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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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The “pimp lobby” myth…indicates the extent to which [prohibitionist]  views are divorced from reality.  –  Frankie Mullin

Check Your Premises

The real effect of “sex trafficking” laws:

As a teenage runaway being threatened by a violent older pimp, Hope Zeferjohn should have been saved when Topeka police arrested the man for human trafficking.  Instead, she was cast as a conspirator in his schemes and now faces more than a decade in prison.  The situation stems from their 2015 attempt to recruit a 14-year-old girl to live and work with them…the girl told Zeferjohn and Anthony “Angel” Long, then 26, that she wasn’t interested…and then told her parents, who called the police.  The 14-year-old never met Long in person…was never abducted or physically harmed…was never advertised for commercial sex, nor did she ever engage in prostitution.  And…Long, who accepted a plea deal in February, was only convicted of attempted aggravated human trafficking…Yet somehow Zeferjohn…who was unquestionably underage at the time…and is…an abuse and exploitation victim herself—has wound up on the hook for aggravated human trafficking, a felony in the first degree…

Bullies With Badges

“Found in a room with a naked man” = “pigs bashed in a closed door on private property without warning or permission”:

Austin [pigs oinked that they had rooted out] a prostitution ring at a Northwest Austin massage parlor after a waste pipe at the business became clogged and destroyed by hundreds of condoms…One of the tenants of the property was listed as Jade Massage Therapy LLC…several other tenants had [stuck their noses into their neighbor’s business]…On March 22, Austin police executed search warrants at the address and found [owner Juan] Wang in a room with a naked man…

The story tries to make an act of barbaric violence sound like a visit to a thrift store.

Sexual Predators 

Our cop-worshiping culture lauds this sexual predator as a “hero”:

San Bernardino Vice Officer Kim Hernandez helps get girls as young as 13 off the streets, out of prostitution and even into college.  Last year she was responsible…for…making hundreds of arrests for prostitution…Instead of drugs, Hernandez said gangs are now trafficking girls, some as young as nine and ten years old.  “You can only sell a bag of marijuana or bag of meth or gun one time, but a human you can sell over and over,” she said.  It may take several arrests and [jailings] to finally [wear] a girl [down enough emotionally] to [get her to submit to brainwashing]…She said, “It’s that first contact and treating them like a human [by denying their ability to make choices and locking them in cages like animals]”…

If the term “vice officer” doesn’t make your skin crawl, try savoring the mindless parroting of masturbatory fantasies & pro-violence propaganda.

Monsters 

But never mind the concentration camps Russia already had for sex workers, because the US has those, too:

Gay men arrested in a “purge” in the Russian region of Chechnya are being held in concentration camp-style prisons…Russian newspapers and human rights groups report that more than 100 gay men have been detained…Several people were also reportedly feared dead following violent raids.  In a chilling response, a Chechen government spokesperson denied that there are any gay people to detain…The Kremlin denied any knowledge of a purge…One man who was released from the camp [said]…he was subjected to violent “interrogations”…to get him to confess the names and locations of more gay men.  The officials also seized his mobile phone, targeting his network of contacts regardless of whether they were gay or not…The detainees face electric shock torture and violent beatings, while some of them have been held to ransom and used to extort their families…

Lower Education

Cishet male privilege!

…A male student who was accused of sexual harassment committed suicide just days after the University of Texas at Arlington ignored its own policies in order to punish him.  The accused student’s father, a lawyer acting as the administrator of his son’s estate, is now suing the school for violating his son’s Title IX rights…Thomas Klocke…was accused by a gay male student of writing anti-gay slurs on his computer during a class.  Klocke vehemently denied the accusation, and administrators who investigated the incident acknowledged there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims, yet Klocke was still punished…

Traffic Jam (#427) 

I honestly find it difficult to think of anything more pretentious than a faddish opera based on a current moral panic:

Chinese-born composer Du Yun won the Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday for Angel’s Bone, an experimental opera that explores [what she imagines to be] the psychology behind human trafficking.  The one-act opera…takes place in a non-descript American suburb but is filled with spiritual symbolism.  “Mr. and Mrs. X.E.,” riven by marital strife and financial problems, enslave and victimise a pair of angels who stumble upon the property…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#514)

Fortunately, prohibitionists’ attachment to this dumb canard is working against them:

…The pimp lobby – a conspiracy theory in which astroturfing pimps are behind the movement for decriminalisation – erases the reality of sex workers…in the Guardian, Kat Banyard dismisses Amnesty’s two-year research project as a pimp party; see [also] Julie Bindel…and…In 2014…MEP Mary Honeyball…wrote off…450 organisations which opposed [the Swedish model] as “organisations comprised of pimps”…[prohibitionists] don’t believe sex workers could be this organised, don’t believe they could be this united, don’t believe anyone in the industry could be clear-headed enough…To write [sex worker activists] off as pimps…is a vicious, desperate attempt to deny the lived experience of sex workers, even when those sex workers are standing in full sight.

Vendetta (#634)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Hundreds of tech-savvy problem solvers gathered in Downtown Eugene [Oregon]…for the second annual “Hack for a Cause”…Hackers created software including mobile phone apps to combat…sex trafficking…One developer was creating a mobile app to [snitch to the pigs] at a touch of a button…Another community challenge the hackers discussed was how to use technology to encourage donations to [corporations] instead of [homeless people]…

Morality Lessons (#703) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Draft bills in at least 13 state legislatures would require all internet-enabled devices to come installed with an anti-porn filter, which adult consumers could choose to have removed for a fee of $20.  They’re calling it the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.  The Daily Beast does a nice job today of exposing the huckster behind this legislation, a 40-year-old EDM musician and anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich…the porn-filter bill is explicitly packaged as a response to porn being a “public health hazard” and “cancer on society” that “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment” in America, normalizes violence against women and children, “portrays rape and abuse as if such acts are harmless,” promotes “problematic or harmful sexual behaviors,” and “increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography”…

No Friend of Ours (#725)

A politician is someone who believes one can never have too many laws:

…SB488 by Sen. Pat Spearman…would expand Nevada’s sex trafficking laws to include not just those actually trafficking young people but to what she described as all the participants.  She said that includes [anybody prosecuters can even tangentially connect to] those who [have sex for reasons pompous baboons deem]…illicit and illegal…She presented a [show pony to distract male politicians from facts by telling them wanking fantasies about how]…she was repeatedly sold for sex when she was…11 to multiple men…

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I told you that I was going to be doing a lot more hands-on activism, and…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  –  “The ‘Active’ in ‘Activism’

Inimg_20170302_202514 the two years since I moved to Seattle, I’ve been a lot more hands-on in my sex worker rights activities; whereas in the past I mostly just wrote about the subject, now I also speak in public, give lots of interviews, participate in protests, speak to politicians and try to amplify as many other voices on the subject as possible.  And when I sat down to write this year’s column recognizing Sex Worker Rights Day (which is today), I realized that it’s no longer possible to cleanly divide my private life from my activism.  Whereas seven years ago most of the people I dealt with regularly had no idea I was a sex worker, now it would be much easier to count the number who don’t than the ones who do.  Those few friends who aren’t whores themselves certainly know I’m one, as do the majority of the professionals I deal with (my accountant, my hairdresser, my doctors, my manicurist, etc, etc), and even when strangers ask what I do for a living I generally tell them; the few exceptions are usually when I’m in a social situation with a friend who isn’t out to the others in that situation, or when dealing with people who might hassle me if they knew the truth (like officials).  Indeed, very few people now call me anything but Maggie; it was actually a little odd to hear Grace using my legal name when she came to visit at Christmas.  But this really isn’t surprising; if anything, it’s the natural outcome of the mission I took on when I started this blog.  I wanted to demystify the demimonde, to shine light into the shadows that let prohibitionists spread their lies about us so successfully.  As I’ve said so often in interviews and speeches, the movement for gay & lesbian rights didn’t start to gain traction until enough queer people were “out” that most people realized that they knew and perhaps even loved someone queer; it will be the same for sex worker rights.  And while I don’t blame any sex worker living under a criminalized or “legalized” regime for keeping her silence, it’s imperative that those of us who have less to lose be as “out” as we can manage under our individual circumstances.  I have no spouse to embarrass, no children who could be taken from me, no family I’m not already estranged from, no future career plans that could be torpedoed by an employer discovering my history of harlotry.  And while no sex worker is safe while any of us are considered criminals, I have less personally to lose than many others and so I’m proud to be both visible and respected for my work, without shame or fear.  The tide has turned and the wind is shifting; sex workers are more visible than we’ve ever been, and nobody without power hunger, profit motive, or a personal ax to grind is in favor of criminalization any more.  In a way, the “sex trafficking” hysteria was an early symptom that we’re winning; since our opponents couldn’t credibly portray us as villains any more, they turned to casting us as victims.  And now that narrative, too, is failing, as reasonable people everywhere realize that criminalization makes things worse for those in bad situations.  The day is coming when the prohibitions will start to fall like dominoes, and when it does I’ll be even more proud to know that I was one of those who helped knock that first one over.

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Almost none of [the “sex trafficking” narrative] is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it’s utterly misleading.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Just another example of “authorities” paying men to rape whores:

Police raided two flats used as brothels…in Nicosia [Cyprus], arresting a woman from China and detaining another female sex worker [pretended] to be a victim of human trafficking.  A civilian associate of the police visited the brothel and used marked bills to buy sexual services…After [raping the women] the man signalled the police by sending them an SMS message…Police located the two marked bills and [stole] 347 condoms, four of which had been used, along with four mobile phones, sex toys, a computer, and the amount of €345 in cash…

Something Rotten in Sweden

It’s good to see that even reporters who credulously parrot cop anti-whore propaganda now feel compelled to at least mention Amnesty’s findings:

…It can be difficult for police to build cases against traffickers when their primary witnesses — victims — are too afraid to talk [and] don’t trust police [who]…still conduct stings against sex workers…To create more trust among potential victims and curb the demand for commercial sex, sting operations should focus more on catching johns and pimps, [fetishist cop Mark Keller] said…He also suggested changing state law to the so-called Nordic model, which makes it legal for people to prostitute themselves but illegal to pimp, traffick or purchase sex…The model could help [cops] gain the trust of sex trafficking victims…Keller said.  However, it was recently scrutinized in a report by…Amnesty International…which found it subjected sex workers to increased police scrutiny, evictions and other penalties…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind this prosecution, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A mother and daughter are facing incest charges in…Oklahoma after authorities learned they were legally married earlier this year.  It is unclear what motivated Patricia Ann Spann, 43, and her daughter, Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 25, to wed…Investigators also found Patricia Spann married her son in 2008.  He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest”…Police discovered the marriages late last month during a child welfare check-up.  Patricia Spann told investigators she had lost custody of her biological children as a young mother and only came into contact with her daughter two years ago…the couple believed the union was legal, since she was not listed as the biological mother on her daughter’s birth certificate.  Each woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic weiners-weiner

Maybe if we keep repeating this enough, it will eventually sink into the thick public skull:

…Despite popular headlines and self-promoting TV doctors’ proclamations to the contrary, sex addiction isn’t real…There is no doubt that some people have trouble regulating their sexual thoughts, desires, and behaviors.  But addiction has a real meaning and a real clinical definition…When addicts…are shown pictures of their drug of choice there is a clear and uniform response in their P300 brain waves…However, when UCLA researchers studied the response to viewing sexually explicit images in people who self-defined as being unable to regulate their porn viewing, the results showed no similar response…In fact, they found the only thing correlated with brain wave activity was sexual desire such that the higher their self-reported sexual desire, the more brain wave activity they showed.  The authors concluded that there was no evidence to say that even problem sexual regulation fit the definition of addiction as defined by brain response and that these people simply had high sex drives…

Divided We Fall (#13)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

Indonesian police are taking aim at Grindr and other gay social networking apps following the arrest of three men accused of running a “gay prostitution ring” [advertising] underaged boys for sex.  The arrests come amid an unprecedented uproar about homosexuality in the country, where it has never been a major political issue before this year.  Members of the legislature announced…they would…ban “gay propaganda” online.  The country’s Constitutional Court is likewise currently in the middle of hearings on a petition to [criminalize]…all sex outside of marriage…Police have told local media they have identified 148 victims of the network, though only 27 of them are [supposedly younger than 18]…“More than a few gay communities have been growing and targeting kids as victims,” said Asruron Ni’am Sholeh, chair of the Child Protection Commission…

“Targeting kids”…hmm, where have we heard that accusation before?  But back when the moral retards were just warring on female sex workers, the big GLBT organizations couldn’t be bothered to notice.

Finding What Isn’t There

Note how dysphemisms and weasel-words are used to conjure a story out of nothing but rumors, exaggerations and hysteria:

More than 1,000 women and girls have been apparent victims of sex trafficking in illicit cantinas in the United States that largely operate beyond the reach of law enforcement, the anti-[sex work] group Polaris [fantasized]…Half of the…cases…arose in Houston, Texas, a city near the Mexican border with a large Latino population…Cantinas…may disguise the cost of commercial sex in very high drink prices, and women are forced to flirt and drink with patrons…hotlines run by Polaris got reports of 201 cases of sex and labor trafficking, involving 1,300 potential victims at cantinas and bars in 20 U.S. states from 2007 to 2016.  More than half the victims were underage…At one illicit cantina in Houston, some victims were forced to have sex as often as 50 times a day, it said.  The cantina owner, convicted of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other charges, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year…Cases can be hard to investigate and prosecute because traffickers and owners may hide their ownership of cantinas or liquor licenses, and because victims are too scared to testify in court, afraid that traffickers will retaliate by hurting their families…

“Apparent” victims, meaning reports from busybodies that added up to nothing.  Reports of “force” that don’t hold up because there isn’t any, which Polaris then insists are real except that the “victims” won’t admit it.  Impossibly-high claims of clients per day such as we haven’t seen in a couple of years now, using a high-profile racism-based railroading case as “evidence”, and moving the entire city of Houston hundreds of miles south to bolster their fantasy.  This is absurd even by Polaris’ standards.

Too Close To Home

Serious question: How do we nominate Liz Brown for a Pulitzer?

…On January 7, Washington officials [claimed]…women [had been] lured from South Korea under false pretenses and “held against their will” at local brothels.  [They crowed about seizing] a website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women…King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg [said]…”The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week…This is what human trafficking looks like.”  But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg’s narrative starts to break down.  The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is…a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make…

The piece is long, thorough and damning. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, even if you need to do so in three sittings (it’s broken into three parts).  The “sex trafficking” narrative has been slowly crumbling, and in this important article Liz has handily taken a sledgehammer to a very prominent outcropping of it.

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

Another victory against a political witch hunt:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how Backpage.com screens for possible sex trafficking in classifieds advertising.  The order…came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers…the…stay means that Backpage need not comply…until further action from the Supreme Court…The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to make Backpage produce certain documents as part of its [persecution of sex work advertisements] over the internet.  After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-james-robinson

Go on, keep giving male cops power over women; what could possibly go wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Riverdale [cop] James Robinson Jr…[for] raping a woman he was transporting to jail…Robinson stopped the car next to an empty building near a Custom tire shop…as soon as the woman was released from jail she…asked the shop for footage from its security cameras…

One Born Every Minute (#644)

Interesting that this article doesn’t mention the anti-Backpage mob:

In a 2014 opinion in a case involving a woman who was drugged, raped, and filmed by men she met through the website ModelMayhem.com…the Ninth Circuit wrote that the CDA was not “an all purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet.”  The court found that Model Mayhem…could be sued for failure to warn as the site was aware of the model’s rapists because they were the subject of a criminal investigation for doing the same thing to other Model Mayhem users…the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site…a…Match.com case is very similar.  [Wade] Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using Match.com and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of some claims, but it found that the logic supporting the court’s Model Mayhem ruling applied here, too…

Of Course It Is

A step in the right direction, at least:

…Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley [announced] criminal charges against seven [cops]…O’Malley [also] said she found evidence of [rapist cops]…in Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties, all outside her jurisdiction.  She said she has  contacted her counterparts there to pursue criminal action…The most serious Alameda County charges — felony oral copulation with a minor — will be filed against Oakland [cop] Giovanni LoVerde and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez…Oakland [cop] Brian Bunton also faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution.  Three other Oakland [cops] will be charged with crimes…Terryl Smith…LeRoy Johnson…and…Warit Uttapa…Dan C. Black of the Livermore Police Department…faces [four] misdemeanor charges…O’Malley said it’s likely that formal charges against the officers will not be filed until Guap, the case’s primary witness, returns to California…“If the [City of Richmond] does not pay for her to come back, we will pay for her airfare,” O’Malley said…

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The only issue is that the people having sex are consenting to it and anything else is an arbitrary moral judgement which no one has the right to make.  –  Stephanie Farnsworth

The Rescuers

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular “Christian” pastime:

Valerie Carter…has been prowling some of the toughest highways in Richmond, Virginia…for the past eight years.  She and her “streetwalking ministry” volunteers look for women and girls caught up in the local sex trade……they…pray with the women, hug them, give them a list of resources to help them get out of the trade.  They keep the visits short to avoid putting the women at risk of beatings from their pimps…Carter says. “No one dreamed about being in this kind of business.”  But they are in it, most of them unwillingly.  Someone else makes money by exploiting them, whether it’s a pimp or a trafficker…

Acting and Activism Amal Clooney

Apparently, she’s less human rights lawyer and more Hollywood propagandist these days:

Amal Clooney took her first trip to Dallas to…[speak] before a sold-out crowd at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon…The event raised more than $1 million for the anti-trafficking organization, which [claims to] offer…counseling, housing and other services to 1,400 formerly trafficked teens and women every year…

In actuality, the “services” this organization “offers” are the usual things: feel-good bullshit like art therapy and a photocopied list of government welfare programs.

Droit du Seigneur 

I just love watching them eat their own:

Federal prosecutors…have indicted two DEA employees for moonlighting as strip club owners and then purportedly lying about it to their bosses…Special Agent David Polos and Greg Glover, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the forms they submitted to renew their national security clearances…Polos and Glover conspired to conceal their ownership of the New Jersey strip joint, “Twins Go-Go Lounge”, and that Polos also failed to disclose an “intimate relationship” with one of its foreign dancers that lasted for months…the government [alleges]…prostitution, drug use, employment of illegal immigrants, and running the club during “DEA business hours”…

Divided We Fall

Go, Stephanie Farnsworth!

The fact that many LGBT people end up in sex work is an issue often overlooked rather conveniently by many activists and charities.  Sex work is still talked about in moralizing terms, and the…image of the LGBT world in recent campaigns has been that of white cisgender gay people in long term relationships, often with children…The heart of the demand for LGBT rights is the idea that all people should be granted autonomy over their lives and bodies, that anyone should be allowed to sleep with who they choose and that it only concerns the people in the relationship and not the government or bigots…People enter into sexual relationships for all kinds of reasons.  It is rarely a fairytale of two people falling in love.  Sometimes it is for fun, but many engage in [transactional] sex…or…to shut their partner up.  The list is endless and every reason is valid…It is simply hypocritical for LGBT activists to fight for bodily autonomy but deny it to sex workers, and given the huge numbers of people within the community who engage in sex work it also throws a lot of LGBT people under the bus…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Norman Ochs is facing charges for allegedly hiring prostitutes…The 76-year-old was charged…with four crimes.  Each misdemeanor count carries up to a 93-day jail sentence…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit and the sex workers, nearly always immigrants, can easily be pressured to “co-operate” or be deported:

…federal law enforcement has rebranded as a sort of national ministry for vice prevention…Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigators and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials conducted a widespread raid on Korean massage parlors in New York City, which the feds allege were…fronts for commercial sexual activity…11 massage-parlor owners were…charged with conspiracy to launder money and to violate the federal Travel Act…informants…who…[are] “cooperating with law enforcement in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence”…[say] the alleged prostitution…was not being forced upon the staff.  Any money earned from such endeavors was split between workers and business owners, and workers were free to come and go as they pleased…Nonetheless, the indictment refers to the massage parlors as “commercial sex trafficking businesses”…

