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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

May Day 2015

Flora_for_Maggie_with_text

This sabbat’s illustration is by Mike Slaton; click on the link to see his other work!  And if you’re an artist and would like to do an illustration for the summer solstice or Lammas, please contact me as soon as you can!

Have a lusty Beltane, dear readers, and Blessed Be!

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May Eve 2015

Today is May Eve, long recognized as the spring equivalent of Halloween.  For the past few years I’ve presented lists of scary things to enjoy on the day; in 2012 it was my list of the scariest short stories, in 2013 my list of the scariest television show episodes, and in 2014 a collection of all sorts of different scary things.  In the leadup to Halloween each year, I usually call attention to spooky links and horror-themed columns, and of course a lot of my stories are horror; since Halloween “Left Behind“, “Magna Mater” and “Surprise” all fall into that category.  So if you’re unfamiliar with the May Eve traditions, read up on them in my previous columns, and if you’re a fan of horror fiction there are a number of treasures here for your enjoyment.  Blessed Be, dear readers, and pleasant dreams!

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Easter 2015

Easter Goddess by Thienbao (2013)
Happy Easter, dear readers, and Blessed Be!

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Look Again

Don’t feel bad if you got caught by my April Fools’ Day post yesterday; they nearly always catch most of my readers.  I guess it’s because I’m so serious the rest of the time, but even so I always try to leave some hints in plain sight even if the content isn’t a giveaway.  Yesterday’s started right from the title; my “In the News” columns are all numbered in the 500s this year, so “401” was clearly out of place, and was a reminder of the date (4/01).  The low number of items should have struck y’all as odd, and the fact that the links all went to blogs rather than news sites might have given you a hint if you’re the sort of reader who clicks on those.  Unfortunately, as more than one reader pointed out, the ludicrosity of the stories was not really a giveaway because real “sex trafficking” stories degenerated into absurdity a long time ago.  I’d like to thank Korhomme (“Finding What Isn’t There”), Mike Siegel (“The Widening Gyre”), Marijke Vonk (“Checklist”), Kaytlin Bailey (“Scapegoats”), and Brooke Magnanti (the “Page 3″ parodies) for helping me with this prank, and now all I have to do is figure out how to top it next year. Aurora

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Art is nothing more of less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.  –  Venus of Willendorf

Finding What Isn’t There (#24) 

Do these prohibitionists think I’m a she-devil who can appear when my name is spoken?

…The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána issued a joint statement…[revealing] that there had been a massive, joint operation…[and] smashed one of the most serious sex trafficking rings world-wide.  Some 784 women had been rescued and taken to secure accommodation for their own safety.  Twenty men, all of eastern European extraction, had been arrested…the men had groomed the women on-line…offering them the chance of employment in Ireland.  Once here, their passports were confiscated, they were made to service 50 men a day, sometimes more.  If they resisted, they would be chained to radiators.  After several months of being “broken in”, groups of the women were…flown in an unmarked jet to Atlanta, the major trafficking hub in the US…Lord Morrow…sharply criticised those politicians who had called for evidence during his [Swedish model] Bill’s progressing, saying…[they had] been taken in by the lies spread on some American libertarian websites by people posing as “ex-madams”…

The Widening Gyre 

It was only a matter of time…

Several anti-sex-trafficking organizations held a joint press conference today to announce their opposition to space exploration, citing concerns about future sex trafficking.  “Space is going to be like a frontier town,” said Nicholas Kristoff.  “There will be no law enforcement in space, which means that girls, some as young as 11, could be easily trafficked to colonies on Mars or in the asteroid belt where they would have to service up to 50 men a day”…Julie Bindel…[noted] that science fiction films have frequently depicted prostitution…She derided the series Firefly for presenting an unrealistic and unrepresentative model…[and added] “No little girl grows up wanting to be a triple-breasted Martian prostitute”…a recent study by Dominique Roe Sepowitz…presented evidence that shuttle launches are associated with major increases in sex trafficking…Amanda Marcotte…advocated for an “enthusiastic consent” standard from other planets before further human exploration.

