by Furry Girl
I've long contended that one of the best "quiet acts" of sex worker's rights activism is for us to be out of the closet in our "real life" friendships and interactions. I think it's a very powerful statement in and of itself, without even delving into complex politics with people. I realize that it's not an option for all sex workers, but it is an option that I think more of us could and should take, even in baby steps like striking up a short conversation that involves you disclosing your occupation to someone you're sitting next to on a train/bus/flight and will never see again.
I'm out to pretty much everyone I come into regular contact with, and have outed myself to strangers countless times. I personally draw my line at coming out to my neighbors. It's too much of a safety concern for me to risk setting someone off who knows where I live. (Although, a previous next-door neighbor found my blog last year and emailed me to say how much he liked it.) I did, however, unsuccessfully lobby my homeowner's association from a libertarian perspective that we should drop a lease requirement that renters must not engage in prostitution on the property.
Being out will definitely create some awkwardness and tension with discovering haters in your extended social circles, but you're also doing loads of good by humanizing a stigmatized part of our society, of which almost no one openly admits they're either a creator/provider or consumer. You can help dispel stereotypes simply by showing people that sex workers are not a monolithic caricature of abused, drug-addled illiterates covered in open sores. As much as I'm loathe to hear people trot out the standard condescending "Wow, but you're so smart!" initial reaction, I know it's ultimately a good thing for everyone. I also want to scare away potential friends and lovers as soon as humanly possible so I don't waste my time with them if they're decidedly anti-porn or anti-sex work.
Recently, Andrew Sullivan posted "Why The Gay Movement Is Winning" about a new poll. He notes, "It confirms what we already knew - that ending the closet is the key to equality. By far the best way to do this is as an act of positive affirmation."
I immediately wondered what such pie-charts would look like over the decades for how many people say they know a sex worker. While the issues surrounding the struggles for queer rights and sex workers rights aren't perfectly analogous, I think there's much sex workers can learn from a movement that is, in many ways, hopefully where sex workers will be at within my lifetime.
When your opposition depends on secrecy and shame to influence public opinion, openness is a powerful weapon.
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
More of me online
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat