Like many of Scarleteen’s careful, thorough, detailed posts, this post may seem long. I implore you, please, to read it anyway.*
May 1 is my birthday. I would truly prefer it not also mark this year the day Scarleteen had to shut down any of its vital services because of a lack of funding.
I participated in Scarleteen‘s fundraising blog carnival a few years ago, and as I said in that post, from the time I considered creating my own website, I knew Scarleteen would be the place to which I linked on my entry page for potential visitors who were not yet eighteen. It is that way on my site now, and it has been ever since it was launched.
I am one of those people Heather refers to that raves about what Scarleteen does and refers people there regularly but in the midst of whom Scarleteen still has not been able to adequately financially support itself. And she’s right that it’s (past) time for me to step up and support Scarleteen financially in addition to supporting them the other ways I do. After I read her post, I did. I hope you will too, if you are in a position to. I recognize the particular importance of this in that a lot of the people Scarleteen helps aren’t in a position to offer financial support—the organization is specifically geared toward young people, who often don’t have such disposable resources.
I’m reminded as well of a post I wrote a few years ago thanking sex educators. I still feel this way, earnestly, and I see Heather Corinna as truly one of the pioneering ones of these—she supports, without judgement or condescension, and with caring and an obvious deep well of knowledge, young people: some of the people society most seems to want to deprive of support and understanding around sexuality and to whom this deprivation does a unique disservice.
I truly hope all reading this will consider donating to Scarleteen and/or helping however they feel they can. I see the work of this organization as phenomenal, and I promise you, Heather and Scarleteen, I am pulling for you. It has become a birthday wish for me this year that you get the funding you need and find yourselves in a position to continue the monumental, deeply relevant work you do.
“And when the hardest part is over we’ll be here, and our dreams will break the boundaries of our fear…”
-Brandon Flowers “Crossfire”
“I Haven’t Had An Abortion, But I Would” by Jessica Wakeman (Health and Body, Reproductive Rights, Abortion, Memoir, Sociology) 2/26/14
This resonates with me so much. I have never really been in a position where I truly felt concern that I was pregnant, but I have realized that if I were, and I chose to have an abortion (which I feel I would, though I allow for the understanding that we don’t always know what we would do until/unless we are actually in a position in question), I would have relatively easy access to one financially, socially, and logistically/geographically. I severely dislike that that is not the case for everyone, and I too aspire to do what I can to contribute to a shift so that it is.
“Dale Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating our differences” (Sexual Orientation, Professional Sports, Sex and Culture) 2/10/14
Important message, and I’m glad to see it coming from a professional sportscaster.
“I’m Finally Revealing My Name and Face As the Duke Porn Star” by Belle Knox (Sex Work, Pornography, Sex and Culture, Feminism) 3/4/14
Like the last piece I recommended from her (by “Lauren A.”), I see this piece as a simple “FUCK YES.” I deplore the treatment she has allegedly received from different factions. I appreciate and frankly admire the articulateness, thoughtfulness, and awareness with which she has responded.
If you’d like to read “Moderating the MFRW Facebook Group: So What’s the Big Deal About Spam?,” you’ll find it here. Thanks for visiting! :)
-Tom Petty “Don’t Come Around Here No More”
Today, March 3, is International Sex Worker Rights Day. I interpret this as a day to educate about, support, and advocate for the rights of sex workers everywhere. I have blogged about this day here at The Green Light District since 2010, when I first learned of it.* This year, as I did in when I first blogged about it 2010, I’m going to offer a small roundup of pieces that, to me, celebrate the progression of sex worker rights and sex worker rights awareness in the last year. (Some of these will have appeared in Recommended Reading.)
Before I do, I’d like to comment briefly on one thing I haven’t covered a lot in my posts here about sex work. That is the idea of the “Swedish model,” or criminalizing the purchase of sexual services rather than the actual act of selling them (i.e., criminalizing the client instead of the practitioner).
I’d like to ask anyone reading this and/or who supports such legislation to imagine the purchase’s of the service or product you sell in order to make a living being criminalized. Not the service itself—you go on about your merry way making a living selling it—only the purchase of it. That way they’re taking it easy on you, right? They won’t criminalize the way you make a living. Whew! They’ll just criminalize the act of actually purchasing it from you.
