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I’m a 24-year-old gay male sex worker who recently got into a relationship.  My partner knows about and respects my work, but he wants to be monogamous and feels like we have to be in an open relationship because of my job.  I don’t mind being monogamous, but I enjoy my job and I don’t want to quit, but I truly want to be with this man because he is the most wonderful person I’ve ever met and has an emotional depth and maturity that is truly unparalleled.  I was wondering if you had any advice or personal experience/wisdom you could impart.

Whether or not you can make this work will depend largely if not entirely on whether your partner can understand that sex work is work rather than a recreational activity.  Notice I didn’t say “if you can make him see that…” or something similar, because although you can express the truth to him, you cannot make him accept it.  All you can do is to tell him that if he wants to be monogamous, you are happy to promise him that you won’t have any sexual contact with anyone else unless money is involved; after that, the rest is up to him.  You might also take a look at a couple of other columns I’ve written on similar topics; though they’re about hetero relationships, I honestly don’t think the dynamic would be all that different.  And if you find them helpful, you’re more than welcome to share them with him.  The most helpful column of all might be this two-part interview with my (now ex-) husband; even though we are no longer together, our separation was very amicable and had little to do with my work, and we are still good friends.  His insights on jealousy and looking at my work as an outsider might help to give your partner insight from another man who’s been there, and that might do more to help him than I as a female sex worker could ever manage.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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My body is my business – and it is a money maker.  –  Vera Sidika

Worse Than I Thought

“Human trafficking” has become nothing more than a dysphemism for sex work:

A trio of bills before the [Frederick] County [Maryland] Council [cl]aim to address human trafficking…[one] would require hotels and motels to conduct human trafficking training for new employees, [the second would] hold landlords and tenants liable for criminal charges for [not evicting sex workers on a cop’s say-so] and [the third would] regulate “bodyworks” establishments, which [prohibitionists pretend] are relatively common locations for human trafficking…The landlord and tenant bill would would make it unlawful for any tenant or landlord or property owner to [lease to anyone a cop decides to call]…a potential problem…Prince George’s County has…implemented this bill and has seen success in [evicting] some [sex workers]…the goal of the bill isn’t to punish the landlords, but to get them to [become fascist tools] by evicting the tenants or reporting [them] to police…

Shame, Shame

Instant karma’s gonna get you…

On [May 16th], Sahar Sarid, Thomas Keesee and Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie—three out of four alleged owners of Mugshots.com—were arrested and charged with extortion, money laundering and identity theft…[for] harvest[ing] people’s mug shots and charg[ing] them exorbitant fees to have the photos removed…$399 and up…many people have filed lawsuits against the site…California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said…“Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others.  This is exploitation, plain and simple”..

And yet I don’t see Becerra pushing for a law to make mugshots not public records.  Is that the stench of hypocrisy I smell?

Uncommon Sense (#404)

Beware of male “feminists” who try to stop women from organizing:

Spain’s fiercely anti-prostitution Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was left red in the face…after it emerged a sex workers union was approved by his own administration.  Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly feminist agenda promising to fight…women.  “Prostitution in Spain isn’t legal and this government won’t support any organisation that includes this illicit activity,” he tweeted…

Rescued To Death

“Abatement”.  A term used for things, especially nuisances, here applied to people.  But NHI, right?

…[spokespig] Gaetano Caltagirone…announced the initiation of a “Sex Worker Abatement Unit”…Some 20 [cops] applied [for obvious reasons], but only four were selected…the unit has arrested “Johns” — men soliciting prostitutes — as well as pimps.  Any ensnared sex workers, he said, have been offered [brainwashing sessions or else]…This [paternalistic scheme] was modeled after a pilot program in Seattle…This news was, by and large, well-received by the meeting attendees…[but] Tessa Brown, a Mission resident, pinned the rise of street prostitution on the closures of popular personal websites like Backpage…“I just wanted to push back at the idea that all neighbors agree that we should be arresting all sex workers and more clients of sex workers,” Brown said…Another attendee, Aaron Sunshine, chimed in and suggested the police ease up.  “Let’s just leave the sex workers alone,” Sunshine said…

Slowly but surely, we’re getting through to people who aren’t predisposed to bigotry & bootlicking.

