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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

[Laura Lee] put herself on the line in a way few have the guts to do.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Storyville 

An interesting look at brothel archaeology in Australia:

Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century.  Especially unmarried women with babies.  But we don’t hear people say “my great-great-grandmother was a sex worker”…Social stigma belies the importance of prostitution in providing an independent living, and even property ownership, for numerous women in this period…the Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner…has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory…

Whore Madonnas 

While mainstream media mindlessly parrots “sex trafficking” propaganda, the alternative press is listening to sex workers:

…Liz Afton works as a counselor at the Sex Workers Project…which provides legal and social services to people involved in sex work…“Mothers…who are involved in sex work often have it used against them to separate them from their child,” Afton says.  Atossa Movahedi, director of legal services and development at the UJC’s domestic violence project, says…“More often than not…the opposing party had knowledge of, or even was involved directly, in the client’s participation in the sex work, and is now using it as a tool to exploit them in the court system.”  When dealing with custody disputes, courts [supposedly] first look at a parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home.  Financial status, mental health, drug use and domestic violence all fall under consideration.  Though many mothers involved in sex work pass inspection in these areas, they’re left with the fact that the job is usually illegal—and in the eyes of some on the bench, immoral…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown is becoming our most powerful voice against sex hysteria:

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition…history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.  And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.  For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography…there’s no evidence that internet porn has been destroying millennials — some of whom now have two decades of…data to offer…all the available evidence shows…teens today are starting sex later, and more likely than previous generations to use condoms when they do.  Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest levels in decades…In addition, there’s now a huge body of research showing that…it’s “time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior”…sexually well-adjusted adults “reported more experience with pornography as teenagers” than their maladjusted counterparts…

Finding What Isn’t There

Too bad all prohibitionism isn’t focused on harassing women who don’t exist:

Lake of the Woods boasts 15,000 islands and more than 100,000 kilometres of shoreline — more coast than Lake Superior…the [area]…near the Manitoba border sees its population double in the summer months.  When [masturbatory fantasies] of women and girls being forced into the sex trade on Lake of the Woods arose at a 2013 human trafficking conference in Kenora, even local social service workers were shocked…“Dock girls,” as they came to be known…are [fantasized] to be overwhelmingly Indigenous [minors who]…are [fantasized] to be transported…from…northwestern Ontario and Manitoba as part of a human trafficking circuit…only…one social service worker [in the area claims]…they’ve come face-to-face with a “dock girl”…[yet]…Kenora will receive $504,000 over three years to [indoctrinate] frontline hospitality workers…[in the usual anti-whore propaganda]…there is so little hard evidence for the “dock girl” phenomenon that it raises questions about whether the problem exists at all.  And if it doesn’t, critics say, wouldn’t the government’s funding…be better spent elsewhere?…

Policing for Profit

Cops are starting to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

In Alabama…two [politicians] introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff.  It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime…It would move the proceeds of forfeiture to the state’s general fund to eliminate the profit incentive for police and prosecutors to try to seize whatever they could get their hands on.  And it would close a loophole that would forbid local law enforcement agencies from bypassing restrictions by participating in the federal “equitable sharing” Department of Justice forfeiture program…the head of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association teamed up with an op-ed that urges against reforms to asset forfeiture…Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton warn that requiring successful prosecutions will lead to them filing more charges against people…When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to…think about what you’re doing…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

Women imprisoned at California’s Santa Rita Jail say they’re being [caged] in filthy conditions, denied basic hygiene products, pressured to have abortions, subjected to incessant strip searches, and forced to endure many other manners of cruel and inhumane treatment from guards and staff…In a new federal lawsuit, they’re asking a federal judge to intervene on behalf of them and future female prisoners, particularly those who are pregnant…The jailhouse horror stories…provide an invaluable glimpse at the…systemic degradation…such institutions foster…female inmates face the standard abuses inflicted on male prisoners as well as those unique to their sex, from being forced to “free bleed” during their periods if they can’t afford to buy tampons to facing higher levels of sexual assault and coercion from guards and staff…pregnant prisoners [are] denied proper nutrition and prenatal care and, in some places, forced to give birth in shackles.  At Santa Rita…one inmate was…left alone in solitary confinement to give birth…”She was banging on her metal door…[the screws] closed the slider-window…so she could not see out, and no one could see in…Only after we could hear the crying of the baby did the deputies finally go over and open her door”…

