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Posts Tagged ‘Friday the Thirteenth’

Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.  –  “Never Too Many

many red umbrellasIt’s that day again:  Friday the 13th, the day on which I ask non-sex workers to speak up for us.  As I’ve explained many times before, there is no possible way we can ever hope to win our rights without the help of allies; since only about 0.3% of the female population are whores at any given time (about 1% over their lifetimes), we simply don’t constitute a large enough voting bloc for politicians to give a damn about us, especially at a time when the popular fad is to pretend that we’re passive victims in need of “rescue” from our own choices.  As I explained two years ago,

…the gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and…we’re going to need [similar] help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and [others] who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex…We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally…[and] all of the women who recognize that…laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization…all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the  primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex…

Over the past few years, the number of voices supporting us has grown by leaps and bounds; decriminalization is now supported by every major human rights organization (including Amnesty International), every major health organization (including the WHO), several UN organizations (including UNAIDS), and literally hundreds of other groups concerned with law, labor, women’s rights, individual liberty and many other subjects.  Every academic who has made a methodologically sound and ideology-free study of the subject has reached the same or very similar conclusions, and after the ill-considered raid on the gay escort site Rentboy, even most gay rights organizations and activists have come over to the side of individual rights and self-ownership.  But that’s still not enough; stupidity, ignorance, prudishness, statism, control-freakishness and bigotry run deep in human society, and it will take vast resources and millions of voices to beat those back into the outer darkness where they belong.  We need everyone to speak up for us, not just today but every day; however, today is a start.  Please say something in favor of decriminalization today, either in person or online; if it’s online, link it in a comment below and call it to my attention on Twitter so I can signal boost it.  And if you can do a little more than talk, such as by making a donation to my work or that of a local, national or international sex worker rights organization, today would be a great day to do it!  And when the day at last comes that we win our right to live and work free from state violence, you will know that you helped that happen.

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Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.  –  “Never Too Many

Stepping Out by Laura Lee ZanghettiDespite a good track record, every so often I fail to follow through on something I plan to do on this blog.  This is one of those times; I had originally planned to note every Friday the 13th post made by a reader, and every donation on that day as well…and I utterly failed to do so.  Now, I must point out that on that morning I was meeting up with my fiery red-headed girlfriend in a rather nice hotel room in Las Vegas, after not having seen her for a month; I’m sure y’all can understand how incredibly distracting that was.  We stayed in Vegas for a couple of days, then drove to Reno on Sunday and the rest of the way to Seattle on Monday, and when I got here I hit the ground running and have barely stopped since.  On top of that, I’ve been unable to access my usual means of doing emails since I left home more than a month ago, so as you can imagine my usual organization is totally out the window.  Today, however, I should be able to keep tabs for most of the day, so I’m going to do something unusual:  if you did an essay last time or this time, link to it in the comments and I’ll edit this column to include it later.  And remember, if you can’t write, donations via PayPal (maggiemcneill@earthlink.net) are always very welcome and very helpful!  And if you’re a brand-spanking-new reader and don’t know what the hell I’m even talking about with this Friday the 13th jazz, check out the embedded links!

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Please remember that any contribution – loud or quiet, public or private, eloquent or laconic, lengthy or brief – is important and worthy, and everyone one will hasten the day when governments no longer believe it’s acceptable for them to persecute sex workers, our clients and our associates in any way they please.  –  “Friday the 13th

Except in leap years, February is exactly four weeks long; that means every date in March falls on the same day as it does in February, except in leap years.  And that means that both February and March will have a Friday the Thirteenth this year.  “So what?” new readers may ask; “You aren’t superstitious, are you?”  Well no, I’m not; not about Friday the Thirteenth, anyway, which if anything would be a good luck day for whores.  In fact I intentionally chose to be on the road today – in Las Vegas, to be precise, but not in a casino because I don’t actually believe in luck.  But I digress.  Long-time readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth I ask those of you who aren’t sex workers to speak up for us in some way.  In 2013, I explained it like this:

The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and it’s the same for us; since only about 1% of Western women ever formally work as whores, we’re going to need a lot of help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex at least once (which might be as high as 10% of all women).  We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally, which comes to about 20% of the adult male population.  We need all of the women who recognize that cops can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs, and that laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex.

In 2012, I even provided a number of suggestions for how you could do it; one such suggestion was to fund activism, and since then I’ve even made it possible for you to donate directly to me if you like (and I’d welcome it if you did, since I have a lot of work to do this year).  But because we’ve got two Friday the Thirteenths so close together this year, what I’m going to do is the same thing I did in December 2013: provide links to every post any of you makes today.  And this time, I’ll also include a section acknowledging every fund-donor by whatever name he or she prefers.  Ready?  Set?  Go! red umbrellas against the sky

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It’s time we let the prohibitionists know that if they want to pick on sex workers, we have a whole lot of brothers and sisters they’re going to have to face as well.  –  “Friday the Thirteenth Again

Red Umbrellas by Georgio BisettiEvery year has at least one Friday the Thirteenth, and there can be as many as three in a year; next year will be that way, with the day appearing in February, March and November.  The longest time that can pass between two such days is 14 months, as noted in “The Last Thirteen for Fourteen“.  But this year we only have one, in the middle of the year, and that’s today.  Regular readers know what this means, but for those who’ve joined us since December, here’s how I explained it last September:

…from soon after the beginning of this blog, I’ve asked those of you who aren’t sex workers yourselves to speak up for our rights on this day.  The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and…we’re going to need [similar] help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex…We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally…[and] all of the women who recognize that…laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex…

You could write a blog post, make an anonymous comment on an anti-whore news story, bring up the subject with friends, link or reblog this column…anything is a help!  If you don’t feel comfortable making any sort of public statement but still want to help the cause, there’s a “Donate” box in the right-hand column; you could also support my current speaking tour via GoFundMe or just buy a copy of my book.  There are also sex worker organizations such as SWOP, ESPLERP and the St. James Infirmary, or sex-worker-friendly organizations like Women With a Vision, that could use your contribution.  Whatever you do, please post about it in the comments and include a link if appropriate; I’ll republish every one next March together with whatever people do in February.  Above all, please remember that any contribution – loud or quiet, public or private, eloquent or laconic, lengthy or brief – is important and worthy, and everyone one will hasten the day when governments no longer believe it’s acceptable for them to persecute sex workers, our clients and our associates in any way they please.

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No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.  –  John Donne, Meditation XVII

London red umbrellaIt’s Friday the 13th again, and since the last one was so recent and the next sex worker rights occasion (the Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers) is this coming Tuesday, I think it would be a bit much to subject y’all to another entire column on the subject; so, I’m going to do something a little different this time by letting our allies speak.  Y’all may remember that back in September I wrote that “every single post y’all make today will be announced and linked in my next Friday the 13th column, only three months down the road on December 13th.”  All in all, 23 people responded to my call:  Amazing Susan, Aztec Lady, Eve’s Tempations, Rhonda and Sex Hysteria  reblogged that column, and 17 others wrote the original posts listed below:

Sasha Castel, “Friday the Thirteenth
Mark Draughn, “Boys and Harlots Beware
Emily Dubberley, “Support Sex Workers on Friday 13th (and every day)
Elf, “The Right To Say Yes
Eve’s Temptations: “Friday the 13th
Leonard Fahrni, “Triskaideka-whora-philia” and “A Nation of Malvolios
Ally Fogg, “White Slave Traffic: A Friday 13th guest post by Emma Goldman
Formerly Dave, “What’s Wrong With Sex Work?
Chris Hall, “Stigma and Bad Laws Hurt Everyone
Keen Observer, “Sex Workers’ Rights Day (Friday the 13th)
Korhomme, “Challenge the Givens
Ed Krayewski, “Don’t Blame Sex Workers for Your Failed Marriage
Lily White LeFevre, “Courtesans in Romance
Georgia Lewis, “Why Sex Workers’ Rights Matter
Daniel McNally, “Why You Should be Against Sex Work Prohibition
Not Just Bitchy, “Prostitution Should Be Decriminalized
Skepticism First, “The Ethics of Sex Work
Ken White, “For Their Own Good: Friday The Thirteenth Reflections On Society’s Treatment of Sex Workers
Tim Worstall, “Hey, Preacher, Leave the Whores Alone

Finally, Eric Barrier reblogged the Ed Krayewski article from Reason.

I’m letting class out early today because I want y’all to read as many of those as possible…then bookmark the rest and read them later.  That’s because they’re all good and they’re all important.  Some are short and some are long; some are intellectual and some passionate.  Some are directly on-point, and others are tangential but still mention the cause.  And some are even by people who personally disapprove of sex work, yet understand that governments have no right to restrict peaceful, consensual, private activities, or recognize that attempts to suppress such activities invariably harm those they suppress.  I was very happy to see such a wide variety of responses, because that’s the very essence of this observance: good people from all walks of life working together to call attention to a wrong which, while it may not affect them directly, still offends their sense of how free human beings ought to be treated.

