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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Whore Nation

When I was on the way out to stay with Jae, and in the first few days afterward, I had (as you can imagine) many practical concerns in addition to the ones about Jae’s health.  One of these, naturally, was money; supporting myself was only the beginning of that, because obviously my ongoing bills wouldn’t patiently await my return. But the city we’re in is small, and I no longer have an alternate work persona; if I advertised it would be announcing our location, ans I didn’t want to do that.  I mentioned my dilemma to Mistress Matisse, and she had an answer: “Don’t even try to work right now; you just concentrate on Jae.  The whore nation will provide for you.”

Babylon the WhoreI knew exactly what she meant.  Though we’re a long way behind our sisters in other countries, especially those in the Global South, American sex workers are at long last beginning to come together as a force to be reckoned with.   With our constitutional right to assemble ignored in most places (gatherings of sex workers can, and sometimes have been, raided and the participants charged with “conspiracy to commit prostitution” or “communicating for the purpose of prostitution”) and our activities spied on by the police, it was historically very difficult for pre-internet American sex workers to organize.  But social media changed all that; escort message boards, blogs and Twitter (especially the latter) have allowed whores to talk, plan, and organize collective effort.  Hashtag campaigns like #whenantisattack#notyourrescueproject and #rightsnotrescue attracted so much attention outside the demimonde that they were even covered in mainstream media, and we began to use our collective efforts to shut down prohibitionist evils and opportunistic exploiters alike.  But it was in the past year that the American whore nation has really come into its own: while SWOP chapters have sprung up like mushrooms and we’ve steadily won new allies, we’ve also expanded our ability to shut down dangerous “trafficking” rubbish that feeds on whores while amplifying the narrative that endangers us all.  Meanwhile, Amnesty International’s announcement of its support for decriminalization and the ill-considered federal raid on Rentboy have brought would-be allies out of the woodwork in startling numbers; the power of the Whore Nation is growing, and ESPLERP’s lawsuit could open a breach in the enemy’s defenses through which our forces could pour.  It is inevitable that we will win, and gain the same rights as anyone else, and once we do this time period will be the one our historians view as the turning point.

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The forms of “rescue” and “victim rehabilitation” promoted by…NGOs often contradict their benevolent positions, because the labour requirements of such minimum wage work perpetuate the…restriction and coercion that they associate…with sex work.  –  Elena Shih

Think of the Children! 

The City of West Linn [Oregon] has ordered a local man to stop operating a bondage and discipline-sadomasochism room out of his home…Mead Hall Dungeon is advertised as a private play space available for rental.  David Levine said he hosts parties at the space twice a month…after a neighbor complained about several cars parking along West A Street…police determined no criminal activity was taking place, but the city then issued a cease and desist letter when they learned Levine did not have a business permit…The dungeon is in a soundproofed, converted garage that sits off a long driveway…[a pearl-clutching busybody] said she was shocked when she found out about Mead Hall, especially because it’s located a few blocks down from West Linn High School.  “I just find it just totally inappropriate…in a neighborhood”…

For Their Own Safety

Prostitutes in Italy will now be forced to replace their miniskirts and revealing tops for a reflective jacket and trousers worn by road workers…sex workers gathering on a main road into Milan…face a 500 euro fine if they refuse to wear the unappealing high-visibility attire.  Authorities…[pretend] the prostitutes caused a road-safety problem…and should be treated as construction workers…

A Moral Cancer

The crypto-moralists have been relatively quiet for a while:

People with a family history of cancer should seriously consider stopping drinking alcohol altogether experts have warned…The study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concludes that drinking just a small amounts of alcohol increases the risk of cancer in women and men who smoke…After allowing for other risk factors…they found that light to moderate drinking – less than two drinks a day for women, and three to four drinks daily for men – is linked to…a 13 percent increased risk of cancer regardless…no association was found in men who had never smoked…

13%!  Why, that’s a virtual CERTAINTY!!!!!!

