I’ve really tried to avoid a rant for one reason only: there are a gazillion Women more informed and better qualified than Me to offer far more accurate opinions on our post-sesta/fosta dilemma.
However. I’m not fucking seeing those insanely intelligent, well-researched, polished and well-spoken women in My vanilla media and now I’ve reached fury level 8.5 (NB: you REALLY don’t want to see level 9 plus).
I have seen these INCREDIBLE experts talk MULTIPLE times at rallies, at marches, at SOAR events, SWOP meetings and Red Umbrella gatherings, even at vanilla art-spaces*. They know EVERYTHING there is to know about sex trafficking and about sex work and, often, not just the same organisation but the SAME INDIVIDUAL can give you FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE of BOTH self-trafficking and voluntary sex-work. So why do I feel like when I step into “real” (read “vanilla”) life I have to step down to pre-school level and instead of specialists I must watch political journalists and once-respected DC spokespeople FAIL to explain this Washington assault on sex-workers’ lifestyles.
Like every sex worker (like every worker): I am two people. I am an advocate and personal-expert on My profession, and also a citizen, tax-payer and daily-news consumer.
Maybe this is how the coal-miners felt when their work was policitised during 2016. I confess that I did not recognise the lack of ACTUAL coal-miners who were speaking for the industry at that time; now, for more than one reason, I wonder why that was.
Perhaps it was for similar reasons to My own: that I don’t desire political spotlight. All I request is to go about My chosen life within the boundaries of accepted legal norms, pay My tax, pay My rent and enjoy My life. But then the state decides to intervene.
It was well OVER A MONTH after a PLETHORA of real-time crusades and online campaigns bloomed like a botanical forest, that I even saw Sesta/Fosta mentioned in mainstream media. ALL TYPES of media from mainstream to independent and all the colors in between claimed it was not on the radar of journalists who are quickly seizing on every single movement of Washington. Really? The political environment of a tinder-box where so few bills are passed that each one can be exposed for its realities but THIS one was missed -?
There’s an entire essay in why it’s so hard to believe that news-makers would miss this, so let’s just deal with the strangeness that a) it was excluded from promotion by the protectors of a free internet who campaigned vehemently (although sadly to no avail) against the first anti net-neutrality legislation, and, b) the fact that a list celebrity endorsement of this proposal still didn’t ring any bells, neither for nor against, within any media circuits.
Or is it a more inconvenient truth to say what Bill Maher stated last Friday: “These [sex-workers] are the last people it’s ok to shit on in America”.
When will you wake up and realise that, in this political climate, every infringement on human rights is just another step towards an infringement on all our human rights?
IF YOU DON’T RECOGNISE THIS MOMENT: THEN SEX-WORKERS ARE THE SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS YOU CLAIM YOU WOULDN’T EVER LEAVE BEHIND.
I put up with all the above, quietly seething but not quite bubbling over. But now I have another part to My rant:
Now, FINALLY, and all too late, we are receiving an atom of media coverage. However, the reporting is all being presented by wildly unqualified correspondents.
The Young Turks had to apologise for not covering the story, and when they did Ana Kasparian ((by the way, I love you, and would you please run for President?)) even miss-pronounced “Sesta/Fosta”. How CAN she, or anyone else, have the understanding of a moral, legal and human-rights issue which academics spend millenia studying?
Ana: HOW ABOUT A BRIEF SKYPE INTERVIEW WITH THE INCREDIBLY WELL-ESTABLISHED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE FIGHTING THIS LEGISLATION????? Is that too much to ask?
It was left to comedian Jim Jeffries to even present the issue at first – God bless him – he is not presenting himself as the nation’s political protector, he should not have to take responsibility to speak for minorities when no one else will.
If none of the representatives (minus TWO!!) who voted for this terrible bill. And none of the celebrities (Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers – What the F?) have the dignity to stand up to defend it in public then is that not the very red-flag we should be shouting about?
Struggle as I do, I can’t remember the first time I read/saw/heard the sex industry being “presented” in non-fiction current affairs. I do know that I have always found every “representation” to be laughable. That didn’t bother Me. In fact, I enjoyed it because it pretended to validate to Me that I had a life which couldn’t be explained to mere mortals!! It was a fun game whereby I had chosen a braver path than a typical media-consumer, as if I knew a secret which was commonly withheld.
Everyone enjoys a secret until they need wider publication!
I guess, I took for granted that a clandestine world would/could always still operate within a civilised one.
Now I find Myself all-out advocating for mainstream representation! Most assuredly I did not expect to come-out like this. Before 2016 I hadn’t attended (in truth – hadn’t needed to attend) a sex workers’ political rally. I had imagined that any legal advice I sought (I’m very careful to remain within the law) would only be called in if travelled abroad. That security in My society has disappeared.
It is a new experience to WANT a light to shine on My world; it’s an uncomfortable one to discover that the flashlight is ALWAYS held by vanilla, inexperienced, demi-puritanical scriveners, who enjoy the novelty of exposing an alternative lifestyle MORE than they care about authenticity in their civic message.
Sex-workers have been eternally and continually vilified. This is a fact. This is fact which every Sex-worker has just signed up to, reluctantly but unquestionably. We signed up because sex-work was the recognized segretated secret society operating in plain sight, and we enjoyed watching vanilla journalists fail to endure Our landscape. But now We need you to include us.
We NEED you to interview those of us who understand the shadows because only We can point your torch in the right direction.
If Stormy Daniels taught you nothing else – surely now you can understand that WE DO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY AND THE VOICE TO SAY IT.