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Posts Tagged ‘The War on Whores’

With the departure of the Dog Days and the return of American urchins to their State Indoctrination Centers, my life is likely to get a bit easier.  Of course the shortening & darkening of the days is a big part of that, but since I started flying again three years ago there’s another factor:  the end of vacation season and thus a lessening of the number of ridiculously-overcrowded flights.  Normally, I get first class about a third of the time and it’s pretty rare that I get boarded at the last minute, but during the summer the flights are so packed and the scheduling so volatile that it’s rare I even get assigned a seat until the last minute, and I often get bumped from flights entirely (remember when I couldn’t even get to Florida at all?)  So I’ve been loath to schedule any more movie screenings until the beginning of September, and now here we are!  Weve already got an event on the books for September 26th at the Reason Magazine offices in DC; that trip should be more flexible, so if you’d like to see me while I’m in the area it can probably be arranged.  I must also point out that if you’re not in DC, but a lot closer to it than to Seattle, only my travel time from DC counts against your minimum; in other words, if you’re just two hours from there you could see me for the cost of a dinner date instead of having to spring for an overnight (see how helpful I am when I wanna be?)  We’re also looking at screenings in Toronto and Austin, and I’m looking for an excuse to visit New Orleans at some point this autumn.  So if you can help with any of those, or want to schedule an appointment, or want to help arrange a screening in a different city, just email me.  And if you just want to help me with promoting the movie, my fundraiser is still open!

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Diary #477

Last week I flew to Washington, DC to present The War on Whores at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit.  Amazingly, I had no problem on my flights out, and though my return flights were screwed up and delayed I still got through (though I barely made it onto three of the legs by the skin of my teeth, like literally being the last person seated).  I stayed with Elizabeth Nolan Brown and her husband Swin, who were both wonderful hosts who made me feel very welcome; on Thursday she took me to visit the Reason office and on Friday I had brunch with Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, whom I’ve wanted to meet for years now.  The movie screening on Friday went well, but as usual the best part of the trip for me was the people; besides hanging out with Liz, Swin, Kaytlin Bailey, Alex Andrews of SWOP Behind Bars, Amber DiPietro, Kendra Holliday & David Wraith of Sex Positive St. Louis, Deviant Ollam (who designed our McNeill/Matisse 2020 shirts) and other friends, I got to reconnect with Kate Zen (now working with Red Canary Song) and meet Phoenix Calida (whom I’ve admired for a long time) and Niki Gilliland, whose story I featured back in May.  I’m probably forgetting all sorts of other people and events, but most of this was wriien on the plane home and the rest was finished after I got home, so I’m just going to sign off now by thanking my patrons for sending me!

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I’m going to be visiting Washington, DC twice in the next two months; I’m leaving for the first trip on Wednesday and should be returning Sunday, because even though the conference won’t quite be over the flights look too good to pass up (and I druther not get stuck in Washington, especially not in August).  “The Conference” is the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, at which I’ll be showing The War on Whores this Friday night; for the rest of the time I’ll be doing my best to meet up with friends (old, new & online) I know will be there and listening in on any sessions I find interesting.  I plan to have a car, so if you’d like to see me professionally while I’m there (I should have time on Thursday and Saturday), please let me know ASAP so we can arrange that.  That includes anyone who donated to my fundraiser at the $250 level and above; I owe you presents and a visit!  And it isn’t too late; if you donate by Wednesday we can almost certainly still make a meeting work.  And if you’d like to see me but can’t this week, don’t worry because I’ll be back next month for a reception and movie screening at Reason Magazine HQ on September 26th.  I don’t have the details yet, but I should pretty soon, so watch my Tuesday diary columns for details.

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We’re slowly creeping toward the home stretch of my fundraiser!  I know that many of you probably have “giving fatigue”, but we’re now over halfway there and less than $5000 from the goal, so I figured it was time to both remind and update y’all.  First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has already donated; if you contributed at the $60 level or more, you should’ve received your DVD today at the latest (I shipped them on Wednesday and Thursday, and I sent them Priority Mail which is supposed to be 2 to 3 days).  If you have received neither disc nor an email from me, please mail me and let me know so we can straighten it out!  I’m autographing the covers, but since the color scheme is dark I pulled the cover sheet out & signed them on the white inside.  If I owe you a dinner or coffee date and you’re in the DC area, I’m going to be there very soon; I’m screening The War on Whores at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, 6 pm on August 16th at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, so even if you aren’t at the conference itself we can make plans to meet outside of that Friday evening time frame.  And if August doesn’t work, I have more good news:  I’ll be back in Washington for a screening event at the offices of Reason Magazine on September 26th!  I don’t have the details for that yet, but watch my (usually-Tuesday but occasionally Monday or Thursday) diary columns for details.  In other news, tomorrow I’ll be working on editing my video course on the politics of sex work for Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University; I’ll keep you posted when that’s available.  But for right now, please donate to help if you can, and if you’d like to make a large donation in person let me know and that can probably be arranged as well.

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I can always be counted on to persevere as long as it is humanly possible to do so, and then just a bit longer.  –  “Eighth Anniversary

As I wrote one year ago today, “There are quite a few older blogs, but I daresay not many bigger ones; despite travels, travails and troubles, I’ve somehow managed to produce a post every single day since July 10th, 2010.  That’s [well over] 3000 of them now, and that isn’t even counting the booksessays for other publicationsaudio and video interviews, and speeches I’ve given in public (not to mention the innumerable unrecorded rants to which I’ve subjected my admiring clients and long-suffering friends, the latter not always while entirely sober).”  On top of all that, I now have my own documentary (which you should watch if you haven’t already).  I’ve reached the point where I summarize that as “for the past decade”, and given the incredible density of posts I think that’s acceptable shorthand; in fact, those who follow this blog closely have probably noticed that I’m already shifting toward looking back at essays from ten years back rather than a mere three (expect a new feature in January).  I’ve sometimes said that I’m not entirely sure how I’ve managed to continue for this long, but that’s a self-effacing lie rooted in my Southern Belle upbringing.  In reality, I know exactly how I’ve done it:  it’s a formula consisting of personality force, righteous indignation, stubbornness, anger, and OCD, in roughly equal proportion.  And though (like most people) I’m not entirely sure how much longer I have in this incarnation, I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.

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In the past few weeks I’ve seen my name and my work all over the place!  The War on Whores is starting to get more attention, and this coming weekend I’ll be doing three screenings in Florida with the help of SWOP Behind Bars:  Friday at 4 PM at the LGBT Center in Orlando; Saturday at 11 AM for an academic audience in St. Petersburg; and Sunday at 5 PM at a pub in Tampa (contact SWOP Behind Bars for details).  Thank y’all so much for responding to my request for more reviews, and Stephen Lemmons of Frontpage Confidential wrote a long-form review here:

Sex worker, writer and savant Maggie McNeill’s new documentary, The War on Whores, should be required viewing for all journalists covering the movement to decriminalize sex work…The film is part autobiography, part exposé  on the deceitfulness of the so-called “rescue industry,” a cabal of nonprofits, talking heads and cops that has created a nationwide moral panic over “sex trafficking”…[which] these fascistic do-gooder types [conflate with]…garden-variety prostitution…to [further] the rescue industry’s long con…McNeill has an intellect sharper than a diamond cutter, possesses more than one college degree, and is a brilliant writer whose work has appeared in Reason magazine, the Cato Institute’s Cato Unbound, and the Washington Post,  where a 2014 column of hers, “Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics”, remains part of the requisite syllabus for anyone following the fight for decrim, one of the great civil rights struggles of our age…

As it happens, I’ve got an article in the current issue of Reason, “Consenting To Be Paid for Sex Is Still Consenting!“; it inspired this essay on Patheos:

…If a man…believes that women are resources to be bartered among men, resources who control access to sex but don’t actually deserve control over their own bodies, then we have a problem.  Because, as McNeill points out…“sex is an exchange, whether you like it or not.”  It’s just that when the relationship is coded as intimate, monogamous, mutually affectionate, and non-transactional, there seems to be no cost to either party (despite the bartering around chores and such that obviously happens between some long-term monogamous couples).  But thinking of sex in these terms does not negate the importance of consent…if you firmly, utterly believe that women are capable of giving consent in intimate relationships but not in sex work, then you need to reexamine your assumptions about what it’s like to live and work under capitalism.  If you believe that women “owe” men sex, and that sex is thus a resource that the government can step in to redistribute through “enforced monogamy” or whatever nonsense of the day is being spouted, then you need to examine your internalized misogyny.  People can and do give consent under conditions that are not always of their choosing – but hey, welcome to life…

And even though I’m not directly quoted in this one from the Chicago Tribune, I did assist author Steve Chapman in finding the sources he needed (note that Steve understands the difference between legalization & decriminalization even i the editor who wrote that headline doesn’t):

…Most commodities and services that may be legally given away may also be bought and sold.  But not sex.  A person can use all sorts of persuasive means to get another person to go to bed with them.  And a person can consent to do so for a vast range of motives.  When money changes hands for that explicit purpose, though, the law suddenly intrudes…Tens of thousands of men and women are arrested each year for their role in it…We have long since embraced the idea that what adults choose to do for sexual gratification is not the business of the government.  One day we may accept that the same is true for whether they pay for it…

After ten years of very public activism, it looks like my message is finally beginning to sink into enough heads to attract even politicians’ attention.  And given how big and loud the sex worker rights movement is becoming, it’ll just go up from here.

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I promised I’d show y’all a photo of the lovely steel rose sculpture a gentleman gave me three weeks ago, but I’m afraid photography is not one of my strong suits and this was the best I could do (I decided to hold it in my hand for scale).  It’s one of several generous gifts I’ve received lately; another was a very fancy drill press for Grace, which I’ll be taking her when I visit Friday for her birthday.  Alas, unlike the rose I don’t know who sent the drill press; ever since Amazon started doing its own deliveries it has really dropped the ball on packaging, so the first I knew of the delivery was when one of my neighbors told me it was sitting outside my door, just as though it had been taken from a shelf at Home Depot, with no shipping carton or packing list or anything to let me know who sent it (other than the shipping label with my address on it).  I’ve mentioned it on Twitter several times, but no answer; if you sent it, please let me know!  And speaking of presents, it’s now my turn to give one to some of y’all:  Paul Johnson received our first shipment of DVDs late last week, so I’ll be sending those out to donors very soon!  If you donated at the $60 or $125 level, expect me to ask your address in the next few days.  In just over a week I’ll be flying to Florida for three screenings arranged by SWOP Behind Bars; thanks to all my donors for helping that to happen!  And thanks to everyone who kindness and generosity – in the past, in the future and every day – helps make my life just a bit easier and a whole lot nicer.

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