representative which majority leader Dick Hinch (don’t giggle) vowed to kill as quickly as possible because “society is just not ready for that”.  Given that New Zealand and New South Wales both qualify as parts of human (and even English-speaking!) society, I must presume that Hinch is as much an ignoramus as he is a Dick.  Other (unnamed) prohibitionists vomited out the “diseased whore” myth, the “whore as criminal” myth and the “whore as siren to weak-willed male perverts” myth, while Dick vowed to play basketball with the bill and then lock it up in the basement.

But unfortunately for those now cursing the name of Amnesty International and praying for all us loudmouthed whores to choke on a cock or something, the bill was neither a joke nor a one-woman show nor easily swept under the rug:

New Hampshire legislators last week debated the merits of decriminalizing prostitution, in response to a bipartisan bill filed by state Reps. Amanda Bouldin (D-Hillsborough), Carole McGuire (R-Merrimack), and Elizabeth Edwards (D-Hillsborough).  On Thursday, January 28, the New Hampshire Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on House Bill 1614, which removes all criminal penalties for “consensual sex between consenting adults” whether money is exchanged or not while making “any solicitation of sexual contact involving a person under 18 years of age or through the use of force or intimidation a felony.”

Edwards is apparently the main author of the bill, and she dropped a lot of big names in her introductory remarks:

“We put forward this bill in response to Amnesty International’s August 2015 recommendation that governments across the world decriminalize prostitution…Amnesty International studied the issue for two years prior to the their recommendation,” and their view is in line with the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundations, Anti-Slavery International, and other global human-rights groups…

Before long The USPROStitutes Collective asked as many sex workers and allies as possible to support the bill:

We are in touch with one of the sponsors of the Bill.  Please consider writing in or calling them to make your case in support of decriminalization.  Points to make in your letter may include that decriminalization would:

  • Increase safety as sex workers could work together and more easily report violence;
  • Enhance health as sex workers could more easily access services and wouldn’t be deterred from carrying condoms for fear that they will be used as evidence of prostitution;
  • Free up police time to focus on the investigation of violent crimes such as rape and domestic violence rather than the policing of consenting sex (particularly important as the Committee is primarily made up of former and current law enforcement);
  • End criminal records which bar sex workers from getting other jobs. This is crucial for anyone who may want to leave the sex industry and is unable to…

…Please see below the list and emails of committee members to send your letters to or call…

HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us
Arthur Barnes (r) arthur.barnes@leg.state.nh.us, 603-893-4754
Roger Benrube (d) rogerrberube@hotmail.com, 603-692-5653
John Burt (r) john.burt@leg.state.nh.us, 603-624-5084
Ed Corneau (r) ed@edcomeau.org, 603-522-2275
Robert Cushing (d) renny.cushing@leg.state.nh.us, 603-926-2737
Len DiSesa (d) Len.DiSesa@leg.state.nh.us, 603-343-4344
Robert Fesh (r) rmfesh@comcast.net, 603-434-1150
Robert Fisher (r) robert.fisher@leg.state.nh.us, 802-727-0441
Dennis Green (r) Dennis.Green@leg.state.nh.us, 603-234-7776
Geoffrey Hirsch (d) Geoffrey.Hirsch@leg.state.nh.us, 603-938-2833
Latha Manjipudi (d) Latha.Mangipudi@leg.state.nh.us, 603-891-1239
Dick Marston (r) dick.marston.nhstaterep@gmail.com, 603-361-8192
John Martin (r) john.martin@leg.state.nh.us, 603-774-3098
Andrew OHearne (d) Andrew.OHearne@leg.state.nh.us, 603-558-1038
Laura Pantelakos (d) lcpantelakos@comcast.net, 603-436-2148
Harold Parker (r) hbpcd6@gmail.com, 603-491-6807
Timothy Robertson (d) timothyrbrtsn2@gmail.com, 603-352-7006
Shawn Sweeney (r) shawn.sweeney@leg.state.nh.us, 603-265-0319

Bella Robinson of COYOTE-RI also testified before the committee hearings, and Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP also took time out from her work on the decriminalization court case in California to speak in its favor:

Naturally, there was no shortage of pompous windbags making inane non-arguments against human rights, in the name of The Women and (wait for it…) THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!

…Rep. John Martin (R-Merrimack) worried that high-school football players would move from “having a keg party after a victory to having a hooker party after a victory.”  Rep. Edwards responded by pointing out that sex between adults and minors would still be illegal, no matter the gender of the minors.  Rep. Dick Marston (R-Hillsborough) opposes the bill and is surprised by its introduction from female legislators, demanding they answer for the fact that some married men might cheat with sex workers…

Apparently, given that this other Dick isn’t (to my knowledge) sponsoring a bill criminalizing marital infidelity, he isn’t concerned if married men cheat with amateurs; he just doesn’t want those hussies to profit by their naughtiness.  But lest you think he merely wants to save himself and other philanderers some cash, Dick assures us that he’s firmly in touch with his feminine side:  “I just have a problem with this bill from a woman’s point of view.”  That’s this entire issue in miniature right there:  Men (and anti-sex women) ignoring, dismissing, criminalizing and infantilizing women while pretending to understand our point of view and presuming to speak for us is the essence of prohibition in a nutshell.

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Diary #292

Red SonjaLast week was another busy one, both in sex work and in activism; the interviews I linked appear to have boosted my signal somewhat, as did my picking a fight with a presidential candidate (to which, I’m sorry to say, he failed to respond).  That’s just one example of how I’ve been getting bolder on Twitter lately; between suffering fools less patiently than before, to tweeting more risqué pictures, to more openly tweeting links to my escort website and advertising, to more openly referring to my work in real time (in other words, essentially saying “I just had sex for money” or “I’m about to have sex for money right now“), I’ve pretty much opened the throttle on harlotry.  And it seems to be having the desired effect; at this rate I should break 10,000 followers by the end of the year, and that will expand my social media reach considerably.  When I release my next books (and I’ve been gearing up to work on them again at last) I’ll have a far larger potential audience than I did two years ago, and that means my message that sex workers are complex three-dimensional people (rather than cardboard “victim” cutouts) will be that much louder.  Nor am I the only one; my friends Mistress Matisse, Savannah Sly, Tara Burns, Laura Lee and others are being quoted in the mainstream media so often now, the week doesn’t pass that one can’t see one or the other of us (and often more than one) in a news article.  Our clout has increased so dramatically that at least one news outlet will interview sex workers for any given story involving sex work (a big change from even three years ago), and anyone foolish enough to start an anti-sex worker hashtag on Twitter will soon find us claiming it for ourselves by, as Matisse put it, “pissing all over it“.  Whores aren’t going to stay quiet and roll over for the cops and other busybodies any more; we are coming to claim our rights.  And there’s not a damned thing prohibitionists, with all their ridiculous fantasies of “eradicating” us, can do to stop it.

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Diary #291

selfie 1-24-16Another busy week!  The early part was all activism, including the interview I wrote about in Friday’s column; this week also saw the publication of an article drawn from another interview I did a few weeks ago, my working on a lengthy e-mail interview which published yesterday, a phone planning session for the documentary project I’ll be starting soon, and some SASS planning with Savannah Sly.  Not all my work was unpaid, though; I had a very long gig and several good smaller ones, not to mention a wonderful and memorable get-together with a number of whore friends (and one honorary whore).  You’ll probably also be glad to hear that I’ve pulled out of the funk I was in for the past few months (which the more observant among you noted and asked about), and also that I found a lovely herbal concoction which puts me to sleep almost as well as Valium does.  That’s all I have to say for now, but since I haven’t published a selfie in a while I’ll give you this one I took a few nights ago, several hours after the departure of a client; I thought I looked rather nice and wanted to try to capture it.

