Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

I’m a sex worker in love with a wonderful, kind, but very weak man who, after years and several children with an abusive, mentally ill wife is financially fucked and legally cornered by a Kafkaesque divorce court system.  Jail might be in his future, if not suicide, and in the meantime court-ordered child support and other payments have left him literally unable to afford rent so he’s now homeless.  I feel like I will have to decide to leave him because he can’t emotionally or financially survive the abuse by his ex and the court, and I can’t be in relationship with a broken person who feels entitled to a reality that will not come.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

Since he has allowed this to go on for far too long, whatever chance he might have had at the beginning has long since gone down the toilet; the only way he’s going to carve out even the most basic protection is to hire a top-notch divorce lawyer who will fight his ex’s no-holds-barred assaults with even more ruthless assaults.  What could such a lawyer win for him?  I have no idea, but at this point, he will be doing well to be left with some money to live on and protection from further spurious accusations.  Of course, if he doesn’t even have enough money to pay rent, he can’t afford a lawyer.  And that means you need to decide – I’m sorry, but there’s no nice way to say this – if this relationship is worth your emotional and financial investment.  I believe you when you say that he’s a wonderful man, and that you love him.  But I also agree with you that he’s weak, and has not fought this to win but to “roll over”.  From what you describe in your very detailed letter, he made a long succession of mistakes in every single interaction with his ex from the very beginning, starting with his decision to fuck her in the first place.  Does that mean he “deserves” what has happened to him?  Absolutely fucking not.  And yet, here we are.  And you need to make decisions based in current reality, not romantic fantasies or might-have-beens or “if I won the lottery”.  If you stay with this man you will be supporting him until his youngest child is out of university, and maybe even longer than that.  Any legal fees will need to come from you.  His housing and support will come from you.  Whatever malicious fees the court levies on him?  You.  And he’ll expect you to provide all the usual emotional and practical labor as well, because beside being a man he’s too devastated to provide emotional support even to himself, much less you.  I hear that you love him and he’s wonderful, but is whatever he gives you enough to justify that cost?  He is already draining you like a vampire, emotionally, financially, sexually and even physically, and that will not stop unless you stop it.

I’m sorry, honey, I know this is incredibly painful, and I wish I had some good news or happy thoughts for you.  The legal system of this country is designed to grind people into pulp, and your boyfriend obediently jumped into that machine on the orders of a dangerously unhinged woman.  So now the only thing left for you to decide is whether to risk getting sucked in yourself by reaching into the gears on the probably-vain hope of pulling him out; to just stand there and be splattered by blood and gore as the machine does its horrifying work; or to wash your hands of the whole thing.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

Read Full Post »

What we’re seeing is not so much a war on trafficking as a full-on frontal assault against…sex workers.  –  John Blaylock

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

Norman Goldwasser, by day, is an Orthodox Jewish therapist at Horizon Psychological Services who compares homosexuality to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and misleads clients by claiming that their sexual orientation can be changed with his special brand of quack therapy, which is rejected by every respected medical and mental health association.  By night…he solicits sexual partners on Manhunt, a gay dating App, using the profile “Hotnhairy72”…Goldwasser also had a profile on Bear Nation by the same name…

Moving Pictures 

Another “sex trafficking” hysteria film for future generations to mock:

Doing Money aired tonight on BBC Two as the drama, based on real life events, explored the horrors of sex trafficking happening in the UK…Central character Ana (played by Anca Dumitra) was abducted off of a London street before being taken to Ireland where she was used a sex slave. The first ten minutes of the film saw Ana resisting her captors when they forced a “customer” on her…The story of Ana is based on the lived experiences of a woman who was held as a sex slave for 10 months and trafficked around both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This is “based on real life events” like Roger Corman’s Vincent Price vehicles of the early ’60s were “based on” Poe stories.

Perquisites (#556)

Should we tell them most adult businesses bill under different names and business-classification codes to avoid bullshit like this?  Naaaaah.

Under Armour Inc. employees received an email earlier this year that upended a longstanding company practice: They could no longer charge visits to strip clubs on their corporate cards.  Over the years, executives and employees of the sports-apparel company, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Plank, went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees…Strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning…

Rough Trade (#682) 

This headline and lede are stigmatizing bullshit:

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that sex-workers have a right to refuse their services and seek redress when [raped]…The ruling came as the court overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court judgment that acquitted four people accused in a 1997 gang rape case.  The four defendants were previously freed on the grounds the victim was “a woman of bad character who indulged in prostitution”.  The Supreme Court restored the trial court’s conviction in the case and ordered that the four people accused must surrender within four weeks to serve the rest of their 10-year sentence…They also said if there was evidence to show that the victim was “habituated to sexual intercourse”, it cannot be inferred that the victim is of “loose moral character”.  The…ruling [also] reverses a 2016 Supreme Court ruling which said that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if their customers refused to pay…

Indian sex workers already had the right to refuse services; what this judgment does is eliminates the “But she was a whore!” defense for rape, which is not at all the same thing.

Signs (#775)

Motel 6 gets some comeuppance for its eager copsucking:

Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a Latino civil rights organization after the motel chain systematically shared guest information with [ICE]…The company will compensate Motel 6 guests who were questioned by ICE or [subjected to] deportation proceedings…[the] practice…le[d] to the arrest of at least 20 undocumented guests in Phoenix…It’s unclear how many…may be eligible for compensation…but…they may be numerous…

There is a similar lawsuit pending in Washington state.

Between the Lines (#788)

Here’s the first propaganda from this year’s “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms:

A human trafficking and prostitution sting in [Houston]…netted 75 arrests…[only 32 were men, 11 of which [cops decided to charge as] pimps…28 were woman [and the other 15 apparently were asexual organisms of some kind]…Sheriff Rand Henderson [bragged] he was “so proud” of [destroying people’s lives for desiring consensual sex or doing honest work for a living]…Henderson [fantasized that]…prostitution has evolved into human trafficking with most of the sex workers being trafficked individuals…

Bread and Circuses (#800) 

The time for men’s magazines to come on board as active supporters of sex worker rights is long overdueHustler‘s December issue contains this very supportive article which quotes Missy Mariposa, Liara Roux, Jessica Raven and Arabelle Raphael, mostly on FOSTA/SESTA but also on decriminalization, the War on Whores and sex worker rights in general.

To Molest and Rape (#830) 

Rapists argue that their rape isn’t rape because they should be held to a “different standard” than decent human beings:

…An…immigration detention center is trying to avoid responsibility for sexual violence within its walls by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.  E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time…E.D. was 19 years old…her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.  Although the employee pled guilty to criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, the defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations.  Their argument rests in part on their [pretense] that the sexual abuse was “consensual” and that they should be held to a different standard because…Berks…is an immigration [prison]…rather than a jail or prison [for citizens]…there were 1,448 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse [reported to] ICE between 2012 and March 2018.  In 2017 alone, there were 237 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse in immigration [prisons]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#879) 

Prohibitionists trot out the Marxist “false consciousness” excuse when people won’t support their bans:

Groups looking to [ban] prostitution in Nevada [refuse to stop trying to impose their will on]…Lyon County voters [who] reject[ed]…an advisory question to rescind the county’s brothel ordinance.  [Prohibitionist] Brenda Sandquist…said…“The people of Lyon County — this is their normal. It’s that mentality – it’s normal that those brothels are there.  To have them removed could be a little scary…They believe the lie of the brothel myth.  That’s all they know…They just have to become more aware”…

And just for good measure, they got rid of their anti-brothel sheriff, too.

The Widening Gyre (#879)

Cop denials of “sex trafficking” scary tales would be more effective if unaccompanied by recitation of the usual myths:

[Cops] and [other prohibitionists fantasize]…that children and teens in Michigan are sold for sex, but it doesn’t happen the way many think.  The most common myth…is…spread on social media.  Someone [fantasizes about other shoppers]…in a store and goes online…to [share the fantasy.  But cops find this inconvenient to dissemination of their pro-surveillance, pro-censorship myth that prepubescent]…Children are more likely to be targeted inside their own homes…”It’s someone who has [magically teleported] into your house, on your couch or in your kids bedroom via their smart device,” [fantasized sow Jolene] Hardesty…the most common age range for sex trafficking victims is 13- to 16-years-old…[cops also fantasize that criminal cartels have a]…recruitment process [which] spread from social media into schools…[yet] YWCA Jessica Glynn…said…Most of the cases she’s seen involve one victim and one suspect, not a chain of victims…She said the Hollywood portrayal of sex trafficking also makes it difficult to prosecute [sex workers and their associates as] traffickers…

