We are whores – We are important
Tuesday, March 3rd, is International Sex Worker Rights day. March 2015 also marks the one year anniversary of my becoming a whore. For years before, I was a staunch advocate and ally of sex workers, but it is only since I have begun to do the work myself that I see how important we are. And how stigmatized.
In the past year, I have had beautiful and terrible experiences with clients. I have helped men realize their fantasies and lifted their shame. In a very few instances and thanks only to my quick wit, I have avoided violence from my clients. The most violent part of sex work does not come from the clients, though. It comes from the stigma that society places on us. This stigma, this exoticism, has two opposing ends. On the one hand, the whore is sexy and empowered. On the other, she is a helpless and demoralized victim. When asked her profession, she must weigh the consequences of her answer before speaking her truth. Will the admission of her career lead to unwanted questions, an awkward silence, violence? I consider my capacity to cope with all of these reactions before I tell someone the truth about how I pay my rent, instead of lying and saying that my art is financially validated.
My job makes some people uncomfortable. I have been asked not to talk about sex work in my home. I appreciate the limits and boundaries of others, but this silencing sometimes seems a subtle violence where I omit certain aspects of my day in order to suit the comfort of those who hold more power in society than I, a queer, disabled whore in a foreign land. What is this stigma about? Where does it come from? It sometimes seems there is nothing more terrifying to the societal norm than a woman self-possessed, making her own decisions with her body, using her own power of agency.
And for my non-working friends, especially the cis-men, must I always present myself as empowered? Must I always talk about my profession in a glamorous fashion? Can I tell one of you about a less-than-wonderful work experience and trust you not to tell me to stop doing sex work? In an ideal world, a world where I would be free to tell people what I did for money and still be seen as a valuable asset to society, I could talk about the drawbacks and challenges of my work rather than pretend to be happy about it all the time. Of course, the world we live in is far from ideal. And of course, I and the work I do are valuable to society. How, you may wonder, are whores valuable to society? Well, let me tell you.
Whoring is not just about fucking. Sometimes, that’s all there is. And of course, different hookers have different clientele. My clientele is generally kinky,curious, or seeking a therapeutic experience. Often, they too have a stigmatized aspect of their life that they cannot show to the rest of the world. Sometimes my clients are wheelchair users. Sometimes they are morbidly obese or incredibly shy. Sometimes they have a kink or fetish that they have never told anyone, including their wives. Sometimes they are adult virgins who have never before touched a woman, or people trying to figure out how they fit into their gender. Imagine the amount of shame built up inside of someone. Imagine having the ability to provide a relief from this shame. Even if the pride I help foster in these men that is ephemeral, it is still there, and they will carry shards of it with them as they continue on with their lives. As a whore, I provide more than a fast fuck or a blow job. I provide acceptance and openness. I provide hands on sex education and anatomy lessons. I provide a place to feel sexy in a society that robs people of their sexualities unless they fit an often unattainable standard. All of this adds up to a vacation from loneliness and isolation, a safe space for men to be vulnerable and accept intimacy.
To me, the creation of this space is a feminist act. When cis-men have the freedom to feel comfortable with the non-masculine parts of themselves, maybe they become more accepting of non-masculine beings. If I can remind someone that they deserve tenderness, maybe they will remember that others deserve tenderness as well. This is my core belief system. This is how I do my job.
If you are reading this and you are a fellow sex worker, be proud! You have survived! You have helped others survive! What you do is important! And if you are reading this and you are not a sex worker, listen closely: We need you! We need you, non-hookers, to remind others that we are human beings, to tell the world that whores are valuable, and to shut down whorephobic and slutshaming speech when you hear it happening. We need you to voice your opinion that the world’s oldest profession is a respectable one! And we thank you for your support!
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 is International Sex Worker’s Rights Day! It’s a good day to give a hooker a hug and remind her that she is important! It’s a good day to support a hooker’s right to be herself and be proud of her choices! Three cheers for sex workers! We make the world a better place!
(Deutsche Übersetzung folgt)