 

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When last week’s diary column posted, it was caught by a lot of people who had missed the previous Friday’s description of my view of the TRB takedown, and I received an avalanche of support and good wishes.  It was very powerful and validating, and at the same time extremely sobering; two more people I met in everyday life told me they had seen me on television, and I began making legal arrangements just in case.  Do I really think I’m in any more danger than I was before last week?  Not really; as I’ve said before, I’m reasonably certain the FBI has had a file on me for at least three years, and if they really wanted me they would’ve already charged me with half a dozen made-up felonies such as promoting prostitution, pandering, money laundering, conspiracy, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.  But it never hurts to take precautions, just in case.  Thaddeus Russell tweeted that he could “feel history turn” because of my actions, and while that may be a bit hyperbolic I do feel that the public view of sex workers is changing, and that I’ve been chosen by Fate or the gods to be a small part of that.  My friend Savannah Sly, now president of SWOP-USA, arrived in Seattle yesterday for a visit, and we’re going to be meeting several times this week with some of the hardworking volunteers who do the vital but unglamorous labor of keeping the movement going while crazy radicals like me get all the attention.  SWOP Seattle has a big event coming up in just over a month, and in the meantime the Seattle demimonde is in upheaval over the loss of a major advertising venue and the vile threats and propaganda vomited out by “law enforcement authorities”.  Aaaaaaand on top of all that I have to work, write and take care of personal commitments.  Ah, well; at least I’m sleeping better these days, and with any luck there will also be some downtime with dear friends.  After all, even rock stars need to relax.

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2015 in Review

It’s getting a lot harder to compile these yearly statistics columns; platforms like WordPress employ a staff of programmers who seem keen to justify their jobs by “improving” things that were just fine as they were, and though the WordPress gang isn’t nearly as bad as those over at Twitter, they nonetheless have made posting harder than it used to be and stat-gathering much harder.  I at first thought I wasn’t going to be able to do the column this year, but then I figured out where the data had been moved to; let’s hope they don’t make it impossible to find by next January.

Twitter logoI received a total of 1,001,515 visitors in 2014, about 100,000 less than in the previous year; the average number of hits per day was 2743.  My best month was August, with a total of 91,790 views (2961 per day); as you can see the performance is very consistent, with the high not all that far above the average.  Indeed, the record for best single day is still held by October 6th, 2013 (9253 views).  As it did last year, Twitter gave me the greatest number of referrals, 48,438 in all; it was followed by Reddit (9070 hits) and Facebook (6684).  #4 was Pinterest with 2512, #5 ErosBlog with 2053, #6 Bustle with 1955, #7 Girl on the Net with 1781, #8 USA Sex Guide with 1685, #9 Google News with 1223, and #10 Reason with 1139.  The top ten countries in which my readers live together account for about 84% of all of my traffic; #1 is the United States with 597,959 hits (59.7%); #2 the United Kingdom with 75,400 (7.5%); #3 Canada with 64,390 (6.4%); #4 Australia with 35,635 (3.56%); #5 Germany with 18,772 (1.87%); #6 India with 12,452 (1.24%); #7 France with 11,714 (1.17%); #8 Ireland with 10,861 (1.08%);  #9 The Netherlands with 10,526 (1.05%); and #10 Japan with 10,359 (1.03%).

In a strong sign of my increasing popularity, the most common search which discovered this blog last year was “the honest courtesan” (in various permutations) with 1280 hits; “maggie mcneill” (spelled several different ways) was second with 1086.  Perennial favorite “soapland” (in many different forms) was third with a total of 907, and “P411” fourth with 421 hits.  Various permutations of “anonymous blogging” came in fifth at 407, “rhinoceros” dropped to sixth with 393 hits, and “sex doll” was seventh with 340.  Inquiries about genital sizes & shapes came in eighth with 336, references to “Veronica Franco” came in ninth with 268, and “Sonagachi” was tenth with 237.  The numbers for all of these continue to drop, unfortunately, due to Google’s continuing prudification of its search parameters, which also curtailed my traffic dramatically.

My top ten posts for the year were as follows:

Name Date # of hits in 2015
A Visit to Soapland October 21st, 2011       38,555
All Shapes and Sizes September 8th, 2010       35,911
Black Men September 18th, 2010       24,103
Advice for Clients August 21st, 2010       22,415
A Whore in the Bedroom September 9th, 2010       17,518
More Terminology September 7th, 2011       17,445
Something in the Milk January 28th, 2014       14,347
The Going Rate October 9th, 2010       13,133
Honolulu Harlots July 5th, 2011         8772
Ashley Madison January 30th, 2011         8760

Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s “How To Blog Anonymously (and how not to)” also had considerable traffic (33,985 hits in all); the reason it doesn’t appear in the table above is that it’s a static page rather than a post (I exclude my “Introduction” page for the same reason).  The top post by comment has remained almost static since last year:

Name Date # of comments
by 12/31/15
The Privilege Paradigm August 22nd, 2013         230
That Is So Hot! April 19th, 2011         202
Speaking in Prostitute June 17th, 2011         193
Pendulum April 9th, 2011         146
The Enlightenment Police October 1st, 2011         145
TW3 #409 March 1st, 2014         145
Universal Criminality January 15th, 2012         141
Their Lips Are Moving April 25th, 2011         133
Denunciation September 2nd, 2013         126
Creeping Rot April 18th, 2011         123

Posts just don’t get as many comments as they used to; I’m not sure if that’s because of Google’s censorship or the fact that I don’t do as many full columns anymore.  But even though my readership seems to have leveled out, my Twitter following is growing and in the coming year, I think you’ll see me in lots more places in the media than before. 2015 in review

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Maggie on KIRO 1-6-16Last week was so incredibly busy I’m amazed I was able to keep up with everything I had to do.  I knew at the beginning that it would be busy work-wise because I had a solid schedule of appointments, but I had no way of knowing that on Wednesday the pigs would barge into the lives of Seattle sex workers, uprooting one of our major advertising venues and shitting all over our reputations to the press.  Of course, the excuse was “sex trafficking”; Korean sex workers in the area were denied agency, claimed to be “trafficked”, and a number of their clients, bookers and other associates were arrested.  Naturally, nobody has seen any of these supposed “victims” or been allowed to talk to them, but the sheriff of King County nonetheless felt qualified to say that the members of SWOP were “delusional” for saying that advertising boards help us to build communities and screen clients.  Because obviously, his magical swine-o-vision allows him to see into our lives despite the fact that he was too afraid to allow us into his press conference.  But whatever he hoped to achieve by this ham-fisted attempt to shut us up was a failure; by Wednesday night, over 12 hours before his press conference, I had already appeared on not one but TWO local news broadcasts to give our viewpoint, and the sheriff and other officials were flustered and annoyed by several reporters asking them about us and our concerns.  Furthermore, when the conference let out we were waiting, and most of the reporters got statements from us (as I detailed in Friday’s column).  We’ve had several emergency meetings since Wednesday (the first mere hours after the seizure, ’cause we don’t work 9-5, y’all) and plenty more conversations via email and text; I think I’ve received as many text messages in the past week as I would in a typical month.  As a kind of side-effect of all this, I’m even more out now than I was before; on Saturday my pedicurist told me, “I saw you on TV!”  But while I’ve been hailed as a badass in my community for saying “I am a prostitute” on TV while standing in a courthouse full of cops, the truth is that I’m really just plain stubborn.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bunch of morally-retarded thugs tell me how to conduct my life or what motivations for sex I’m allowed to have, and I’ll be thrice-damned if I sit by and let credulous ignoramuses slander my sisters and endanger all our livelihoods.  I may not be able to win against the colossal machine of prohibition, but by Aphrodite I’m going to go down fighting.  And even if they crush me, I’m not going to suffer in silence.

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Diary #288

Late Saturday night (or early Sunday morning, depending on your perspective) I drove Grace to the airport; by the time I woke up about six hours later she was landing in Dallas, and two hours after that she was touching down in Oklahoma City.  And I was already missing her so much it hurt.  For those who haven’t already figured it out, I tend to form very deep and powerful bonds with people I care about; when I love, I love with an intensity that’s almost painful and a loyalty that is generally described as “fierce”.  Nor is that limited to erotic love; my feelings for my friends are just as intense, and my dear friends hear “I love you” from my lips nearly as often as my romantic partners do (which is probably one of the reasons Jack decided I was cheating on him with Frank).  Add to this the fact that Grace and I have been close friends for 18 years, and you may understand how very much I’ve missed her over the past few months, how good it was to see her for Christmas, and how acutely I felt the pain of her departure.  It really was wonderful to have her here, and I’m really happy she got to meet nearly all of my Seattle friends; this won’t be her last visit, and once my house on the ranch is finished, perhaps some of my friends from here will visit there as well.  In the meantime, I’ll have to content myself with using the furniture she fixed for me while she was here, and hearing her voice on the phone, and working toward the day when we can see each other more than twice a year.

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