R.I.P. Dennis Hof

Too bad we can’t elect more dead politicians:  “Dennis Hof defeated Democratic educator Lesia Romanov on Tuesday in the race for Nevada’s 36th Assembly District…County officials will appoint a Republican to take his place in the seat…”  As regular readers know, I’m no Hof fan; furthermore, they’re going to negate the benefits of electing a corpse by putting a living windbag in his place.  But wouldn’t it be great if dead politicians were forced to be seated & finish their terms?  All of their votes would automatically count as “no”, and their salaries would go to paying any government debts.  It would be like those towns who elect dogs and cats as mayors.

Read Full Post »

Welcome to the white man’s world.  –  “Officer” Gregg Bigda

Yet another truly weird video from classic Sesame Street.  The links above it were provided by Jillian KeenanJoe SetyonMistress MatisseRadley BalkoTim Cushing, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

Dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war.  –  “Armistice Day

One hundred years ago today, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the armistice which ended what was at the time called The Great War went into effect, bringing to an end a conflict like no other that had ever been seen before.  For over four years most of the advanced nations in the world (and their allies and colonies), spread across every inhabited continent, slaughtered each others’ citizens on an unprecedented scale, using all the weapons the Industrial Age had devised and a few new ones:  roughly 18 million people were killed and 23 million wounded, and whole countries were redrawn or wiped from the map entirely.  The monumental carnage was so traumatic it produced an entire “lost generation” and shaped art and literature for decades afterward; some idealists even believed that the horror was so great people would be shocked out of supporting warfare at all any longer, or else they absurdly chose to demonize the Germans as the font of all European conflict.  These beliefs converged in the popular term “The War To End All Wars”, which more sensible heads were already mocking before the war was over; even its originator, novelist H.G. Wells, was using it ironically by the early ’30s.  The ideas that humans could ever become sated with bloodshed, or that all violence springs from some evil “other” which need only be defeated to bring lasting peace to the world, are still popular among soft-headed naifs to this very day; they are close kin to the childish belief that the “right” people can be trusted with power over others.  The truth, of course, is far darker; it is that no human can be trusted with power over others, and that humans with the power to inflict violence on their neighbors will always do so upon the flimsiest pretext.  If there is anything that the past century has taught us, it is that the only war which will truly end all wars among humanity is the one in which the human species is finally obliterated.

Read Full Post »

There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

Read Full Post »

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember that on several occasions I’ve tweeted GoFundMe appeals for homeless sex workers, organized by a close friend of mine who does street outreach.  Recently, I asked her to write something for me so that in future, I can point back to it to explain who it is I’m asking charity for.  This lady is a Seattle sex worker who is well-known in our community, but prefers to remain anonymous for her activism.  If you’d like to help her out (because she does 95% of this out of her own pocket), please let me know and I’ll arrange a way for you to donate to her important work.

Like so many things in this industry, it started with Kristen D’Angelo, who contacted me because her friend from Sacremento had a daughter living in Seattle.  Kristen’s friend was concerned his daughter was working on the streets and was hoping to get someone to check on her; she (let’s call her Jess) was homeless, using drugs, and working on Aurora Avenue.  Maggie and I ended up taking her out for dinner.  More than anything, she was surprised that instead of being met with judgement and Jesus, she was met by peers with compassion and kindness (along with some screening tips for seeing clients).  Shortly thereafter, I found out an acquaintance of mine had lost her housing, and she and her boyfriend were living out of their car.  I would go see her once, occasionally twice, a week, bringing lunch or dinner, and we would eat together and talk.  After a couple visits I starting meeting some of the people that they had befriended in their time on the streets.  I was struck by the situations of the women there.  To see women so vulnerable was terrifying…but I wasn’t sure what I could do.  I asked them: what do you need?  How can I help?  While I don’t have a tremendous surfeit of disposable income, I could certainly spend $100 a week buying food for people that badly needed it.  So I did.