Please consider how that would affect your business. Truly, please consider it. And while you’re at it, please consider what kind of clients you’d get. (In case it isn’t obvious, I’ll give you a hint: you’d get ones who don’t mind breaking the law.) Feel safer now doing your job?
If you’ve spent more than seven seconds on my blog, you probably know I support the decriminalization of all forms of sex work (and certainly do not support criminalizing the purchase of these services if sex work is decriminalized). Sex worker rights, of course, extend beyond criminalization, but legal status is one of the most prominent areas in which sex workers’ health and lives are endangered because of (as I see them) misguided laws and subsequent labor rights infringements.
Without further ado, following are a few measures since last March 3 that seem to indicate a widening of the understanding of sex workers’ rights and the ways laws have inhibited and still do inhibit them:
Happy International Sex Worker Rights Day 2014!
“Sex worker wins harassment case”
March 1, 2014
This is truly heartening to see.
This contains so many important and helpful distinctions and insights. I was thrilled to discover it. (It is not dated, but it was new to me, and the comments on it appeared earlier in 2014.)
“Sex worker fights for victims of rape, assault”
December 14, 2013
While I could hardly stand to read that this kind of legislative initiative had been allowed any credence whatsoever, since it was, I appreciate this article (and certainly that said legislation was rejected) even more.
“Does banning prostitution make women safer?”
July 8, 2013
I’ve long appreciated the in-depth and articulate responses Laura Agustin has managed to give to repeated questions like this via her extensive research on sex work in myriad geographical regions and contexts.
(Bonus commentary: Speaking of Laura, if you are interested in reading a longer discussion from her on this subject, I recommend this from August of last year: “Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores”)
Last summer, the “No Condoms as Evidence” bill, which disallows the use of condom possession as evidence of practicing prostitution, passed the New York State Assembly. While prosecutors in New York had already stated they would not accept condoms as evidence of prostitution, legislation prohibiting the practice would protect sex workers (and others) from the atrocious application of law enforcement’s confiscating and presenting condoms as evidence of intent to partake in prostitution.
I blogged about this years ago, as I was and am appalled by the idea of making the receipt of funding for HIV prevention contingent on overtly opposing prostitution. I was/am so pleased to see the Supreme Court overrule such an absurdity on First Amendment grounds.
“International Sex Worker Rights Day 2013″ (2013)
“An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh” (2012)
“Bittersweet Balloons” (2011)
“International Sex Worker Rights Day” (2010) “Further division is not the answer—division is not the answer…”
-Ben Lee “I Love Pop Music”
My contributor copies of Best Erotic Romance 2014, edited by Kristina Wright and published by Cleis Press, arrived last night—which reminded me, of course, that I have been remiss in not yet announcing its release here!
Best Erotic Romance 2014 is in stock now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, its publisher, and elsewhere now! Along with all the fabulousness I anticipate finding between the covers, have you looked at the cover itself?? It’s one of my favorites of all the anthologies in which I’ve been.
On that note, my story “Rules” is in this book, and I’m so honored to be in another edition of Kristina’s Best Erotic Romance series. (Incidentally, if you’re reading this and would like to be in an edition yourself, she is taking submissions for next year’s edition right now!) I technically started “Rules” years ago when Alison Tyler asked her blog readers to write flash stories around the theme of “violet” (the color…or the flower, I guess; I worked with the color!). I ended up creating a different flash piece, and the premise of what would become “Rules” lay dormant for some time. I went to work on it again last year, and it developed into the story I ended up submitting to Kristina. I had a great time writing it, in part because it involves what I consider a fun outfit, and as much as I love fun outfits, it seems I haven’t delved into them a lot in much of my work. :)
So now it’s time to crack into one of my contributor copies; if you join me and procure a copy of your own, I do hope you enjoy it!
Wow, I used to look this way all the time on purpose, she thought as she left the bathroom. She made her way down to the basement—carefully, given the six-inch platform heels—and pulled the photo from the top of the box. [...] She looked at the picture, searching for what her husband had seen. Searching for who she’d been back then. Was it different from who she was now?