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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Usually, when I devote a whole column to picking on a news article, it’s because said article is so hilariously bad or deeply disturbing (or both) that I can’t bear to limit myself to a quick jab of the knife in a news column, and instead prefer to lovingly vivisect it until the entire virtual room is spattered in blood.  But this is, alas, not one of those cases; the article’s author, Sonja Sharp, clearly believes herself an ally of sex workers, or is at least open-minded to the idea that sex workers deserve human rights, yet she can’t quite bring herself to shake off her childlike trust in government and her belief that cops are the “good guys”.  So what we get is an article that is generally supportive of sex worker rights, yet fails to properly place the blame for our oppression on the prohibitionists; instead, it adopts a kind of mealy-mouthed “moderation”, pretending that there is a legitimate “debate” to be had between those who say humans own ourselves and have unalienable rights, and those who pretend that individuals are owned by the State, which has the “right” to use violence to “protect” us from choices with which our owners disapprove.  There’s very little point in quoting the good parts, so I’m just going to concentrate on pointing out the bad ones.

[When] Police Commissioner James O’Neill and the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray…[announced] the NYPD would bolster the size of its vice squad in order to stamp out sex trafficking…the hope on part of some advocates was that sex workers might see relief from the pressure traditionally brought to bear by police…

I have no idea who these “advocates” Sharp refers to are, but none of them are sex worker rights activists; we know better than to harbor naive beliefs that doubling the size of a police unit could in any way signal “relief” for those the unit is specifically intended to oppress.

…a growing number of law enforcement agencies…are forming their own anti-trafficking units—often using grants from the feds—and deploying similarly gallant rhetoric despite limited evidence their arrests do much to stop exploitation…But alternatives are time-consuming and remain opaque to most law enforcement agencies, which have been deputized to fight human trafficking in part because it’s widely understood to be synonymous with illegal sex work…Modernizing their approach is still a work in progress, to say the least…

Because the writer can’t bring herself to question the institution of policing, she buys into the claim that cops are interested in “stopping exploitation”; she imagines that the idea of just leaving people alone instead of persecuting them for private, consensual activities is “opaque” to cops, rather than recognizing “sex trafficking” as a boondoggle intended to disguise the ugly persecution of sexual behavior under a mask of “helping”.  The idea that cops’ behavior needs to be “modernized” is the most asinine of all; what they’re doing now IS the modern approach, by definition, since it’s less than 20 years old.  What we really need is a return to the approach which predominated throughout most of human history: recognizing that sex work is normal and not a government matter, and leaving it the fuck alone.

…Jean Bruggeman, executive director of the national anti-trafficking organization Freedom Network USA [says] “I think in their zeal to help [cops] are doing some very wrongheaded things,” including mass arrests of sex workers and John stings using fake Backpage ads…

More exoneration of cops, pretending their abusive behavior (including surveillance, rape, robbery, brutality, destruction of homes and lives and even driving people to suicide) is motivated by a “zeal to help”.  You know, like terrorists blow up innocent people in their “zeal to help” them get to Heaven.

…In what appears to be a more concerted approach than that of the NYPD, LA Sheriff’s detectives bring an outreach worker with them whenever they approach sex workers…always offering them diversion first, before an arrest is made…”if they flat-out refuse, we book them, and then they’re sent to the appropriate court,” where they are then [forced into] a system of mandatory services…It seems like progressive approach, one most people—even those who think sex work should be legal—might be able to get behind…

Yeah, it’s “progressive” all right, considering that the Progressive movement spawned the concept of Prohibition in the first place.  To pretend that people who want to suppress consensual sex are actually trying to “help” anyone but themselves is disingenuous in the extreme, yet Sharp just can’t see that attacking peaceful people and then forcing them at gunpoint to accept the government’s idea of “help” is evil even if implemented exactly as planned, both in theory and in practice.

…demand reduction…is hotly contested among advocates and experts.  While less explicitly harmful than arresting sex workers, opponents say it does little to rout traffickers, while those who endorse it argue arresting Johns makes sexual exploitation less attractive as a business…

Aaaaaaaand I’m gonna stop right there before I am seized with the urge to disembowel Sharp along with her crappy article.  No, “end demand” isn’t “hotly contested” among anyone who actually gives a shit about human rights, nor is it less harmful than arresting sex workers (indeed, in the US it always includes arresting sex workers despite the rhetoric).  There is no legitimate “debate” over whether people own their own bodies, nor whether they have the right to consensual sex with other adult partners; pretending that there is such a “debate” is nothing more than catering to evil control freaks and sucking the dick of power.  The pretense that cops are some kind of sweet, well-intentioned social justice squad, and that it isn’t their fault the laws are bad, is so incredibly nauseating it boggles the mind.  Stories like this, written by sheltered little girls barely out of their parents’ houses, are vile apologies for evil policies that enable uniformed rapists and soft-peddle operations intended to destroy lives, enable armed robbery of citizens and increase the real “modern slavery”, mass incarceration.

