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Posts Tagged ‘LGBT rights’

Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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Governments who employ [the Swedish] model know exactly what they’re doing and the harm they cause to [sex] workers.  –  Molly Davis

Scientific Detachment

The death of a rather unusual archivist:

Ralph Whittington [who died on August 6 at age 74] worked at the Library of Congress for 36 years…but he was better known for amassing one of the world’s largest collections of pornography…his collection was…a serious academic undertaking…Everything was catalogued and cross-referenced.  Boxes were carefully labeled with the name of a porn star or a thumbnail description…Whittington spent more than $100,000 on his collection and often accepted donations from heirs…In 1999, Mr. Whittington sold most of his materials to the Museum of Sex, a professionally curated institution in New York.  Before three 16-foot trucks hauled away almost 10,000 items in 848 boxes, his house was packed from floor to ceiling…

Damned If You Don’t

Picket-fence queers claim cops aren’t our enemies:

Police have arrested 26 men for cruising for sex in Washington D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park over the past 12 months…[disguised] cops entrapped the men by soliciting sex acts…Police…[call] the [deceptions] investigations…[and claim they] were prompted by public complaints…But…[in reality] the men arrested were propositioned by [disguised, lying cops]…posing as willing participants in a consensual encounter between adults…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

Finally, some public skepticism about “diversion courts”:

…hundreds of [arrested] sex workers in Sacramento each year [are coerced under threat into]…a court-administered diversion program [but only if they first plead guilty to whatever bullshit the cops make up.  It should come as no surprise that]…RESET court…originated [from] a cop-founded nonprofit…Diversion courts…have…proliferated around the country…But…there is growing scholarly skepticism about whether…[they] are really as “woke” as their supporters claim….the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center broadly criticized these programs for a lack of accountability and a surplus of inconsistency.  Sacramento’s RESET court comes up 19 times in the paper…these programs still treat sex workers like criminals, even while telling the public they’re all victims…RESET enrollees must submit to HIV testing; attend health and wellness classes, group and individual counseling and trauma-based therapy; and make at least three monthly court appearances, where Judge Rockwell offers cookies…For completing the program, the women get expunged records…and Starbucks gift cards…

Yes, the “reward” for completing the program is a “free” cup of coffee.

Choke Point (#603) 

I’m skeptical that they wouldn’t hand-wave a sex exemption into this even if it were broader:

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court is causing a stir among adult business owners…[and sex workers] who have been discriminated against by the global banking system…but misunderstandings may motivate merchants down a legal dead-end…“The ruling was very narrow,” [said] Larry Walters of FirstAmendment.com…“and limited to whether standing to sue can be established by alleging an intent to use the online services, as opposed to actually entering into a contract for services…The court specifically did not rule on whether a plaintiff can sue for discrimination under California law on the basis of occupation”…For adult merchants hoping that litigation over “equality of access to services” based on this announcement might solve…having their banking services revoked…this ruling provides no clear foothold…

Micromanagement (#731)

I’d really like to be wrong once in a while:

New York City detectives questioning a [12-year-old] boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda.  When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA…[which] was entered into the city’s genetic database.  To have it removed, the [boy’s] family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year…The city’s DNA database…now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a…potent tool for [the police state]…that operates with [essentially no]…oversight…A growing number of [pig farms] throughout the country…have amassed genetic databases that operate by their own rules, outside of state and federal guidelines…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#754) 

Will porn companies be the next to face the music for exploiting sex workers?

Mia Khalifa…was…[only] modestly compensated for a brief career that catapulted her into worldwide stardom…[as] the most-searched adult-film star on the planet…[but] she [only] received about $12,000 for about a dozen shoots over three months before she left the industry in early 2015, and never a “penny again”…on Pornhub…she is ranked No. 2 among actor searches…but she does not get any residuals from that site or any others…[in] adult film…there are two options with wildly different compensation paths.  One is the traditional production studio that pays actors as contractors…that is what Khalifa did…another is an independent model that provides a bigger cut and options for residuals…sites such as Pornhub have monetized the infinite loop of the Internet by uploading a stream of videos of actors long after some of them, like Khalifa, have left the business — creating a scenario where adult-film scenes will follow the actors and perhaps outlive them…Three of the top 10 actresses on the site now are either retired or inactive in the business, an industry veteran said, and have little recourse to claim compensation or remove their videos if they are shut out from the revenue…

If Men Were Angels (#864)

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

Paxton Singer…is the youth minister at the Harvest Bible Chapel in Aurora, Illinois.  The church’s bylaws say that…homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual sins…[but] Singer has been making inappropriate advances toward an unnamed 16-year-old boy…Singer also worked at a separate Harvest Bible Chapel campus in Rolling Meadows, Illinois…[w]here…[he] behaved inappropriately toward three other male teens…

Shift in the Wind (#933)

Pro-decrim articles are even common on conservative sites these days:

In a recent National Review story, Madeleine Kearns…claims [decriminalization] “would make a grave problem worse.”  The premise…relies largely on fear tactics, sprinkled with stories of women who have had bad experiences in the sex industry…But she fails to address how keeping prostitution illegal will help solve any of the problems she targets in her story.  Kearns’ solution is [the Swedish model]…but this policy has failed to work in the various countries where it’s been tried and only perpetuates the problems she illustrates…

Torture Chamber (#950)

I hope they get every last cent they’re asking for, plus punitive damages as well:

…taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who[se]…children were [abused] while in government custody…dozens of families…separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy…are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who[se]…young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care.  With more than 3,000 migrant children [abducted] from their parents at the border in recent years, many lawsuits are expected, potentially totaling in the billions…[they] are represented by grassroots immigration clinics and nonprofit groups, along with some of the country’s most powerful law firms…

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If we’re going to protect the most marginalized workers, we have to give them the same rights as everyone else.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Buried Truth

A rare female example of the McNeill Rule:

A Christian school kindergarten teacher in the Chicago suburbs is facing charges related to sexual assault and child pornography…Shannon Griffin is the wife of the pastor of Jordan Baptist Church…She…“sent nude pictures and videos of herself to and requested nude pictures from [two young students]…and…also…molest[ed one of the students] start[ing] in 2013 and continu[ing] until earlier this year…Griffin [was known] for being really strict when it came to dress code violations.  “She would…tell…us how to dress…how to be modest, and be Christian women”…said [one student]…Parent…Mike Mollo…found out when his son showed him naked videos and pictures of Griffin…

Broken Record (#659) 

Small cities trying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria need to recycle their propaganda:

Water Follies brings thousands of people to the Tri-Cities, and that means…sex trafficking.  “[Imaginary sex slaves I fantasize about said]…that during…boat races they would have to service a lot more customers,” [panted] Tricia MacFarlan…of Mirror Ministries…MacFarlan [vomited out a lot of tired, thoroughly-debunked nonsense about]…an increase in sex trafficking during large events, and [inanimate, doll-like “slaves”]…being advertised…Mirror Ministries [capitalizes on the hysteria in all the typical ways, including propaganda sessions for the very stupid, sharing sex fantasies about]…runaway children…[handing out] soaps that have a [phone number for people too stupid to remember the numbers “nine one one”, and planting “sex trafficking” porn] in [hotel] rooms…

Between the Lines (#843)

Last year the FBI was bragging about the “success” of its annual pogroms.  But now:

The FBI launched [Operation Cross Country] over a decade ago to [unconstitutionally funnel federal funds into persecuting peaceful individuals using state laws]…but…now the Bureau is evaluating its effectiveness…1374 individual[s have been accused of]…traffick[ing]…since Operation Cross Country began in 2007….[roughly] 1000 [underage sex workers] have been [arresed and caged, while many thousands of adult sex workers have been brutalized and outed, while their children are abucted by the state and their lives are destroyed.  But sex workers have become warier of the usual stupid pig tricks are screening more effectively, with the result that]…arrests [have] dropp[ed] nearly 50 percent [in the past three years]…they are trying to re-evaluate the [scheme] to see what improvements could be made [to trap innocent people more effectively]…

Business As Usual (#905)

Columbus is still pretending it’s going to “do something” about its rapist vice pig problem:

Columbus Police is [talking about the possibility of slapping]…five [pigs on their wrists] over the [politically-motivated] 2018 arrest of…Stormy Daniels.  Interim [Swineherd] Tom Quinlan announced the [so-called] charges…[yet is keeping the names of the accused pigs secret]…each of the [pigs] will receive a hearing [with other pigs and bureaucrats], after which Quinlan will make a recommendation for [wrist-slapping].  Based on that recommendation, [an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat] will make the ultimate decision about suspensions, demotions or terminations…

Lack of Evidence (#915)

A small victory for sex workers in California:

…California Governor Gavin Newsom…sign[ed] legislation that would increase protections for people working in the commercial sex trade…Senate Bill 233…protects sex workers from arrest on prostitution- and drug-related charges if they come forward as victims of [certain specific crimes]…It also bans the use of condoms as evidence of sex work, a police practice sex workers have long said compromises their health and safety

On the one hand, a law is better than a non-binding “policy” which can be changed at a whim.  But I’m still extremely skeptical of the “immunity” portion of this law, which could easily be circumvented by charging the sex worker with “sex trafficking” rather than simple prostitution using any of the myriad excuses available to cops.  I really hope I’m wrong.

False Target (#917)

The predictable result of European countries denying queer people asylum:

A [lesbian] who was unlawfully deported from the UK has described how she was gang-raped and has lived in perpetual fear since being sent back to Uganda six years ago.  The British government was ordered by the High Court…to help the 26-year-old return to the UK on the grounds that its decision to reject her asylum claim was unlawful.  The landmark ruling could open the door to thousands of similar challenges.  The [woman]…also [got]…pregnant and ha[d] a child, who is now four months old, as a result of the sexual assault…she…arrived in the UK in 2011 and claimed asylum on the basis that she was a lesbian and would be at risk of persecution in Uganda.  But this was refused…because the Home Office [pretended] she was [was not queer]…the Home Office has decided to appeal the decision [so as to]…sen[d her] back to Uganda [to be raped] again…

I Saw My Brain (#940)

