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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Mardi Gras 2015

The deities who preside over [carnival] are not those associated with Christianity, but rather the ancient pagan gods who, in New Orleans alone out of this whole grim, Puritanical country, have never fully relinquished their rule.  –  “Mardi Gras 2014

If you’re a new reader and not from New Orleans, you may not understand why the day is still important to me even though I no longer live there (and in fact, I’ve never been as far from the Crescent City on a Fat Tuesday as I am today).  So take a look at my previous columns for the day (the one linked in the epigram plus 2013, 2012 and 2011), and if you want to celebrate in your own small way try indulging yourself in whatever way makes you happiest, at least for one day; that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!

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Valentine’s Day 2015

An obligatory “gift” of a certain expected value which must be presented at a certain time in order to retain a woman’s sexual favors is not a love offering, but rather a whore’s fee.  –  “St. Valentine’s Day
Kitten Valentine
Regular readers know that I don’t care much for Valentine’s Day, mostly because it’s so nakedly hypocritical but also because, as I explained last year,

…while all the others are inclusive, this one is exclusive.  Holidays are times for friends, families and others to gather and celebrate together, but Valentine’s Day festivities (except, perhaps, for polyamorists) are exactly the opposite.  Lovers tend to seek every available excuse to be alone together anyway; it hardly seems necessary to set aside a special day for that, especially one on which the show is celebrated above the substance.

In fact, I like the classical Roman Lupercalia much better; dudes running around naked and hitting women with whips seems to me a much more exciting way to celebrate than being given a box of chocolates I can’t eat without worrying about my waistline.  Even most Valentine images are annoying or even creepy, which is why I like the little kitten one above so much.  SEE HOW CUTE IT IS??? Major, major cute.  7.5 on the Richter scale of cuteness.  And therefore one of the few I can stand.  Starting next year, I’ll be generating my own images for this occasion, but until then you’ll have to settle for…no, I can’t say it; some puns are just too awful, even for a Valentine.

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Imbolc 2015

Brooke Imbolc
I’d like to thank Dr. Brooke Magnanti for supplying the art for this sabbat.  If you’d like to provide one for the vernal equinox, Beltane or the summer solstice, please let me know!

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Diary #237

Pioneer Square in winterLast Tuesday I brought Jae to the airport, and was I ever sorry to see her go; as you can probably tell from my frequent mentions of her the past few months, we’ve become very close since I stayed at her place while in Seattle last November (though we’ve known each other for about a year and a half).  The last person I bonded with so rapidly was Grace, and they actually share quite a few personality traits; as you might expect they, too, became friends immediately and have already made plans for a road trip together that I’ll report on when the time comes.  But I have a road trip coming long before that; as I mentioned in “Boy Juice” I’ll be headed back up to Seattle in just a few weeks, and I think it’s time to reveal that I’ll be spending a lot of time there this year.  There are a lot of reasons for the temporary relocation, many of them related to a desire to be more directly involved in on-the-ground activism; in the long run we also plan to turn my ranch into a center of the US sex worker community, and my time in Seattle will be instrumental in securing the backing and support to turn that into a reality.  If that sounds cryptic, I apologize; it’s just best not to announce one’s chickens before they’re even laid (let alone hatched).

The relocation is only one of several major life-changes, as I alluded to in my New Year’s Day column; I’ll address the others at the proper time.  But for now, I’d like all the prayers, good wishes, positive vibrations and financial support y’all can give, and I promise to keep you up on developments as they continue to unfold.

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There is neither heaven nor earth
only snow, falling incessantly.
 –  Hashin

You may be wondering why I’m featuring this lovely picture of a beautiful witch on this particular day.  Well, since this is Christmas Eve in Russia, you might think of her as the Frost Maiden, granddaughter to Ded Moroz (the Slavic Santa Claus).  And since today is also Epiphany,  when children in many Catholic countries receive their presents, you might think of her as Befana, the witch who performs that function in Italy.  Befana is traditionally depicted as an old lady, but since Italy is Italy sexy Befana images are now quite common there; besides, if I were an immortal witch with magical powers you can bet I wouldn’t go around looking like a hag.  Befana is a Christianized version of the minor Roman goddess Strenia, who was herself associated with the Greek witch-goddess Hecate.  So as you can see, a sexy witch image is totally appropriate for this first day of the carnival season…and besides, it’s my blog and I’ll use just about any excuse I can think of to post a picture of a beautiful fantasy chick.

