A Day For Whores, by Maggie McNeill

Jun 2, 2014
Politics
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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  ~  Mahatma Gandhi

Today is International Whores’ Day, the 39th anniversary of a protest in which…

over 100 French prostitutes occupied the Church of St. Nizier in Lyon.  In a very real sense, today is the birthday of the sex worker rights movement; though Margo St. James had already founded COYOTE two years before, the French protests were the first ones large and vociferous enough to gain media attention, and led to the formation of the French Collective of Prostitutes (which in turn inspired the founding of the English Collective of Prostitutes and a number of other, similar organizations)…

Birthdays are a good time for taking stock, for looking at where one has been and where one is going.  Like humans, movements have good birthdays and bad ones; the first few anniversaries of that historic protest were good, until mainstream feminism betrayed us in the early 1980s by selling out to the carceral anti-sex crowd and hopping into bed with the religious right.  And though there were some dark days after that, the movement continued to grow throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s despite every opposition.

Of course the prohibitionists struck back; they revived the old “white slavery” hysteria under a new name, and for years now they’ve seemed to have the upper hand in the public’s imagination with their lurid masturbatory fantasies of gypsy whores, weeping teenage “sex slaves” and leering “pimps” with magical powers.

At the same time, however, the internet has allowed sex workers to organize with each other and reach out to the public at a level we could only dream of when I first entered the business.  While politicians, cops and the more ignorant and authoritarian members of the general public have subjected the rights of sex workers, our clients and our associates to unceasing attack, at the same time health officials, human rights groups, and the more well-informed and freedom-loving members of the public have increasingly sided with sex workers in calling for decriminalization.

 

Read more at The Honest Courtesan…

A day for whores

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Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene
6 years ago

Happy to have been a part of that early organizing when I worked with Margo at Coyote as a volunteer all those years ago. It’s a bigger movement now to be sure, and better organized, but it still has an uphill battle just about everyplace.

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