The Robert Kraft pogrom seems to have attracted the media’s attention to the psychopathic Grady Judd:

Sheriff Grady Judd [pretends his anti-whore pogroms are intended]…“to rescue victims of human trafficking”…Yet…only three people out of the 154 arrested [in May]…were considered possible victims of human trafficking…and…[they] were charged with unspecific crimes [anyhow]…their mugshots were displayed on a banner during the sheriff’s press conference and subsequently published online by local newspapers…Judd insisted that many of the women arrested were victims of human trafficking [even though his own department said otherwise]…Operations that purport to target human trafficking but yield mass arrests for prostitution-related offenses are commonplace in Florida…

Rough Trade (#942)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who raped two European women who were working as prostitutes in Ireland has been jailed for 20 years after the judge described the crimes as a “vicious and shocking”…Justice Tara Burns said that Gheorghe Goidan…had…clearly targeted them because he thought they would not be believed.  “He clearly thought they were mere dirt to rob and steal from [because Irish law defines them as moral imbeciles]”…the judge said…

Pyrrhic Victory (#957)

More on Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops to end privacy forever:

Amazon’s [self-surveillance] company Ring has enlisted local police departments around the country to advertise its surveillance cameras in exchange for free Ring products and a “portal” that allows police to [demand] footage from these cameras, a secret agreement obtained [via public records request]…requires police to “keep the terms of this program confidential”…A signed memorandum…between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida…show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm.  Police are contractually required to “[Frighten] the Lakeland community with [threats and propaganda] to encourage adoption of the platform/app”…Ring [gave] 15…surveillance cameras to the Lakeland Police Department, and…for every Lakeland resident that downloads [the] Neighbors [self-surveillance app]…the Lakeland Police Department gets…[a] $10 [coupon for buying more]…Ring cameras”…[at the full] $130 [retail price]…

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Why is it only that sex workers should be the ones to have a skill set but give services away for free?  –  Phoenix Calida

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Truthful headline: “Police Pay Man to Rape Immigrant Women”:

A[n Ohio] woman was arrested [after cops paid someone to violate her at her]…massage parlor…Ping Wei, 53…[was victimized and accused without tangible evidence by a so-called] confidential informant…

Feminine Pragmatism 

One day, “People have to work to make money” will be recognized as the non-news it is:

Increasing numbers of women in low-paid jobs who have children are being forced to [find more remunerative work] to survive…[demand for one flexible work-from-home job] has risen by 29 per cent in the past year alone…[but] women [a]re now having to work longer hours for less money due to the market…becoming increasingly saturated…

Buried Truth

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

…Tennessee [politician] Bill Sanderson resigned…[after] Grindr messages and nude photos…exposed the fact that he’s a closeted hypocrite with a gay son who has voted against every LGBTQ issue that has come before him…He has [also] been a co-sponsor of some of the most extreme anti-abortion legislation, including this year’s heartbill bill…Sanderson has voted against…bills that would have given access to bathrooms to trans students, blasted the SCOTUS marriage ruling, voted to support allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples, supported a bill allowing therapists to discriminate against gay people, and voted agaisnt allowing municipalities in Tennessee to enact LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances…in his 2013 Grindr profile, which could be seen by anyone using the app, he writes…“I really haven’t had a connection with a guy and I have a burning desire to have that relationship. I like down and dirty guy to guy play too! So, I guess you might say, nothing will be held back …” (Sanderson says he did not write this)

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

Jarrett Leaman…is…a typical college student…[whose] only prior involvement with police is two speeding tickets.  On June 29, he was arrested for public drunkenness…the next thing he remembers is waking up in a jail cell at 5 a.m., covered in blood, bumps, and bruises…[while he was passed-out drunk, multiple screws and one pig] pummeled [him] to the ground, face down on the cement floor…[attorney Leticia] Chavez-Freed…saw it on video…as part of a [so-called] internal investigation…“They put him into a chair. They strap him in. His hands are behind his back and, again, the kicking, the hitting”…at least five [screws] and one [pig] participated in the beating…a spit mask was also placed on Leaman’s head, even though he was barely conscious…at one point…the [pig]…and [one of the screws] lifted the mask from Leaman’s head to take a picture of his injuries like a “hunting trophy”…

New Excuse

Sometimes the War on Whores is the War on Drugs rather than its successor:

[Politician] Sherrod Brown…reintroduced a [US Senate] bill that would officially [conflate selling]…drugs [with] human trafficking, thereby making it easier to [load extra charges onto young black men that cops or] prosecut[ors wish to target]…”Ohioans are bought and sold in our own backyards”…[Brown idiotically bloviated while making furtive movements in his pants pockets.]  Brown’s bill, called the Protect Act, would officially list drug addiction as a method of coercing someone into either commercial sexual acts or other forced labor against their will…

A Moral Cancer (#583)

No, you can’t “save the planet” by going vegan:

…some activists are propagating the idea that everyone on the planet should go vegetarian or even vegan…The former head of the United Nations’ climate change organization, for example, suggested that meat-eaters should be made to feel like pariahs…[such rhetoric] blithely ignores the reality that…we can’t stop temperature rises with our diets…A systematic peer-review of studies of going vegetarian shows that a non-meat diet will likely reduce an individual’s emissions by…just 4.3%…In a first world setting, the reality is that [your share of corporate pollution]…means [lifelong veganism would] reduce your emissions by about 2%, according to a study of the environmental impact of Swedish vegetarians…

Also: veganism does not reduce animal deaths and environmental damage; it increases them.