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Every thing teaches transition, transference, metamorphosis:  therein is human power, in transference, not in creation; & therein is human destiny, not in longevity but in removal.  We dive & reappear in new places.
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson

So here we are again, for the fifth time; I daresay this is becoming a habit.  That’s really not surprising; ever since I retired from sex work in 2006, my life has been bound by habits and schedules, like a cocoon I wove to give myself structure and meaning at a time when the framework that had defined my life for nine years had suddenly been taken away.  That self-imposed bondage was comfortable and safe; it allowed me time to think and to explore, to figure out who I was now and to decide what was important to me and where I wanted my life to go.  And as I slowly, haltingly learned about the power of the internet, I also became aware of a great restlessness and dissatisfaction in myself; I found myself talking about sex work and sex worker rights on message boards that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject, and began to resent prissy moderators who could delete anything I wrote on a whim.  By the time I had been retired for four years, I could stand it no more; I had to stake out a place in this new digital world where I could share the truth about my life, my sisters and the only work I ever loved.  At first, I was extremely anonymous; in May of 2012 I even turned down an offer to host a TV show on the History Channel because I was just not ready for that kind of exposure.  I had not yet broken out of my cocoon, but merely reshaped it for purposes of my activism.

But in the summer of 2012, that all began to change when I accepted an invitation to appear at the Southern Harm Reduction Conference; a few weeks later I agreed to speak at Albany Law School’s symposium the next February.  The cocoon had become too small and much too restrictive, and I was breaking out of it; people began to hear my voice in interviews and see my face at events, and when I decided to go on my tour last summer I shook the last tatters of silk from my newfound wings and proudly revealed my face (and the rest of me) for the world to see.  There’s no turning back now; the die, as the man said in Latin, is cast.  In the past few months I’ve been recognized twice in the small town I live nearest, and that’s just fine with me; I wouldn’t turn down a TV hosting gig now as easily as I turned down the reality show offer I got last spring.  Flitting under my own power from coast to coast last summer was the scariest, craziest, least-scripted thing I’ve ever done, and also one of the most rewarding; this year I plan to explore even more widely.  Sometimes I miss the coziness of that cocoon, but the warmth of the sun and the smell of the flowers and the feel of the breeze under my wings are far better, and the work Aphrodite wants me to do can’t be done while tied up in the dark.

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The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. - Edward Powell

Maggie sketch 8-30-14As has been my custom for five years, New Year’s Eve is the occasion for a retrospective of the year’s news.  But while in previous years I mostly reported on the things other people did, the biggest story this year (at least in this blog) is the stuff I did.  Besides too many interviews to count (including one for Reason TV that has been seen over 20,000 times so far), I made dozens of personal appearances all over the country, as detailed in my tour diaries from May until the present.  The excuse for these was the publication of my book, Ladies of the Night (and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, you probably should); I know that last year I said that the second one (tentatively entitled The Essential Maggie McNeill) would be ready by summer, but obviously the tour pre-empted that.  I still hope to have it ready in the next couple of months, but I’m not promising anything because I’ve finally decided to take everyone’s advice and try to make just a tad more time for myself.

The best news of the year is that we’re still right on track for an end of “sex trafficking” hysteria by 2017, as I predicted three years ago; already we’re beginning to see skeptical articles from journalists and academics in addition to consultation of actual experts, prominent reporting on anti-hysteria studies and increased placement for articles from yours truly (including ReasonThe Washington Post and a law journal).  Though the hysteria is still in full bloom in most quarters (especially among cops, rescue industry opportunists and others with a vested interest in keeping the panic going), the exposure of “trafficking” darlings Somaly Mam and Chong Kim opened the door to allowing skeptics to openly express their doubts.  Still, just as the bad laws spawned by the last round of “sex trafficking” hysteria have endured to the present day, so will those spawned by this one endure for decades after the panic is over.  This year saw an expansion in efforts (some of them surreptitious) to impose the horrible Swedish model, and while France barely escaped it Canada and Northern Ireland have not, with the Republic of Ireland almost sure to follow.  And while there’s no way the US will ever stop persecuting sex workers without a Supreme Court order halting the practice, Swedish-flavored “end demand” rhetoric provides a palatable “feminist” excuse for endemic police violence and hounding of sex workers.

rapist copBut it’s not only sex workers who are infantilized in the name of “feminism”; female university students, too, are treated as moral imbeciles too delicate to make sexual decisions without the help of coercive patriarchal institutions.  And it’s not only sex workers who are the victims of police violence; nearly every week sees at least one report of a cop raping at least one woman (I reported 60 this year).  Not one of my Links columns is free of at least one incident of police brutality, and cops’ unrestrained and consequence-free murders of young men, especially young black men, has provoked mass protests all year.  Nor do all cop attacks involve physical violence; actual robbery under cover of “law enforcement” pretenses is at an all-time high, and many police and FBI operations are motivated by profit and/or the desire to create a spectacle in advancement of a political narrative.

At first glance, this hasn’t been a good year for sex workers; our rights are even under attack in countries where they’ve been reasonably secure for years, and agency-denying “sex trafficking” propaganda is promoted in virtually every mainstream venue and pretended to be factual in legislatures and police circles worldwide.  But at the same time academics, human rights organizations and many others are beginning to open their eyes to the truth, and everywhere I traveled this summer I found receptive audiences.  Moral panics do not slowly fade away; they usually get worse until they very quickly collapse.  The end of widespread societal support for persecution of sex workers is coming…and sooner than you might think.

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