Opting Out (#401)

This is no surprise to those of us who have actually studied the effects and history of censorship:

Sky UK has been called out for blocking a…website that its algorithms deem as “pornographic”…as part of the Digital Economy Act 2010…Sky UK have blocked gay-teen advice website gayteenresources.org…an important resource for teenagers exploring their sexuality and for those that may be struggling…blocked.org.uk, which lists sites that cannot be accessed, reveals that O2, EE and Three have also automatically filtered the site from their mobile networks…

“Filtered” is a euphemism for “censored”, and this will continue until the media acknowledge that.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

At least universities in Washington state aren’t generally used to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda, unlike those in Arizona and Texas:

The “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit is designed to [facilitate masturbation] to [the fantasy of] human trafficking in Texas…there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state…From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King…illustrat[ing] themes of isolation, captivity and desperation…Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a “seclusion room.”  Attendees are invited to enter the small space and [masturbate in private while fantasizing about pubescent girls in]…a life of captivity…

The Public Eye (#797)

Though Rolling Stone is far too timid to write honestly about escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in it at all:

At…the 35th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards…plenty of big names were in attendance – stars who had led more traditional adult-film careers – but they were outnumbered by scores of up-and-coming models who primarily built their own businesses using cam shows, original clip stores and monetized social-media platforms.  The mass availability of easily pirated streaming video may have decimated the porn economy, but it seems that women are the ones adapting, finding fresh ways to connect directly with consumers.  As these models gain more economic influence, they are also raising the bar for consent conversations throughout the industry…

Tit For Tat

One day, our culture will grow up enough that this won’t be noteworthy:

Eva Sless…is a sex columnist, a sex educator and a sex worker  who…[is] married.  Sless’ husband, Justin…is completely supportive of her work, though they’re both aware it’s an unconventional life.  “I know we are a rare couple.  Our life and marriage is built on a foundation of strong friendship, trust, love, and respect…I don’t know if the life we live is for everyone, but it works for us. I love our world.”  Below, they tell us more about Sless’ work, how it affects their marriage and what Justin thinks of his wife’s clients…

Elephant in the Parlor (#806)  

This ought to be interesting:

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Donald Trump’s attorney acknowledges paying $130,000 just before Election Day, believes she is now free to discuss a…sexual encounter with the man who is now president…At the same time, developments…are fueling questions about whether such a payment could violate federal campaign finance laws.  Daniels…believes that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, invalidated a non-disclosure agreement after two news stories were published [early last week]…one in which Cohen told The New York Times he made the six-figure payment with his personal funds, and another in the Daily Beast, which reported that Cohen was shopping a book proposal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said the manager, Gina Rodriguez.  “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez said…

Watershed (#809)

When stuffy Time publishes an article who only major nod to prohibitionism is to quote dried-up dinosaur Gloria Steinem vomiting up her “body invasion” nonsense, you know things are changing:

Like millions of others, Melony Hill took to social media last fall to say “me too”…But rather than receiving an outpouring of support, Hill said she’s gotten messages saying that she deserved to be sexually assaulted — because she has worked in the sex industry for 20 years…“They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times”…Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it…Some…sex…[workers] told Time that they have posted their #MeToo stories anonymously to avoid potential legal repercussions.  Others said that they don’t want to speak out publicly because they anticipate they’ll be shamed, or not believed because they aren’t “perfect victims”…there’s also the damaging notion that sex workers can’t be sexually assaulted…“Not all women are being supported in the #MeToo movement,” said Cris Sardina…of…Desiree Alliance…“It’s what type of woman”…

R.I.P. Laura Lee

A very nice tribute from The Herald:

She was, in the words of Scots author Kirstin Innes, “a powerhouse, a formidable, vital, hilarious and angry star”…Others described her as a “fierce warrior” for women.  She appeared regularly in the pages of this newspaper fighting the corner of the most marginalised women in society – sex workers.  She was Laura Lee – a brilliantly clever Irish woman who found an adoptive home in Scotland and made the choice to work in the sex industry.  Last week, she died aged just 39…

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I’m really pretty damned sick of social engineers claiming that it’s “bigoted” or “sexist” or whatever for men (or lesbians) not to socially date (ie, have sex with) women of some particular group (such as older women, obese women, trans women, kinky women, etc).  Tellingly, nobody (except the “women don’t date nice guys” cult) tries to put similar pressure on straight women or gay men; apparently, it’s perfectly OK to refuse to date any man for any reason.  Only women apparently need to be “protected” by forcing people to have sex with them whether they like it or not, and the authoritarians who subscribe to this revolting policy usually appear to have no issue with queer people refusing to socially date those of the opposite sex.  So according to them, all factors of attraction except homosexuality are purely voluntary and can be changed as easily as I change my underwear.  Well, I’m here to tell you that this is 100% pure, reeking bullshit.  Nobody can help who they’re attracted to, and nobody has the right to demand any individual socially date any people of a certain group (not talking about sex work here).  For example, I’m too old, too busty, too muscular, too intellectual, too talkative, too intense, too kinky, etc for some guys, and just the fact that I’m female means a lot of women aren’t interested in me sexually.  Similarly, I’m extremely picky about who I sleep with for free.  And that’s all perfectly OK.  Nobody, repeat NOBODY, has the right to demand anyone else have sex with them or anyone else, any more than they have the right to stop anyone from having sex with consenting partners or policing their reasons for having sex.  Furthermore, to make such a demand, or to insult and socially pressure people for refusing sexual contact with some others, demonstrates an utter disregard for the most basic principles of consent.  It’s not only reprehensible and, frankly, disgusting; it is the mindset of a rapist, and nobody with the faintest modicum of respect for individual rights should tolerate it in even the slightest degree.

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Democrats have been using internet sex panics to score political victories since the days of MySpace.  –  A.V. Flox

Rough Trade 

Please be careful out there, ladies:

[Los Angeles] detectives are searching for a serial rapist they say preys on prostitutes.  The suspect [pretends he want to]…pay…but…ends up kidnapping the women, raping them and then dumping them from his vehicle.  The man has struck at least 12 times since January 2014…victims have ranged from 15 to 46 years old…Despite the fact the man’s description has varied, and wildly, police [claim to] believe the one man is responsible for the attacks…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

If you’re raped in Sweden, claim the rapist offered to pay you; THAT, they’ll punish him for:

A Swedish court has acquitted five men accused of [gang] raping a woman and being complicit in her rape in Stockholm suburb Fittja in 2016…Video evidence from CCTV and images from the stairwell where the rape is alleged to have taken place were…used in the trial, as well as witness accounts.  The three men accused of rape acknowledged that they had sex with the woman, but insisted that it was voluntary.  And while it “was been established the woman had injuries after the incident in the form of skin discoloration and scrapes, the origin of or reason for them could not be established” the court’s summary of the trial states…

Profound Ignorance 

Even when economists produce research that supports sex worker rights, it’s riddled with dumb statements:

…Research published in the Review of Economic Studies  found that when prostitution was decriminalised in Rhode Island, sexual violence fell by 30 per cent and female gonorrhoea incidence decreased by more than 40 per cent.  The findings were based on an examination of the impact of a six-year prostitution decriminalisation policy in the state, from 2003 to 2009…Previous research shows that 23 per cent of female sex workers report they have had gonorrhoea, compared to 4.7 per cent for women who have never been paid for sex…the decline in sexual violence was due to a number of factors relating to the decriminalisation of prostitution.  When sex work is legal, prostitution firms are more likely to invest in locks, security cameras and security personnel to reduce the opportunity of premeditated client violence…Decriminalisation also reduces violence by increasing sex workers’ willingness to cooperate with police and reducing opportunities for police corruption.  Currently only 34 per cent of prostitutes who are victims of violence by clients report it to the police…

