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Posts Tagged ‘social purity’

We have a culture where men are more embarrassed about paying for sex than having sex with women who are too drunk to consent.
–  Cathy Reisenwitz

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Funny how many cops who are willing to pay prefer underage girls:

Larry Allen Clay…and Kristen Naylor-Legg…were both charged with sex trafficking of a minor [because]…on two separate occasions in June 2020, Clay…the Chief of Police for..Gauley Bridge [West Virginia]…paid $50 to Naylor-Legg to have sex with a 17-year-old girl [who is apparently a migrant because]…ICE [is involved]…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralists love their rats & their subtle dysphemisms:

…researchers…gave adolescent rats free access to a sugar-sweetened beverage [much more concentrated than] those that humans drink and then tested their memories using two methods when the rats became adults…the rats that had consumed [pathologically-]high levels [of] sugary drinks had more difficulty with memory that uses a region of the brain called the hippocampus compared with rats that only drank water…the [excessive]…sugar consumption seems to…[have] change[d]…the gut microbiome…[which in turn seems to] alter the function of a particular region of the brain [in rats]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#851)

“Foreign visitors do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

[UK charity] Oxfam is facing new allegations of…bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following [white saviors’ freakout] th[at some Oxfam employees purchased services from entrepreneurs in] Haiti…The charity has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that allege intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism…[which arose] after…[prohibitionists were disappointed] that…the[re was insufficient hysteria about mundane transactions which brought much-needed]…money…in[to]…Haiti…[politicians bloviated] that the latest allegations strengthened the case for [denying poor countries]…water and sanitation projects [if]…an[yone among]…the emergency [workers has sexual desires]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#991)

It looks as though Boudin is indeed following through with the policies he campaigned on:

Panelists at “Sex Work Decrim 101: Evidence-based approaches to policy”…call[ed] for the complete removal of sex work from the state’s criminal law codes.  One fan of that idea is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin…”I’m a big believer in the decriminalization of sex work, which I think will help us become safer in concrete ways”…Boudin said…”It’s not something I would ever prosecute, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, if it is consensual between adults”…Panelist Maggie McNeill…wanted to impress upon the attendees the importance of the district attorney’s stance…she [also]…explained the distinction [of decriminalization versus legalization] through an analogy to the restaurant business…

Tony Montoya, a gay man who is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, did not respond to a request for comment [on a law forbidding a common pretext for harassing sex workers].

Lipstick on a Pig

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

Two [typical and representative] Texas [cop]s have been indicted fo[r murdering]…a Black man [by] repeatedly…taser[ing him during a pretext]…stop [being] filmed for a [cop glorification] TV show.  Javier Ambler…[was murdered on] March 28, 2019…[during] a…traffic stop…[using the pretext that he] fail[ed] to dim headlights for oncoming traffic…the A&E network show Live PD…was canceled weeks after the killing of George Floyd amid widespread protests over police brutality and racism…Ambler was tasered four times, according to body cam footage of the [murder], despite telling the [pigs] that he suffered from…congestive heart failure…Ambler…can be heard [repeatedly] saying…”I can’t breathe”

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

{sings} One of these things is not like the others

A [New Jersey cop named]…Richard F. Haffner…sexually assault[ed] a girl who worked for him at his…restaurant on numerous occasions starting when she was 15 years old, and then tr[ied] to get her to lie to investigators…Prosecutor[s seem to think it’s important that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…Haffner [w]as…suspended without pay…[because prosecutors also] charged him with…offering an acquaintance money for sex…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against OnlyFans is heating up:

Paul Gosar [a politician from Arizona] sent a[n open] letter…to the Department of Justice demanding that OnlyFans be…prosecuted for “promoting prostitution” under a…Segregation-era law called the “White Slave Traffic Act”…also known as the Mann Act…[apparently because Gosar believes that viewing a picture of a woman taken in a different state is the equivalent of] transport[ing] women across state lines…

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In the wake of the Atlanta sex worker murders, I’m again seeing partisans pretending that the War on Whores is only supported by one of their imaginary “wings”.  DO NOT BELIEVE THIS.  Authoritarians who label themselves “left” are 100% as invested in the oppression of sex workers as those who label themselves “right”.  It is impossible to overstate how wrongheaded is the notion that the drive for censorship and increased state violence vs sex workers (and everyone associated with us) is only a “conservative” or “right-wing” campaign.  “Social purity” campaigns have been a wholly bipartisan crusade since their invention in the late 19th century.  Just because soi-disant “conservatives” pretend their justification is “God” and soi-disant “progressives” pretend their justification is “gender equality” doesn’t mean their behavior is any differentEvery single law designed to “regulate”, “monitor”, “protect”, or otherwise interfere in the lives of sex workers is a wholly-bipartisan affair.  Ignore the partisans trying to pretend otherwise in order to divert your attention from half of schemes to inflict violence; no matter what their excuses, if they support state control over people’s personal lives, they are dangerous busybodies regardless what color hat they wear.