Monsters 

Though the reporter couldn’t resist mentioning a past criminal charge, at least NBC refrained from publishing her mugshot:  “…a transgender woman who may have been working as a prostitute…Keyonna Blakeney…was found dead, with trauma to the upper body, in a [hotel in] Montgomery County [Maryland]…

Cops and Robbers Adam LaRoche

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Adam LaRoche is a 36-year-old who played Major League baseball for 12 seasons before causing a ruckus by retiring earlier this year…the first baseman, a conservative Christian, “spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves”…LaRoche…[and] Milwaukee Brewers pitcher…Blaine Boyer… “tried to determine the age of the girls…and identify their bosses”…

Safe Targets (#512)

My friend Tara Burns, still doggedly fighting for sex workers in Alaska, with the help of Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP:

…What Burns and Maxine Doogan really want is for prostitution to be decriminalized.  That’s the mission of the advocacy group they started, Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…[but in the meantime] they’re after the next best thing:  improved safety and protection for those in Alaska’s sex industry and equal protection as citizens under the law…The two women…stayed in Juneau the entire legislative session, pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 21…[which] grants prostitutes immunity for prosecution when they come forward as a victim or witness of a violent crime…

Doubling Down

This is mostly just ignorant cheerleading for a do-nothing law, but it contains a repetition of the moronic statement, “It is estimated that here in the United States more than 100,000 children are victims of human sex trafficking each year.”  For an analysis of what that would actually look like in the real world, click on the subtitle above.  I reckon it’s a good thing Aleeshia Carroll is majoring in social work, because basic math is obviously far out of her grasp.

The Widening Gyre (#616)

Misinterpreting ordinary interactions is common at the height of a moral panic:

The propaganda-created panic over sex trafficking in your own backyard!!!! has claimed yet another victim…Amanda Kalidy…was shopping at Target [in Edmond, OK] with her 4-year-old daughter when another young girl began following them and repeatedly asking her daughter for candy.  Kalidy says she asked the other child where her mom was, but the girl, who looked about 9 years old, did not answer.  Later the girl offered her daughter some gum.  That’s when Kalidy noticed a “strange” man nearby.  Obviously, the only explanation for the situation is that the man wanted to steal Kalidy’s daughter so he could sexually exploit her and was using this other child as bait…She reported the incident to a Target manager, who allegedly told her that that’s “what [sex traffickers] do is target places like Target.”  For the record, there have been zero reported cases of sex traffickers kidnapping children from Target in the history of the United States…

The Public Eye (#618)

Color me unsurprised:

The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth is the tell-all memoir of Jami Rodman, the madam who came to fame by employing…Suzy Favor Hamilton...this book was…written more to play to outsiders’ expectations than to advocate for the people Rodman worked with…What really got to me, though, wasn’t the manner in which Rodman chose which stories to tell, focusing on titillating accounts such as nonconsent roleplays gone wrong and customers with pedophilic ageplay fetishes.  It was her disdainful attitude toward other sex workers and the industry…the book certainly doesn’t foster sex worker solidarity, nor does it paint a nuanced picture of escorts…At one point, Rodman cites statistics from [Melissa Farley‘s] “Prostitution Research”, a site which is heavily affiliated with rescue industry organizations…it became painfully clear to me that she was buying into the flawed statistics, salacious reporting, and misleading accounts of the wider industry put forward by abolitionists rather than trusting her own sex work experiences and those of the many women she worked with whose lives stand in direct contrast to prohibitionist tropes.  It’s funny that she quotes a website which would label her a trafficker…

Traffic Jam (#619)

Of course, even if Weyker and the department lose, the money won’t come out of their pockets. But the more lawsuits against the cops, the better:

A dozen or more people who say they were harmed by a discredited sex trafficking case soon could be suing the St. Paul Police Department and Sgt. Heather Weyker, according to the attorney representing…Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf [who] is seeking $20 million in damages for the more than four years he spent in jail on sex trafficking charges based on exaggeration and lies…[Attorney Robert] Bennett said he has another nine or 10 people preparing to sue, and other lawyers have several more.  Earlier this month, Hamdi Ali Osman…filed the first suit arising from the dismissed charges, seeking $12 million…

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I need to take this away.  –  airport “security” thug