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Ik kan niet ademen.  –  Jerry Afriyie

When this posts I’ll be on the first leg of my trip to Ireland, so it seems appropriate to share one of my favorite Vangelis compositions, the haunting and beautiful “Irlande”.  The links above it were provided by Tim Cushing (“pigs”, “sirree” and “dogs”), Kevin Wilson (“serve”), Marijke Vonk (“brutalized”), Radley Balko (“bald”), and Nun Ya (“guess”).

From the Archives

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You can…Google me naked and get a lot of applicable results, which is not something most people can say.  –  “Sixth Anniversary

Seven years, and I don’t even have the fabled itch yet!  Doing a blog in my own peculiar way, with its rigid scheduling and content requirements, really is something like a marriage; but like a good marriage, it’s a labor of love.  And it is a good marriage; I take care of The Honest Courtesan, feeding her and grooming her and getting her lovely ornaments to adorn her, and I make sure she gets plenty of attention from readers (over 2500 posts, nearly 100 pages and over 48,000 comment; nearly 2000 subscribers and almost 14,000 Twitter followers; and nearly 6 million page views from all over the world).  In return, she has made me a minor celebrity, extremely well-known in the demimonde and libertarian circles, and even occasionally recognized in public; she helps me to get work and has made my writing much more than the exercise in vanity it was seven years ago.  I have published two books (with more to come), have written many articles and been interviewed too many times to count, and I’m even widely considered a sex symbol now, which is still very difficult for my chubby, homely 13-year-old self to believe.  There will be a documentary about me released sometime next year, and at the end of this week I’ll be visiting Europe for the first time (something which would’ve been basically impossible two years ago).  And all because just over seven years ago, I enjoyed an online friend’s blog post about Wonder Woman and asked how I could set up a blog myself.  In some ways, seven years ago seems like yesterday, and in some ways it feels like forever; there’s no guarantee I’ll still be around in another seven years, because there are no guarantees in life.  But as of right now, I  plan to keep this blog/creatrix relationship going for as long as my brain and fingers allow me to do so.

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Though I no longer use different stage names (in fact, virtually nobody except the government uses my legal name any more), I still have different email addresses and different websites for my activism and my sex work.  This blog and this email address are for my blogging and activism, while my escort site (Google my name & “Seattle escort” to find it) and this email address are for hiring my professional services as an escort.  And if you approach me through Twitter I’ll probably point you to whichever of those seems more appropriate.

Now, I don’t mind getting inquiries about my professional services through my activism address (though I will probably switch the correspondence to the other address when I realize what you want); the activism address is a lot better known and some people who want to hire me don’t know where to find the other one, so it’s all good.  However, I find myself rather annoyed when I answer an email to my escort address and find something blog-related.  Anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of human psychology, and/or a few months of following my writing, should understand why:  when I see an email come in through that account, I naturally expect it means potential income, and that pleases me on both a practical and a sexual level (because money turns me on).  So how do you think I feel when I find no money is being offered?  Exactly.  And I don’t like feeling that way about communications from my readers, so please don’t do that.  The other day, some chowderhead made an even worse faux pas; he actually used my escort site booking form to request an (uncompensated) interview.  Given that the fraction of booking-form emails which actually turn into paid bills is quite high, I was even more annoyed at this false alert than I would’ve been from a simple email to the wrong address, and when he told me that he used the booking form on purpose because he figured it would get my attention better…well, let’s just say my response was somewhere between “cross” and “I have a good mind to tell you to fuck off”.

But even this irritation is not as powerful as the seriously-pissed-off feeling of opening my escort email to find someone trying to extract money from me by hawking some product or service.  Here’s a word of advice on that: Don’t.  As in, don’t ever do that.  If you want to interest me in your whatever-it-is, send an email offering me a free trial or sample or whatever, and if it sounds good I’ll let you send it to me (with no guarantee I’ll buy it or even like it).  But a straight-up sales pitch or begging letter with not even the pretense of a gift or offer?  Forget it.  And if you’re dumb and rude enough to do that, expect me to immediately install a new filter so future emails from you go straight to the trash.