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In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.  –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

red umbrella ballToday is the first Friday the 13th in fourteen months, and since I’ve picked up quite a few readers since July of 2012 a number of you are probably wondering what that has to do with anything.  Well, it’s just this:  from soon after the beginning of this blog, I’ve asked those of you who aren’t sex workers yourselves to speak up for our rights on this day.  The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and it’s the same for us; since only about 1% of Western women ever formally work as whores, we’re going to need a lot of help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex at least once (which might be as high as 10% of all women).  We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally, which comes to about 20% of the adult male population.  We need all of the women who recognize that cops can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs, and that laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex.

I understand that many of you, especially the men, are not in a position of being able to speak out publicly without suffering some sort of censure or risking the hostility of wives, girlfriends and female co-workers.  But fortunately, we live in an age where it’s easy to speak anonymously:

…talk about the issue with someone who will listen, make a post on a discussion board, comment on a news story which spreads disinformation, or even just post a link to this column.  If you aren’t confident in your ability to debate, even a simple phrase like “I think adult women should have the right to decide why and with whom they want to have sex” or “everyone has the right to equal protection under the law” might have a tiny but important impact on those who overhear.

If you’re in a position to speak or write but you’re at a loss for strategy, my last Friday the 13th column had some useful suggestions that might inspire you.  And if you have a blog of your own, I’m asking you pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top to try; even just a short post would help to amplify the message.  Last year, Dr. Sarah and Amazing Susan heeded the call, and this year I’m hoping for a veritable crowd; whenever one of y’all posts, be sure to email me or announce it in a comment so I can share the link on Twitter.  And don’t worry if you can’t get the post done until later today: every single post y’all make today will be announced and linked in my next Friday the 13th column, only three months down the road on December 13th.  And yes, reblogs of this column are acceptable, and will get your name on the honor roll come December.  It’s time we let the prohibitionists know that if they want to pick on sex workers, we have a whole lot of brothers and sisters they’re going to have to face as well.Forget Your Troubles by Claudia (2010)

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Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.-Thomas Paine

Every Friday the 13th I ask my readers, especially those who are not themselves sex workers, to speak out for decriminalization of prostitution.  This is the third such occasion this year, but it’s also the last one for 14 months (until September 2013), so I want to make it a good one.

Though roughly 10% of modern women have taken money for sex at least once, the great majority of such cases are informal and the payer an acquaintance; only about 1% of women actually work as hookers at some point in their lives, and less than a third of that (just under 0.3%) are thus employed at any given time.  That’s a pitifully small minority, smaller even than the fraction of the population who identify as homosexual (which is between 2-3%); in a more just world even the smallest minority would be treated fairly, but since that isn’t the case in this one it’s imperative we have help from outside our own group.  Gay rights activists drew bisexuals and transgender people into a coalition, but even that would have been too small a minority to matter without the help of friends, family, libertarians and others.

Sex workers, on the other hand, have allowed our already-small numbers to be divided by laws which make arbitrary distinctions between “legal” sex work (such as stripping, phone sex and in some places porn acting) and “illegal” sex work (such as some forms of prostitution; in most of the US it’s all prostitution).  But even if strippers, porn actresses and the various types of what I call “halfway whores” rallied together, I still can’t imagine that making up over 10% of the female population.  As with gay rights, we’re going to need the help of friends, family, libertarians and even true feminists (as opposed to the anti-sex crowd I refer to as “neofeminists”).

Perhaps the most important group whose support needs to be enlisted is men, who make up roughly half the population but much more than half of people in positions of power.  Kinsey found that 69% of men have directly paid for sex at least once in their lives; some recent studies have returned much lower numbers, but this probably has much more to do with increased social stigma in the past three decades and the construction of the questions (e.g. “have you ever procured a prostitute?” vs. “have you ever paid for sex?”) than with the material facts.  Since roughly 67% of men have cheated on their wives or girlfriends, the 69% figure seems highly credible to me; it also jibes with my experience and that of other working girls with whom I’ve discussed the issue.  Of those, fewer than half repeat the experience, and less than a tenth make a habit of it; roughly 20% of all men hire hookers occasionally (such as when they’re at conferences or on business trips) and 6% do so frequently.

