For many years, sex work was a solution. I could work and go to school. I could travel, live and work all over the world, participating in unpaid internships taken for granted as part of the undergraduate experience. As an undergraduate, I worked at two domestic violence shelters and as a rape crisis counselor. I went on to work in nonprofit development, grant-writing for a Somali women’s health organization in London, UK and, later, for a nonprofit that ran after-school programs for disadvantaged girls here in New York City, where I eventually made my home. In graduate school, I worked as a consultant for a high-profile feminist organization while also working as a research assistant in the Pediatrics Department of a public hospital. During this same time, I sold sex.
Sex work defines the people who do it like no other occupation. Associated with deviance, drug use, mental illness and disease, to be labelled a “prostitute” is to be cast as the lowest of the low. No matter the realities of our experiences, we are thought of as victims and as inherently damaged, either before or as a result of our profession. Sex workers are considered a danger to society, unfit for serious public service. Worst of all: once a sex worker, always a whore."
— via browneyedmarysue
I Lost My Job as a Teacher Because I Was Once a Call Girl
As I get older I’m realizing, more and more frequently, that George Carlin was wrong about a lot of things. A lot of things. But he was absolutely right about sex work. Selling is legal. Sex is legal. Why is selling sex not legal?
It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t change anything about you, other than your current employment situation. It’s filling the gap in a long-existing market, which is supposed to be exactly the sort of thing that capitalists and free-market advocates are all about. How do we live in a country that supports child labor before it shows support for a woman’s right to do what they damn well please with their own bodies?
Melissa Petro has two masters degrees, one of which is in Childhood Education, but she isn’t qualified to teach school children because she used to have sex more than some people? Or is it because she found a way to pay for her education that didn’t involve six-figure debt, thanks to a job without long hours. and didn’t interfere with the number of other projects she filled her life with?
Regardless, I call bullshit.
I really get stuck on how sex work is “selling yourself” but other service occupations are not. Of course, I sometimes forget that our society sees sexual access as ownership or whatever, which I guess explains why it’s selling myself if I let a client access to my twat, but not the rest of my body in any other service job.
This is so much crap. Our warped and fucked up view of sex is seriously not cool. It keeps people from having lives because apparently, to these people, their sex lives means that they’re going to be forcing the children to know all about their sex lives, as well as encouraging the children to have all the sex ever with no consequences.
When she worked the streets, Yvette Gonzales said, she frequently saw other prostitutes working without condoms. But they were not having unprotected sex at the request of their customers.
Often, Ms. Gonzales said, the police would confiscate condoms when making a prostitution arrest so they could be used as evidence. And as soon as the prostitutes were released from jail, she said, they would go right back to work without protection; or they would refrain from carrying condoms at all, for fear of being arrested, and would hope customers would supply their own. “It breaks my heart,” said
Ms. Gonzales, who now works for a nonprofit group, the Positive Health Project, that counsels prostitutes, tests them for infection and provides them with free condoms. “The police need to understand: Don’t take their condoms. You’re taking someone’s health from them.”"
— via queerandpresentdanger
Albany Bill Would Bar Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution - NYTimes.com
Good article about no condoms as evidence legislation.
Two things, though (always! always with the critique):
- There’s no mention of how the collection of condoms as evidence of prostitution is an act of profiling people of color, especially trans women, who are using public spaces and may or may not be engaged in street based sex work.
- Also there’s this: ” Excluding certain types of evidence from criminal court is rare, but not unprecedented. One example is the rape shield law, which limits evidence or questions in rape trials about a complainant’s previous sexual conduct.” Mention of the rape shield law is ironic because rape shield law in NY state doesn’t apply to people who have gotten a prostitution related conviction in the last three years.