Between the Ears (#858)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

Apple’s Siri AI assistant sends audio of sexual encounters, embarrassing medical information, drug deals, and other private moments recorded without users’ knowledge to human “graders” for evaluation, a whistleblower has revealed…contractors around the world…grade the AI based on the quality of its response and whether its activation was deliberate…accidental activations are much more frequent than Apple lets on, especially with Apple Watch users…In what sounds like a sick joke on the part of some programmer, the sound of a zipper unzipping often triggers Siri to wake up…While Apple emphasized that a user’s Apple ID and name are not attached to clips reviewed by contractors…the company is aware of how easily even a recording stripped of its user ID can be connected to the user who made it…Amazon’s Alexa infamously has entire chat rooms for its human trainers to discuss difficult-to-understand audio clips (or mock funny recordings) and Google Home uses a similar system of outsourced “language experts” that allows the company to claim that no one at Google has access to the recordings its devices make…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Puritan fanatics have given tyrants an accusation they can hurl at nearly anyone:

A 9-year-old American citizen on her way to school was a[rrested] by [border patrol thugs] and [locked in a cage like an animal] for some 32 hours before she was released back to her family…[“authorities”] later [bloviated] that the girl, who was carrying a U.S. passport card with her, gave “inconsistent information”…Julia Isabel Amparo Medina …her 14-year-old brother and two friends were being driven to school by the friends’ mom from their home in Tijuana to San Ysidro…Thousands of people travel through the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing daily for school or work.  When traffic slowed to a crawl, the mom told the children to walk across the border so they wouldn’t be late.  A…[pig] detained Medina, saying she didn’t look like the photo on her passport card…Medina’s brother, who is also a U.S. citizen, said [thugs]…demanded he sign a paper saying that his sister was really his cousin…[threatening him with prison and telling the boy] “they were going to charge him [with]…sex trafficking”…

I’m not sure why it took four months for this story to gain traction, but I’m suspending my usual rule about not sharing stories more than a month or so old.

Still Consenting

Phoenix Calida on the absurdity of a sex-work-free “Utopia”:

Many on the left have told me that sex outside of procreation or love is icky.  They say that…non-male people, should not be allowed to be fully in charge of their…sexual lives…they insist sex workers are bad because they commodify sex and the soul, meaning sex workers have been made into objects, and are no longer humans…the left dreams of a post-revolution utopia where people only have sex for free and for love…The idea that sex work will cease to exist after capitalism falls has always been bizarre, since trading sex existing before capitalism did.  No matter how many times I am told that the revolution will end sex work, I’ve yet to be provided with realistic scenarios of how that will happen…

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This machine is pumping fluid into my veins as we speak. – Shaquille Dukes

Apparently five years of living in Seattle is not enough for me to have heard of this, but I’m not terribly ashamed because Chekhov, a font of local knowledge who first moved to Seattle in 1978, had never heard of it either.  It does actually serve as a kind of goofy real-life metaphor for the city, though.  The links above it were provided by Marijke Vonk, Boatfloating, Franklin Harris, David Wraith, Emma Evans, and Lucy Steigerwald, in that order.

From the Archives

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People whose brains and morals haven’t been totally warped by partisan politics don’t write off…horrors just because The Other Side started them.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Where Are the Victims?

It’s always a “gang”, even when it isn’t:

A Chinese madam linked to a[n imaginary] “Snakehead” people smuggling ring, who [provided clients and an incall for migrant sex workers]…in…Scotland…was [sentenced to] 27 months…Yen Huang, 62…was [snitched on by racist busybodies at]…a bank in Dundee [after she went into the bank with] a 48-year-old [migrant] woman…Police…[had branded] the woman…a victim of human trafficking [so they arrested her]…and…she…[is] now [in prison] in England, waiting to be [deported]…Huang…eventually abandoned her claims to have been just a cleaner with “no connection” to…prostitution, and…[instead] claimed she herself was victim of human trafficking…brought to the UK…by “Snakehead” [an imaginary criminal cartel out of racist “Fu Manchu” style fantasies]…

Divided We Fall

Perhaps if Gay, Inc had stood with sex workers to fight these kinds of lies from the beginning, they wouldn’t have grown so popular and bold:

According to Diane Gramley, head of the American Family Association’s (AFA) Pennsylvania chapter, the 1969 Stonewall uprising wasn’t caused by queer people fighting against police harassment, it was caused by police trying to rescue a young transgender boy who was being sexually abused by the bar’s queer patrons.  Gramley [told her fantasy] on a recent broadcast of Stand in the Gap, a radio show produced by the American Pastors Network…Gramley [also] said…“Pride is definitely a menace to children…because they use these Pride events to desensitize us to the dangers of their lifestyle”…By claiming that police were trying to rescue a sexually abused transgender youth, Gramely continues to [advance the myth that cops exist to “help” people and to] repeat the old canard that LGBTQ people are pedophiles who groom and sexually prey on young children, “turning” some of them gay, bi or trans…

A “young transgender boy”?  How interesting, considering that people like Gramley claim that being trans is a “lifestyle” rather than a characteristic, and therefore deny that any young person can actually be trans.