Even if we assume that the 50% of men who never see a whore again after their first time were repelled by the experience, that still leaves a fifth of the male population who secretly support us (at least financially).  So why don’t they speak up?  Why are there so few prominent men who are willing to even support our rights as an abstract concept, much less actually admit to enjoying our company on occasion?  Obviously it’s mostly due to the deep-rooted moral hypocrisy of our culture, whose members are willing to crucify exposed “sinners” for “offenses” they themselves have committed many times in secret.  But there’s also the fact that a large fraction of the 90% of women who have not taken direct payment for sex labor under all sorts of illusions and delusions about harlotry, and even a dedicated contrarian who will enthusiastically fly in the face of social institutions may be (understandably) unwilling to risk the disapproval or even outright hostility of his wife, mother, sisters, daughters, etc.

These factors and others were mentioned in a comment by regular reader B.B. Wye on a column I wrote about the difficulties of “Coming Out”; he pointed out that as hard as it is for prostitutes to be “out”, it may be even harder for our clients, especially with “end demand” rhetoric in the ascendancy.  Wye is a musician who expressed his feelings about his favorite type of whore in the song “Midtown Asian Sex Spa”, and in his comment he wrote of his desire to admit authorship of the song and to openly speak out for the rights of women who have given him a great deal of happiness and pleasure.  Another reader who felt the same way wrote to ask me for suggestions on how he could find a middle path, speaking out for sex worker rights without admitting his personal interest in us; here are a few suggestions for him, for B.B., for other clients faced with the same quandary, for working girls who can’t come out themselves and for men and women who have never bought or sold sex, but just care about human rights.

If you’re generally libertarian or civil rights-oriented in your politics it’s easy; all you have to do is argue for decriminalization from a perspective of “people have the right to do what they like with their own bodies”.  As I’ve pointed out in the past, every court decision (including Roe vs. Wade) which upholds abortion rights also upholds the right to sex on one’s own terms, even if money is involved (abortion isn’t free, after all); ditto court decisions overturning sodomy laws like Lawrence vs. Texas.  And obviously, the arguments for drug decriminalization  also apply to prostitution.  If you’re an atheist or skeptic, that’s easy too; in addition to the arguments above you can make statements like “prostitution laws are based on religion and xenophobia, not facts” and “the sex trafficking hysteria is a moral panic like the Satanic Panic and the Red Scare”.

The harm reduction perspective is another good one, and is the approach generally favored by advocates who have a human rights background or strong religious affiliation (including some members of the Catholic clergy):  Prostitution has always been with us and we can’t make it go away with laws any more than the “Drug War” has made drugs go away.  All the Drug War has done is to subject innocent people to invasion of their privacy and make drug users vulnerable to impure drugs, not to mention all those caught in drug-related violence; similarly, anti-prostitution laws help nobody and force prostitutes into the shadows where they can be harmed and exploited.  Furthermore, many governments (including those of New Zealand, New South Wales  and Brazil) have recognized that illegal prostitution invariably leads to police corruption, just as alcohol Prohibition did and drug prohibition still does.

Finally, there’s the feminist approach:  why does society have the right to tell women they can’t make a living with their natural sex-based attributes when it allows men to do so with boxing, bodyguard work, etc?  Furthermore, laws against prostitution invariably subject women’s dress and mannerisms to police scrutiny; women are accused of prostitution for dressing sexily, acting sexily, carrying condoms in their purses, being in certain areas, not wearing underwear, etc.  This is “slut shaming” with criminal consequences.

Even if you are unable to speak out openly you can post anonymous comments on anti-whore articles online (with links to my site and those of other rights advocates), you can donate money to advocacy groups, and you can of course vote (though there are pitifully few chances to employ that strategy in the United States).  Even though any one person’s influence is small, lots of buckets eventually fill a pool.  Readers, we need your help and that of every good man and woman, and anything you can do will be gratefully appreciated.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.  –  Margaret Mead

It’s Friday the 13th again; that means today is the day I ask all of my readers who are not sex workers yourselves to speak out in favor of sex worker rights.  You don’t even need to spotlight it; if you’re afraid of the “anyone who would defend a witch must be a witch herself” syndrome, include it as part of a longer statement about sexual rights or civil rights in general.  With all the talk about birth control rights, abortion rights and marriage rights it’s a small matter to say something like “all people have the right to own and control their own bodies, and that includes birth control, abortion, homosexuality and even prostitution”.  The neofeminists have succeeded in confusing the discourse about sexual freedom so much that many people who support abortion rights don’t recognize that the same arguments can be made for sex worker rights; the “gay rights” lobby has focused so much attention on minutiae that its supporters never consider that the right to choose one’s sex partners also includes prostitutes; and though supporters of drug legalization are embroiled in their own bloody battle, I think a word now and again for the similarities of our causes isn’t too much to ask.  Our staunchest allies are libertarians, who consistently and regularly speak out for our rights…but they’re fighting so many battles on so many fronts against the government Kraken that they can hardly be expected to concentrate on ours.