The Face of Trafficking 

What an actual attempt to abduct a woman into forced prostitution looks like:

…her former pimp crept up from behind and dropped her with a roundhouse punch.  Two men heaved her into a car trunk and they were off, forcing the woman to claw for her life in the dark as the vehicle careened along crowded city streets…Soon police were in pursuit across the Bay Bridge.  Minutes later the car would slam into a pole in a fiery, fatal wreck.  But before the deadly crash, the woman in the trunk remembered an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that informed viewers about emergency trunk latches.  In her panic, she found her lifeline and escaped from the vehicle as it headed to the bridge…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

The BBC clutches its pearls and announces that pragmatic dating is bad because it’s “driven by vanity”:

…the exchange of youth and beauty for long-term financial gain, motivated not by hunger but by aspiration, glamorised by social media stars, and often wrapped in the trappings of a relationship.  Older men have always used gifts, status, and influence to buy access to young women.  The sugar daddy has probably been around, in every society, for as long as the prostitute.  So you might ask: “Why even have a conversation about transactional sex in Africa?”  The answer is that in Kenya, and in some other African countries, “sugar” relationships seem to have become both more common and more visible:  what once was hidden is now out in the open – on campuses, in bars, and all over Instagram…

Lower Education (#773)

Ashe Schow debunks the absurd numbers behind the “campus rape crisis” propaganda:

A potential draft of new federal campus sexual assault policies was leaked this week, so expect a new round of false and misleading statistics to be shared by those who claim due process “protects rapists” and “hurts victims”.  Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and shouldn’t be watered down to create a narrative that America is somehow the rape capital of the world, nor should we pretend that non-offenses are offenses…I’ve taken down every one of these statistics before — sometimes many, many times — but it’s time to debunk them all in one place…

Schow debunks the “1 in 4” lie (“numbers thousands of times higher than war-torn Congo”), the “serial predator” bogeyman, the “all rape accusations are true” poison, the “universities which report no rapes are lying” libel, and the “1 in 3 men intend to rape” bullshit.  It’s worth reading in its entirety.

To Molest and Rape (#797)

What kind of sick fuck enrolls their daughter in a program specifically intended to groom them into members of a gang of violent thugs?

[Cops] in the Louisville Metro Police Department’s youth Explorer program…interrogated…a girl who [was the victim]…of sexual abuse [by one of their cronies], took her cell phone and refused to let her parents be present when she was questioned during an out-of-town trip…the head of the program tried to keep the allegations quiet  through what amounted to a bribe — offering to pay the cost of the trip to Atlanta…Louisville Metro P[ig] Brad Schuhmann…sexually abus[ed] the girl from 2008 to 2009…and sought sexual pictures and acts from her.  The abuse [was perpetrated] in [pigmobiles], at Explorer events and through text messages.  The lawsuit was initially filed under seal in Jefferson Circuit Court in October but was moved to federal court earlier this year.  It is among five other similar suits unsealed [on August 30th]…the teen told her parents, who confronted Schuhmann and met with the program’s leader at the time, Lt. Curtis Flaherty.  Schuhmann is under criminal investigation and [was rewarded for the rapes with a] paid [vacation]…

The Widening Gyre (#822)

In which “sex trafficking” hysteria is employed to mask the stench of xenophobia:

Britain is ramping up efforts to [charge people with] sex trafficking of girls…amid [fantasies] that cases uncovered by police are just “the tip of the iceberg” with modern slavery ever-evolving…Britain this week announced a 2 million pound ($2.6 million) scheme to [divert funds to cronies under the excuse of] help[ing] stop at risk children falling into the grip of traffickers and gangs who rape them and force them to move drugs…from cities to rural areas…Britain has been rocked by a series of child sex trafficking and abuse [s]ca[r]es over the past few years, with hundreds of girls [claimed to be] exploited by large gangs..of mainly Asian men…

The Course of a Disease (#850)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The State Attorney’s office, along with Israeli police, decided…to take severe measures against the practice of lap dances in strip clubs.  The new enforcement intends to eradicate “the activity that in certain circumstances constitutes prostitution”…The police issued a written notice to owners of strip clubs clarifying the new policies…[Prohibitionist] Nitzan Kahana of the Task Force [for Pearl-Clutching smugly bloviated]…“The treatment to root out prostitution in Israel has begun…Strip clubs are a major part of this industry…lap dances, posing for years as ‘an innocent dance’ when it is apparent to all that they are essentially a sexual act of physical contact intending to please customers”…

OH MY GOD WE CAN’T HAVE CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCING PLEASURE!!!  THE HORROR!!!

