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Posts Tagged ‘sisterhood’

Recently two providers in one city discovered that they had me in common; I never intended to visit both.  I contacted one following her instructions and waited a week, but when she failed to respond I contacted the other.  After another week, both got back to me on the same day, so I saw both.  But they’re friends, and since they discovered I saw both of them, they’re both treating me kind of indifferently now.  Is this some kind of jealousy or possessiveness thing?

It would be highly unusual and unprofessional for an escort to get jealous over a client, unless his seeing other women would put her in dire financial straits (for example, if the economy is very bad in her city and she depends on him for a large part of her income).  But even in that case, it wouldn’t really be “jealousy” in the sense you’re thinking, but rather concern for economic survival.  Under ordinary conditions, escorts are not only non-jealous, we actually give each other references for clients or provide introductions; it’s not at all unusual for one of my gentlemen to ask me for an introduction to one of my friends, and I’m always pleased to see one of their names in the references a new gent provides me.  Aside from the pleasure of helping out people we like or love, and the necessity of sex workers being respectful of each others’ safety and survival, such cross-pollination sometimes leads to duos, which many of us enjoy a great deal.  All that having been said, I notice that one of these chicks took a week to get back to you and the other two weeks; unless they had some kind of vacation notices on their websites, that strikes me as both unprofessional and just plain bad business.  Plus, if they’re friends I can’t see why they’d object to both seeing you; that happens in my circle of friends quite frequently.  So it may be that you had the bad luck to run into two not-very-professional escorts who just aren’t very interested in making money, or else their indifference to you is caused by some other factor in your own behavior that you haven’t mentioned.

(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.)

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Last summer I saw a client whom I have good reason to believe is quite capable of violence, and he is now stalking me.  For about a month now he has parked in front of my house and watched almost every night; it may have been longer, because it took me longer than I am comfortable with to notice.  Last week he switched up his game: he got out of his car, prowled around my house, and left much sooner than he usually does.  Then later, I found a ladder and a flashlight near the easiest entry point to my home.  I called my attorney to tell him I wanted a restraining order, but he told me to first file a police report; I stalled a bit, but when I finally went to the cops they refused to take a report.  After that, I immediately fled town in terror and am writing to you from several states away from my home.  I want to return as soon as I can and get a restraining order, but is there a way to file such an order under a stage name?  Please tell me you have some advice.

I’m so sorry to hear about this horrible situation.  I’m not at all surprised the cops wouldn’t do anything to help you; cops don’t give a damn what happens to sex workers, and commonly write “NHI” (“No Humans Involved”) on reports about violence toward us.  I would also advise against putting faith in restraining orders; they don’t have magic powers, and can’t stop violent people from being violent even when the cops are willing to enforce them (which in your case they won’t be).

I think it was a very good idea to leave town for a while; that won’t get rid of him, but it may put him off your scent temporarily.  You’re going to need help from friends and associates to deal with this, and if I were in your place I’d contact the local SWOP chapter (I know there is one in your city) right away in addition to informing all the friends you can trust.  I think it would be best if you find another place to live; if possible, get a friend, family member or trusted client to sign the lease for you, and you may want to consider not living alone for a while.  In fact, if you’re not especially tied to the city you’re “currently based in” (that sounds like you might not plan to live there permanently), you might consider moving to another city entirely (one where you have friends).  If your stalker has a regular job (it sounds like he might if he only sits outside your place at night), send your friends (do NOT go yourself) to move your stuff while he’s at work; if you can’t be sure when he’ll be tied up, you’ll have to be sneaky about this because you CANNOT risk his following them.  And even after you move, I would suggest being very watchful for at least a year; he’s already proven he’s obsessed enough to follow you for over half that long.

Once you’ve ensured your physical safety as best you can, I suggest being extra-cautious with new clients from here on out.  If you’ve been a loose screener before, it’s definitely time to change that; he knows your stage name and contact info, and once he can’t find where you live he’ll almost certainly try contacting you through work, possibly pretending to be someone else.  So it’s absolutely imperative that you get good references from every new client, that you make sure you know his name & job so you can be ABSOLUTELY sure it isn’t the stalker, and that you talk to every new client on the phone so you can hear his voice before meeting him, to be sure in your mind that it really is a new person.  Finally, if you can afford it, you might also consider renting a separate place to be your incall, so that even if this dangerous person figures out where you work, it won’t automatically let him know where you live.

I’m going to publish this on Thursday (with identifying details removed for your safety) and ask readers for input as well; please look at my blog and Twitter feed on Thursday, because one of my readers may have been through something like this before, and may have some good advice.  That’s all I can think of at the moment, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not go home until you have a plan in place, and friends on alert who will come to you instantly if called.

(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.)

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Diary #398

Last week was dominated by the sudden death of my friend Laura Lee on Wednesday morning; Matisse and I found out Wednesday evening about 10, but we were asked not to say anything until Laura’s daughter made a public statement.  Working out what to say to the press was a lot to ask of such a young woman, but she handled it with the strength and courage she inherited from her mother.  I never met Laura in person; we’ve been talking for a couple of years now about arranging that, but alas fate intervened.  But she and I have been online friends for years, and we shared the deep bonds of sisterhood that only whores can know with each other.  As I wrote in another diary column more than three years ago,

…when sex worker friends get together there’s a kind of camaraderie that I’ve not generally felt among groups of other adult women; it’s a sense of shared experience, of being denizens of a secret world unknown to the general population.  Perhaps we cleave to each other more tightly because the “good” women of the world reject us; perhaps it’s an outgrowth of the necessity for us to watch each other’s backs.  And perhaps it’s also due to our comfort with displays of affection and intimacy that others would find shameful…

That also extends to our online interactions; Brooke Magnanti and I were good friends and confidantes for years before I met her, and Matisse and I were so close that when we finally met for the first time in person, we were finishing each other’s sentences and people were surprised to hear that we hadn’t ever met before.  And the same goes for my relationship with Laura; we sent each other packages, chatted in DMs on Twitter, and supported and consoled each other through some extremely difficult times.  So when I heard the news, I didn’t receive it with the detached sadness one experiences at the death of a beloved celebrity or casual acquaintance, but with the pain of the loss of a real friend.  The sex worker rights movement has lost one of our greatest warriors, a fierce campaigner for human rights who was willing to go toe-to-toe with horrific evil for the benefit of thousands of women who didn’t even know her.  And those of us who did know her have also lost someone we dearly loved.

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Claudia Christophe is a Chicago-based escort currently on hiatus until 2019.  Nonetheless, she has returned to blogging on her own blog, The Claudia Chronicles, here on WordPress and she may very reluctantly return to Twitter later this year.  Previously, she has been an active participant with SWOP-Chicago under a different identity and remains an ardent sex workers’ rights activist in her own way.

Not one second, not one dime.

Let me make something very clear at the start:  I’m not interested in “not all” protestations.  I’m not interested in “No True Scotsmen” objections.  I’m not interested in catering to willful stupidity.  If we’re all on the same page, let’s proceed.

Sex workers need to screen Potential Feminist Allies (PFAs) the way escorts screen potential clients.  Why?  For the same reason escorts screen potential clients:  to make sure that those who will be sharing intimate space with us won’t violate us in said space.  In the case of the sex workers’ rights movement, that intimate space is the movement itself.  Thanks to the tireless, too often thankless, and overall, unpaid efforts of the worldwide sex workers’ rights movement, our voices and diverse experiences within the sex industry are being listened to with increasing respect.  But in the public sphere, that is the media and halls of power, we’re still drowned out by the voices of mainstream feminists who outright hate us or, at the very least, pity us as eternal victims.  It is the latter group of feminist allies that we have to guard against as the former will never be our allies.

It is tempting to accept help from our “sisters” in the feminist movement if they show even the slightest inkling of sympathy for us; it is equally tempting to lend support to a feminist event, even though there’s no hint that such sisterly support will be reciprocal.  But we have to make sure that the support is for sex work itself and not, ostensibly, just for the sex worker; that is how we get monstrosities like the Nordic Model and all its equally gross mutations.  Feminists who can only support sex workers when we talk about bad clients (because it reaffirms their belief that deep down all of us actually hate sex work and can’t wait to be violently rescued), or feminists who only support us because of similar reproductive organs (excluding male, trans and nonbinary workers), are not allies at all; they are the feminists who will inevitably turn on us as soon as it becomes inconvenient to stand with us.

The way we need to screen these PFAs is not a one-to-one analogy to client screening, but it’s close enough.  Let’s start with real-world identification:  Who are they, individual supporters or an organization?  At this point with a client, I would require employment information for verification but in the case of PFAs, I need references:  what background research did they do to make their decision to support the sex workers’ rights movement?  And how have they cast their votes regarding sex work and the law?  Have they consistently voted for politicians and propositions that promote carceral solutions?  Will they continue to vote for these politicians in the future because they subscribe to a “lesser evil” mentality in the voting booth?  Have they donated money to organizations that promote sex trafficking propaganda and an obviously biased exclusion of dissenting and highly nuanced sex worker voices?  Just like verifying references, employment information, checking for previous violent interpersonal actions, and IDs upon meeting, these would-be allies need to prove that our standards for safeguarding our autonomy are ones they will support also.

I, and many other escorts, have a requirement to meet clients in public first, with a few exceptions.  PFAs all need to meet us in public; we are not the “side-chick”, okay?  If we’re invited to participate in a function, we can’t let them hide our presence and thus lessen the impact of the invitation.  If an organization has come to the conclusion that their previous stance on sex workers’ rights was flawed, then the organization needs to publicly amend that stance at the same or greater volume as previous statements on the subject.  This is especially important if said organization ever promoted legislation and policies that have been proven harmful to sex workers:

This is extremely important if the PFA is a politician or other policymaker or influencer.  PFAs, whether individual or organizational, must take responsibility for any past harm they committed against us before we extend our hand in friendship, and nothing less than this.

And then there’s the money aspect.  The obvious screening analogy to this is the deposit:  would-be allies need to put their money where their mouths are before an alliance is solidified.  This is especially important with any famous, wealthy feminist celebrity who might decide, even for a brief moment, that openly supporting sex workers’ rights will be great publicity.  Oh, so Famous Actress made a statement with a half-hearted support for the movement?  Let’s contain our excitement until it’s backed up with cash or other valuable resources (like writers’ rooms!) that Ms. Actress has access to and we don’t.  If supporting our movement becomes unpopular again for whatever reason, at least let’s not expend our precious resources of time, money, energy, attention, etc., on a fair-weather friend.  Maxine Doogan brought up a similar point in this YouTube video where she called out Hollywood hypocrites who make money off portraying us for a substantial paycheck on-screen, while pleading with politicians off-screen to incarcerate us “for our own good”.  For individuals who aren’t wealthy but are new supporters to the cause, well, time is money and we’ll gladly tell you how best to spend it.  Goddess knows that the coffers of the sex workers’ rights movement are sorely in need of filling.

Harsh?  I don’t think so; this is merely the minimum we should expect.  I have a feeling that there may be an upsurge in new feminist support for the sex workers’ rights movement coming soon, but I also fear that it could be very superficial.  In other words, they might offer just enough support to lull sex worker activists into thinking we have more people on our side than ever before until, as I wrote earlier, it suddenly becomes inconvenient to stand with us…until Ms. Privileged Feminist with the large checkbook and larger voting bloc threatens to withdraw support from her feminist organization of choice for their support of sex workers’ rights.  It’s very important to make sure ally participation in our movement doesn’t become a “trend” with a shelf life shorter than an Instastory.

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Diary #392

It’s just so lovely having Grace nearby.  Instead of having to fly her here and deal with all the logistics of a two-week vacation, all I had to do is take a two-hour drive out to Sunset and I can visit for as long as I like.  In fact, I was able to visit for Christmas, come back to Seattle on Boxing Day, then go back last Saturday and stay until Tuesday.  And you know what I did all day Sunday and Monday?  Mostly a lot of nothing.  Oh, I caught up on some writing on Sunday, and I prepared dinner on Monday, but other than that it was just a lot of being stoned, listening to music, talking, cuddling up on the couch and watching movies.  I need to do this sort of thing a LOT more often; I think I’ll do an Imbolc feast like I used to in the old days, with my sister’s gumbo as the entree.  It’s true that there are still a lot of repairs to do on the place (and I’ve added some tools Grace wants to my Amazon wishlist), and it’ll be a long time before I can find where anything is (when it isn’t still in a box).  But in a year or so it should be a place I can happily invite friends to visit, and I enjoy seeing Grace in the meantime even if it’s still a mess.

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Diary #382

I don’t really mind busy days and weeks, unless the busy-ness derives from unpleasant stuff.  When the things I’m busy with are pleasant, profitable or both, I actually prefer busy times because, left to its own devices, my brain is wont to dwell on far less pleasant things.  I’ve been devoting more effort lately to making it harder to hear the awful things shut up in crates in my mental basement; since I can’t get rid of them there’s no way to eliminate their awful din completely.  However, I can spend as much time as possible in the less-haunted parts of the house; eliminate, ignore or refuse activities that might take me downstairs alone; turn the music up so loud they’re drowned out; and spend as little of the rest of the time conscious and sober as is practical.  Besides work, I spent Sunday evening with Lorelei as usual, and tonight I’ll be with Jae; then Thursday through the weekend my friend Angela Keaton will be visiting (including a party on Friday night!) leading up to my birthday with Lorelei.  And if I or somebody else thinks about it at the time (no promises), I may even have a picture or two from the party to share with y’all later.

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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“…

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