Many of my readers are sex workers, retired sex workers or clients, but most are not.  I have readers who identify as libertarian, liberal, conservative, socialist, anarchist, minarchist, monarchist and apolitical, and who call themselves Pagans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.  Some consider themselves feminists, others men’s rights advocates, others anti-feminists or humanists or transhumanists or environmentalists or intellectuals or just “geeks”.  And every day this site is visited from nearly every country on the globe, from Canada to New Zealand, from Argentina to Russia, from Great Britain to South Africa and from Morocco to Nepal to Singapore; I’m told many of you even rely on friends or Google for translation from my often-baroque English.  But the one thing you all have in common is a recognition that it is wrong for government to use brute force to suppress the right of individuals to associate with whomever they choose, however they choose and for whatever reason they choose, even if money is involved.  And that’s why I ask all of you today, as I will ask you again on July 13th and on every Friday the 13th for as long as I continue writing this blog, to say, write, post, tweet, link or otherwise promote the cause of sex worker rights, even if it’s just with an anonymous link to this column on some message board somewhere.

The more skeptical or curmudgeonly among you may be saying to yourselves, “Just how many of these hooker-days does this uppity tart expect us to recognize?  We’ve got International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3rd, International Whores’ Day on June 2nd and the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th, plus at least one Friday the 13th per year…isn’t that enough?”  It’s a fair question, but consider:  the prohibitionists libel us, insult us, attack us and agitate for our extermination every day.  Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.

One Year Ago Today

Who Watches the Watchmen?” examines prohibitionists’ efforts to establish themselves as the sole arbiters of morality, sanity and reality.

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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.  –  P.J. O’Rourke

Today is the third Friday the Thirteenth since I’ve been writing The Honest Courtesan, and there will be three such days this year (today, April 13th and July 13th); as it so happens, three is the maximum number of such days in any given year, though each year has at least one.  In my very first column on the subject (Friday, August 13th, 2010) I explained how the superstition arose and why even superstitious whores should consider it lucky for us rather than unlucky:

Given the origin of beliefs about Friday the 13th…even the superstitious whore has nothing to worry about…since Friday is the day sacred to our patron goddess, and 13 the most feminine of numbers, Friday the 13th should be good luck for whores even if it really were bad luck for Christian men.  Now, I’m not really superstitious; I don’t believe that a day can bring either good luck or bad.  But considering that the reasons for fear of this day are so closely related to the reasons our profession is maligned and suppressed, perhaps whores and those who support our rights should make every Friday the Thirteenth a day to speak out in favor of full decriminalization and an end to the institutionalized persecution of prostitutes.

Nine months later (on Friday, May 13th, 2011) I explained why it’s especially important for my readers who aren’t sex workers to speak out:

A number of advocates are working to respond to the lies, propaganda and misinformation wherever we find them, but…we’re often accused of distorting facts to make ourselves look good, and no matter how assiduously we work to present a balanced view this is a natural and credible accusation against anyone who advocates for some issue which directly concerns her.  That’s why allies are so important; it’s much harder for the prohibitionists to shout down people who don’t have a dog in the fight, but merely support prostitutes’ rights on moral grounds.  Every Friday the Thirteenth I will ask my readers, especially those of you who aren’t yourselves sex workers, to speak up for us in some way; talk about the issue with someone who will listen, make a post on a discussion board, comment on a news story which spreads disinformation, or even just post a link to this column.  If you aren’t confident in your ability to debate, even a simple phrase like “I think adult women should have the right to decide why and with whom they want to have sex” or “everyone has the right to equal protection under the law” might have a tiny but important impact on those who overhear.  Because in the final analysis, they’re the ones we have to convince; rational people already support some type of prostitution-law reform and fanatics cannot be convinced by argument because their minds are already made up, but the silent majority – the fence-sitters and swing-voters, the ones who answer “unsure” or “no comment” on polls – are the ones who can and must be made to understand that we are not intrinsically different from other women and deserve the same freedoms and protections that non-harlots take for granted.