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I stayed rather busy last week, from walking with SWOP in the Seattle Pride parade on Sunday (because somebody has to speak up for sex workers, since Gay, Inc won’t), to spending an overnight in Portland with one of my favorite gentlemen (whom I’m going to call Ghost Rider, a nickname that he approves of), to going to see Wonder Woman on Thursday night with Jae.  I wasn’t really planning to see it, because as regular readers know I’ve been a major Wonder Woman fan since childhood and DC has been totally fucking up every single superhero film it has made in this century, from a dark, murderous Superman to a clownish Green Lantern, and I just couldn’t bear to see that done to the Amazon princess.  But Jae asked me to take her to the movie and I wasn’t about to disappoint her; as it turns out, I’m really glad she asked because I was extremely pleased with the film, which may well be the best DC superhero flick ever (including the justly-beloved Christopher Reeve Superman).  I’m not saying it was flawless, but I was easily able to overlook the flaws due to the superlative portrayal of Diana’s personality and character and the skill with which the director depicted her growing from a sheltered princess into a heroic, unstoppable champion of righteousness and compassion.  In the sequence where she truly becomes Wonder Woman, a charge across no man’s land (the film takes place in the First World War rather than the Second of the traditional story) to rescue a village whose plight has moved her heart, I literally cried out loud, sobbing at the beauty and power of the scene.  It was quite an experience, and I highly recommend the picture to anyone who enjoys superheroes or strong female characters, and especially to anyone who has an adolescent daughter to share the experience with.

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Last week was such a busy one!  On Wednesday I flew to Chicago, on Friday I had a reception at which I spoke and sold some of my books, and on Saturday I brunched (lightly!) with the people working on a brand new escort advertising site I’m very excited about (and will tell you more about as things develop) before flying home.  And in between Wednesday and Saturday, I visited with several gentlemen in private.  See, y’all, that’s how you can get me to visit:  set up a decent-sized event for me (or even a couple of smaller ones), give me the time to set up a few appointments, provide me with lodging & meals and I’ll fly out to your city, where you can also see me in private if you like.  Interested?  Let me know!  On Sunday I also marched with the SWOP contingent in Seattle’s Pride parade (somebody has to represent sex workers since the mainstream LGBT organizations won’t), and I’ll have some good pictures of that for you later.

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In folklore, fantasy literature and occult thought, it’s possible to conjure beings from spiritual realms or other planes of existence or whatever to appear before one by various means, usually some sort of spell.  In the case of truly powerful and malevolent entities, it might be as simple as saying the being’s name (hence the phrase “speak of the Devil”), but usually there are conditions that have to be met – a sacrifice or some such – in order for the invocation to work.  Well, I’m neither an angel nor a succubus, but in response to a number of requests over the past couple of weeks I’m going to provide you with a not-so-mystic formula which will enable you to summon me to your city.  Normally, the process would involve contacting me via email, offering me a booking or bookings totaling up to the round-trip travel time to wherever it is, and then paying a deposit on that time; for example, it’s a four-hour flight each way to Chicago, so I’d need eight hours of work to justify travel.

Now, I recognize that a booking that long might be outside of the budget of many of you, but while I’m hawking my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, I have an alternative means of summoning me anywhere in the US (and maybe other countries later, but we’ll talk about that when it materializes).  All you need to do is this:  contact a local bookstore or bookstores to find out if they’d like me to do a reading, and how much advance notice they need.  Then figure out a venue for me to do some kind of talk – for a university, a women’s group, a sex worker rights or libertarian group, etc – and talk to whoever you need to get a general idea of how to set that up.  Then contact me so we can agree on some tentative dates, and set up the events firmly.  Finally, arrange for a place for me to stay while in your city…and poof, I’ll magically fly through the air on the appointed day and appear at the events you’ve set up, and you can book a normal-length appointment for me instead of having to shell out for a long one.  I know this may seem like a lot of work, but am I not worth it?  Some folks in Chicago evidently thought so, because I’m heading there Wednesday; I’ve also spoken to sponsors in Washington DC and Tampa, Florida.  What have you got to lose?  Make a few phone calls at no cost to yourself, exercise your planning skills and summon the Whore of Babylon without all that seal-breaking and goat-sacrificing rigmarole.  You’ll be glad you did.

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