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I thought y’all might enjoy this Twitter conversation I recently had, primarily with Matisse and Carol Leigh; it touches on a number of themes that recur frequently in my work.  Twitter conversations tend to branch, but I think I’ve managed to gather the main elements I want to share.

 

 

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Kristof…has never found a victim of a sexual crime that he cannot “humanize” by going through their ordeal in exploitative detail.  –  Gustavo Turner

Policing for Profit (#816)

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

…under…a s[cheme politicians] and top cops have touted in recent years [as a way] to combat [imaginary “]human trafficking[“, gangs]…of NYPD [vice pigs] have descended on minority neighborhoods, leaning into car windows and knocking on apartment doors, trying to get men and women to…agree…to exchange sex for money.  These arrests are based…entirely on the word of cops, who…are incentivized to round up as many “bodies” as they can.  Some of their targets were selling sex to survive; others were minding their own business.  Almost everyone arrested for these crimes in the last four years is nonwhite…89% of the 1,800 charged with prostitution; 93% of the 3,000 accused of trying to buy sex…People living paycheck to paycheck lost their jobs over [imaginary] crimes…[because] facing multiple court hearings and the threat of jail time, they took quick deals to move on with their lives.  [One] former [vice sow admitted to]…ProPublica she participated in false arrests…Eighteen current and former [vice pigs admitted that]…overtime has motivated them for years.  The hours add up over the drive to the precinct, the questioning, the paperwork…

Choke Point (#847)

Since “Choke Point” was never banned or declared unconstitutional, there’s currently nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back:

…the…Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…led the charge with Operation Chokepoint.  [But] under the leadership of acting director…Brian Brooks, the OCC has proposed a rule change that would make government-supported financial suppression much harder legally….[by] mak[ing] use of an Obama-era law to stave off future Obama-style injustices.  The Dodd-Frank Act…authorized the OCC to ensure that nationally chartered banks provide “fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers.”  The intention was that minority customers be evaluated for creditworthiness on [their] own individual merits rather than the attributes of their broader group.  In other words, a creditworthy individual shouldn’t be punished because they belong to some group that is considered “high risk” in the aggregate.  The OCC would like to apply this thinking to industries through the proposed “Fair Access to Financial Services” rule.  The largest banks in the country..would be prohibited from red-lining politically disfavored industries just as they are prohibited from red-lining politically oppressed populations.  Rather, a gun manufacturer or pornography company or payday lender must be evaluated on the terms of their individual creditworthiness…Large banks will not be allowed to cut off financial access for disfavored industries just because the government or some other powerful group leans on them to do so…

Watershed (#941)

This article doesn’t contain anything that sex worker activists haven’t said, and journalist allies haven’t reported, a thousand times before.  What makes it notable is that it appeared (albeit as an op-ed) on the website of CNN, the TV news-entertainment-product purveyor which has done more than any other to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria since the days when Craigslist was supposedly run by Satan’s personal pimp.  Biden & Harris are both arch-prohibitionists with zero interest in making things better for sex workers, and the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria won’t do anything to remove all the oppressive, racist, misogynistic, anti-sex laws which were enacted under its aegis.  But it will mean we don’t have to listen to quite so many cops, politicians, religious fanatics, profiteers, and other (barely) human garbage vomiting out their wanking fantasies of enslaved pubescent girls being raped a physically-impossible number of times per day any more.  And it will also make it possible for more activists and allies to speak out about decriminalization without being drowned out by a flood of lurid tragedy porn, and for politicians in search of an angle to file bills to mitigate some of the damage.  And that is at least a good start.

Panopticon (#1030)

The article omits to say that these spy devices were designed and built in China:

…the Chula Vista [California] police…can dispatch a flying drone with the press of button…to…[spy] on…[people] and…[catch] everything [they do] on camera…Each day, the Chula Vista police respond to as many as 15 [informant] calls with a drone, launching more than 4,100 flights since the program began two years ago…Over the last several months, three other cities — two in California and one in Georgia — have followed suit…the latest drone technology…has the power to transform everyday polic[e surveillance]…even small [cop shops] could operate tiny autonomous drones for a relative pittance.  That newfound automation, however, raises civil liberties concerns, especially as drones gain the power to track vehicles and people automatically.  As the police use more drones, they could collect and store more video of life in the city, which could remove any expectation of privacy once you leave the home…Jay Stanley…[of] the American Civil Liberties Union..[said] “Drones…are…sensors that can generate offenses”…

Just wait until they start combining this with “deepfake” technology to manufacture any kind of “evidence” they like.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Dangerous puritan Nick Kristof and his enablers, the staunchly prohibitionist New York Times, have launched yet another pro-censorship crusade:

Nicholas Kristof [has] published a sensationalistic call for state censorship and financial strangulation of Pornhub…Kristof actually had the reporting to write a nuanced piece about the substantial problems with content moderation that plague all platforms that depend on third-party content, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, [etc]…but that’s not what Kristof and the editors of the New York Times chose to do, instead turning the piece into a manipulative attempt to insert themselves in the complex debates around Section 230…free speech online and sexual expression among consenting adults…Everything about “The Children of Pornhub” is exploitative, from the testimonials, to the absolutely misguided photo essay taking advantage of a homeless teen…As of this writing, Kristof continues to tweet the victim’s photo at public officials in the U.S. and Canada to manipulate them into “doing something about” Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1088)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Portsmouth, Virginia [cop] Cleshaun Cox…abduct[ed and raped a 17-year-old girl] on May 27, 2019…she was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of…[an] apartment…[complex] when [the rapist and a crony showed up, claiming they’d]…responded to a noise complaint…Cox…told…he[r]…that she was out past curfew…and told her and [her] passenger…that they needed to drive home immediately…Cox followed her…[stalking] her [as she got] gas, then…[after she dropped] her friend [off at] home…he [began threatening her, then]…tried to persuade…[h]er to have sex with him [via a combination of promises and threats.  Eventually] he drove her to another location…[and] raped her…

Winding Down

It’s unlikely this will pass the Senate, but it’s a big sign of change nonetheless:

…the [US] House of Representatives voted to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, which was originally imposed 83 years ago in the guise of a revenue measure. The vote was 228 to 164, with five Republicans …joining 222 Democrats and [Libertarian] Justin Amash…in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eliminate federal criminal penalties for cultivation, distribution, and possession…In addition…the MORE Act would require automatic expungement of federal marijuana convictions…prohibit the denial of federal public benefits because of convictions involving cannabis consumption and eliminate immigration disabilities based on marijuana-related conduct…

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Smart people…[a]re better than dumber people at coming up with reasons to justify their false beliefs.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

See No Evil (#424)

Censors have learned to use “progressive” rhetoric to cloak prudery:

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe playfully patting down her upblown skirt is the source of a [moronic] debate in Palm Springs, California.  The town’s city council has approved the…recreation of the act[ress]’s iconic scene atop a blustery subway grate from…The Seven Year Itch—to be installed near the Palm Springs Art Museum for a three-year period.  But…[prudes, busybodies and censors are dis]pleased with the decision…the museum’s executive director…Louis Grachos [made furtive movements in his pants while bloviating weird fantasies about underwear]…“school-age children”…and [how the]…statue [magically] objectifies women…[thereby] “hurt[ing] our whole community”…Steven H. Maloney, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, [opined that women are so stupid that a painted hunk of metal constitutes]…“an unhealthy encouragement of risqué behavior of women”…

I have a hard time imagining what a lower opinion of women than that displayed by these pompous weeds would look like.

Policing Womanhood

Cathy Reisenwitz has further thoughts on the origin of whore-hatred in women:

As my friend and fellow sex worker Maggie McNeill points out, public polling suggests men are more likely to support sex work decrim than women…Maggie thinks that the main reason women oppose sex work decrim is that women tend to think of women’s individual behavior as reflecting on women as a whole and think sex work is a bad look…I think there’s truth to that, but it lacks an important class angle…middle-class white women began campaigning for laws against prostitution and defining any type of promiscuity as prostitution in the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century…Middle-class white women feared female economic independence threatened dominant middle-class values.  By making prostitution dangerous and illegal, middle-class white women sought to force working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women into marriage, chastity, monogamy, hard work, and propriety lest they live independently of men and destroy the social order…

To Molest and Rape (#825)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A man who [was raped by] a [typical and representative] South Carolina [cop]…is suing the city of Travelers Rest…The [cop], Shawn Jenkins, was fired from the [cop shop] last year after…[the] Sheriff’s Office…[only] charged [him] with second-degree sexual misconduct…The plaintiff, who filed the suit anonymously, told investigators Jenkins pointed a department-issued stun gun at him while he was visiting Jenkins’ residence on Aug. 5, 2019, and told him to “strip or be tased”…The [then-underage victm] tried to run away, but [Jenkins] locked [him] inside a room [and raped him]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

In Maine, voters in the state’s largest city recently enacted one of the toughest facial recognition bans in the country in the Nov. 3 elections, outlawing both use of the technology by local police and the city government…the measure codifies – [but adds only weak] enforcement teeth – to a ban…passed in August by the Portland City Council…The new law allows citizens to sue the city for illegal facial recognition surveillance by the city police or government.  Citizens could get [a mere] $1,000 per violation plus legal fees, if they prevail in court.  Municipal employees [but not cops] can be fired [but not criminally prosecuted] for violating the [law]…

Welcome to the Future (#1073)

Pasco County, Florida’s “predictive policing” scheme doesn’t spare minors:

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it [pretend]s could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school…the list [is created] by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records so sensitive, they’re protected by state and federal law…Four hundred and twenty kids are [currently] on the list…[cops do]n’t tell the kids or their parents about the designation…an[d]…school…[administrators claim to have been] unaware…of [it as well]…The Department of Children and Families [refused to] answer…the Sheriff’s Office…use[s the list] to [target]…middle and high school…[students for surveillance and harassment euphemized as] “mentorship” and “resources”…Ten experts in law enforcement and student privacy…called the program…a clear misuse of children’s confidential information that stretched the limits of the law…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1086)

Why are Nevada brothel whores unable to open their mouths without vomiting out toxic whorearchy?

…[brothel whores unemployed] because of COVID-19…say they are being forced to make money in what they call dangerous, scary and illegal ways…the long shutdown is depleting their savings and they’re going broke waiting to work again.  That is forcing some of them to turn to things they didn’t want to to make money, like illegal prostitution.  One…says…”it’s so degrading and so scary”…Another…admits to illegally meeting with a Mustang Ranch regular…she trusted him but…he beat and choked her…two [say they] decided to turn a trick in Arizona…but…the…man…ended up holding them hostage in the bathroom at gun point…The madams also say they’re seeing some of their workers walking the streets now with…pimps…”If you walk into a casino, the floor is filled with illegal prostitutes and pimps”…

Apparently these whores are both incompetent and cursed, so that in a few months they’ve experienced more violence than every escort I know put together has experienced in years.

Dangerous Speech (#1087)

It’s symptomatic of the government’s deep moral rot that she wasn’t automatically disqualified:

On Nov. 18, veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin took the extraordinary step of filing a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to intervene in their ongoing criminal case and order Judge Susan Brnovich to recuse herself from all future proceedings…her husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark…Brnovich, others on his behalf and organizations with which he is associated…have vilified Backpage, assumed its complicity in sex trafficking, and drawn conclusions about facts that will be at issue in the trial of Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants…[although] the AG’s inaccurate assumptions about Backpage go to the heart of the case and raise the specter of potential bias on behalf of the judge[, she has stubbornly refused to recuse herself]…

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This isn’t just a few rogue agents or “bad apples”.  –  Daniel Martinez

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Only bootlickers think the “cashless society” is a good thing:

…for the business of stripping, the end of cash is causing a crisis.  A club makes the majority of its profits in credit card charges at the door, the bar, and the private rooms; the cash that flies around has always belonged to the strippers…without cash…club[s are]…free to exploit.  Cash handed directly to a dancer gets pocketed, but credit card charges are skimmed—and because workers are more or less off the books, we have no recourse to contest absurdly high fees.  When a customer pays several hundred dollars to spend time in a dark room alone with a dancer, the club takes a 70 percent cut…When the customer runs out of cash bills and doesn’t want to pay the exorbitant fee at the club’s ATM (which is often, conveniently, broken) the club will take roughly 30 percent out of every dance dollar—plastic bills representing the cost of a lap dance.  That’s on top of a roughly $100 nightly fee that dancers pay in order to work…cash allows sex workers access to reliable and untraceable income, it makes it possible to avoid the discrimination inherent in the banking system, it allows us to hide our work from outside scrutiny…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of sex workers:

…members from South India AIDS Action Programme (SIAAP) [spoke]…at a discussion on “Sex work is work: Rethinking labour, consent and agency”.  The stigma around sex workers further marginalises them, said Shyamala Nataraj…“State governments often claim to rescue sex workers from red light zones.  If you follow the issue carefully, you’ll observe that the rescue will shortly be followed by a real estate venture in the area”…

With Friends Like These…

What kind of warped mind quotes prohibitionist myths while contradicting the wishes of the sex workers it claims to want to “help”?

…decriminalization like what [every single sex worker activist, every academic who has actually studied the issue and every human rights group want] is the worst option. More permissive sex work laws are associated with more sex works of all kinds…attract[ing] more traffickers [from prohibitionist sex fantasies]…Decriminalizing also does not protect willing, adult sex workers…because [surveillance, outing, and rape & persecution by cops constitute “protection”]…The better alternative is legalization…[including] a thorough background check and [compulsory, ongoing invasion of sex workers’ privacy by bureaucrats and rapist cops]…

Monsters 

“Written assurance” is like a “restraining order”:

A man in Pakistan has been arrested [for the murder of] his transgender daughter…19-year-old [Maya]…had left home and was living with friends in the city of Peshawar.  Her family attempted to [lure] her [back to their] home on [June 29th].  Maya’s friends, concerned for her safety, contacted the police….[who] allowed family members to take Maya [back] to the city of Nowshera…Aurangzeb Akbar, the teenager’s father, provided the police with a written assurance that he would not harm his child.  Maya’s bullet-ridden body was discovered just hours later…beside a river bank…Police…are…reportedly searching for Maya’s uncle and brothers…

To Molest and Rape

Just protecting and serving:

A cop in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been charged with rape after…he repeatedly [raped] a 16-year-old homeless girl in her tent [after threatening her with nonexistent arrest warrants]…Kevin Garneau…is facing up to 40 years in prison…[after a] grand jury indicted him…Garneau’s police department didn’t learn about [his raping homeless girls]…until January — nearly three years after the [rapes]…and [rewarded him with a paid vacation]…up until the indictment…

Believe Them

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

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas…and posted…vulgar illustration[s]…group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to…a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died [in a cage] in May…the…group…boasts roughly 9,500 [typical and representative] members from across the country…The patrol…[has] approximately 20,000 [pigs in all, so the group represents half of them]…Perhaps the most [typical and coppish] posts target Ocasio-Cortez.  One includes a photo [manipulation]…of a smiling President Donald Trump forcing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Please, rescue industry, keep attacking the institution that most promotes your narrative:

…The credibility of the TIP Report must first and foremost be grounded in the integrity of the government issuing the report…U.S. policies are deliberately eroding protections for the most vulnerable among us.  Not only is this approach ineffectual to reduce human trafficking, this puts the United States’ standing as a leader on human rights in question…the United States is increasingly denying human trafficking survivors’ access to T Visas, which were explicitly created to [bribe people to sing as directed by prosecutors]…the administration’s zero tolerance and the “Remain in Mexico” border policies…empower…traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

Over the past two years, an estimated 1 million Muslim Uighurs have been rounded up and [imprisoned] in…”re-education camps.”  It’s extremely difficult to report from the Uighur homeland of China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. Journalists are followed wherever they go and prevented from visiting certain places or speaking with locals.  So we posed as tourists and snuck in wearing hidden cameras.  Twice.  What we witnessed was an Orwellian state unlike any place on earth.  We got a chilling, up-close look at how the Chinese government is using the world’s most advanced surveillance technology to spy on every aspect of Uighur life, and how Uighur men are taken away by the police in the middle of the night.  Most disturbingly of all, we learned how many Uighur children are being separated from their families and brought up by the state — as if they are orphans.  They’re prevented from speaking in their native tongue and indoctrinated with Party propaganda.  The goal of all this is clear: the total erasure of an entire religion, culture and ethnicity…

Safe Position (#947)

The concept of “human rights” becomes incomprehensible to Americans in proximity to the word “sex”:

..pervert-friendly…Tiffany Cabán…pimps and johns…gigantic brothel…sex tourism…[quote from CATW]…sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and depression…denizens of cathouses…epicenter of sex work in New York City…disgrace…normalizing hooking…troubled people…unhealthy…Teen Vogue…is urging youngsters…as young as 13…to dump their professional goals…shame…protect[s]…kids from being used…violence is caused by…pimps and buyers of human flesh…dangerous and soul-crushing pastime…

Since this “article” is basically just one big ball of stupid, I simply extracted all the especially-pompous puritanism so you could get a whiff without having to dive into this burning dumpster.

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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  –  Mahatma Gandhi

NY Times magazine cover 5-8-16One of the points I cover in every basic presentation I give on sex worker rights is that criminalization is a very recent idea.  Invariably, most of the audience is surprised; having been reared in a culture soaked in anti-whore propaganda, they take it for granted that “naturally” we’ve always been persecuted, because victimization and “pimps” and disease and THE CHILDREN!  But of course, this is nonsense; though many cultures have come up with laws intended to restrict or “regulate” whoring, the idea that it was an evil which needed to be eradicated by state violence is a 19th-century one, rooted in racism and “progressive” Victorian thought about “correcting” the human race by using law to enforce a Puritanical agenda.  Prohibition of sex work sprang from the same filthy, poisonous soil as did eugenics, anti-masturbation torture devices and the prohibition of alcohol and drugs.  But while the former two ideas are widely recognized as dangerous nonsense and the latter is slowly dying, the use of armed thugs to commit pogroms against peaceful adults because authoritarians don’t like their reasons for having sex is still going strong.  That, however, cannot endure indefinitely; the internet has made it impossible to silence the voices of sex workers any longer, and study after study has concluded that we are correct when we say that criminalization is an evil which harms not only whores and our clients, but our families, friends and associates.

Furthermore, as we should have learned from the obscenity of alcohol Prohibition, the only way to stop adults from engaging in consensual behavior is to empower the cops to spy on people, violate their civil rights and destroy their lives.  Not that this actually stops the prohibited behaviors, mind you; no campaign of prohibition in history has ever worked.  But prohibitionist laws allow the state to terrorize the population and “send a message” that free thought is forbidden, and that the almighty State is the arbiter of right and wrong.  As should be obvious from the glacially-slow process of stopping the Drug War that every decent person in the world recognizes as an abject failure, modern fascist states like the US are heavily invested in the violent enforcement of arbitrary bans on peaceful, consensual behaviors.  Cronies have become fabulously wealthy via deals with prohibitionist governments, the machinery of the police state needs bodies to be fed into it, and those whose power derives from mindless obedience to nonsensical rules are not about to let go of such power without a fight.

But if history teaches us anything, it’s that respect for individual human rights is increasing; the majority of people no longer feel morally comfortable with the subjugation of minorities and the violent suppression of private behavior.  That’s why over a decade ago prohibitionists changed over to the “sex trafficking” paradigm, and why their rhetoric largely consists of the repetition of tragedy porn and the assertion of the ridiculous idea that every sex worker who speaks in public is lying, and that there is some invisible multitude of “victims” out there who will be magically helped by taking away their income and subjugating them to the control of gangs of violent rapists.  The problem with this sort of strategy is that it can’t be sustained forever; moral panics die, and the scales fall from people’s eyes, and both individuals and institutions wake up to the truth.  A few years ago the wind started to shift in favor of sex workers’ rights again; many more individuals began to question criminalization, and then last year we passed the watershed moment when Amnesty International officially espoused decriminalization as a policy, and the federal government’s ill-considered raid on Rentboy brought Gay, Inc grudgingly over to our side.  Make no mistake, the prohibitionists are terrified; they feel their grip on the narrative slipping, and they know they will lose it just as they lost other fights against the principles of self-ownership and sexual self-determination.  If you read some of the prohibitionist reaction to last week’s New York Times Magazine piece, you can practically smell that fear.  They’re losing, and they know it.  They’re going to double down on their efforts, and the number of pogroms will increase in order to “teach us our place”.  And that just means we need to hold the course all the more.

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COME GET UR BITE.  –  “Officer” Keith Bush

Not quite a video, but in video format; this is the Philip K. Dick story “Impostor” adapted as a radio play.  And if you like that one, here are five more.  They were provided by Jesse Walker, who also gave us “Carmilla”; the other links were contributed by Cathy Reisenwitz (“protect”), Tushy Galore (“KKK”), Nun Ya  (“Christmas” and “18”), and Wendy Lyon (“limited”).

From the Archives

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There’s this notion of treating sex workers like children who need watching over, but we don’t, and our model is evidence of that.  –  Catherine Healy

eugenics treeFor years I have held the position that the cause of sex worker rights, as part of the whole fabric of recognition of the individual’s right to be unmolested by the state due to private sexual behavior, must inevitably succeed.  As civilization has developed, respect for individual civil rights has steadily grown; certainly the growth has been neither smooth nor consistent, but as a rule the rights of individuals are greater at any randomly-selected point on the timeline of history than they were at any randomly-selected previous point.  For the past century or so the development of individual rights has been impeded by the cancer known as Progressivism, the belief that “experts” have more right to determine what is “good” for any individual than that individual has to determine that for himself, and that said “experts” have the right to dispatch armed thugs to use violence to punish those who dare to violate the arbitrary pronouncements of those experts, in order to terrorize the greater population into meek obedience.  But the bloody consequences of “progressive” thought are at last becoming obvious to all but the True Believers and the hopelessly collectivist, and it’s only a matter of time before drug prohibition follows eugenics, and prohibition of pragmatic sexual activity follows prohibition of non-procreative sexual activity, onto the ash-heap of history.

In recent years, the prohibitionists who saw this trend have been fighting a last, desperate, all-out campaign against the inevitable; it’s no accident that “sex trafficking” hysteria appeared on the scene immediately after three huge developments in sexual freedom (loosening of restrictions on sex work in Germany, decriminalization in New Zealand and the abolition of “sodomy” laws in the US) made it obvious that state control of individual sexual behavior was on its way out.  But any campaign driven entirely by disinformation, conflation, negation of individual agency and pure moral panic cannot last forever, no matter how many billions are pumped into it; slowly but surely the truth will out.  Since the summer of 2012 momentum for decriminalization has been building outside of the demimonde, and a broad coalition of UN agencies, health officials, human rights groups, think tanksacademics and journalists has joined sex workers in demanding that the state keep its filthy hands out of whores’ lingerie.  For over two years now I’ve been waiting for signs that our society had reached the watershed moment, the point at which the momentum would begin to run away from prohibition and toward respect for individual rights again, and I think that finally came two weeks ago when Amnesty International declared its support for decriminalization.  Since then, prohibitionists’ wailing and gnashing of teeth has largely been drowned out by the sounds of jubilation from the harlots’ camp, and a chorus of assent from many who had remained silent on the issue for a long time, such as drug anti-prohibitionist Richard Branson; even prohibitionist-leaning news organizations like The Guardian and Al Jazeera published op-eds cheering the Amnesty decision.  But none of them were as welcome to me as the statement from venerable GLBT rights group Lambda Legal:

…we…applaud and support Amnesty International’s recent resolution to protect the human rights of sex workers by calling for decriminalization of sex work…For many LGBT people, participation in street economies is often critical to survival…Transgender people engage in sex work at a rate ten times that of cisgender women, and 13% of transgender people who experience family rejection have done sex work…LGBT people are regularly profiled, harassed, and criminalized based on the presumption that they are sex workers, contributing to the high rates of incarceration and police brutality experienced by these communities …Laws criminalizing sexual exchange—whether by the seller or the buyer—impede sex workers’ ability to negotiate condom use and other boundaries, and force many to work in hidden or remote places where they are more vulnerable to violence.  Research and experience have shown that these laws serve only to drive the industry further underground…We look forward to working…with sex workers and…Amnesty International, to replace laws that criminalize sex work with public policies that address sex workers’ real…needs.

Lamda-LegalThis is huge; Lambda was a major player in the advances in gay rights over the past forty years, and its support may give our movement the much-needed legal firepower that the ACLU’s abdication of its responsibilities has cheated us of for decades.  To be sure, the conditions mentioned in this statement are nothing new, and had mainstream gay rights organizations not been obsessively dedicated to pursuing the agenda of white, middle-class, monogamous, vanilla gay folk for this entire century so far, they could have been addressing these issues long ago.  But if they’re willing to stop ignoring us at last, and to put their might behind us in earnest, I for one am willing to forgive them.  Gay rights groups, anti-prohibitionist groups, sex-positive groups…I don’t know where you’ve been hiding for the past eleven years, or what you’ve been waiting for to speak up.  But if that’s finally changed, we can discuss it later; right now you’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and we are sorely in need of your help.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on November 16th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

Salvation Army womenEvery time one reads an article that doesn’t mindlessly parrot “sex trafficking” hysteria or some other aspect of the anti-sex movement, yet isn’t written by a sex worker or ally, one can be sure there will be an obligatory sentence about how it’s “surprising” or “paradoxical” or whatever that neofeminists are in bed with evangelical Christians.  The only people who could actually consider this alliance to be anything other than wholly predictable are those who A) believe in the ridiculous “left wing-right wing” dichotomy which “was a poor fit to real political landscapes when it was first used in reference to the French Assembly more than 200 years ago and has become completely worthless since”; B) accept fanatical cults’ propaganda about their motives as truthful even if it demonstrably conflicts with their public behavior; and C) are completely ignorant of the history of the Anglo-American anti-sex movement.  My early essay “Traitors To Their Sex”  provides a brief sketch of this history, starting with the influential and charismatic Victorian feminist, Josephine Butler:

…who recognized that English law of the time…stripped prostitutes of their rights as Englishwomen and so campaigned tirelessly for the repeal of those laws for 16 years.  At the same time, Butler (like most Victorians) believed that women were essentially asexual, and so could not accept that any woman might freely choose to exploit the male sexual appetite in order to earn a living; the very idea was anathema to her rigid Christian thinking.  She therefore concluded that it was actually whores who were the exploited ones, childlike victims of male lust who had been forced into lives of “degradation” by male oppression…after the repeal of the Contagious Disease Acts in 1886 prostitutes were no longer the cause célèbre; when they refused to repent their whoredom and embrace “honest work” and conventional morality the feminists abandoned their sympathy like yesterday’s newspaper and declared war on our entire profession, vowing to abolish it entirely.  Butler founded the Social Purity Alliance…dedicated to imposing middle-class Victorian standards of chastity (i.e. repugnance for sex) onto men, and it was but the first of a host of similar organizations which sprang up on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the 1880s and ‘90s…middle-class “feminists” had shown their true colors and abandoned the drive to win rights for the disenfranchised in favor of one which aimed to restrict the rights of everyone…The purity crusaders used many propaganda weapons…but chief among these were disease scares and the “white slavery” hysteria…the unholy alliance of middle-class feminists and puritanical religious zealots managed to convince the public, the media and governments that there was a huge international trade in underage girls, abducted and forced into sexual slavery…The fact that there was absolutely no evidence for such a vast conspiracy made no difference whatsoever; the public devoured lurid stories of child prostitution, and…voluntary adult prostitution was banned or severely restricted under the excuse of combating involuntary prostitution of “children”…

In other words, though some early feminists (such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges) were individualists who were not at all anti-sex, feminism did not become a popular movement until it embraced a rigid, puritanical morality.  These “first wave” feminists were not merely anti-prostitution, but anti-pleasure; among other things, they campaigned against the “evil” of masturbation and drove the movement which eventually imposed Prohibition on the United States.  So although this early feminism died out in the Great Depression, it is wholly unsurprising that its legacy soon infected the “second wave” which flourished in the 1960s and ‘70s; by the mid-‘80s the anti-sex forces had not only taken over feminism, but had sought out and once again joined their old allies, evangelical Christians, in another loathsome attempt to impose a puritanical anti-sex regime on all of society.  Almost exactly a century after the first iteration of their social engineering crusade, they’ve brought back most of their old rhetoric (now blended with another morally-bankrupt 19th-century belief system, Marxism) and many of their old tactics, including “white slavery” hysteria (now called “sex trafficking”).

This is what a feminist's victim looks likeAs I’ve pointed out before, much of the language in “sex trafficking” and other anti-sex articles and essays is positively Victorian, and even when it isn’t the attitudes are.  Women like Julie Bindel and Meghan Murphy, who would almost certainly take exception with (or even ridicule) the notion that their attitudes fit more in the late 19th century than the early 21st, nonetheless expend considerable effort in arguing for massive censorship campaigns (even though they deny it) and trying to convince other women that only feminist thought leaders have the right to determine which kinds of sex constitute “rape” or “exploitation”, and that their individual consent is immaterial (the result of “false consciousness”, itself a 19th-century Marxist concept).  The “end demand” campaign backed by the Fawcett Society (itself founded in 1866) is based in the tired old Victorian conceit that men can be “taught” to dislike sex as much as prudish women do; furthermore, the recent revelation that the £45 “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” T-shirts hawked by the Society are made in Dickensian sweatshops reveals that middle-class white women’s trivial concerns still trump the serious problems of working-class and brown-skinned women, just as they did in the days when the sun never set on the Empire.  And I think we can all agree that the mind which can produce over 3100 words on whether porn can be “ethical” or “feminist” is one which could’ve been perfectly delighted with thinking up new venereal nouns or arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  So no, it isn’t at all surprising that evangelical feminists conspire with evangelical Christians to make normal people’s lives as miserable as possible; they’ve been doing it for as long as there’s been such a thing as “feminism”.

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