The Widening Gyre (#431)

Prohibitionists just keep trying the same stupid publicity stunts:

[A pig oinked that] it was time to consider stopping drivers using the residential…Rosary Road [in] Norwich…”to prevent kerb crawlers doing laps” [even though cops admit this won’t have any affect on street work]…residents…[say they are] not bothered by kerb crawling traffic [though some virtue-signaled that they have read the propaganda about]…”women who are being exploited in all this”…

Click the subtitle link to see what happened the last time this Stupid Cop Trick was tried.

Japanese Prostitution (#502)

Japanese attempts to suppress and hide sex work prior to the Olympics are insufficient to please gaijin “sex trafficking” profiteers:

As the next Olympic host, Japan has become the focus of…global [hysteria over] child prostitution…with [profiteers] working to [spread disinformation] on “hidden crimes” they [pretend] have a symbiotic relationship with mega-events.  Major sporting events attract troves [sic] of [rescue industry]…organizations…looking to cash in by exploiting [public ignorance about sex work in order to convince them that sex workers are] vulnerable children…Despite [a total lack of evidence for any issues]…Japan is far from immune, according to It’s a Penalty, a Britain-based [prohibition]ist group.  “It does exist here, it is just that [the evidence says the opposite]” said Sarah de Carvalho, founder and CEO of IAP…

Saving Them From Themselves (#626)

Oink oink, but he was on the wrong side of an imaginary line, so we HAVE TO destroy his life!  SHAZAM!

As of January 2018, teenagers in Colorado who use their cellphones to exchange nude selfies can no longer be prosecuted for “sexual exploitation of a child.”  But that change, which state legislators approved after [considerable pressure from sane, normal people]…came five years too late for “T.B.”, a 15-year-old boy who in 2012 and 2013 swapped erotic pictures with two girls [his own age]…the Colorado Supreme Court upheld [destroying] T.B.’s [life by condemning him to]…sex offender [hell] for at least 20 years.  The majority conceded that its decision “may strike some as [insane but typical police-state violence]”…but T.B. violated the law that applied at the time, the court said, so he is out of luck.  Two dissenting justices argued that their colleagues had misread the statute and that the majority’s interpretation [was completely devoid of anything resembling justice]…

Divination

Yes, people really are stupid enough to believe a dog can smell electronic images:

Louisiana State Police have acquired a new tool to help solve child porn cases:  a dog named Maggie who’s trained to sniff out even the smallest electronic devices that might be used to store images and videos, including memory cards and flash drives.  At a press conference [pigs and politicians bloviated a lot of nonsense about magic pictures and infinitely-growing problems]…

Check Your Premises (#777) 

This is, of course, based on the deeply-flawed premise that “anti-trafficking” politicians actually want to protect sex workers, which they absolutely don’t:

…If you speak out in favour of decriminalisation of sex work as a member of the UK anti-trafficking sector, you risk losing partnerships, allies and funding.  But…unless the sector comes to a united understanding on sex work and the laws surrounding it, we risk trafficking being used as a rhetorical tool which harms some of the most marginalised women in our communities.  The major divide on this battlefield is between those promoting decriminalisation of sex work and those pushing the “sex buyer law”.  Tackling trafficking for sexual exploitation is often used as the reason to support this law…This approach can feel instinctively right because it punishes the buyers. I don’t know a single sex worker who likes their clients.  I’m sure there are some, but they are few and far between…

The author is clearly delusional.  First off, she refuses to recognize that “trafficking” is and always has been specifically a “rhetorical tool which harms some of the most marginalised women in our communities”, because that’s exactly what it was intended to be; it paints sex workers as “victims” so damaged by the supposed “trauma” of pragmatic sex that we don’t know what is good for us and can therefore be disregarded.  And anyone so out of touch with reality that she imagines the sex workers she “knows” (already an absurd assumption because whores aren’t generally honest with self-appointed saviors) are in any way representative of the great majority who wouldn’t even consent to talk to someone whose avowed purpose is the disruption of their entire profession, is too lost in her own navel to even bother correcting.

