Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Diary #329

selfie-10-13-16Though last week was full of the little chores which are necessary to real life, it was also full of the kind of weather which tends to raise my spirits.  Plus I had a multi-hour outcall with a very nice gentleman whom I hope will become a regular, and I restarted one of my old ads and started up a new one.  But I suppose the most interesting event of the week from your point of view (besides the taking of this selfie) was that on Saturday night, Christina Slater and I went to dinner with Desmond Ravenstone, a lifelong advocate for the rights of sexual minorities who has joined the fight for decriminalization and recently helped found Clients of Sex Workers Allied for Change (COSWAC).  I’m impressed by both his energy and the knowledge and experience he brings to the table; if we can keep attracting individual allies of his caliber and pulling groups like Lambda Legal and the ACLU into our coalition, I think decriminalization in the US can be achieved a lot sooner than many people imagine.  And it’s about goddamned time, considering that there’s never been a valid legal rationale for criminalizing it in the first place.

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Diary #328

selfie-10-4-16On Monday of last week I had another beauty treatment, then went out of town on a 2-day gig from Tuesday to Thursday.  This in itself wouldn’t be especially noteworthy except for the fact that it seems like every time I’m out of communications range for more than a few hours, some kind of big disaster happens (in this case, the raid on Backpage) that I then have to stay up late struggling to catch up with.  It’s almost as if the universe were trying to tell me something (in which case I apologize in advance for the category 5 shitstorm which will no doubt ensue the day after I croak).  Fortunately, I had something on Friday evening to take my mind off of things: a lovely and generous gentleman took Jae, Vignette, Lorelei and me to see a local production of Man of La Mancha, which happens to be among my favorite musicals (the irony was not lost on him, and I daresay he enjoyed our company more than the show).  And while we were in the lobby, Lorelei spotted a poster for an upcoming show that she says we simply must see together; I’m really enjoying having a musical-theater-viewing pal, and we’re working on a list to share (“You haven’t seen such-and-such?” she says.  “Oh, I’m sure you’d like thingamajiggy” I reply.)  We’ll try to take as many selfies as possible in the process, though we somehow forgot to get one on Friday (a damned shame given that we all looked spectacular, if I must say so myself).  So here’s one I took on the immensely boring three-hour wifi-less ferry ride Tuesday evening instead.

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Diary #327

green-selfie-9-30-16So last week was a kind of quiet one; it started with a lovely evening with Lorelei Rivers, listening to the soundtrack for Hamilton (which I am extremely impressed with despite not actually being a fan of hip-hop).  The only other really noteworthy points of interest (from your point of view, anyway) were an interview for an article on the dangers faced by sex workers, and a lingerie shopping trip with a couple of fellow whores (courtesy of a very generous gentleman).  OK, I can see the guys perking up at that one; yes, sometimes our lives really are like y’all fantasize (though we certainly did NOT have a pillow fight in Victoria’s Secret or fall into a lesbian three-way in the fitting room at Nancy Meyer).  Sol pronounced the black set I bought from the latter shop “incredibly hot”, but I’m afraid I couldn’t take a selfie that would show it all off, so if you want to see it you’ll have to take advantage of my very generous special (running until Thanksgiving) and specifically request I wear it for you.  Yes, I know I’m an awful tease, but here’s a little something I got from Victoria’s; I don’t really like most of their stuff, but this one caught my eye.  And since my lingerie drawer is really now kind of overfull, I guess I’ll have to move all the big things like corsets and catsuits into the closet with my full-length nightgowns.  And one of these days I’ll have to rearrange my sex toys so I can actually get to them without everything falling on the floor.

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Diary #326

post-session-selfie-9-22-16Last week was definitely an improvement over the one before. Besides a meeting between several activists (including myself) and a potential ally who could prove very important, and the lovely couple call I enjoyed very much (Hi y’all!  Looking forward to seeing y’all again soon!), after which this selfie was taken, it was the beginning of autumn, and as long-time readers know that always improves my mood.  I’m an autumnal sort of gal; I like the days short and chilly, the leaves a riot of color and the nights filled with warm beverages and savory scents.  Long, bright, warm days take a toll on my highly-strung nervous system and tend to make me tense and anxious, but when the external sky and landscape match the gloomy October Country inside my skull and my soul, I feel at home and at peace.  People have often remarked that I seem to come alive more in the autumn; maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s just because I match the scenery better then.  But whatever the explanation, there’s no doubt that it’s my natural habitat, and the season in which my natural aura is at its most powerful and intense.  I’m no longer at a place in life where I can dance through the dry leaves under a harvest moon as I did in my youth, but I like to think that the autumn steps in the dance of my life are still among the most graceful and beautiful.