Against Their Will

In India, the…[law] equates prostitution with commercial sexual exploitation.  [Arrested adult] women…ostensibly…victims, are then placed in institutions from which they are forbidden to leave until released by a court.  The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) of 1956 prescribes state…custody for them until the suitability of their families or guardians to “take charge of them” is verified…activists have long questioned the constitutionality of this provision vis-a-vis the fundamental rights to life and liberty…After verification, courts can either order their release to a suitable guardian’s custody, or commit them to be detained in the protective home for one to three years for “care and protection”.  To appeal against detention orders, women must approach an appellate court, for which they seldom have the resources…Rainbow Love

Size Matters

The Seattle prosecutor claims that whores “have nothing to fear from us”:

Rainbow Love…dodged jail time in 2010 when she was caught running “temples” in Seattle and the suburbs.  Now, though, the Marysville woman could see prison as King County prosecutors accuse her of operating a string of brothels out of apartments in and around Seattle…Love is alleged to have admitted…to taking thousands of dollars in prostitution earnings from women she managed…Love has now been charged with three counts of second-degree promoting prostitution related to a sting operation conducted in May 2014…Last prosecuted five years ago, Love had been caught in mid-2008 running a chain of “goddess temples” deemed to be brothels by investigators…Prosecutors claim Love was again operating brothels presented as religious spaces…

I’ve never met Rainbow, but some of my friends have (some have even worked for her). The idea that she’s some sort of criminal, and that her beliefs are insincere, is evil coppery of the highest magnitude; note the dysphemistic phraseology here such as “taking thousands of dollars” (in other words, receiving thousands in fees like any agent would).  This is the “new and improved” regime of sex work policing we aren’t supposed to fear.

Schadenfreude 

The only “training” women receive at Prey Speu is in how to be beaten, robbed, gang-raped and starved:

Authorities in the capital’s Daun Penh district rounded up dozens of sex workers…before sending them..for “re-education” at the notorious Prey Speu detention centre…43 sex workers and 10 homeless people were arrested…as part of ongoing efforts to rid Phnom Penh of its so-called “undesirables”…Since it opened in 2004, Prey Speu has been plagued with allegations of abuse.  Staff and former detainees have [reported] that it is ill-equipped to offer any of the advertised training…

The Public Eye

This story on Seattle sex workers’ reactions to the pompous posturing of prohibitionist politicians quotes three friends of mine:  Maggie McMuffin, Vignette Velo & Savannah Sly; the show mentioned in the text was this one, and in the recording you can hear a tiny bit of my attempt at emceeing at the very end.  Unfortunately, the ignoramuses get to vomit out their lies and agency-negating myths in the story, too.

Skin To Skin

Deliciously Disabled held its first official event…at Toronto’s Oasis Aqualounge…it was not an “orgy” like so many media outlets had purported it to be…the event was there to allow people with disabilities of all forms to interact with each other in a space where they felt both comfortable enough to express themselves and safe enough to retract and just watch the show….[it] was designed to be fully accessible, with gadgets like hydraulic lifts and harnesses being set up to allow participants to explore each other sexually and, if they want to, even get some good ol’ banging going on.  There was also booze—lots of booze—along with various forms of entertainment, from DJs to burlesque dancers, all for the reasonable price of $20…

Little Boxes (#138)

It amazes me how worked up some people can get about tits:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising to take action against women who pose nearly naked for photos in Times Square in exchange for cash.  The practice seems to be on the rise…many…wear only body paint and a thong.  They charge a few dollars to pose for photos with tourists.  Police say they can do little to stop it, and some local politicians and newspaper editorials are calling for a ban of the practice.  De Blasio says…he believes the practice is “wrong”…

Tamara Dominguez
Ever notice that consensual transactions prudes want to ban are always claimed to be “on the rise”?

Monsters 

Gee, I can’t imagine why they think this was done hatefully: “Kansas City police say they still cannot say if the murder of a transgender woman was a hate crime.  Tamara Dominguez, 36, was hit by a truck early Saturday morning, then driven over by that truck again and again…

Business As Usual

What makes this newsworthy is that the cases were actually thrown out:

Three prostitution cases have been thrown out this month by…judges and the Minneapolis city attorney, who said Minneapolis undercover police investigators went too far.  The officers’ [rape of sex workers] also drew a sharp denunciation from the county’s chief public defender, Mary Moriarty…two of the cases were dismissed…in rulings that found the officers’ actions constituted “outrageous government conduct”…Minneapolis police said the department has discontinued such undercover investigations pending a full review of its policies…[but] none of the three officers involved in the cases is [being charged]…

Unfortunately, Moriarty then rudely follows up her denunciation of the cops by vomiting prohibitionist filth all over the reporter.

Schadenfreude (#434) 

anti-trafficking NGOs have created a cottage industry of “victim repair” through vocational training…Numerous faith-based and secular NGOs…focus on selling wares made by the women they employ…Jewellery, tote bags, blankets, and placemats are among the many products sold online and at anti-trafficking conferences and fairs..for most of the women [their wages] represents only one-third to one-fifth of their previous monthly earnings as sex workers…NGOs rely heavily on moral rehabilitation to “repair the victim”.  The NGO employing [one Chinese intervewee] requires workers to contractually agree to neither sell sex nor patronise their former entertainment establishments in the future.  They are also required to live in mandatory shelter housing, have a nightly curfew, and are forbidden from receiving male visitors during the weekdays.  There is also optional daily Bible study, but if they choose not to attend, they must work through the hour making jewelry…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Under the new Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA)…anyone who solicits or engages in prostitution with a person under age 18 is subject to federal sex-trafficking charges…So why wasn’t former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle booked on federal sex trafficking charges?  In addition to Fogle’s alleged child-porn collection, he is accused of traveling to New York City on two occassions to pay for sex with 16- and 17-year-old girls.  Whether these girls were forced into the sexual activity is irrelevant as far as federal law is concerned; the JVTA makes very clear that anyone paying for sex with a teen is…guilty of the crime of human trafficking…But the feds didn’t even attempt to book Fogle on sex trafficking charges, instead charging him with “traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor”…not even the media have been throwing around the words “sex trafficking” in conjunction to Jared, though they seldom miss an opportunity to work the phrase into coverage of consensual sex work of any kind…

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Diary #267

20150805_161229-1It’s been an amazingly busy week!  I said on Twitter that nobody should mistake this trip for a vacation, because it wasn’t (not for me, anyway; Jae & Grace had a fun, if exhausting, trip to Sturgis).  But that doesn’t mean I had no fun; in fact, every single date I had, with both gentlemen I already knew and with those I was meeting in the flesh for the first time, was lovely.  And though I was busy jetting around eastern Oklahoma for work, I also managed to make time to catch up with several friends and readers (I won’t name-drop, but they can identify themselves in the comments if they like); get my divorce paperwork filed; copy Never On Sunday for Matt (I did tell you we’re still very close); catch up on my writing a little; place some new escort ads; visit with Grace after she got back; and probably half a dozen other things I’m forgetting.  Then in the middle of it all, I got to see myself quoted in an editorial in The Daily Iowan, of all places; fame marches on!  Today I’ll be finishing up here, packing a few things for my return to Seattle tomorrow; I’ll be sleeping in Denver tomorrow night, taking a day off with Jae in Idaho on Friday and then I’ll be back in Seattle sometime Saturday.

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0803150915aIt’s hard to believe that I’ve been back at the ranch for almost a week now, but it’s true; I arrived last Wednesday.  But don’t think that means I’ve been relaxing; in fact, I’ve been doing anything but.  Even in the car I was busy; on the drive to Wichita last Tuesday I was giving an interview to Colleen Curry of Vice, then Wednesday I did the same thing between Wichita and Oklahoma City with Hilary Hanson of the Huffington Post.  Both of those interviews were on the subject of Tom Dart’s anti-Backpage crusade, but there were at least two other big stories in recent weeks:  a serial killer was himself killed by a sex worker named Heather, and Amnesty International is about to vote on finally coming out in favor of decriminalization (prompting uproar from empty-headed Hollywood types who claim that supporting police violence against women is “feminist”).  On Sunday, I talked to Eric Barry of the Full Disclosure podcast  about the latter subject; that episode will be out today.  And between all those things I also met with several clients, spent some time with Jae before she and Grace left for the Sturgis motorcycle rally yesterday morning, tried to catch up on my work and correspondence, did some bookkeeping and otherwise kept myself occupied.  I’ve also reached the stage where even if I’m not working, my blog still is; it’s becoming a common occurrence for me to open up an article (like this one in Think Progress) and discover a link to one of my previous essays.  That’s exactly what I want; as my work spreads through the internet, it will act as an acid on the supports of prohibitionist mythology, hastening the day when the whole jury-rigged structure collapses.

On a slightly more mundane subject:  I’m leaving to return to Seattle a week from tomorrow (the 12th), planning to spend the first night in Denver and the second in Idaho.  But I have as yet made no reservations, so if you’d like to see me en route please let me know ASAP and I may be able to modify my course to accommodate you.

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burgundy chairA lot of things have changed in my life in the past year or so, and foremost among them is the abandonment of anonymity.  Of course, my legal name isn’t known, but then that brings up absolutely nothing interesting on Google anyway (unless you get a secret thrill from perusing the public land records of largely-rural counties).  But as Maggie McNeill I’m known and recognized, occasionally even in public, so it was really a bit naive to think I’d be able to maintain a separate escort persona for very long.  I therefore recently decided (with the help of several sex worker activist friends) to abandon that second persona and just do everything – speaking, writing and whoring – as Maggie McNeill.  My website logos, text and url have been changed, and I’m in the process of switching all my advertising accounts to “Maggie McNeill”.  I’ve built up quite a reputation over the past five years, and it seems silly not to use it to attract clients; I’d rather monetize my work in that way, indirectly, rather than by polluting this website with a bunch of ugly blinking, flashing, jumping, wriggling banner ads offering “free” sex with “horny housewives” and “barely legal nymphos”.  In these times of aggressive “end demand” pogroms, that reputation may prove a vital lifeline to nervous clients; when a gentleman calls me there will be no doubt in his mind that I’m the real deal rather than a honey trap, and a referral from me should be good with the majority of escorts in any English-speaking country.  Of course, my high-profile name may also attract unwanted attention of the dangerous kind, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take; I’m sure you’ll understand if I’m especially diligent with my screening now.  It’s also true that some potential clients will be turned off by many of the opinions and truths I’ve expressed here; frankly, I wouldn’t want to be with anyone that insecure anyhow.  So drop me a line, guys; little Maggie’s back in the saddle again, and this time she ain’t even wearin’ a mask.

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Diary #264

20150709_003841Some weeks are such a mixture of good and bad that it’s hard to decide which outweighed the other, especially when the good was so very good and the bad was so very bad.  On the one hand I got to visit with one of my favorite gentlemen, attend an excellent party, spend an evening with Kaytlin Bailey and serve as emcee for the Sex Worker Appreciation Day comedy & variety show, which was a great success; I’m also preparing for my first visit home since February.  But on Sunday morning, Grace called to tell me by beloved kitty Friday (whose “stage name” on this blog was “Nancy”) had suddenly fallen ill; by 2 PM she was gone.  I suspect the culprit is a virulent parasite spread by ticks which took one of our outside cats last year; it races through their little bodies and kills in hours or days, and there is as yet no cure.  I know that she had a good and happy life, that she was loved and cared for; I know that her death was mercifully swift, and that many pets and humans die long, slow, agonizing deaths that take months or years.  I know that death comes to all of us, great and small, and that I’m generally very philosophical about it.  But I also know that for all of my hard-as-nails demeanor, razor-sharp wit and iron logic, I’m still a soft-hearted woman with overdeveloped maternal instincts, and that it’s incredibly painful for me to lose someone I love …even if that someone lacks the gift of speech.  And the fact that I wasn’t there to hold her at the end, or to somehow prevent this from happening, makes it all that much worse; so did having to tell Matt, who loved her at least as much as I did and probably more.  Yes, I’ll be fine; I’m a big girl and nobody involved in Sunday’s show even guessed that I was grieving inside, because whores are experts in feigning moods.  But just the same, I really wish my happiness didn’t always have to be mixed with pain and sorrow.

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Diary #263

IMAG0900There have been a lot of top-notch activists visiting Seattle lately!  The first week of the month Maxine Doogan was here; we didn’t get as much time to hang out with one another as I would’ve liked, but we did get two short visits (the first time we’ve met in person).  She talked about ESPLERP’s lawsuit to decriminalize prostitution in California, and a few other things that are going on; I’m looking forward to the next time I can sit down with her, though of course there’s email and phone until then.  Almost as soon as she was gone, Tara Burns arrived; Mistress Matisse and I took turns lodging her, and we spent a lot of time together (when one or the other of us wasn’t occupied).  Given that in addition to that I had work, writing and helping someone near and dear to move this week, you can probably guess I was pretty exhausted by Sunday night; between 9 AM Thursday and 3 AM Monday I got roughly 12 hours of sleep altogether (though part of that was a small but lovely party).  And given that the week was so hectic, I guess it’s not really a huge surprise that nobody thought of taking pictures of Tara, Matisse & I together.  Well, next time; she’s promised not to be a stranger and this is the closest major lower-48 city to her home in Alaska.  In the meantime, enjoy this pic she took of me modeling some lovely gloves Abby May gave me.  This week promises to be nearly as hectic; our show is Sunday and Kaytlin Bailey will be staying with me, then the following week I’ll be preparing for my trip to Oklahoma.  If you’d like to see me while I’m on the road, please let me know ASAP; I’m departing on the 24th so everything needs to be planned by then.

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