Storyville (#807)

It wasn’t just sex workers who thrived in the “Wild West”:

…people who did not conform to traditional gender norms were a part of daily life in the Old West, according to Peter Boag, a historian at Washington State University and the author of Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past.  While researching a book about the gay history of Portland, Boag stumbled upon hundreds and hundreds of stories concerning people who dressed against their assigned gender…He was shocked at the size of this population, which he’d never before encountered in his time as a queer historian of the American West…Boag expanded his research beyond the Northwest, but limited it to towns west of the Mississippi, and the period of time from the California Gold Rush through statehood for all the Western continental territories.  It wasn’t that this time and place was more open or accepting of trans people, but that it was more diffuse and unruly, which may have enabled more people to live according to their true identities…“My theory is that people who were transgender…saw the West as a place where they could live and get jobs and carry on a life that they couldn’t have in the more congested East”…

Torture Chamber (#878)

Liz Brown delivers a scathing indictment of the government’s horrific child abuse:

For years, U.S. propagandists have spread scare stories about trafficked children being housed in warehouses and forced to sleep on mats or rickety cots, with inadequate nutrition, zero privacy, and a lack of basic sanitation…[but actually] it’s the U.S. government that is doing that…ferreting [abducted] children off to secretive warehouse locations where neon lights shine 24 hours per day.  Kids are crowded into large cages where they sleep on shared mats—or sometimes concrete floors…denied soap, toothbrushes, and medicine, amid outbreaks of lice and flu…Some sociopaths argue that abusing children is necessary to send a message to their parents…but…that innocent children should not suffer for the sins of their parents has long been a principle civil societies agree on…As Ken White writes at The Atlantic“The sheer effrontery of the government’s argument may be explained, but not excused, by its long backstory”…Like civilian criminal counterparts, [Trump and company are] essentially threatening to keep on kidnapping and traumatizing kids until Democrats meet their demands…

Dangerous Speech (#948)

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Queer bigots are the most revolting bigots because theoretically they should know better, considering that LGBT people have been violently persecuted for centuries and that only ended in the US in this century, years after I started sex work (and still hasn’t ended in much of the world).  But anti-sex work queer people are a strange, ignorant bunch who seem to live in an echo chamber where same-sex attraction was always acceptable to the establishment, and queer folk are exactly like straights except for whom they “love”.  They seem to have no idea that most sex workers are LGBT; that they owe their rights to an anti-cop riot started by sex workers; and that only a few years ago queer people were targeted by the same kind of persecution and propaganda campaigns as sex workers and our clients are now, right down to state-imposed “conversion therapy” (called “diversion” for women and “john school” for men).  And let’s not even talk about the lesbians who hate transwomen.  There is something deeply wrong, twisted and pathetic in sexual minorities who eagerly call for the persecution, rape and destruction of other sexual minorities, but in the young ones at least I believe this sick attitude thrives largely because they simply don’t know their own history and therefore feel perfectly at home sucking up to cops and other “authorities” who were beating, robbing, caging and humilating (if not murdering) their elders within their own poorly-remembered young lifetimes.  Last week I was forced to mute a number of belligerent young butch dykes (mostly from Tasmania of all places) who seem to think it’s perfectly OK for cops to hunt sex workers’ clients;  they were all shockingly ignorant of the history of LGBT activism, but one of them actually seemed to believe that the chief civil rights struggle faced by gay men in my lifetime was…are you ready?…that they “weren’t allowed to marry”.  I am not making this up.  Persecution by cops?  Losing jobs?  The AIDS epidemic?  Nope.  Just that they couldn’t get a government fucking license and force bigots to participate in their disgustingly-extravagant displays of conspicuous consumption.  Look, I know the young tend to be ignorant and the old tend to be inflexible, but Suffering Sappho, I don’t think I was that ignorant anytime this side of puberty.  And if you think there’s something wrong with my not wishing to see any peaceful humans attacked by steroidal thugs, especially for their consensual sexual arrangements, then get the fuck off of my lawn.

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When I was in my teens and early twenties, I had trouble with the concept of an LGBT “community”.  Obviously I understood why people might want to socialize with other queer people in bars or clubs (it would certainly make dating easier), but the idea of only patronizing LGBT-owned businesses or whatever seemed no more sensible to me than the notion of Christians only trading with other Christians or sci-fi fans only doing business with the people they might hang out with at cons.  As I aged I began to realize how fortunate I was to have such an accepting group of straight friends, and realized that in other parts of the country more uptight than sexually laissez faire New Orleans, a queer “community” could be a lifesaver.  Of course, that was before the ascendancy of Gay, Inc; the change of the official LGBT motto from “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” to “We’re just like yooooooouuuuuu!!!”; the nauseating pageant of corporate rainbow flags every June; and the transformation of Pride from the commemoration of an anti-cop riot (50 years ago today, though you’d barely know it from Big Gay’s shameful lack of interest in the anniversary) to a “family friendly” celebration of picket fences, Hallmark-card-ready sentiments, conspicuous consumption, and NO SEX (because that’s apparently not what “sexual orientation” means).  But if you still cling to the concept that because one of your preferences is similar to one of the preferences of a bunch of assholes you don’t even know, that makes them “your people”, you may want to read this:

LGBTQ Americans want cops and corporations to participate in pride parades by an 8-to-1 margin, a landslide of support that breaks from a vocal faction of protesters, according to a new survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News.  The nationwide poll also found most LGBTQ people mistakenly think they occupy much more of the population than they actually do (y’all, it’s nowhere near half the country)…Support for welcoming cops at pride was about three-quarters across a wide range of demographics — male, female, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, white, and nonwhite.  People of color, who made up 21% of all survey respondents, support cops in pride events by 77% to 8% (15% say it makes no difference either way).  Support was slightly lower among LGBTQ people who have not come out (56%), queer/nonbinary people (57%), and those under 30 years old (70%).  As for corporate floats at pride, 76% welcome them in the festivities, while just 9% oppose…