Checklist 

So “signs of trafficking” idiocy isn’t confined to the US:

When a young 17 year old trafficking victim was discovered in a hotel in Valkenburg the Netherlands last fall, government officials and law enforcement authorities had to consider: how could this have happened right under our noses?  The Netherlands in a major hub for human trafficking, as the country is located near the sea and has borders to various European countries such as Belgium and Germany…not all victims are bundled across borders in cars with tinted windows or shipped in containers.  Sometimes they’re just hidden in plain sight, among other children and women…law enforcement and human trafficking experts are now working together with teachers to catch the earliest signs of child sex trafficking…Peter van Dam…of StopItNow…[said] “Some children are trafficked as young as four years old…Kids as young as 5 years old are being raped daily, some estimates suggest up to one in twelve children could be victimised”…

Scapegoats (#449)

Well, this was unexpected:

…An unusual furry prostitution ring has been busted…in…Manhattan.  Despite surveillance footage, the age, gender & species of both the victims and perpetrators have proven difficult to determine.  A Detective from the NYPD, Will Wonder suspects “very young girls” and “seriously fucked up old men.”  No evidence of money exchange has been reported but Detective Wonder is convinced “no woman would do this without getting paid.”  Police were first alerted by another guest at the upscale hotel who noticed people gathering in “very unflattering costumes” even though “Halloween is months away.”  Upon completion of a mostly illegal search & seizure, a man/bear confessed to “anything & everything” which detectives are interpreting as “running an under age furry prostitution ring.”  Investigators are shocked & appalled at the furries apparent willingness to exploit young girls’ “natural obsession with animals and arts & crafts” for their own sexual gratification…Caroline

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Vernal Equinox 2015

Ostara Witch

The apparent path of the sun will cross the celestial equator at 22:45 UTC tonight.  Happy Ostara, Dear Readers, and Blessed Be!

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I think I can safely speak for virtually all sex workers when I say that we don’t want to be passive tools used by governments and NGOs as the excuse for tyranny; we simply want to be left alone to live our lives like anyone else, with the same rights, privileges, duties and legal protections as people in every other profession.  –  “Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

sex workers uniteToday is International Sex Worker Rights Day, a day for protest and activism held on the anniversary of a 2001 sex worker festival in India which succeeded despite efforts by prohibitionists to stop it via their usual means, collusion with the “authorities”.  I think that has tremendous symbolic value:  prohibitionists would like to stop our whole movement if they could, to silence us, suppress us and turn us into the helpless, voiceless victims who populate  their masturbatory fantasies; it’s therefore important to celebrate a major victory over them so we can remind ourselves that no matter how strenuously our enemies fight to hold us down, and no matter how many cops and politicians they conspire with, we must still win in the long run.  Furthermore, the fact that the observance started in India is in my mind very important; Indian sex workers are an inspiration and an example to their American sisters, and what we take lying down or weakly protest in small groups, they shout down with the thunderous voice of tens of thousands working together.  When I first wrote about the day four years ago it was barely even known in North America (though well-observed all over Asia and Africa), but has since caught on and gets more press every year.  I don’t think we’ll ever have anything like the sheer numbers the Indian groups can boast, but maybe by observing their day we can fortify ourselves with some of their indomitable spirit.  I don’t mean by some sort of sympathetic magic, mind you, but rather by keeping their example in our minds.

Today of all days is especially important to me personally, because it will be the first group sex worker rights event I’ve ever participated in.  I’ve been writing about sex worker rights online for almost eleven years now, and collecting those writings in one place (and under one name!) for five of them; last year I spent months travelling across the country speaking on the subject to anyone who would listen, from individuals to groups of dozens to TV audiences of many thousands.  But everything I’ve ever done as an activist was undertaken either completely alone, or with the help of sympathetic outsiders.  And I’ve come to realize that, as effective as I’ve been, I’ve never had the experience of working with other whores on a concerted action.  It’s one of the things I moved to Seattle for; if you read yesterday’s column you already know another, equally important reason.  As I said on New Year’s Day, I’ve broken out of the cocoon in which I had wrapped myself for so long; though I’m still going to do a lot of my fighting from behind this keyboard, I’m also going to be doing a lot of hands-on work.  And though much of my most important activism will still be solitary, a lot of it will follow the example of my Indian heroines, battling side-by-side in the trenches with my sisters.

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