So as Walter Olson informs us, the brilliant musical comedian Tom Lehrer turned 88 last week; I’ve decided to celebrate the occasion by featuring a video of one of his less-often-heard songs, in a recording made long after his late ’50s-early ’60s heyday.  You would probably expect me to choose “The Masochism Tango”, but I’m sure many of you already know that one and besides, it’s in the Copenhagen concert I featured 98 weeks ago in Links #204.  This one is about the usual consequences of sexual promiscuity when it’s left to amateurs.  The links above it are from Tim Cushing (“Lovecraft”), Dan Savage (“security”), Rick Horowitz  (“protect”), and Wendy Lyon (“ride”).

From the Archives

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Kathleen Turner as Charles BingA few days ago, Mistress Matisse called readers’  attention to this really dumb article about a television  show I’ve never seen.  Now, I didn’t give a shit about Friends back when everyone was talking about it, and I certainly don’t give a shit about it now; I’m sure you can therefore guess how infinitesimal my level of interest was in an article belaboring the totally obvious point that a show that went off the air twelve years ago (thank you, IMDb) doesn’t perfectly fit modern ideas of political correctness.  But I was very interested (read: deeply disgusted but totally unsurprised) by this quote from Ray Bradford, the “director of entertainment media” for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), discussing an episode of the show in which Kathleen Turner played the drag-queen father of one of the characters:  “When I looked at Kathleen Turner’s character, there was nothing tragic about it. It was not a story line depicting her as a killer or a psychopath or a sex worker or anything like that.”  Read that again if you need to.  Yes, that’s a media mouthpiece for a very large and respected gay rights group, specifically one whose mission is to combat harmful stereotypes, openly defaming sex workers by speaking of us in the same breath as killers and psychopaths.  Now, you know, I’m not saying Bradford is evil; I’m not trying to depict him as a murderer or a child molester or a queer or anything like that.  But one would expect that someone whose job description involves talking to the public about slurs against sexual minorities would, I don’t know, refrain from using slurs against sexual minorities maybe?

One might indeed expect that if one hadn’t been paying attention for the past couple of decades, that is.  When Friends first debuted, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” was a common gay rights chant.  But by the time the show was cancelled a decade later, the movement had undergone a dramatic transformation.  Leathermen, stone butches, drag queens, kinky queers, transpeople, HIV patients and sex workers were slowly and gradually ushered back into the closet so vanilla picket-fence gay men and lesbians who wanted to get married, adopt kids and/or join the military could say to the Establishment, “Look, we’re just like you!” and thereby attract corporate donors to Pride parades and “marriage equality” drives that are perfectly happy to demonize polygamists, kinksters, whores and others who aren’t so interested in begging the government to license their sexuality.  Wait your turn, we were told; don’t worry, we’ll get around to you.  Except that once middle-class white mostly-monogamous gay men & lesbians won their place at the big table, what happened?  Whitewashing Stonewall, which was started by black transwomen and drag sex workers.  Siding with the fascist establishment against a transwoman who exposed government wrongdoing.  Participating in the demonization of “sex offenders”.  Vomiting out “it’s illegal” as an argument against sex work, though gay sex was illegal in many states only 13 years ago.  Pretending that promiscuous stranger sex isn’t a major part of the lives of many queer men.  Forgetting that sex workers were the only partners available to many closeted gay men for much of the 20th century.  Promoting anti-whore crusades to cash in on rescue industry dollars.  Ignoring anti-queer persecution which doesn’t affect bourgeois gays.

Gay, Inc has thrown sex workers and other “undesirables” under the bus for over a decade now; in their view, the “rainbow” only properly has three colors (and they ain’t too sure about that third one).  The Rentboy raid was the direct result of this bigotry; had the GLBT “community” devoted its energies to securing the basic rights of all sexual minorities instead of wasting them in trying to force Christian fundamentalists to bake fucking overpriced cakes for their fucking bourgeois weddings, we’d be well on the way to decriminalization by now.  Ray Bradford and GLAAD aren’t anomalies; they’re typical of what passes for “gay rights” organizations these days.  And principled GLBT folk should take their vile, disgusting, hateful, bigoted attitude as a wake-up call.

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