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I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds


The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…

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Allied for Change

The only way to stop this will be for those who approve of it to suffer actual consequences, and that isn’t going to happen until all of you clients out there get off of your duffs and fight…gentlemen, I suggest you had better rethink your current silence, unless you want to be the next one with your name and picture splashed across newspapers, TV screens and websites.  –  “Scrupleless in Seattle

anonymous-clientWhen one puts as much time and energy into a cause as I have invested in this one over the last decade, it’s gratifying to see support for that cause slowly grow and become more visible to the general public.  Despite the fact that I’ve always had a lot of praise and encouragement from within my own community, for a long time it looked like the only people who were listening were those already in the demimonde and our natural allies such as libertarians and human rights advocates.  But every Friday the 13th I’ve called for more allies, and I’ve watched the wind gradually shift toward recognition of the fact that criminalization of any aspect of sex work is a gross violation of human rights; I’ve seen universal, credulous acceptance of the “sex trafficking” paradigm crumble, powerful new allies like Amnesty International come on board and the government sabotaging its own propaganda by indulging in ill-considered pogroms like the prosecutions of Rentboy and The Review Board.  Over the past year many groups and individuals, emboldened by Amnesty’s stance, have condemned the War on Whores and attacked its dogma-driven underpinnings, while energetic journalists like Glenn Kessler and Elizabeth Nolan Brown have taken up the task of debunking that up until recently I was conducting almost solo, and have brought the government’s anti-whore bullshit to the attention of far more people than this blog ever could.

But until recently, one group of important natural allies was conspicuously silent.  Men who pay for sex at least occasionally outnumber whores by a factor of sixty to one, yet (with rare exceptions like Chester Brown and Jim Norton) are almost never heard from.  This certainly isn’t hard to understand; the majority of them are married, and so stand to lose their wives and families, plus even their jobs and social standing due to our culture’s increasing sex-negativity.  Add to that fashionable “end demand” client demonization and legal persecution, and the fact that some silly whores (who think of activism as a kind of social club rather than a war) actually oppose their support, and one can certainly understand why clients prefer to keep their mouth shut.  I’ve been working to change that for a long time, but against such a mountain of stoic silence what can one loudmouthed harlot accomplish?  But finally, the seriousness of the situation seems to be sinking in: official persecution of clients has become so aggressive, vicious and sociopathic (especially in cities suckling at Swanee Hunt’s filthy tits, such as Seattle) that clients’ lives are being destroyed by the hundreds in schemes that couldn’t pass constitutional muster even if the judges were all stoned.  Christina Slater’s recent telling of a busted client’s story and Dan Savage’s quoting me in calling clients to arms have inspired a group of clients, activists and attorneys to start a new website dedicated to client activism; the group is called Clients of Sex Workers Allied for Change, and their mission statement is below:

This website is for clients of sex workers to share experiences and resources, and to dispel myths surrounding participation in paid sex.

We affirm that sex workers and clients have the same right of sexual expression as other consenting adults.

We support social services that empower sex workers to improve their lives and aid those choosing to leave sex work.

We condemn force, fraud or coercion in any sexual encounter, and we call for safe and effective means for sex workers and clients to report abuses without fear of prosecution.

We condemn efforts to stigmatize sex workers, their clients, and interested third parties.

We join the growing number of diverse organizations calling for the full decriminalization of sex work.

They’ve flattered me by asking for my input in an advisory capacity, and once the site gets well and truly going you’ll be seeing a guest column here from one of the founders.  In the meantime, please check the site out; it’s been a long time coming, and I’m damned glad it’s here.

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Diary #324

selfie-9-2-16Last week was a really strange one; it was as though something unwholesome was in the air.  I spent large portions of every day on the phone, and only a little of it was in the relatively-pleasant task of giving interviews to reporters; the rest of it was spent putting out figurative fires and talking to customer service people about more glitches and problems than I usually have to deal with in a month.  Most of the would-be clients who called me were nothing but wankers and time-wasters, and two good appointments that I was really looking forward to were postponed; one of those was my New York trip, which now looks like it’ll probably end up in October.  And if that all weren’t bad enough, on Thursday the news spread through our community that Tahoe Ted, who was demonized by Seattle “authorities” for running a message board, took his own life rather than endure any more character assassination and emotional torture.  Apparently, the prosecutor’s office doesn’t want this getting out because they realize it makes them look bad; they don’t want anyone realizing that their victims are human beings with lives and feelings, whose lives they wantonly destroy to “send messages” about people having sex for reasons sociopathic billionaires disapprove of.  About the only good news I received last week was that my friend Savannah Sly is returning to Seattle soon; let’s hope she brings some good fortune with her.

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