Thursday, January 12, 2006

the fight to legalize prostitution

Each year, I host a vigil for fallen prostitutes who died in the line of duty. It is dedicated to my friend, Robert "Tiny" Gibson who was a beautiful drag queen who often performed with me during my shows. Tiny was murdered in Santee a few years ago after he had sex with a client. The murderer claimed that he didnt know that Tiny was a man (as if Tinys gender somehow justified murdering him.) Tiny was not dressed in drag at the time of the slaying and in fact, wore cut off shorts and a t shirt. Though he had long hair and fake nails, he was unmistakably male when he was in normal clothing. The murderer had sex with Tiny and then stabbed him 25 times, leaving him to bleed to death in the pre-dawn streets of a pleasant suburban San Diego neighborhood. Tiny was a sweet, friendly, gentle person who did not deserve this agonizing death. He was giving an act of pleasure and was murdered for it.

Countless women and men of the streets are victimized, by police, johns and society. Prostitutes are one of the only groups of people left, whom it is perfectly legal to harass, shun, ostracize and arrest. At this time of year, the time of year when I remember my wonderful friend on my Day of the Dead altar here at home, I feel its important to point out that prostitution should be decriminalized.

If prostitution were legal or tolerated, as in Amsterdam, hookers would be able to ply their trade in safe houses complete with security guards and medical care. They wouldnt be walking the streets while little Johnny and Susie go to school. They would be able to work in the privacy of their safe house, where people who wanted their services could seek them out if they wished. There wouldn't be soiled condoms littering the streets, or extortion by the police, as so many hookers must endure.In our so called civilized society, it is shameful that prostitution is condoned and permitted a few states away in Las Vegas, but in major cities everywhere else, hookers are harassed by the law and society.Because of the public scorn directed at the world's oldest profession, men like the green river killer think its perfectly okay to murder street walkers because "they will never be missed."

It is my firm belief that we should outlaw poverty, not prostitution. Only until it is legal or decriminalized, will working girls and men be able to work safely and in peace. It is a victimless crime since both parties are consenting adults. Once it is legal, we could find out who is being forced into "the life" by an abusive pimp, or who is an underaged runaway, or who is hopelessly drug addicted and can find no other way to get their drugs. We could find out who chose their occupation with an open mind or to work her way through college. We could provide services to prostitutes such as at the famous St. James Infirmary in San Francisco founded by Margo St. James or the AIM (Adult Industry Medical) clinic in Los Angeles founded by my friend Sharon Mitchell, where sex workers can get free access to medical care.

When I walk the red light district in Amsterdam and see the beautiful women of all ethnicities, ages and sizes, I am grateful for the the civilized and tolerant people of the Netherlands who allow people of all types to live and work in peace. I am grateful for the lovely bodies and scantily clad shapes that stand behind the glass doors and I often thank these women for sharing their beauty with me. People who dont want to see them dont have to enter their neighborhood and that is the real power behind decriminalization.

I believe everyone has the right to control their own body and the right to do whatever we want with that body. Whether I am posing for the covers of adult magazines, dancing nude for the public, playing piano with my breasts or just singing and exposing the most vulnerable parts of myself, ( my poetic soul through music) I believe it is my divine right to do so. Whether I am covering my body up in a burka for only my partner to see, or whether I am sharing my body with strangers, it is my body and my right. God Bless dear sweet Tiny who will never have another chance to give the beautiful, unselfish gift of an orgasm to another partner. May we all have multiple orgasms and the right to give and receive them with whomever we want, whether it's for good old fashioned money or for good old fashioned love.

For more information on this and other sex work related subjects, please visit: www.unrepentantwhore.com www.bayswan.net , www.swop.org, www.swas.com www.carolqueen.com www.anniesprinkle.com

Don't be afraid to organize your own vigil in your town! Dec. 17th is the International day to end violence against sexworkers. Wouldn't it be great if we made our presence known throughout this Bible belt nation? It doesnt take much to organize. You can copy my press release and insert your own name and location. You can add your own comments about why you feel this is a valid and important cause and send it to your local paper. You can write letters to the editor and to the legislators. Just by having a small gathering with a few friends on dec. 17th will do much to raise awareness and you will feel so much more powerful having done something!

2 Comments:

Blogger Enlargement said...

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3:01 AM  
Blogger world said...

My name is James Harrod and I work for the BBC World Service.

On Fri 10 Nov’s show we're looking at the issue of prostitution.

We’re asking would the decriminalisation or legalisation of prostitution protect women?

As a former sex worker we'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

We would like to speak to you – please email me with a number if interested

Thanks

james.harrod@bbc.co.uk

8:11 AM  

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