Last time around I also offered a synopsis of prohibitionist victories since the last such day, but since I already offered a similar list just two weeks ago I think that would be inexcusably repetitious.  And though there are several other days dedicated to fighting for sex worker rights (namely International Sex Workers’ Rights Day on March 3rd,  International Whores’ Day on June 2nd and International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th), human rights are not something to be discussed only once a year; even six occasions to speak out on the subject are not enough.  For me and many others, every day is Friday the Thirteenth, and so it must remain until people wake up and understand that no collective, “authority” or government has the right to tell women what we can and cannot do with our own bodies.

One Year Ago Today

Harm Reduction” explains the concept of “conditions of victory” and points out that if someone defines “victory” in a struggle as “the achievement of complete and everlasting perfection” he is doomed to eternal disappointment.  The essay further examines the vital social role played by prostitution and comments on the insanity of attempting to suppress it.

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The powerless worship Luck and Fate.  –  Mason Cooley

Back in August I wrote a column about Friday the Thirteenth in which I pointed out that since Friday is Venus’ day and 13 the number of the moon (and thus the traditional number of witches in a coven), we whores should consider it a day of good luck for us even if superstitious Christians think of it as bad luck for them.  As I said in that column, I don’t really believe in luck; I think we largely make our own luck.  However,

…considering that the reasons for fear of this day are so closely related to the reasons our profession is maligned and suppressed, perhaps whores and those who support our rights should make every Friday the Thirteenth a day to speak out in favor of full decriminalization and an end to the institutionalized persecution of prostitutes.  I therefore ask my readers to start a new tradition today; speak out for us to at least one person who will listen, or if you’re not comfortable doing that openly at least make an anonymous post on some other website in defense of us, or containing a link to this column.  Let’s start getting the word out that whores are no different from other women, and that “a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body” is more than just a euphemism for abortion rights.

It’s been a tough nine months for hookers; though the intelligent, computer-literate segment of the population is clearly in favor of decriminalization by a comfortable margin and more public figures (including judges and police) are daring to question the status quo, we’ve also seen aggressive misinformation campaigns from the trafficking fanatics (aided and abetted by the mainstream media despite the inability of their claims to stand up to even the most cursory examination).  Governments all over the Western world are beginning to recognize in the “Swedish Model” a way to infantilize and control women while convincing the fanatical neofeminists and their brainwashed disciples that they’re actually advancing the cause of women’s rights; in the United States, this is being combined with strategies to enrich police departments and governments by robbing men accused of hiring or assisting prostitutes.  And though a number of intelligent people have come forward to support our right to control our own bodies, the public prefers to listen to empty-headed celebrities like Mira Sorvino, Demi Moore and Ashley Judd, who make a good living in the public branch of our shared profession but wish to suppress the freedom of (or at least destroy the income of) those of us who prefer the private branch.

A number of advocates are working to respond to the lies, propaganda and misinformation wherever we find them, but we can only do so much and we’re often outnumbered by the brainwashed zombie slaves of the “trafficking” witch-hunters.  Also, we’re often accused of distorting facts to make ourselves look good, and no matter how assiduously we work to present a balanced view this is a natural and credible accusation against anyone who advocates for some issue which directly concerns her.  That’s why allies are so important; it’s much harder for the prohibitionists to shout down people who don’t have a dog in the fight, but merely support prostitutes’ rights on moral grounds.  Every Friday the Thirteenth I will ask my readers, especially those of you who aren’t yourselves sex workers, to speak up for us in some way; talk about the issue with someone who will listen, make a post on a discussion board, comment on a news story which spreads disinformation, or even just post a link to this column.  If you aren’t confident in your ability to debate, even a simple phrase like “I think adult women should have the right to decide why and with whom they want to have sex” or “everyone has the right to equal protection under the law” might have a tiny but important impact on those who overhear.  Because in the final analysis, they’re the ones we have to convince; rational people already support some type of prostitution-law reform and fanatics cannot be convinced by argument because their minds are already made up, but the silent majority – the fence-sitters and swing-voters, the ones who answer “unsure” or “no comment” on polls – are the ones who can and must be made to understand that we are not intrinsically different from other women and deserve the same freedoms and protections that non-harlots take for granted.

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