Disaster (#865)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

…Coyote…RI…conducted a survey of 262 sex workers between April 14 and May 25, 2018.  Seventy percent…reported that sex work had been their primary source of income before FOSTA and 77 percent…were the sole providers for their families.  Within a week of the laws’ passage, 70 percent noticed a drop in their income, rendering them unable to pay for rent, food, utilities or phone…Sixty percent…now take on less safe clients in order to make ends meet.  Sixty-five percent…reported that someone had tried to threaten, exploit or [rape] them…censorship of sex workers’ content…means that many are turning to street-based sex work…including people who have little to no experience working on the streets…street-based sex work…increases vulnerability to predators, including police…

The Monsters Are Due (#867) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

Some residents of [the] small town [of Acatlan] in central Mexico [abducted] two men accused of trying to kidnap children from police custody and burned them to death…A crowd of about 150 people gathered and stormed the jail…then doused the…[men] with an accelerant and burned them [alive]…

In the comments, a witness wrote, “The two men were innocent.  They were drinking in the street and they got arrested.  A small group of people [then] began gossip[ing] that they were kidnapping children…Everything was broadcasted on Facebook Live and the mother of the younger man was watching the stream of her son getting killed.  There are posts of her begging them to stop…

The Widening Gyre (#868) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter. Notice we’re back to Ikea again; apparently “sex traffickers” just can’t resist picking up cheap furniture and enjoying Swedish meatballs while shopping for their “sex slaves”.  I wonder how many abductions it takes to make a furniture store a “hot spot”, and how many women have been abducted from the Covina Ikea in comparison with, say, the Cost Plus in San Dimas or the Ethan Allen in Pasadena?

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We’re faced with 60,000 arrivals across the Mediterranean into a continent of half a billion people, the richest continent in the world, and it’s portrayed as an emergency.  –  Filippo Grandi

Bad Girls 

I hope they never catch her; this is admirably badass:

Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy…pulled over a speeder on Aug. 9.  But when they did a background check on the name that she gave them, Latoya Watson, it came up as the alias of Laquita Watson, 27, who was wanted for prostitution and contempt of court…[when the pigs tried to arrest] Watson…she took off, driving up to 80 mph through residential streets and swerving into oncoming traffic.  Watson then made her way to Highway 794, made two illegal U-turns and hit 108 mph when other units joined in the pursuit.  Watson then exited back onto local roads and continued driving at 90 mph and got away as police gave up the chase out of a concern for safety…citations were…mailed to her last known address for driving without a valid license, insurance or seat belt, speeding, and both obstructing and fleeing from an officer.  A district attorney will also consider a reckless endangerment charge and a new warrant for her arrest…

Absolute Corruption

Only one major victim of the Satanic panic is still in prison:

On January 23, 2014, the Florida Parole Commission sent Frank Fuster a letter informing him that, owing to a recent policy change, it had determined that his initial interview was scheduled for March 2134.  No, that isn’t a misprint.  His first parole hearing is scheduled in 120 years.  And this for a crime that, by any fair reading of the evidence, not only did Fuster not commit but never even happened.  Thirty-three years ago, Fuster, along with his young wife, Ileana, was convicted of sexually abusing children at his suburban Florida home, where Ileana provided day care.  He is the last person charged in the mass sex-abuse-in-day-care scares that made headlines from the 1980s to the mid ’90s to remain in prison…therapist-induced repressed “memories” of incest destroyed thousands of families — the day-care cases…are morality tales in reverse:  The perpetrators ride high on the backs of their victims.  Janet Reno went on to become attorney general.  In a hideous distortion of the truth, Bill Clinton in nominating Reno hailed her record of protecting children.  Scott Harshbarger, who prosecuted the Amiraults, rode that case to become attorney general of Massachusetts.  The accusing families cleaned up.  In the Fuster case, they collected over $5 million in out-of-court settlements from the deep-pocketed Arvida Corporation (owned by Disney), the developer of [the subdivision where the Fusters lived]…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#651)

Actually, the suburbs are safer now than they have been for a century, but the public will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous:

An edgy public service campaign is coming to a billboard near you…Emmy Myers says…in her early 20s, she became involved with a man who eventually…became her trafficker…She says the FBI helped her get away and start over.  Now Myers runs Lacey’s Hope Project, [a prohibitionist group] that [spreads]…sex trafficking [propaganda].  Her new public service campaign will send the message that sex trafficking is not just an issue in big cities…”we want to focus on the suburbs because there are so many [suckers who believe this fantasy there]” said Myers.  She said the best thing parents can do is talk with their children about sex-trafficking, and look for signs

This lame recitation of the “sex trafficking” Shahada is as “edgy” as a balloon.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

A UN official finally admits what I’ve been pointing out for years:

The 1951 refugee convention, which protects the basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, is at risk of “collapsing” or being “fatally weakened” if the toxic rhetoric from rich nations towards migrants continues, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said…Filippo Grandi warned that the political response to the refugee crisis was allowing “abuses of human rights to be carried out unchecked, unmonitored and uncontained”.  These flaws in the system continue to be exploited by smugglers and criminal groups who [help] people fleeing war and conflict…

Not So Easy

There is no “debate”; this scheme is supported only by politicians and developers:

The French Quarter is not the first place many Americans think of as a family tourist destination. For more than a century, it has offered a more risqué kind of leisure…But [Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser] believes the city, which attracted a record 10.9 million visitors last year, has reached a “critical point” in its struggle to maintain [what politicians call] public safety in the quarter. His prescription: turning the French Quarter into a state park to make it more “family friendly”. “We don’t want to attract only people who want to drink daiquiris or go to a strip club,” Nungesser said. “We want to attract families from all over the world.” The idea appears to be a nonstarter because it would require cooperation with the city, and New Orleans…mayor…LaToya Cantrell, has said she has no interest in ceding control of the center of the city’s $7.5-billion tourism industry…the proposal…has raised long-standing fears about attempts to sanitize the historic district and prompted plenty of ridicule from locals…Lyn Archer, a stripper who represents the Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers, fears Bourbon Street could eventually become the kind of “historical” site where workers dress up in period clothing to simulate traditional trades and read diaries to tourists.  “Is this our future?” she said. “To perform under a facade of the past for the amusement of visitors?”…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#813)

Another idiotic “Uber for escorts” app developed without consulting sex workers:

A self-described “Uber of escorting”…app isn’t impressing sex workers, who have raised concerns about the cryptocurrency platform’s security and lack of transparency.  PinkDate matches sex workers with clients, who can pay for services with crypto such as bitcoin or monero.  The startup, still in beta, has raised $1 million through its initial coin offering (ICO).  However, escorts involved in the project have already complained about its security and the risk of meeting unvetted clients, with one anonymous sex worker telling CoinDesk the system is “too pimp-like and not safe to use.”  The company said its clients will also be asked to give identification, but sex workers fear they won’t be adequately cross-referenced with industry blacklists…The app takes a substantial cut of 20 percent of the sex workers’ earnings.  A similar company, SpankChain charges 5 percent.  PinkDate’s founders are anonymous, yet escorts are expected to upload their government ID and Twitter accounts to sign up…The company’s former president Sarah Stevens was a sex worker, but she said she left PinkDate because of concerns about its business model…

Full of Themselves (#831)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

A [certified] massage therapist who operated businesses in Folsom and Orangevale has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women at his businesses…Thomas Self worked as a [certified] massage therapist at multiple locations and specialized in massaging athletes throughout the Sacramento region…In the summer of 2015…Self…sexually assaulted [a patient] with his fingers…A little under a year later, in March 2016, Self sexually assaulted a second woman with his fingers during a massage session…That August, Self sexually assaulted a third woman who he was reportedly helping train to become a massage therapist…A search on the California Massage Therapy Council shows that Self was…suspended [until] April 22, 2017…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

He probably just thought he was in a “sex doll brothel”:  “A man has been arrested after reportedly being caught having sex with a dead body at a Memphis hospital.  The suspect has been identified as Cameron Wright, a security guard at St. Francis Hospital…

The War Goes On (#855) 

All the oinking about how hard it is for poor widdle piggies to persecute sex workers since the feds shut down Backpage is hilarious:

Authorit[arian]s trying to [victimize consenting adults for] buying sex…have long depended on Craigslist and Backpage, where an online personal ad could be viewed from anywhere in the world and elicit any number of responses at a given time.  But police and [other prohibitionists] across the state and nation are scrambling to [escape the pile of shit they helped create by censoring] both sites…earlier this year, displacing sex [worker advertising] onto mobile apps, obscure websites and foreign-owned sites that aren’t beholden to U.S. [witch hunters]…[Minnesota pigs] charged at least 29 men between late July and early August with a variety of [prostitution-related] crimes…The dating site Plenty of Fish and an app called Skout were each used to catch one suspect.  The mobile app Grindr was used in three arrests…

Be careful, amateurs; your failure to oppose pogroms against pros has resulted in the pigs rooting around in dating apps for victims.  I hope you enjoy the world your silence helped to create.

The Monsters Are Due (#856) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs.  Note that similar fake “child abduction” videos are being used to foment hysteria in the US.

This summer in India, two dozen innocent people died at the hands of mobs convinced that they were meting out justice to kidnappers.  One was a software engineer beaten to death after giving chocolates to children outside a school.  One was a 65-year-old woman who got lost on a trip to a temple with her family and stopped to ask for directions.  All five travelers were stripped naked and beaten with fists, sticks and iron rods…fear of strangers is far more dangerous than strangers themselves.  The panic began in April when a video that appears to show a child being scooped off the street by two men on a motorcycle went viral.  The video was originally created in Pakistan as a public service announcement to teach parents to watch their children more closely.  The end of the clip showed the child returned by the “kidnappers” who held up a sign:  “It takes but a moment to snatch a child off the streets of Karachi.”  But that wasn’t what millions of Indians saw on WhatsApp.  In the doctored Indian version, that ending was cut off, so the child never reappears…

Little Boxes (#865) 

I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, prohibitionists’ insistence that this is prostitution, or cuddlers’ insistence that it isn’t:

Lady Colin Campbell left Good Morning Britain presenters gobsmacked with a shocking outburst…during a debate on [compulsory] cuddling in the workplace…The socialite and former I’m A Celebrity star…appeared…alongside Lindsay Meadows, a “cuddle therapist” who charges her clients £45 an hour for hugs.  Lady Colin wasn’t convinced by her job title, comparing it to prostitution and said that those who pay to be hugged by her have “moral and psychological problems”.  GMB host Ranvir Singh was clearly baffled…and her jaw visibly dropped…

Lady Colin Campbell is remarkably prudish and insensitive, given her own personal history as an intersex person.

The Widening Gyre (#865) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; it’s even more hilarious than the previous two.  This dumbass lost track of her car, and rather than recognize that she imagines every guy in the parking lot is party of a sinister conspiracy which broke into her car, hot-wired it and moved it to a different part of the parking lot, then put everything back as it was, presumably to confuse her, but then didn’t follow through on abducting her, the “sex trafficking” expert AND the little girl, because REASONS.

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I’m a trans woman who’s over 50 and working as a white collar professional.  It seems like every guy I meet sees me only as a sex object and nothing else, even though I don’t try to project anything like that; how can I meet people for relationships that don’t seem fetish-focused?  And also, since I seem to attract that anyway, I’ve been thinking about doing a little sex work on the side; I’ve done some photography modeling and have been successful with that (no income, but well received).  However, I’m really turned off by the kink I seem to attract most.  What should I do?

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that having to deal with men who are only interested in us for sexual reasons is a problem all women, cis or trans, have to deal with, especially when we’re older.  Guys are to a very large degree led by their sex drives, and that means women tend to attract men who are interested in whatever sets them apart from other women.  So slender girls tend to attract guys who are really weight-focused, redheads attract guys who are drawn to that, and trans women attract trans fans.  That’s not generally a problem when the woman is in her 20s because there are still plenty of fish in the sea, but when we get to our 50s a lot of the guys have died off (males have a higher mortality rate in every age bracket), and the great majority of the ones who are still alive are already taken.  That leaves men who are divorced, still married or never married, and since there are more available women at that age than men…you get the picture.  You can certainly try the usual dating sites and such, but I strongly suspect a lot of the men who try to date you will still be focused on your trans status (unless they can’t tell, in which case I advise saying nothing; it’s no more their business than any other medical issue like an abortion or an appendectomy).

As for your second question, since you’re comfortable with modeling and already had a bit of noncommercial success, I suggest investigating how you can monetize it.  If you don’t really like the kind of guys who seem to be attracted to your image, that’s not nearly as big a deal in modeling as it would be in something like escorting or camming, because you’re not directly interacting with them except to sell your pictures.  And even if you can’t hide your distaste for them in a one-on-one situation, it shouldn’t be any harder to negotiate poses & payment than it is to deal with annoying folks in the office where you currently work.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I’m a very affectionate person.  I touch a great deal, I like to hold hands when I walk with a partner or friend, and people I love are likely to hear me tell them so at least once every time I see them (and most of the times I text with them).  I don’t form romantic partnerships easily, and when I do they tend to be long-lasting (and devastating to me when they end); while they endure I enjoy spending time with my partner and having special things we do together, even to the point of having pet names and private jokes and all that good stuff.  I’m telling you all this so that you understand that I’m not actually biased against love or romance when I say that in the West in general and the US in particular, the “couple” has become a cultic totem second only to “The Children!” in repulsiveness and maladaptation.

Now, I’ve been part of couples for a large fraction of my adult life, and probably so have most of you reading this.  But in all that time, I have never tolerated a partner who attempted to own me, control me, or monopolize my time.  Jack’s childish jealousy was one of the reasons we fought so much and broke up so often, and even as a young adult I was never very sympathetic to girlfriends who whined that their boyfriends had interests other than them and didn’t want to spend every fucking free minute with them.  I’ve always disliked Valentine’s Day, and one of the reasons my relationship with Matt endured for 14 years was that he traveled a great deal and had interests other than me.  So when I saw these creepy things in a tweet recently, they reminded me of the hallucinations Greg Kihn’s character has when looking at the wedding guests in this video:

Sorry, couples; you’re not actually “one flesh” with a conjoined circulatory system, and it won’t hurt you to sit separately for the length of a domestic flight:

Alaska Airlines faces a public-relations storm after a gay couple were forced to give up their seats on a flight from New York City to Los Angeles…to make room for a straight couple.  Though the complainant …accepted an apology from Alaska, which said the outcome was a mistake [due to the gate agent’s being given incorrect information] and not reflective of any disrespect, dissemination of the incident on social media has damaged the airline’s image…as…gay-friendly…David Cooley, owner of a popular upscale gay bar in…West Hollywood…[was] on board [with his partner] in their assigned premium seats when a gate agent asked his companion to give up his seat and move to [steerage] so that another couple could sit together.  Although Cooley…protested that the two men were also a couple and wanted to sit together…the agent insisted that his traveling companion had to either move to coach or get off the plane…

NOBODY, single or coupled, queer or straight or asexual, should be forced to move from their seat so a “couple” can sit together.  What the fuck is that about, really?  “Hi, you need to move because these two people like to shove their body parts into each other’s orifices.”  Really?  Wanna sit together?  Plan ahead & get reserved seats; done.  And if you have those seats, as Cooley and his partner did, you shouldn’t be forced to move for those who didn’t (and certainly not moved from First Class back into the cattle car).  I’ve been separated from partners on planes because of circumstances (standby flying, last-minute plans, poor planning on our part or whatever) before and we lived.  But then, we weren’t the devotees of a weird religion which teaches that we somehow deserve precedence over other people because we habitually boink each other.

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Many people have used Craigslist to find a “causal encounter”, and some of them got lured into police sting operations.  I’m trying to determine what fraction of the stuff that used to be posted to that section (before Craigslist closed it a few months ago) was real, and what percentage prostitution (as opposed to a real, no strings attached encounter).

All sexual encounters which actually happen are as “real” as one another; being paid for sex does not magically make the ensuing sex imaginary.  Lots of people used Craigslist to advertise seeking or offering sex, and they had a plethora of different motivations; it’s a prohibitionist mentality to pretend that a pragmatic motivation for sex draws a bright, clear line between that sex and other sex.  You seem to want to exploit that imaginary difference to argue that cops stalking and victimizing people for sex in which no currency is directly exchanged is somehow different and worse than them stalking people who make a clear and honest exchange.  I can’t help you with that, and I wouldn’t if I could; the only assistance I can offer is to tell you that most scams only work on those with “larceny in their hearts”, i.e. those trying to get something for nothing.  Men seeking sex would be wise to stop trolling around trying to get it for “free” (the most expensive kind) or cheap, do their research, and deal only with known providers with established reputations.  Furthermore, the idea that sex work can be dependably differentiated from what you call “real sex” is not only wrong philosophically, but also practically; because sex work is only distinguished by its motivation, any procedure intended to ensnare sex workers and/or clients will also ensnare lots of other people.  The only way to ensure that no amateurs are caught up in prostitution stings is to do away with prostitution stings, and the only way to do that is to completely decriminalize all forms of sex work.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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It’s easy to see the vast gap between the reality of sex workers’ lives and the bleak fiction peddled by the anti-sex work industry.  –  Lux Alptraum

Against Their Will 

The Indian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Eight sex workers from Thailand, who were rescued from a spa at Bapuji Nagar on May 19, were deported…and were given 48 hours to leave the country…

Gorged With Meaning

Posturing, hair-splitting and moral panic create a strange stew out of normal and age-old behavior:

…”part-time girlfriend” is a euphemism often used by young women in the city who may be studying or have jobs, but who also offer sex on the side.  By using variations of the hashtag #ptgf as shorthand, they connect with men on networks such as Instagram and then switch to direct messaging to offer services and arrange to meet.  Instagram says it has made #ptgf and #hkptgf unsearchable, but a host of new alternatives that add Chinese characters or initials to the original tag circumvent the block…[as usual, busybodies blame a lot of nonsense other than] financial pressures [as] key motivators for young women …Bowie Lam, executive director of Teen’s Key…[claims] the age of “part-time girlfriends” is getting lower…These young women often do not see themselves as sex workers because the…[propaganda has misled them as to what sex work is like]…Hong Kong police said they have taken action against websites, chat rooms and discussion forums to combat illegal prostitution activities.  The act of prostitution in itself is not illegal in Hong Kong…but soliciting is…

Cops and Robbers

Bigots try to cover racism and misogyny by blaming imaginary “gangs” for this:

Prostitutes blamed for robbing and pick-pocketing British tourists in Magaluf, Spain, have been chased off the streets by angry protesters.  Spanish taxi drivers led a [mob]…against the women by recording them with their mobile phones and chanting: “No prostitutes on the streets”…It is claimed that the women have come to Spain via organised crime in Nigeria, and they are blamed by local businesses for a drop in tourist trade…

End Demand (#638)

Swanee Hunt can recycle this propaganda from Seattle because modern “reporters” never fact-check:

Nearly two dozen businesses and institutions joined…a new initiative called Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) to create a coalition of business leaders who have committed to zero-tolerance policies on sex buying…[propaganda invented] by Demand Abolition…showed that nearly 13 percent of calls responding to…decoy ads originated from local businesses, and that the peak time people are searching online to buy sex is during the workday, at 2 p.m.  The…study revealed…more than 9,000 searches for sex-buying opportunities happening in Boston each day and that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.  Many sex buyers have said they buy illegal sex while traveling for business…

If you don’t recognize businesses “partnering” with government to infringe on civil rights as fascism, perhaps the horrific phrase “illegal sex” might give you a clue.

Traffic Jam (#704) 

How many moronic prohibitionist  plays can the market bear?

After a year of co-writing, directing and now acting in Jane Doe in Wonderland, Erin Johnston is even more adamant about the play’s impact in [spreading propaganda against] sex [work].  “We’re excited about this production,” she said.  “It allows people to get used to theater to tell the story and the performance is digestible and accessible.  And…we don’t curse or show physical violence.  The focus is on the emotional and psychological process that’s experienced.”  As part of the [rescue industry] Game Over organization, Jane Doe in Wonderland visits around 20 Bay Area cities on its current tour…

Spotlight (#715) 

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher’s non-profit organisation Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children [claims to have] identified almost 6,000 child victims of human sex trafficking last year…Impact reports from the organisation for 2017, show that Thorn’s software allowed law enforcement and investigators to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims…They were able to [arrest] 103 [legal minors]…Thorn uses web application Spotlight which provides [cops] with information and leads on [sex workers]…in order to [arrest them]…In 2016, during an appearance on the Today show, the actor said “We’ve identified and recovered more than 6,000 trafficking victims this year.  We identified and recovered more than 2,000 traffickers.”  He also stated his next mission was to eliminate child pornography from the internet…

The same figures for two years in a row, and the Mail doesn’t find it fishy.  The reporter also didn’t bother to read Liz Brown’s debunking (see title link).

