Archive for March 3rd, 2018

While I don’t blame any sex worker living under a criminalized or “legalized” regime for keeping her silence, it’s imperative that those of us who have less to lose be as “out” as we can manage under our individual circumstances.  –  “Out and Proud

Today is Sex Worker Rights Day, an international observance began by Indian sex workers to commemorate their victory over prohibitionists who tried to shut down a large sex worker rally.  It was one of the most epic failures ever; not only were the antis unable to silence those sex workers, they created an opportunity for millions of sex workers all over the world to speak out, not just for one year but every year.  Even sex workers who can’t usually be “out” may be able to use this opportunity to join with their sisters and brothers in speaking out against the tyranny which is routinely enacted against us by police and politicians.  But for some of us, this day is only different in that our activities are more formal and group-oriented; for us, every day is Sex Worker Rights Day in miniature:

…it would be much easier to count the number [of people in my life] who don’t [know I’m a whore] than the ones who do.  Those few friends who aren’t whores themselves certainly know I’m one, as do the majority of the professionals I deal with…and even when strangers ask what I do for a living I generally tell them…the movement for gay & lesbian rights didn’t start to gain traction until enough queer people were “out” that most people realized that they knew and perhaps even loved someone queer; it will be the same for sex worker rights…I have no spouse to embarrass, no children who could be taken from me, no family I’m not already estranged from, no future career plans that could be torpedoed by an employer discovering my history of harlotry.  And while no sex worker is safe while any of us are considered criminals, I have less personally to lose than many others and so I’m proud to be both visible and respected for my work, without shame or fear…

If being out as a sex worker is easier for you than for many others, I urge you to at least try it on for size; when you’re in a place where no one knows you, try being open about it to see how it feels, and even if you can’t maintain it at least those few people got to see that we aren’t caricatures or “victims”.  If you can’t be public (and believe me, those of us who are understand and respect your reasons for not joining us), please support the cause in any way you can, especially on social media now that this week’s FOSTA vote has put us one step closer to having that taken away from us.  And if you aren’t yourself a sex worker, you can still speak up against injustice, call your representatives, and donate your time and/or money to help; if you’re a professional you could even donate pro bono services.  And I don’t just mean today; while these celebrations are useful rallying points, if we’re to succeed we need to fight for sex worker rights 365 days a year.

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