Manisha Shah is Scott Cunningham’s research partner for the previous version of this study, so seeing the usual Cunningham mistakes isn’t surprising.  Rhode Island decriminalized for almost 30 years, not 6.  Comparing the STI rates of street sex workers (it isn’t nearly 23% lifetime rate in the population of all sex workers) to that of all women – many of whom are in long-term monogamous marriages – produces meaningless results (sexually active amateurs have much higher STI rates than sex workers).  A minority of sex workers work for “firms” of any size (most are independent or work in small associations).  The majority of violence against sex workers is committed by cops, not clients, which is an important reason violence decreases under decrim, but this study ignores it.  And so on, and so on…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

And now there are people who want to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases, which would make escaping this kind of false accusation impossible:

A student has described going through “mental torture” after a rape case against him was thrown out in court because police had [intentionally hidden] more than 40,000 messages from his accuser.  Liam Allan, 22, faced up to ten years in jail charged with six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault against a young woman over a 14-month period that began when he was 19…Mr Allan claimed it was consensual and [the accuser] was acting maliciously because he refused to see her after he returned to university…The messages showed how she had continually messaged Mr Allan for “casual sex”, said how much she enjoyed it and discussed fantasies of violent sex and rape…The life-changing discovery was made at the 11th hour when a new prosecutor, Jerry Hayes, took over the case one day before the trial began and ordered police to hand over records — including a computer disk that contained 40,000 messages…[police had previously] denied [requests for the messages, claiming] there was nothing of interest in them…detectives had previously told [the prosecutor that] the sexual messages were “too personal” to share…

Banishment

Like all truly oppressive laws, this one is bipartisan:

Oregon is about to enact one of the country’s most draconian, carceral, and unnecessary “public safety” measures.  Beginning on January 1, 2018, certain sex crimes committed in the state will come with a presumptive sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole or release…[This] will apply to those convicted of first-degree rapesodomy, or unlawful sexual penetration if they have a prior conviction…for any of these crimes…[or] similar charges…The measure was introduced by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) in April 2017.  It was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in August.  An analysis of the proposed fiscal impact of the legislation found it “could impose significant increases in public defense costs,” estimating cost increases of around $800,000 to $1,350,000 per year…

Shame, Shame 

Once in a while a judge treats a sex worker as a human being:

Being a sex worker does not disqualify you from having a private life, a judge has said, as he granted an injunction to an escort who has been harassed online.  The woman, known as GYH, has been caused considerable distress by online publications about her sex life, physical and mental health…These include allegations that she has HIV/AIDS, which…are untrue.  GYH brought proceedings in London against “persons unknown” as, despite extensive efforts, it has proved impossible to trace any individual who has posted the material…the abuse began in December 2015 after she received a text message from someone claiming to be a student who wished to meet her socially but not pay for her services.  When GYH declined, the conversation deteriorated into abuse.  She also received anonymous phone calls with further abuse.  Posts on a series of websites made allegations that she had spread sexually transmitted diseases, was anorexic and mentally ill…They use both her work name and legal name and also include specific and identifiable information about her and pictures…

Choke Point 

An important article, despite the dumb & tone-deaf jab at libertarians in the end note:

…though it may come as a surprise to a few queers under the umbrella, the masters of political-ascent-via-internet-sex-panic are our political darlings, the Democrats…and they’re still doing it.  Take Kamala Harris.  One of her biggest achievements while she was Attorney General of California came at the expense of sex workers…Harris is a senator now, and we still don’t know how many cops are implicated in the sexual exploitation of a minor…sex worker…this is not the only account of victimization at the hands of police (in case you were wondering why some queers really don’t want police at Pride.  Hey, did you know that transwomen arrested during prostitution stings tend to be misgendered as pimps and johns and charged with human trafficking?  Helps pad the numbers!)…“Real name” policies that have terrorized the trans community?  We can thank Richard Blumenthal…for those…And…all the “adult content” guidelines on him, too…Payment processors and financial institutions getting squeamish about adult content?  Barack Obama was already president when he green-lit the FDIC on the operation to discourage legal businesses  extralegally, but the Cook County sheriff…sure took it to a whole new level

Bread and Circuses 

The time for Playboy to come on board as an active supporter of sex worker rights is long overdue:

…The…campaign [against sex workers] has shut down online advertising venues that sex workers depend on to acquire and screen their clients.  The FBI, the DOJ and Homeland Security launched the raids and closures of websites like Rentboy, Redbook and Backpage…The latest casualty appears to be the Eros Guide—its call center headquarters were raided in Youngstown, North Carolina in early November…These website crackdowns appear to be mere dress rehearsals for a wide-reaching, bipartisan piece of legislation now moving through Congress.  The Senate bill, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, and the House companion version, Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, both have feel-good titles, but activists argue that these proposed policy changes would have worrisome implications for free speech, and would actually worsen conditions for anyone in the sex trade…

To Molest and Rape 

If this were really a consensual “relationship” as they want us to think, why did the woman report him?

A Portland [cop]…pleaded guilty to first-degree official misconduct and was sentenced to a year and a half of probation with required community service for having sex on duty with a woman he [supposedly] met responding to a neighborhood noise disturbance call…Christian Robert Berge…[also] agreed to resign from the Portland Police…and surrender his police certification…Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees didn’t describe the offense during the brief court hearing…The alleged sexual relationship lasted from mid-August 2015 through this past May…The woman reported the behavior to police recently…

Lack of Evidence (#716) 

Pink News seems to think that if he really were a sex worker, this would be OK:

A gay German national was forced onto a flight to Japan after being refused entry into Australia.  As PrEP tablets and sex toys were found in his luggage, Border Force agents accused the man of coming into the country to engage in sex work…Michael (not his real name) had reportedly been living in Australia for more than two years when he took a week-long trip to Japan after his tourist visa expired…[he] hoped to apply for a partner visa with his boyfriend, Andrew (also not his real name)…Andrew alleged that his boyfriend was profiled by agents for appearing “visibly gay”.  Officials asked him to open his suitcase, where they found PrEP tablets and sex toys.  It is not illegal to bring either of these into Australia for personal use.  Despite this fact, guards…confiscated them and even went through Michael’s phone.  They found text messages on the phone which they have since used as proof that Michael was planning to engage in paid sex work…

The Widening Gyre (#718) 

Teenage sweethearts run away together; fetishists immediately start spinning “sex trafficking” fantasies:

Sex trafficking experts say they believe two missing Humble High School teens, a 14 year old and a 15 year old, may have been lured away from home by sex traffickers…[they were] found safe [on December 19th but] police aren’t releasing any other details.  Ame Carr…[and] Alexander Irizarry-Avila…were in a relationship.  Carr did not leave a note but Irizarry did…“telling [his mother] he’d check in once a week, telling her he’s OK…he said ‘Don’t call the police because it would make it that much harder for me to come home’”…

Business As Usual (#733) 

Michigan cops can no longer get away with openly raping sex workers; now they have to pretend they didn’t, as they do in the other 49 states:

Michigan law will no longer shield police from prosecution for prostitution-related offenses committed while on duty…Michigan was believed to be the last state in the country to give police [explicit] immunity for [raping] prostitutes [before arresting them]…

Rooted in Racism (#795) 

No, this didn’t “veer…close to racial profiling”; it was clear and deliberate racial profiling within government-approved guidelines:

…Brian and Renee Smith…were questioned on arrival at the airport in Phoenix, suspected of being human traffickers for traveling with [their] 16-year-old Asian…adopted daughter, Georgiana…During a flight from Florida to their home in Arizona on December 20, father and Georgiana were seated together, mom and the family’s three other children were not in the same row.  This [inspired]…the Southwest Airlines flight attendant to [have sexual fantasies about] the white man and [young] Asian [woman].  All flight attendants in America are required to receive training in spotting human traffickers under a law passed in 2016…to the Smith family, the experience was humiliating and worrisome, veering close to racial profiling…because Georgiana [is] not Caucasian…

Kudos to Forbes contributor Christina Negroni for recognizing that the “air hostess stops sex trafficking” story floating around for the past few years is bogus.