What this tells me is that ignorant, bootlicking sociopaths are just as common among those who want to stick their body parts into other people of their own sex as among those who want to stick their body parts into people of another sex.  Worldwide, cops are still the major perpetrators of violence against queers, and in the US they are still very dangerous to a large fraction of the LGBT population, especially transwomen, sex workers (most of whom, as I often point out, are LGBT) and black people.  Having cops at Pride is nothing less than spitting in the face of those who are persecuted by them every fucking day; it’s basically saying “We picket-fence gays have our seat at the Big Table thanks to our eagerly throwing the rest of y’all under the bus to win it, so fuck all of you.”  Sorry, I’m not part of any “community” with opportunistic fascists, and those who are can take their cop-packed, state-worshipping, white, vanilla, bourgeois “Pride month” and use it as an immense butt plug, preferably without lube.

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News editors run sex trafficking hoaxes as fact…and…suggest there is an epidemic of paid child rape in America.  –  Rory Fleming

Forward and Backward (#581)

Rebranding “prostitution-free zones” as “human trafficking-free zones” doesn’t make them more constitutional:

Temple Terrace became the most recent government in the Tampa Bay area to declare itself a human TraffickingFree Zone.  It’s part of a [propaganda campaign] by an [“end demand”] organization…The cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey and Dade City have [jumped] on to the [bandwagon], as has Pasco County…After the [magical] proclamation…the organization [indoctrinated] all city employees in how to [snitch on]…sex [workers]…The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, headquartered in Tampa, was founded about three years ago as a Christian nonprofit…In addition to its TraffickingFree Zones campaign, the institute runs a [private prison] in Central Florida for…[underage male] sex [workers]…

The More the Better (#585)

Prudes like to pretend sex work isn’t part of the entertainment field:

When Stormy Daniels announced her first gig as a stand-up comic in March, [prudish, envious] comedians recoiled…but in fact she’s one of dozens of current and former such stand-ups, and they’re part of a long tradition…The plots of many ancient Greek and Roman comedies revolved around prostitution (like Menander’s Sikyonioi and Terence’s Hecyra), and American comics performed in burlesque and vaudeville shows in the early part of the 20th century.  The comedians Margaret Cho and Roseanne Barr have been open about their sex-work pasts.  Aaron Berg…a former stripper and current stand-up, pointed to “a very strong history between burlesque and comedic timing”…Both universal and taboo, inherently ridiculous and emotionally fraught, sex is a staple of stand-up routines…Wendi Starling…a sex worker and comic, starts one of her bits, “I’m a terrible girlfriend but a great employee.”  Kaytlin Bailey…a former sex worker, current stand-up and communications director for Decriminalize Sex Work, said that sex workers and comedians occupy a similar role:  “You’re allowed to do things that normal citizens cannot.  You’re like a celebrated rule breaker.”  Even so, many sex workers told me that like Daniels, when they first entered comedy clubs, they weren’t particularly welcome…

Beside Kaytlin, I personally know two other sex workers who do stand-up.

Cops and Robbers (#712)

Funny, I don’t remember where in the Gospels Jesus told people to attack harlots:

On 2nd June…AGAP (LGBT Rwanda) was forcibly removed from its office which it has shared with a church in Gisenyi…since 2013…a [mob]…attacked the group in their office, throwing stones and shouting that LGBT sex workers must leave the neighbourhood “in the name of the gospel“.  The [mob] destroyed equipment and other belongings in the office, including equipment for HIV testing.  AGAP is now without premises in Gisenyi, and…LGBT people and sex workers no longer have access to local services…AGAP has called on the local legal authorities to take action…

Welcome To Our World (#789)

The state owns women’s bodies and controls what we can do with them.  Feminism!

The proposal to legalize surrogacy in New York [h]as [predictably encountered opposition from rich, powerful white women] including Gloria Steinem…[as in sex work, prohibitionists don’t like]…poor women [to have the option of earning]…the sizable payments it can bring [without having to be rich women’s maids or labor in sweatshops to make their clothes]…The bill [thus]…remains stalled in the Assembly, where several prominent female [politicians] have expressed [their desire to control all other women]…

Whither Canada? (#871)

Liberals not only lied about repealing the law; they’re actively defending it:

The judge who will decide if [Canada’s] new prostitution laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must weigh [prohibitionist fantasies]…with…individual rights…[a prosecutor bizarrely claimed]…Michael Carnegie…said…”children exposed to [sex rays are magically]…harmed [if]…sexual services [exist anywhere in the world]”…Tiffany Harvey and Hamad Anwar[‘s]…lawyers say the law puts sex workers at risk by forcing them to do their work underground, therefore violating the workers’ charter right to security of the person…[to satisfy] the [prohibitionist fantasy] that sex work is inherently exploitative and harmful…Carnegie said…”it’s necessary to deprive people of their rights to protect the [fantasies and sadfeelz of prudes and control freaks]”…

If Men Were Angels (#914) 

“Pastors” are almost as bad as cops:

[The] pastor of a Southern Baptist church in…Harris County [Texas] faces charges of molesting a teenage relative, sometimes multiple times a day, over the course of two years…Stephen Bratton, who resigned from Grace Family Baptist Church [after he was accused, molested the relative]…from 2013 to 2015…Bratton’s…wife…[filed for] an emergency protection order…Bratton recently testified in support of failed House Bill 896 that would have abolished abortions in Texas and opened up the possibility that prosecutors could charge a woman who undergoes the procedure with criminal homicide…more than 700 people — mostly children — ha[ve] been victimized by hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders since 1998…

To Molest and Rape (#926)

When a boss cop rapes, the victim is often underage:

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain has been arrested on two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated incest, one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile and a count of sexual battery…if convicted, Strain would face a mandatory life sentence…there are…four victims…and the times of the crimes spanned from 1975 to 2004, when Strain was sheriff…one of the victims was under the age of 12 and at least one was related to the ex-Sheriff…It’s unclear if any of [the] charges are related to Mark Finn…[whom] Strain began sexually abusing…more than 40 years ago, when Strain was a teenager and Finn was just 6-years-old…

Safe Position (#928)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

A…candidate for district attorney…plans to single-handedly make the borough of Queens the first major metropolitan area in the country where sex work would, effectively, not be a crime.  If Tiffany Cabán wins…and actually puts her plan in place…it would mark one of the biggest successes for the [US] sex work decriminalization movement [so far]…Queens…[is] home to nearly 2.4 million people, roughly the population of Houston…[and is] one of the most heavily policed parts of New York…when it comes to sex work arrests.  The [DA’s] office has the power to decline to prosecute people that the police arrest for specific crimes — similar to how former Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson declined to prosecute possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2014…Cabán said that if she’s elected, “on day one it comes from being part of a memo to our district attorneys saying you will not prosecute sex workers, customers, and you will not prosecute under the promoting prostitution charges”…

Loose Cannons (#946)

“Sex trafficking” hysteria’s impending collapse has been helped along by the excesses of Florida “authorities”:

Bruce Colton, the chief elected prosecutor of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie Counties in Florida…aggressively pursued a…sex offender prosecution against Kaitlyn Hunt for dating a slightly younger girl while both attended high school together…earlier in his career…he…argued that…he should be able to prosecute kids as young as 15 as adults without any judicial hearing…Colton also personally decided that trafficking was central to the spas and massage parlors tied to the Kraft case, despite the lack of evidence for this.  But he does not need the evidence—or even a false confession—when he has RICO…Lixia Zhu, one of the massage parlor owners, currently faces 30 years on a RICO plea deal…[she] was coerced into signing…

The article then goes on to attack “sex trafficking” hysteria in general.  The times, they are a-changing.

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It makes partisans and other tribalists nuts that my positions are based in principles and probable results rather than tribe-membership & “sending messages”.  That’s why they (idiotically) try to shame me out of my positions instead of intellectually challenging them; no sooner do they think they “have my number” than I say, write or tweet something that the partisan brain is unable to process.  See, all tribalists have a blind spot:  they assume their own tribe, group, party, sect, etc is good and right and can be trusted with power, while their designated “them” group is wholly and completely bad and wrong and in need of Punishment.  So if I tweet about LGBT rights, but then say I think it’s wrong (not to mention a fucking waste of everyone’s time) to use the power of the state to destroy an anti-queer bigot, some people are completely unable to comprehend why I don’t see a cake-baker in Colorado as the Second Coming of Hitler.  The other day there was a big hulabaloo about that rich kid who didn’t get to go to Harvard because he made racist tweets a year and a half ago, and once again the partisans were confused that I retweeted tweets mocking the situation; tweets pointing out the incredible hypocrisy of politicians for saying “Should someone’s mistake at 16 destroy his whole future?” while also thinking it’s hunky-dory to put 14-year-olds on trial as adults; and tweets saying it’s a bit creepy that people now go trolling through others’ social media histories for the express purpose of ruining the target’s life, and institutions eagerly oblige the snitch.  Partisans don’t see the principles at stake here; all they see is a reprehensible person that they want to see hurt, so they completely forget that a weapon once given to the state can never be taken away.  Someone argued that in the kid’s case, the comments were made only 18 months ago and were therefore basically the present.  I replied, “If you think it’ll stop at 18 months, 18 years or even 18 decades, you haven’t been paying attention.”  Also: I’m quite sure a prosecutor wouldn’t accept, “But she would’ve been of age in 18 months!” as a defense.  Either people below the magic Instant of Shazam are helpless, incompetent “children” incapable of decision-making, or they aren’t; you can’t have it both ways without hypocrisy.  If it’s wrong for Christian bigots to use government violence against LGBT people, it’s also wrong for vengeful LGBT people to use government violence against Christian bigots.  But people don’t see it this way; oh, everybody tells their kids “two wrongs don’t make a right”, but they don’t really believe it.  What they believe in is us vs. them, and that it’s perfectly OK to use state violence against “them”…regardless of the consequences to everyone.

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