So last week I attended another kick-ass CSPC conversation salon hosted by the always amazing team of Allena(CSPC director) and Teri(Academy of Aphrodisiacal Living) . Much inspiring and amusing talk was bantered about. But even though having an open conversation about sexual issues is still somewhat revolutionary in this day and age, this particular chat was considerably more political than usual.
Last week’s topic was sex work.
Now this was a meeting of mostly like-minded sex positive folk. So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that almost everyone present, at the very least, knew someone who is or had been in the sex industry. And depending on how you defined said industry, the number of us who could count ourselves among the workers went up considerably.
This last bit, what defines sex work, was a significant part of the discussion and was one of the motivators for Teri and Allena choosing the topic. Over the last few months Teri, a major warrior in the battle for sexual freedom, has recently been targeted by a group of bigoted, sex-negative, ass-hats.
I’d posted a while back about the Kinky Carnival. That was Teri’s baby. The event was a great sexy success by all reports. But leading up to the event the afore mentioned group of ass-hats had tried to shut it down by claiming that Teri was a known prostitute and that she was also a madam(prostituting others). Teri is not what most working girls would call a “pro” not by a long shot. She is a counselor and an educator specializing in sexual issues. But she is notably nonjudgmental of those of us who are, by more classic definition, sex workers. I strongly suspect that this openness is one of the factors that has made her a target. She is incredibly vocal about her sex positive views. She refuses to sit down and shut up like these neanderthal throw-backs would like to see all women, queers and kinksters do.
On some level, I understand that the enemy is acting out of feelings of self-loathing, trying to attack characteristics in others which they don’t have the balls(or ovaries) to accept in themselves. But all universal love aside, I really don’t care how hurt, scared and broken these fuck-wits are. If you wanna be self-destructive have at it! But when you start spewing your toxins on others, actively trying to destroy another human being’s life and livelihood…first against the wall in the revolution, baby.
I like to think that America is making progress, if for no other reason then because I see it in my “work” every day. I may not be as public a figure as Teri and Allena, but I do feel that I’m fighting the good fight, one closeted kinkster at a time. Someone I was playing with recently got onto the topic of societal evolution. He was considerably less optimistic then I and feels that real change only happens when the older more conservative people in a society die off.
Every once in awhile I’ll play with a baby-kinkster. While I may jokingly use this term to describe a playmate in the their early twenties it often is inappropriate as a definer of their experience. Kids today aren’t just kinky folks, they’re cool with their kink. The internet has removed so much of the stumbling around in the dark many of us had to do as we tried to figure out what all these strange thoughts and feelings meant. But the point and click generation has had the immediate accessibility of alterna porn and fetish based google groups from the get go.
I’m happy for them…most of the time. But like much older feminists have felt toward their younger sisters, I hope they appreciate the struggles that other generations have had to suffer through. I hope they recognize, as should we all, that without women like Teri and Allena, trailblazers who refused to stay in the shadows despite the opposition, well, even the world wide web wouldn’t be big enough to shelter us.
We can never afford to take liberty for granted, especially as it extends to our bedrooms. I challenge you to be as vocal as you can about what turns you on. Don’t let the close minded among us have the false comfort that sex positive, kinky people are “other people”. Make them see that WE are all around them. And if that simple societal pressure of “I guess it is the norm” isn’t enough then let THEM be forced into silence by our numbers.
I’d like to end this rant with what I feel are the very appropriate words(lyrics actually, though you probably know the poem that inspired them) of another. And if you think my fears are exaggerated, well, maybe you should have been at last weeks conversation salon.
“First they put away the dealers,
keep our kids safe and off the street.
Then they put away the prostitutes,
keep married men cloistered at home.
Then they shooed away the bums,
then they beat and bashed the queers,
turned away asylum-seekers,
fed us suspicions and fears.
We didn´t raise our voice,
we didn´t make a fuss.
It´s funny there was no one left to notice
when they came for us.”
NoFX, 2003 from the album War on Errorism
Any love, energy and/or funds you can spare to send in Teri’s direction is sure to be appreciated: