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How do you deal with the legal prohibition of sex work?  I don’t mean practically, but rather psychologically; don’t you fear that someday you might be caught and sent to prison?

I’ve never much been one to “borrow trouble”, as we say where I’m from; in other words, I try not to worry about what might conceivably happen, instead of what is likely to happen.  What this means from a practical standpoint in this context is, I have always taken sensible precautions against being entrapped by the police, but I never lay awake at night worrying about it because the truth is, if a powerful government really and truly wants to harm any individual, it will do so regardless of precautions.  However, such governments tend to employ such extraordinary means against much “bigger fish” than ordinary sex workers making very ordinary amounts of money and filing taxes every year as the State demands.  This is not to say that the police don’t target ordinary sex workers, because they obviously do; however, they’re generally looking for big numbers of people whom they can easily trick with lies and then inflict criminal records upon.  They don’t really want people who can fight back, so they tend to tailor their schemes to entrapping the poor and marginalized rather than people who might have lawyers.  I was once caught in such a trap, in October 2005, and though it was an extremely unpleasant experience it was over pretty quickly and in the end I felt more angry than anything else.  Still, the experience gave me even more empathy for people who did not have access to the resources I had, and it’s one of the life-experiences that fuels my activism: I am trying, in my own small way, to work for a world in which nobody has to endure that, especially not the people for whom a prostitution arrest means very serious and life-changing consequences rather than a temporary scare and inconvenience.

(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.)

In the News (#1311)

[Forcing people to provide private] data…is dangerous, because it’s not a matter of if it will be breached; it’s a matter of when.  –  Caden Rosenbaum

Schadenfreude 

Yet another opportunistic fraud has been unmasked:

…the…[“]sex trafficking[” opportun]ist known as Eliza Bleu has broken into some of the top tiers of right-wing media in just a few years, growing her audience through…[claims that she is] “a survivor of human trafficking”…But now Bleu[‘s lies have been exposed by]…embarrassing images from her past…and…contradict[ions in her backstory from different] videos and interviews—and her frequent use of different names online…Now two former friends of Bleu [have come forward with more details which reveal]…that, at best, Bleu is exaggerating her experiences for attention…Carly Wenzel, a one-time pal…who has known her for two decades…added she believes Bleu is “completely lying”…

Lying Down With Dogs (#335)

What other country uses the term “prostitution” to criminalize consensual behavior the regime dislikes?

An Iranian court has handed jail sentences of more than 10 years each to a young couple who danced in front of one of Tehran’s main landmarks in a video seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime…Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, were arrested in early November…Haghighi was not wearing a headscarf…women are also not allowed to dance in public, let alone with a man…The couple, who already had a following in Tehran as popular Instagram bloggers, were convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” as well as “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security”…they [were]…deprived of lawyers during the [kangaroo] court…and attempts to secure their release on bail [were] rejected…

Negative Secondary Effects

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

A bill introduced in West Virginia…aims to ban adult entertainment businesses from the state…The language of the bill is both borderline graphic and incredibly vague: it defines the body parts that stores are prohibited from showing in books, live performances, and films with meticulous specificity…but specific details on which businesses will actually be affected if this bill were to pass into law are left mostly undefined…Under th[e bill’s current language], a bookstore that sells [sex education books or videos]…would be considered an adult business…the terms of this bill could effectively make gay bars and nude modeling at art schools illegal…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1021)

This would be terrible even if the cops weren’t lying:

The…NYPD…is in the process of redesigning its fleet of p[igmobi]les, which will now have 360-degree cameras installed in them for constant [surveillance] of the [citizen]s…Po[rk] Commissioner Keechant Sewell…[lied] that…there are no plans to e[quip] the [cameras with] facial recognition technology…[but she bragged about]…an “augmented reality” app…will allow [cops] to point their smartphones at a location, such as a…[person’s home], and learn about things like wanted suspects or previous 911 calls connected to the address…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

A [Virginia cop named]…David Stone…is currently being held without bond a[fter being]…arrested on Jan. 25…[on] 50 child pornography charges…

Stupor Bowl (#1277)

It’s unsurprising that Arizona is still promoting this nearly-mummified fantasy with police violence against women:

Despite more than a decade of research, reports, editorials, magazine articles and even police accounts debunking the odious myth that the Super Bowl is a magnet for sex trafficking, this zombie lie remains catnip to local politicians, police and media ahead of Super Bowl LVII…But occasionally a little truth sneaks through the miasma of misinformation, as is the case with…Fox 10’s report bolster[ing] the long-disproven…hoax…it inadvertently reveals [that]…Phoenix Police…ha[ve] been regularly arresting unknown numbers of adults [under the pretext that they might be “]victims of sex trafficking[” and] allowing [prohibitionist] groups to proselytize them while in custody…If that sounds familiar, it should, because about 10 years ago, the PPD was involved in a similar, highly-controversial program with ASU’s School of Social Work called Project ROSE

The Mob Rules (#1307)

Tyrannical politicians are now competing to see which state can make adolescence most closely resemble a prison sentence:

A pair of bills in Utah would impose draconian requirements on social media platforms [under the pretext] of protecting children….social media companies would be required to verify the ages of all users from Utah, get parental consent before allowing someone under age 18 to open or maintain an account, provide parents or guardians of minors with “access to the content and interactions” of accounts maintained by their children, and…minors would be prohibited from using social media between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m…The bill would also authorize a[nyone, including bureaucrats]…to sue social media companies for [supposed] violations…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

Diary #658

One of my reasons for building an addition onto my house is to make it easier to host company; ever since I was very young I’ve always wanted a place big enough for guests to visit without being cramped.  And though I’ve never been wealthy enough to buy such a place, I have a lifetime of experience at stretching my money to buy things most people would never have imagined I could afford, and stubborn enough to do what was necessary to modify it to my liking.  And even though I’m not yet completely done, the cottages have been habitable for a year and a half now, and a number of friends and friends of friends have enjoyed our hospitality.  At holidays it’s wonderful to be able to say, “You needn’t drive back to Seattle tonight, just stay in the guest cottage”, and when friends have wanted to just get away from the city for a few days, I can make that available for them.  There’s a quiet, serene energy here at Sunset which is very conducive to such retreats; animals seem especially sensitive to it.  I’ve seen nervous dogs calm down marvelously within hours of arrival; last weekend we dog-sat for a friend, and though she’s normally a fairly high-strung animal she spent most of her time just lounging around with our Annie.  Some of it is just the ambiance of the place itself, which I felt the first time I set foot here six years ago.  But part of it, I think, is due to my own influence; for the first time in many years, I really feel completely at home.  And for what may be the first time in my life, my prevailing mood while in residence here is one of peace and contentment.

Inner Circle

After I published “I Couldn’t Do It Without You” last month, a couple of readers asked how they could make larger recurring donations.  As it turns out, both of these readers were already long-time donors who have repeatedly demonstrated their generosity for years, and both already carry on correspondence with me in various ways.  But it occurred to me that in general, most of my readers have only my email, blog, and Twitter as points of contact; that’s just fine for most folks, and as I check my email frequently it’s certainly not an inadequate means.  But there’s a certain immediacy and a kind of quasi-intimacy that comes with texting, so I’ve decided to add two higher subscription levels in the zone between reader and client; both of these come with texting privileges.  NO, I don’t mean sexting; that would be much more expensive even if I were offering it, which I’m not because I’m not any good at it.  Now, it would feel strange and even creepy to me to set some frequency or number of texts a week, and I honestly don’t think I have to; my patrons, both readers and clients, have never made a habit of trying my patience or pushing my boundaries, and I hardly think it likely y’all are going to start now.  So the only real difference between these two is, which one can you afford?  Maybe I should have some strict delineation, but that’s over the line into salesmanship and, as I’ve pointed out before, I’m not really comfortable with that.  I’ve made it this far without paywalls and bribery, and I’m too old to start using those tactics now even if I wanted to, which I don’t.  At all.

Anyhow, the two new levels are $10 per week and $25 per week (converted into monthly sums of $45 and $110 respectively so you’re not getting pinged every damned week).  Those are PayPal links, and there’s nothing wrong with going that route if it works for you; however, I find Zelle a lot more trustworthy and it doesn’t take a percentage of your donation.  The only catches are: 1) Not every bank is part of the network, and I don’t believe it’s international; and 2) The only way to do a recurring Zelle payment is to set it up from your end, using my email address (maggiemcneill@earthlink.net).  Of course, if you’re setting it up yourself you needn’t use those specific amounts; as long as you’re donating at least $31/month (the long-established “$1 a day” subscription level), I’ll be happy to text with you (and yes, that definitely applies to those of you already at that level; just email for my contact number).  If you want to tease me a bit you could even make it some weird arbitrary number just to irritate my OCD.  And if you’re affluent enough and think my work is important enough to go another price step higher; email me and we’ll discuss an arrangement with regular (conversation and advice) phone calls.

Links #657

They couldn’t keep him alive for two weeks.  –  Richard Blodgett

David Crosby was not the strongest songwriter in Crosby, Stills & Nash, but this unusual composition is highly regarded by critics.  The links above the video were provided by Radley Balko; Mistress Matisse; Jesse Walker and Mike Siegel; Cop Crisis (x3); and Kevin Wilson, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

In the News (#1310)

Federal prisons…[are] unwilling to get people the medical care they need.  –  Kevin Ring

Stalkers in Blue

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

A [New Jersey cop]…was arrested…[for] stalking and harassing his ex-girlfriend for over a month after they broke up…Erich A. Bennett…and the woman were in a brief dating relationship that she ended in late November 2022.  On Dec. 5, he showed up unannounced at her home and threatened her…She then blocked him from contacting her electronically and installed security cameras on the exterior of her home.  On Jan. 8, [she] began receiving harassing and threatening messages via social media from an online persona, which detectives connected to Bennett…The next weekend, on Jan. 14…he…[slashed] all four [of her] tires…keyed [her car, tore]…a flagpole…off the front of her house, and [stole] her Ring doorbell camera and two additional security cameras…Bennett also [used]…police databases on more than 30 occasions between October 2022 and January 2023 to find personal identifying information of the woman and [several of her friends]…

The Real World

Dr. David Ley schools his fellow therapists on the reality of sex work:

…As our society has become more open to discussions of sexual diversity, and more averse to sexual shame and stigma, more people are opening up to their therapists about their secret sexual lives and interests, including their past or present involvement in sex work.  Unfortunately, many therapists find themselves ill-prepared to effectively support their patients on these issues, and they may unintentionally harm or stigmatize their sex-working patients…Therapists often assume that anyone involved in sex work is doing so against their will and that the therapist needs to rescue them…sex work is not an inherent sign of pathology, attachment disturbance, substance abuse, or other problems…A sex worker’s job is not necessarily the reason the sex worker is coming to therapy.  They seek support for the same range of reasons that anyone else does…Not all sex workers are the victims of childhood sexual abuse, and for those who are, their abuse may have no direct relationship to their work in the sex industry.  This a version of the “damaged goods hypothesis”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#1208) 

Computer-generated female images are replacing “sex robots” in prohibitionist fantasies:

[Prohibitionists and clueless young men on Twitter fantasized that] OnlyFans models could be in trouble [from]…hyper-realistic AI models…threatening to take over the adult platform and put them out of work.  A[n image of]…four almost identical [Barbie-like female characters]…spark[ed the fantasies among people who believe]…OnlyFans [is about pretty pictures rather than the fantasy of connection to a beautiful woman]…

It’s sad to see how many people still want to believe that actual sex workers with individual human personalities could be replaced by plastic dolls or computer-generated images without minds.

Torture Chamber (#1292)

This would be a real improvement if the conditions for release were objective rather than subject to the whims of those in power:

Federal inmates suffering from unconstitutional medical neglect could get a new avenue for relief under changes being proposed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission…[which] would broaden compassionate release, a policy that allows incarcerated people who are terminally ill or severely debilitated the mercy of spending their remaining days at home…the amendment would expand the qualifying circumstances…to include…people “suffering from a [serious] medical condition that requires longterm or specialized medical care…that is not being provided in a timely or adequate manner”…prisons and jails across the country regularly subject people to atrocious and humiliating neglect…The First Step Act of 2018…allow[ed] judges [rather than sadistic prison bureaucrats] to consider petitions…But…the [allowable]…reasons…were narrowly defined and did not include medical neglect…

To Molest and Rape (#1301)

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time“:

…a [typical and representative Missouri cop named Seth P. Wilkins who was]…convicted 10 years ago of possessing child pornography….was charged Jan. 18 with…sexual abuse of a 9-year-old girl…[he was convicted of] the [child porn] charge Nov. 19, 2012, in a plea agreement [for]…a suspended seven-year term with five years on probation…[from which] he was discharged…in August 2015…

To Molest and Rape (#1307)

Just a few more isolated incidents:

A…Dorset [cop named Ravi Canhye] has been charged with [eight sexual offences including] two counts of rape…A…spokesp[ig oinked out a lot of boilerplate obfuscation, emphasizing that he was not wearing his magical clown costume while committing the rapes]…

The Mob Rules (#1307)

Laws enabling nuisance lawsuits will keep multiplying until they’re ruled unconstitutional:

The Mississippi Senate Judiciary…committee approved a bill…that would [demand] age verification for any site that [hosts porn.  Politician]…Nicole Boyd…would exempt news gathering organizations and internet service providers from liability…[but]…is [otherwise] modeled after the Louisiana legislation…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

Annex 95

Though there are still some construction tasks to finish in the annex project, Jae has forged ahead with decorating, especially in areas where there is little or no construction left to do.  The greenery along the back wall was actually done in the autumn, but at the time I was busy sharing pictures of the bathroom project so I decided to wait; besides, the wall along the ramp was still bare OSB.  But a week ago today she went into town and brought back panels in the design we agreed on, and on Saturday I installed them.  So here’s what it looks like now; there are still a few touches to come, but the general look isn’t going to change.  When she first suggested the artificial boxwood she thought she might have to sell me on the idea, but I immediately realized it would look something like a cloister and accentuate the indoor/outdoor effect of the atrium and cottages.  Nor was I wrong; the longer I live with it, the more I like it.  She says she’s considering a few more sections like this one around the atrium, and I’m good with that; she’s been decorating my spaces for 8 years now, and though I’ve occasionally had to rein in her wilder fancies, she hasn’t disappointed me yet.

Imbolc 2023

May the reawakening of the world bring with it the reawakening of good things you thought gone forever. Blessed Be!

In the News (#1309)

First let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.  –  Pope Francis

The Immunity Syndrome (#833)

The tone of this article is remarkably restrained; it doesn’t even use the phrase “super gonorrhea”:

Public health [bureaucrat]s says they have found two cases of gonorrhea that appear to have reduced susceptibility to every kind of antibiotic available…It’s the first time strains of gonorrhea this resistant to antibiotics have been identified in the United States…Dr. Jeffrey Klausner…[of USC said] “It’s a reminder that gonorrhea is becoming…increasingly hard to treat…We haven’t had new antibiotics to treat gonorrhea for years and we really need a different treatment strategy”…

Providing a proper sex education to teenagers, the primary vectors for STI transmission in the US, might be a good start.

Peeping Toms (#871)

There is nothing contradictory about this:

Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.  “Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said…and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin”.  But…these…comments …are the first uttered by a pope about such laws…are…consistent with his…belief that the Catholic Church should welcome everyone…Francis’ remarks come ahead of a trip to Africa, where such laws are common, as they are in the Middle East.  Many date from British colonial times or are inspired by Islamic law…

Droit du Seigneur (#1183)

Better cops escape consequences than this ugly narrative be reinforced yet again:

A Virginia jury rejected claims by a Costa Rican woman who accused a police chief and three o[ther pig]s of conspiring to protect a sex-trafficking ring…[the] jury in[stead]…found that the woman was not a victim of trafficking but a [mundane] sex worker….Police Chief Edwin Roessler…[and his underlings] James Baumstark…Michael Barbazette and Jason Mardocco….protected the [escort service, but the claims of] human trafficking…were [bogus and largely followed the typical script, including]…claim[s]…of…17 [clients] a day and that Sanchez kept…her passport…Defense lawyers pointed out that the woman [repeatedly] traveled [home] to Costa Rica between 2010 and 2015 and returned to Sanchez each time….”She’s willing to say whatever it takes to get what she wants in that moment,” [said defense lawyer] Kim Baucom…

The jury reached the same conclusion I did the first time I heard the story, and I wrote about people credulously accepting this woman’s claims in “Taking the Bait“.  While I certainly sympathize with wanting to see cops suffer consequences for their behavior, the “sex trafficking” paradigm will never die as long as opportunists are rewarded every time they invoke it.

To Molest and Rape (#1257)

Give aggressive thugs power over teen girls; what could possibly go wrong?

[A London cop named] Hussain Chehab…pleaded guilty to [repeatedly molesting teenage girls the government had paid him to harass at school, and also]…making [sexual] photographs of [his victims]…Chehab’s offending came to light in July 2021 when the family of a 16-year-old girl raised concerns…that…he…was [molesting their daughter]…The…offences [we]re…all the more [predictable because]…Chehab was [paid by the government to lurk] in…schools [to spy on, harass, and terrorize the students]…

It’s sad that the UK has adopted the school-to-prison pipeline from the US.

The Last Shall Be First (#1299) 

It looks like Florida is aping Texas again:

…Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking state universities for the number and ages of their students who sought or received gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions…Why he’s conducting the survey wasn’t completely clear[, but Texas did something similar last summer]…

The Last Shall Be First (#1304) 

Trans people have become another canary in the civil rights coal mine:

…Legislation in Oklahoma and South Carolina would make it a felony to provide hormonal or surgical transition treatment to transgender people younger than 26…Other bills in both states, and in Kansas  and Mississippi, would ban such care up to age 21.  And bills in more than a dozen states would ban it for minors, which Arkansas was the first to do in 2021…A bill in Mississippi…would define sex as immutably set at birth, denying transgender identities under state law.  A measure in West Virginia would define “any transvestite and/or transgender exposure, performances or display” as obscene, potentially outlawing transgender people’s presence around children…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1306)

The way local media parrots copaganda in the face of clear evidence of its foolishness is utterly pathetic:

The Illinois State Police…has tested…substance[s that triggered panic attacks in a gang of screws, and]…the test came back negative for narcotics or hazardous materials…[despite] the [clowns wasting] Narcan…[and whining all the way to the] hospital…Everyone [who had a panic attack]…has been discharged [and the substance they thought was magical insta-fentanyl]…was [in fact] baby powder…the…department [of locking humans in cages] has [tried to save face by bloviating nonsense about]…further investigation [being] needed to explain the…symptoms [of panic attack]…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

Diary #657

Grace’s cat Aeryn will turn 21 in March, and though she’s not on her last legs yet, she definitely has her share of the problems of age.  She has arthritis and cataracts, doesn’t hear too well, and appears to be suffering the feline equivalent of dementia; she spends a lot of time wandering around the house yowling, and the only thing that seems to calm her is a THC concentrate Grace makes for her and puts into her food.  The only food she won’t quickly throw up is pate-style cat food, and even then we need to water it down somewhat because she hasn’t got many of her teeth left.  Of course, that doesn’t stop her from trying to eat everyone else’s food (including the dogs’ and humans’) and then, predictably, throwing up.  She also seems to have recently lost the ability to find the litterbox, which means finding turds and puddles in random places (but most often on the stair landing) has become a daily occurrence of late.  So after shampooing the rug three times in one week, I told Grace we needed to do something.  I pulled Cicero’s piglet-pen out of the garage and set it up in the living room near the heater; I put in pee-pads, a litterbox, her food & water bowls, and a pillow, and placed Aeryn inside.  We were both concerned she wouldn’t like being in a cage, even a large and comfortable one, but to our relief she seems to be quite happy with the arrangement.  Instead of spending her days wandering around the house, crying like a lost soul, she’s quietly napping on her pillow; the only time she cries is when her bowl is empty, and now that the other animals can’t get to it that only happens about once a day.  Even when Grace opened the cage door so she could come out for a while, she preferred to stay inside, and when Grace held her so I could clean the cage, she complained until we put her back.  So now I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this earlier; I guess she sees the cage not as a prison, but a safe little sanctuary from a world that has become just too big and confusing.