Patrick Clark doesn’t fit the profile of a typical sex-trade activist. Not only is he male, he was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
His impaired muscle coordination and unusual movements clearly indicate that he’s living with a serious disability—a product of brain damage that occurred when or just after he was born.
Yet Clark’s mobility issues didn’t stop him from joining the third annual Red Umbrella March on June 13 in downtown Vancouver. Red umbrellas have become the international symbol of sex workers’ solidarity since being adopted as an icon by Venice prostitutes in 2001.
In the eyes of the federal Conservative government, Clark is a criminal because he occasionally pays to have sex.
“I’ve been a long-time client of a sex worker,” Clark told the Georgia Straight. “I think that in order to change the status quo and all the harm that’s going on, we have to fundamentally change how the client–sex worker relationship is seen.”