Male escort Maxime Durocher: Let’s rethink criminalizing clients of sex workers

May 17, 2014
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Maxime Durocher, a male escort from Montreal, discusses reasons to oppose the counterproductive “Nordic Model” of prostitution law: not all sex workers are women, not all clients are men, and the criminalization of clients supports double standards of sexuality

Maxime Durocher

“I fear the criminalization of my clients,” writes Durocher. “For sex workers more marginalized than myself, the repercussions can be even more difficult. “

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision last December in Bedford vs. the Attorney General of Canada changed the lives of many sex workers, including mine.

For me, it made it easier to talk about my work: I don’t need to create a fake job when asked what I do, and I can be more open with health-care professionals. I now feel validated by the Supreme Court, as if the judges were behind me saying: “Go right ahead, we will protect you; we recognize your constitutional rights.”

I am a male escort for women. The Bedford decision not only validated me in my work, but validated my clients. Since this historic decision, more female clients are risking their anonymity and privacy to reach out and contact me, curious and wanting to explore their sensuality, fill lonely gaps or just spend some time with a male figure. That’s my job.

My job isn’t easy. Other men often laugh and think it is a dream job. But like female sex workers, the profession is rife with stereotypes, and these stereotypes have an impact on my everyday life as well as my economic stability.

These stereotypes also have an impact on my clients, who run the risk of being targeted and criminalized under the current legislative options, labelled the “Nordic” approach, being discussed by Parliament.

Consider for a moment who we are criminalizing when we criminalize clients. So often the client is imagined as male. When we understand that women, like men, seek out the services of prostitutes, and for similar reasons — company, relief, intimacy and fun — we can see that those who want to criminalize clients to protect women are also criminalizing women.

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