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When you’ve been a sex worker for as long as I have, you begin to notice that the stigma against us isn’t just limited to cops, anti-sex fundamentalists, politicians, Puritans, busybodies and the Great Unwashed who swallow every lie they’re spoon-fed by all of those other groups; it extends to many, many people who should know better.  The ACLU, which in former times even stood up for the rights of despised groups like Nazis and the KKK, largely remains silent on the topic of sex work; oh, they’ll throw us a bone now and again, like a low-effort editorial, an amicus brief in a case somebody else is struggling to pay for, or the signing of a group letter in opposition to an insanely anti-whore law which just happens to create fallout that will hurt good people and not just dirty whores.  But most of the time, despite decriminalization being part of the group’s official platform since 1975, when an ACLU member opens her mouth on the subject in public it’s to vomit out prohibitionist shit like “people don’t choose to become prostitutes” that they need to have their faces forcibly rubbed in until they learn better.  The rest of the time, they’re too busy with Very Important Issues like the “right” of wealthy white queers to force bigots to bake $500 cakes for their displays of conspicuous consumption, or the “right” of women to beat, rob & murder people with impunity by putting on a magic costume.  But when it comes to the actual civil rights of people to have consensual sex and do the work of their choice without interference from armed thugs trying to stalk, entrap, rob, rape, brutalize and cage them, and otherwise destroy their lives?  Crickets.

And then there’s Gay, Inc, my term for the coalition of powerful organizations that have been instrumental in winning rights for queer people.  One would think, given that a very large fraction of sex workers are GLBT in one way or another; that more than 10% of transwomen admit to having done sex work (the real number is probably much higher); that in the early days of gay rights transactional sex was not only accepted, but celebrated; that before the ’90s many closeted gay men’s only sexual outlet was with sex workers; that even a very large fraction of female sex workers are lesbian or bisexual; and that the fucking riots which started the whole fucking gay rights movement in the first goddamned place were started by black trans sex workers, that Gay, Inc would be not only duty-bound but enthusiastic to support sex worker rights.  And one would be wrong; with the exception of a short-lived, chauvinistic and breathtakingly ignorant explosion of anger after the Rentboy raid, picket-fence gay boys and buttoned-up-to-the-neck lesbians have devoted all their energy and money to causes most gender and sexual minorities don’t give a flying fuck about, such as government-issued fucking licenses; the “right” to be a pig, screw or grunt; corporate sponsorship of “Pride parades” that cost enough to feed a small impoverished nation for a month; or the “right” to force bigots to bake the aforementioned overpriced cakes (one wonders what kind of unexamined privilege is necessary to trust eating food prepared by someone who hates you and is only complying at virtual gunpoint).  Oh, and let’s not forget the “right” to send the pigs after streetwalkers who dare to enter their gentrified neighborhoods; you know, the same pigs that used to raid their fucking nightclubs, back when they used to go to nightclubs to pick up guys (including, oh yeah, rentboys & hustlers).  The “leaders” of Gay Inc even openly compare sex workers to “killers or psychopaths”, and participate in the demonization of our clients.

And then there are “feminists”, whose idea of supporting women’s rights is infantilizing us, getting us evicted from our homes and killing us by slow starvation, when they’re not openly advocating for us to be murdered.  And I don’t just mean the mainstream ones, who have always been religious fundamentalists since the beginning; I mean whitebread feminists like Jill Filipovic with no real agenda intellectually more complex than the average Sex and the City episode.

To be sure, there are yellow, lily-livered followers in all of these groups who absolutely know that it’s wrong to persecute people for consensual sex; some of them were even given a little bit of the courage they otherwise totally lack by the announcement of Amnesty International’s backing of decriminalization.  But until the majority of the members of these groups grow a spine and start standing up for what they absolutely know in their hearts to be right, their deafening silence is just as damaging to us as are the cops and the laws which enable their depredations.

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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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