Monsters (#730) 

All around the world, monsters torture sexual minorities under the excuse of “helping” or “curing” us:

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim…was gay…from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’…my homosexuality…[with] bloodletting…herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and…electric shocks onto the penis.  There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect)…It went on and off…till I turned 18.”  Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya.  He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization…that…arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy…for…LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries…and…Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law…but…viciously persecuted…Stimul aims to…place LGBT people…in European countries, the U.S., and Canada…

Hard Numbers (#756)

Good news from South Australia:

South Australian Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, says she will sponsor a bill to decriminalise sex work when it comes to the state’s Lower House, boosting its chances of becoming law…The Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last month and is the same as one sponsored by Liberal Upper House MP Michelle Lensink in 2015.  That bill passed the Legislative Council but failed to go to a conscience vote in the House of Assembly before the March election…

Choke Point (#767) 

“Choke Point Mark II” would be statutory rather than mere policy, and laser-focused on sex workers:

…Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the [End Banking for Human Traffickers Act] passes three:  First, it’s “bipartisan”…Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue.  Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.  Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects.  In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking”…another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).  Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting…intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees…might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.  The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test…if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and…poverty…are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping…accounts at traditional banks…

As I wrote in the title-linked piece: “Since ‘Choke Point’ was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.”

Comfort Zone (#774)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

In France, two separate…activists are [on trial for] human trafficking for helping migrants on humanitarian grounds.  The law on which they are being charged is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.  Martine Landry, a 73-year-old pensioner working with…Amnesty International, faces up to five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine…[for] facilitating the passage of two Guinean boys, then aged 15 and 16, into France…a separate trial…[concerns] two Swiss nationals…and one Italian…who accompanied migrants through a mountain pass on 22 April 2018.  They face up to 10 years in prison, 750,000 euros in fines and a ban from French territory…“If I become friends with a migrant who has no papers and invite them to sleep on my sofa, I become a criminal, and if I become a trafficker and have Nigerian prostitutes come into France, I am a criminal under the same provision,” says Lucile Abassade, a lawyer in the Paris region…As the trials open, France’s Constitutional Court is reviewing the law…to decide whether the law violates the French constitutional principle of fraternity…Such cases have become relatively common in France in recent years…

Legislators Gone Wild (#833) 

One can never have too many debunkings of prohibitionist bullshit:

…The No Little Girl campaign has argued that Nevada’s brothels have a negative effect on the state.  In reality, research shows that the lives of Nevada citizens have improved due to the legalization of sex work in the state.  Nevada’s system isn’t perfect — but it’s a considerable improvement over the national policy of criminalization.  No Little Girl has three major [claims] for shutting down the legal brothel industry:  Brothels do not significantly contribute to their counties’ economies while deterring other businesses from setting up shop; they increase violence against women who don’t work in the sex industry; and they’re inherently abusive (because, as the campaign’s tagline reminds visitors, “no little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute”)…combing through the data — even the data the organization links to on its site — suggests that many of No Little Girl’s claims are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst…

Elephant in the Parlor (#844)

My irony meter just overloaded and burned out:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said…Stormy Daniels has no credibility because of her profession…”If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation”…Giuliani said in Israel…”If you’re involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you’ll go to make money”…

Disaster (#844)

When a highway is destroyed, the traffic has to go into side streets:

Wall Street Journal has an article on the potentially negative impact of our country’s new “anti-trafficking” law—not on sex workers, mind you, but on the big business of online dating.  Yes…FOSTA…is endangering sex workers’ livelihoods and lives—but, oh, won’t someone think of the multi-million-dollar companies?  As the article warns its conservative, money-minded readers, “The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution”…The bill’s opponents warned that it would lead to sweeping censorship and, in its few weeks of life, it already has…As Heidi Vogt and John D. McKinnon write, FOSTA has led to the shuttering of sites used by sex workers—and “some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.”  They continue to explain, paraphrasing a legal expert, that “it could easily create liability for legitimate services if sex workers simply use their platforms.”  The article is filled with moralizing language that poses “legitimate dating platforms” and “legitimate services” opposite “prostitutes”.  It’s Match.com versus “bad behavior”.  OKCupid versus “illicit behavior”.  Tinder versus “those peddling sex”…

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