Simultaneously, I was keeping in (more sporadic) contact with Jess.  It wasn’t long before I was heading up to Aurora once a week (give or take) as well.  Eventually I was out two or three nights a week talking to young women from Aurora to Belltown to SoDo, both in the jungle and working the streets.  I found myself out at 7pm, 10pm, or midnight walking through the city, talking to people.  Instead of being in Greenlake or Madrona, I found myself in places with appellations like the Batcave and Clowntown; I was under the viaduct and in tent cities along the highway.  Within this world, it takes time to earn trust; there are always, to this day, some women that refuse to talk to me or that I have met five times but act as if they don’t know me…and that’s fine.  For the ones that do talk, I hand out condoms and Narcan.  I bring jackets, food, toiletries, clean socks, and camping propane tanks.  I take girls to Planned Parenthood for panel tests; to emergency shelters; to drop them off at detox.  Many of them, if you asked, would not identify as a sex workers, and if you called them a sex worker, you might get punched in the face.  But, if you said, “if you give me a blowjob, you can sleep in my tent tonight.”  Well, that’s an easy yes!!  Whether they identify as sex workers or not, they know when they see me that religion isn’t coming into the conversation and I am not going to tell them what they should do or have to do.  Giving these women autonomy in their decision-making is very important; even when, in my opinion, they may make a terrible choice, it’s theirs to make and I won’t try to take that away from them.  Similarly, none of the things I hand out have strings attached; the only rules are I will not give out cash or buy drugs.

When I meet women that are open to talking, I may make some harm reduction suggestions or ask them what they need.  Much of the time, I listen.  Many of these women have suffered extensive trauma, have drug abuse issues (the desire to anesthetize a terrible situation is strong), or have mental health problems – or all three.  In addition, there is the pervasive sense of hopelessness that comes with being utterly marginalized and, in effect, thrown away by society; just having someone listen and acknowledge you can be significant.  It definitely isn’t the easiest volunteer path I could have taken.  There have been multiple calls from girls that have been raped, assaulted, or robbed.  I helped a girl that had been thrown out of a moving car by a client, and another girl that was pistol-whipped by her boyfriend.  I’ve Narcan’d people through countless overdoses (if anyone ever needs to be resuscitated – I am a fucking pro).  I’ve been hung up on by police when calling 9-1-1 for help and been told by the paramedics that they “can’t” go where they are needed.  I’ve stepped over dead bodies and had rats the size of Boston Terriers leisurely swagger over my toes.

The other side is that there are happier stories.  I paid out my own pocket for a girl to go to rehab because I believed in her when no one else did; she completed 90 days of treatment and moved back to her parent’s house in Minnesota.  That was over a year ago and she is still clean and sober.  Two girls had been living in and out of motels on Aurora and we worked together to get them into a low-income apartment; two other girls saw what they did and decided they could do it too.  I’ve acted as an advocate for a girl that was brutally raped by a prominent Seattleite; I connected her with a lawyer and could not have been happier for her when she got a ridiculously large settlement.  Money didn’t make the PTSD disappear, but it certainly put her in a situation where she could take time and heal.  Unfortunately, the stories with (ahem) happy endings are exceptionally few and far between; the emotional labor can be intense, overwhelming, and exhausting.  I’ve asked myself more than once why I’m not walking dogs at the Humane Society, and I have spent more hours than I can count crying on Maggie’s couch.  But I very strongly believe that everyone needs some help now and then; if I can help someone make a more informed decision or turn a corner, then it’s worth it.

Read Full Post »

Diary #436

I got a number of lovely gifts for my birthday last week. Angela Keaton described this flask (which I received from Jeremy Dunn, along with a smaller travel flask & an Alfred Hitchcock set) as “peak Maggie”.  Nattie Roman sent me a different Hitchcock set, and Daedalus gave me a sweater dress (and a grooming set for Shiloh!)  I also got some lovely things from my close friends (some of whom joined me for a small, quiet celebration Halloween night).  And I also received another, intangible gift:  birthday greetings from an online friend I haven’t heard from since I came to Seattle, but have often thought of quite often.  This was a little quieter birthday week than I’ve had for the past few years, partly because of the way things fell.  But it was good to have a few hours to visit with people I love, and to receive tokens of esteem and love from people I know both in person and online.  And when I’m in one of the dark moods that have been a regular part of my life since before puberty, it’s good to look at things like cards and gifts and remember that many people feel their lives are better for having known me.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »