Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sisterhood’

The work you do does not give you dignity; the dignity comes from you.  –  Elena Reynaga

Counterfeit Comfort

The Notorious Badge

An unusual portrayal of sex work in cinema:

…the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket…follows Lea, a young Jewish woman who lives in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Hoping to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg, Lea is forced to register as a sex worker, receiving a “yellow ticket” as proof of her status as a prostitute, or else she will go to prison for being Jewish.  Posing as the deceased Christian sister of her former tutor, Lea reluctantly lives these dual lives until a classmate discovers her at the brothel and she tries to commit suicide…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Fargo [North Dakota] police arrested two men as part of a two-day sting…[during] the annual Big Iron Farm Show…[spokesow Junell] Krabbenhoft [oinked that]…“Any major event, anything that’s going to draw people to the area,” could attract potential buyers…

An Example to the West (#316) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

…sex workers [are] campaign[ing] for an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution establishing the right to self-employed sex work, with a view to it being included in the individual legislations of Latin American countries, given that, although sex work is not explicitly penalised in many countries of the region, it is criminalised in many ways…they managed, after five years of failed attempts, to secure a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The demands presented included the recognition of sex work, that the relevant authorities in each state intervene to end the impunity surrounding crimes against sex workers, and measures to tackle the institutional violence they suffer…The IACHR…“urged member states to design public policies and regulations that protect the human rights of sex workers…and…put an end to the stigmatisation and discrimination to which they are subjected”…

Traffic Circle (#431)

It’s so nice to see an article in which migrant African sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than passive, childlike “victims”:

Bar girls and sex workers have a visible presence in Pattaya [Thailand].  Women and girls from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have made up a large slice of the sex worker demographic for as long as people can recall…Among the most recent round of newcomers are some women from Africa…Last week Pattaya City police arrested 12 women from Uganda…A Cambodian sex worker…[said] she came to the city to earn a living five years ago.  Pattaya improved her life, she says, and she wants to remain there for as long as possible…”Back at home, I can’t even earn 10% of what I am earning here.  I notice a lot more black girls these days but none of us get intimidated by this.  After all, we also came here to find an opportunity to make a better living”…

SWOP Behind Bars

A good article with a horrible headline: sex work is work, not an “offense”:

SWOP Behind Bars…provides a community and concrete aid [to incarcerated sex workers] when they’re released, from clothing and shoes to stamped envelopes, notebooks and hygiene products.  In a new program, the women also get cellphones…Connecting women to resources quickly after leaving prison is crucial.  “When you’re in prison and you get out and you don’t have any money, you’re almost forced back into sex work.  Which may not be where these women want to be, because it does put them at risk for rearrest,” [SBB founder Alex] Andrews said.  She calls this “state-sponsored trafficking”.  Women are cut off from their families and released without resources for finding jobs, getting an education or pursuing a GED.  Sex work is effectively the only way many of them have to make money…Finding cheap, reliable phone service nationwide has been tricky, Andrews says.  Many services aren’t set up to allow people to purchase phones for others, and she’d like to buy 90 days of service at a time, rather than the usual 30-day package.  Most women coming out of prison aren’t in a position to start paying for their own phone after only a month on the outside.  For the moment, Andrews has settled on Straight Talk, a program that’s offered through Wal-Mart and gets good service even in rural areas.  SWOP can send out refurbished iPhone 5S with 30 days of service for around $100 each.  The organization is accepting donations of used smart phones to help expand the program and lower costs…

To Molest and Rape 

“Former prison transport officer” = “pig who was actively employed when he raped women at gunpoint”:

A federal grand jury…returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley…for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault…Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody…These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017…Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants…In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley [raped] her…Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that…no one will believe her…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s “creepy clown” panic is off to a good start:

An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger’s apartment…Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment…the frightened child ran to a female stranger’s car nearby, jumped inside and said she was being chased by a clown…That woman later told police that the man wearing the clown mask pulled the child out of her car.  Unsure of what was happening, the woman called 911…the child [then] ran into the adjacent apartment of…Dion Santiago…[who] grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window…

The Mote and the Beam (#748)

Liz Brown exposes more horrific laws that destroy civil rights under the pretext of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…two significant expansions of federal power…passed the Senate unanimously…Under these new measures, the FBI and immigration agents as well as state and local police can secretly wiretap suspected sex workers, or those who associate with them.  The wiretapping authority…includ[es] consenting adults on any side of a commercial sexual exchange.  The bills call for a new national strategy to reduce “demand” for prostitution, order all U.S. attorneys offices be trained on treating the sex trade as “a form of gender-based violence”…[ban] federal funds [from] any nonprofit that helps people who profit off sex and…broaden…the term “criminal street gang” [to] capture any five or more sex workers traveling together…[the bills provide] a pretext for ICE and Homeland Security Investigations to join in small-town prostitution stings and massage-parlor raids across America…[another] bill (S.1312) gives the attorney general power to file a civil suit against anyone suspected of…planning to commit “any action that constitutes or will constitute” a violation of various federal statutes…This…could allow the feds to preemptively shut down websites, search engines, social apps, browsers, encryption services, or brick-and-mortar businesses because criminals (broadly defined) might communicate there…The new TVPA will also make fighting…”sextortion”…an invitation for the federal government to get involved in teen sexting cases…

The Widening Gyre (#763) 

I am so enjoying watching “authorities” forced to deny the “sex trafficking” propaganda they helped spread:

Looks like the Roseville, California, police department got a little fed up with social media posts going on about local “sex trafficking kidnappers” and “suspicious people.”  And so it came out with this amazing document on its Facebook page…”kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States.  Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news…children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children…The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade…We…found no evidence that human traffickers were [at shopping malls] recruiting strangers“…

Read Full Post »

I notice that a lot of escorts whine about criminalization, yet don’t want to do anything about it.  How are we ever to evolve change if we attack each other, or if we won’t speak up, or at least get behind someone who is out on the front line fighting for our rights?

It has been said that trying to organize sex workers is like herding cats.  I’ve always found it darkly amusing that prohibitionists paint us as meek, passive, spineless creatures at the mercy of anything with a penis, when in actuality sex workers in general are the most stubborn, willful, independent and even defiant women I know.  In fact, if you look at anti-sex worker rhetoric from prior to about a century ago, you’ll notice that these exact characteristics were used to support the claim that we are “bad” women, because the Establishment likes women meek, passive and spineless and we’re the opposite.  We like to do things our own way, on our own schedule, by our own rules, and we’ve been well-known since Biblical times for rebelling against authority and refusing to jump when told to or speak only when spoken to.  I’m sure you see where this is going: the very characteristics that drive women toward sex work in the first place, the same characteristics which enable us to succeed in a profession without structure, bosses or trade unions, are the very traits that make us difficult to organize.

There is hope, of course.  The submissive or weak-minded are easily driven from the rear by “leaders” who don’t actually lead, but rather stay in safety and shout orders while others take the risks.  But the ornery and self-motivated can only be led from the front, by those willing to take the risks and model the behavior they’d like others to adopt.  Nor can these leaders be motivated by the desire for power, glory or adulation; most sex workers are keen judges of human behavior and can smell hypocrisy and manipulation a mile off.  The only way we’re ever going to win our rights is by ceaselessly fighting the lies prohibitionists tell about us, and relentlessly opposing the police state’s desire to control us.  The best way to do that is by speaking up and being out, by refusing to hide our light under a bushel, by fearlessly living our lives no matter who tries to threaten and terrorize us into submission.  If we do a good job of that, others will follow our examples, and those gifted with the ability to organize will take on those roles.  It won’t be a fast process, but it’s already well underway; there are strong sex worker organizations in many countries, and though criminalization makes that harder in the US it’s gradually happening here as well (albeit at a maddeningly-slow pace).  In her book The Love Project, Arleen Lorrance wrote, “Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change anyone else.”  This quote is usually shortened to “Be the change you want to see in the world” and misattributed to Gandhi, but I prefer the original phrasing and try my best to live by it.  I don’t have the power to change anyone else, and I wouldn’t want it; however, I do have the power to behave in the way – independently, fearlessly, honestly and ethically – that I’d like others to behave.  And I can only hope that by so doing, others will like what they see and want to do it as well…not because anyone forced them to, but because they want to in order to win rights for themselves, their friends and all their sisters.

(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 »

Although lucrative, this is a very isolating career.  Your website eases that some, but I was wondering if you ever offer business coaching for providers?  If not, perhaps you are aware of a reputable coach you could direct me towards?  Although I’ve been in this business for a few years now, and I have a stellar reputation, I feel there is room for improvement.

You’re exactly right, this career can be extremely isolating; one of the reasons I moved to Seattle is because of the amazing sex worker community here, which is unlike any other I’ve ever seen in any other city.  We communicate with each other, socialize with one another, help each other out and even date one another; I really wish it could be like this in every city, especially in criminalized regimes like the US where that kind of interpersonal support is vital.

Unfortunately, I’m actually a terrible person to ask for advice on this subject; though I’m a top-notch sex worker, I’m not a very good businesswoman and I’m pretty bad at internet marketing, too.  If it weren’t for my natural gifts and talents, literally decades of experience and the attention my writing brings, I probably wouldn’t make enough to live on.  As I wrote in “Teacher’s Pet” (which is worth reading in its entirety, BTB):

The market has changed considerably since I learned the trade, and I really haven’t kept up; the only reason I do as well as I do is that I’m Maggie Fucking McNeill, a widely recognized sex symbol.  In other words, my brand is already built, and all I have to do is maintain it.  But if I had to give someone else advice on web development, tailoring one’s ads to the clientele one wishes to attract, and all that kind of thing, I’d be utterly hopeless; unless you’re willing to devote over half your waking hours to become a well-known blogger for six years while making practically no money at all, I just don’t think my experience is transferable to your situation.

The only three ways in which I might be able to help are 1) I’m going to post this as Thursday’s column, and maybe someone may pop up in the comments to offer help; 2) If you like, I can forward your information to a screener/booker who may be able to assist;  3)  I can pass your info on to a friend of mine who helps new girls get started in Seattle; I can’t promise she’ll be willing to help or that she’ll be able to tell you anything you don’t already know, but it’s a possibility.  So here’s #1 (keep your eyes open to Twitter today, too) and if you want me to put you in contact with either of those other ladies, do let me know.

(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 »

I have a “good girl” job and a secret sex work career; aside from my clients, there are exactly two people on this earth who know what I do – and one of those is my therapist.  I feel zero shame about doing what I do, and have felt it as a calling from a young age; however, I’m deeply aware of the consequences of exposure.  But I’m quite clear that my silence comes at the cost of isolation, so I’d like to change that and develop a support system.

There are a lot of sex workers who don’t have a support system or peer friends they can turn to; as you point out, this work can be very isolating because the stigma makes it difficult-to-impossible to discuss with anyone who isn’t a fellow inhabitant of the demimonde.  And since we’re in the midst of a moral panic over our work, the danger isn’t just emotional but physical; sex workers can be arrested, see their businesses and careers (both sex-related and “straight”) destroyed, have their kids abducted by the State, lose friends and family or even be infantilized and forced into “treatment” or “diversion” programs which treat our choices, jobs and sexualities as pathological.  If you live in a city with a SWOP chapter, I suggest you join right away if at all possible; your privacy will be respected and you’ll meet other sex workers to talk to.  If there is no nearby sex worker group, or if you feel uncomfortable attending meetings in real life, I strongly suggest you reach out to other sex workers on social media; you’d be amazed how much it can help and how real & strong those friendships can become.  For example, Mistress Matisse & I met online more than 5 years ago and now we’re extremely close friends in real life; I’ve also met & befriended many other sex workers on social media, and have developed strong bonds even with folks I haven’t met in the flesh.  Such connections not only help to keep physically-isolated sex workers emotionally healthy, but can also help us to stay safe.  And best of all, they remind us that we’re not alone, that the anti-sex busybodies cannot control us and that we are slowly but surely moving toward a day when we don’t need to hide any more.

(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 »

[Cops] just treat everybody as a criminal.  –  Tanya

The Swedish Pimpocracy hypocritical-swedish-politician-per-erik-muskos

It’s illegal to pay for sex in Sweden, unless you’re the government:

A local official in Sweden has a novel proposal to [let the government break its own prohibitionist laws]…give municipal employees an hourlong paid break each week to go home and have sex…In introducing his proposal this week, he told fellow members of the town council that it would give a nudge to the dwindling local population, add spice to aging marriages and improve employee morale…

Broken Record 

I’m very amused to see the hysteria Hollywood has helped promote coming home to roost:

It’s the most glamorous showbiz event of the year, with the biggest stars in the world descending on Hollywood to party…But scratch beneath the surface and it soon becomes clear that the ­Academy Awards has a side that is far darker…A booming trade in drugs and vice sees hundreds of young girls pour into LA to profit from the sex trade’s big event.  As former [sow] ­Stephany Powell [breathlessly fantasized] “Pimps know this is a time they can make a lot of money…I once [masturbated to a fantasy of] a private golf course where a tent was set up with girls in it to service men”…Girls can rake in up to £40,000 each in Oscars week…

Worse Than I Thought

What a great idea; make people unable to get to work & provide for their families!  That’ll teach them dirty “johns” not to have sexual feelings, by golly!

Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would suspend driving privileges for those who solicit prostitutes.  A driver’s license would be suspended for six months…”Maybe this would have some deterrant effect because often people do really value their driver’s license.  So if they have one that’s something that they’re going to maybe alter their behavior a little bit so that they keep it,” [clueless & sociopathic control freak] Beth Heckert said…

The Widening Gyre (#314) 

Fact: Young woman leaves hotel.  Conclusion: “sex trafficking”!

Missing Utah teenager Sarah Dunsey “was not kidnapped” and there is “no evidence any crime has occurred” in Las Vegas…The 17-year-old…left the MGM Grand hotel with two men “willingly” and without putting up any sort of struggle…Dunsey’s mother…Amie Ellis “told [cops] that she was taken by sex traffickers.  We found that not to be true”…

Wise Investment (#694)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing police departments over them:

The [Chicago] City Council’s Finance Committee…authorized a $370,000 settlement to a former city supervisor who…was…[entrapped by] a police prostitution sting.  But aldermen argued that the compensation for Hugo Holmes wasn’t nearly enough to offset the damage done to his reputation after [the government-approved public shaming following] his arrest…Ald. Anthony Beale…bemoaned the fact that there is neither audio nor video to back up the claims of an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute that Holmes solicited her for sex…

I have a better idea: why don’t we stop destroying people’s lives over “crimes” that have no victim, and therefore can only be enforced via duplicity, lies & entrapment?

One Born Every Minute (#702) Matt Hickey

Did serial rapist Matt Hickey think just ignoring this would make it go away?

When the Washington State Attorney General sued former Capitol Hill tech journalist and fake porn recruiter Matt Hickey in December, Hickey failed to respond…[so] a King County Superior Court judge sided with the state, ruling that Hickey violated state consumer protection laws by pretending to be a female porn recruiter on the internet and luring young women into having sex with him…Hickey…has separately been charged with three counts of rape...over the porn scam…

The War Goes On 

Awesome whores being awesome:

…the Sex Workers’ Mutual Care Collective…fundraises for sex workers in need…The group was formed a few months back to support sex workers in need more generally, but those reeling from the loss of Backpage soon became the priority…Vee Chattie, a 28-year-old sex worker based in Seattle, responded to the Backpage shutdown by putting out a call for people to send donations via Venmo for sex workers in need…she received roughly $1,600, which she passed along to several sex workers, many of them single moms and people of color…“People are still hurting,” Chattie said. “There’s nothing that’s really taken the place of Backpage”…

Business As Usual (#711) 

These are the same cops politicians keep urging sex workers to trust, because of imaginary “pimps”:

…the NYPD’s vice unit arrested [fourteen] people on prostitution charges…a few days [after politician’s wife] Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill hosted a press conference at One Police Plaza to [vomit out inane lies about building] trust between…police [and their victims]…”Today we are saying loud and clear that in New York City we do not punish people who are being hurt [except by cops and politicians…Those kind of people] we…call…criminals.”  From now on, O’Neill said, the department will focus its resources on [strangling sex workers’ business and getting them evicted from their homes]…An anonymous 24-hour hotline will [talk to stool pigeons and snitches]…and the public should expect “more [deception and entrapment]”…to achieve the goal, the NYPD is doubling the size of its vice enforcement unit…

The Course of a Disease (#715)

Nuns are shocked that their magical proclamation didn’t erase economic reality:

In spite of laws coming into force which criminalise the users of their services, hundreds of foreign women are still coming into Ireland to offer sex for sale…it is only with full decriminalisation that the rights of sex workers can be protected…the [Swedish] model [just enacted in Ireland] “strips women of agency and autonomy” and “still means arresting, fining and jailing people over consensual sex”…In spite of those using their services facing fines and being named in court, more than 700 women are listed on escort-ireland.com, by far the biggest prostitution website in this country…

All-Purpose Excuse (#716)

Trump’s ideas for “fighting human trafficking” mostly involve deporting people & giving cops even more power:

President Donald Trump says he will bring the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government to combat an “epidemic” of human trafficking…Trump [fantasizes that] human trafficking…is “not talked about enough” [despite being in every news source every day for over a decade now].  He says he will order the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to take a hard look at the resources they are devoting to addressing the issue…

Read Full Post »

Diary #316

As I predicted, the Desiree Alliance conference was a blast!  Vignette, Jae & I flew down on Sunday, and as I explained in Friday’s column the trip was very tolerable for me despite moderate turbulence.  “Moderate”, that is, for any normal person; if not for my Valium-Zofran one-two punch I’d have been puking and sobbing.  But thanks to Better Living Through Chemistry, I instead passed the trip tweeting and writing and arrived in my home town only slightly Valium-dopey.  Dinner and cocktails with Kaytlin Bailey, Joy de Vive and my traveling companions soon set me to rights, and by the time Grace arrived via motorcycle I was feeling just grand.  The next day was dominated by socializing, cocktails, a performance of Kaytlin’s new show “Consensual Business“, and a very memorable dinner with her, Grace and Tara Burns in which we got Grace to eat octopus, Tara scored us a free round of cocktails and Kaytlin googled “Maggie McNeill naked” on her smartphone to show the waiters.

On Tuesday, I took a break from the conference to visit my gynecologist, my cousin Alan and my friends Frank & Olivia, in that order; Grace took me on her motorcycle and we didn’t get back until about 2:30 in the morning.  On Wednesday Allena Gabosch and I bummed around the French Quarter; I bought two new dresses from my friend Solomon and a print of this beautiful Tara McPherson painting, which I like more every time I look at it.  We then had cocktails with Matisse, and later Matisse and I hung out together and talked, which we’ve both been too busy to do with each other for the past few months.  Then on Thursday evening the two of us, Savannah, Stacey Swimme and another lady were taken to dinner by a lovely and generous gentleman, and the party which followed…well, let’s just say absolutely nobody knows how to party like whores.

On Friday Vignette and I walked around the Quarter while Jae, Matisse & Savannah went to lunch together; I bought another dress from Solomon and some souvenirs from the flea market.  The flight home was just as endurable as the one down, despite even more turbulence, and that, my friends, means I am air-mobile again!  I plan to start limited touring, so if you want me to visit your city and can spring for a plane ticket, just drop me an email and we’ll go from there.  If you can’t afford my travel expenses but would still like to see me, no worries; just keep your eyes on this space, where I’ll announce each trip as soon as I start planning it.

Read Full Post »

China Nympho CreamWould you write something for me?

No.

You wrote something for So-and-So!

So-and-So is a personal friend of mine, and I rarely say no to friends.

Will you do it if I pay you?

Sure, as long as it’s on a topic I care about or think is important.

What if I want you to say a specific thing?

You mean like writing you an ad?  If I were any good at that, I’d make a lot more money than I do.

Well, could I write a guest post and pay you to publish it?

Don’t even go there.

But you have guest posts every month!

Yeah, from people I invite; they’re guests, not infomercials.

Well, some of your guests are definitely selling things.

Yes, and those people are friends.  Did you miss the part where I’m loyal to my friends?

Do you have something against monetizing your reputation?

You’re kidding, right?

So, what’s the harm in my paying you to call attention to my product?

Nothing, if your product is any good and I’ve actually used and liked it.  Like, for example, I don’t mind giving Steak ‘n Shake restaurants a plug because I freaking love Steak ‘n Shake and will eat there every time I get the chance.  Hell, I once did a whole column on Waffle House.  But if you’re, say, a Nevada brothel where I’ve never worked, I’m not going to sing your praises just because you paid me to.  I’m the Honest Courtesan, remember?  If I like your book, movie, restaurant, brand of lube or whatever I’ll praise it, and if you want to give me money to really emphasize that praise I won’t turn you down.  But if your product is shitty I’m not going to damage my reputation by endorsing it.

I think you’ll like my product; how do I get you to try it?

Well, publishers do it by offering me promotional copies.  And right now I’m testing out a service that I may end up endorsing pretty soon, provided it measures up as it looks like it might.  If you genuinely think I’ll like what you have to offer, and you think my name will lend respectability to whatever it is, and I think you’ll be a friend to the sex worker community, and you’re willing to support my work by giving me lovely money, please feel free to email me and we’ll talk.  The worst thing that can happen is I’ll tell you “no”.

(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 »

Older Posts »