I’ve been a sex worker…. I’ve also been sexually exploited. Let me start by saying these are two very different things….
I choose to unfriend 4 people today – The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers…. These four people are folx I love and care for, but they are also four people I have now added to my “do not trust” list.
The posts I saw today completely glossed over sex workers and wrote it off as 100% sexual exploitation that folx needed to be rescued from because they apparently lack the ability to make decisions.
If this is your perception- step off your fucking high-horse of saviour-esque bullshit.
I will not tolerate seeing twisted, ill-informed, and silencing posts about today’s event….
So I decided to put a face to it.
I don’t need to pretend to be someone I’m not to make others more comfortable. It is not my job to make someone feel okay with their shitty, oppressive behaviour.
I remember dreaming about becoming a sex worker as a kid because it made me feel powerful and in control knowing that one day I could be paid for what people took for free (or worse, paid others money for). My body was property as a child and a teen. I had no choice.
As an adult it was in sex work that I found my voice and strength to deal with the exploitation- because I finally had a choice.
Sex workers experience so much violence, but a significant portion of it is maintained by ignorant folx who proclaim to “know what’s best.”…. My choices (and I) were written off as something less than _____ (human, capable, intelligent, informed, consenting, worthy, dignified), however when I had no choice, I was stigmatized as something less than, too! It’s a no-win situation. Fuck this.
Sex work actually gave me the financial capacity and emotional fortitude to escape some really shitty (understatement) situations, that no one shaming my choices ever would.
These narratives need to change. We cannot conflate the two groups under the guise of protecting folx…. It belittles those who literally have *zero* choice, as well as those who make the decision to do whatever the fuck they want with their bodies.
Violence against both of these groups of folx would be minimized if we could push back against the stigma, resist these ignorant narratives, and change legislation to respect the work sex workers do.
Don’t support sex workers? Don’t use their service….
But I’ll be damned if you think it is acceptable to shame, degrade, stigmatize, and belittle the work they do and their experiences, stories, and history- but most of all their right to safety while at work- regardless of whether you agree with that work or not.