Elizabeth's picture

Rebecca Deos Tells Her Story

Since interviewing Lisa Chavez last April and following the fallout of her being outed as a phone sex worker, and inviting Liz Derrington to tell her part of that same story, I have come to know an increasing number of outed sex workers. One of them, Rebecca Deos, is an amazing woman who traveled from North Carolina to join us at the Sex Work Awareness fund-raising party where we launched our 2009 NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar. (For a $20 donation to SWA you can support sex worker advocacy and have a calendar yourself!)

Rebecca told me about living with her husband and kids in a small town in Florida and about being outed as an escort. The impact of that outing was profound. As Rebecca and I talked I found myself wishing other people could hear her story. In that conversation and in emails since, we've discussed her telling her story here. She maintains her own web site but was hesitant to use it to tell her story because she didn't want to appear to be portraying herself as a victim there. It is her personal and professional site. She was looking for a place with an analytical bent, and she was also looking for a place that might be able to put her story in a context that would be helpful to others. I was flattered when she said she thought that Sex In The Public Square was such a place.

Rebecca tells her story below below. Look for her to appear more around SITPS. We're even discussing a forum for outed sex workers and their allies to share information, resources and support. Rebecca would be the lead moderator. We are also considering a "speaking out" series where people can share stories about how the stigmatization of sexual expression or sexual identities have affected them personally. If you have such a story you'd like to share, please contact Elizabeth by using this contact form.

Click here to read Rebecca's Story in her own words

Elizabeth's picture

Sensible women exploring best practices in brothels

Jean and Shirley of the Hampsire Women's Insitute What happens when the women of the Hampshire Women's Institute decide to take a clear-headed look at prostitution to figure out what makes for "best practices" in brothel prostitution? You get the UK's Channel 4 program, A WI Lady's Guide to Brothels, which describes itself like this:  Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Dramatic violation of personal privacy at University of Ottawa raises concerns of student and faculty unions

UPDATE, 11:25, November 4: The University has publicly stated its support for the faculty member whose privacy was violated. It has so far found no misuse of campus email accounts and it states clearly its confidence in the qualifications and teaching abilities of the professor whose reputation was attacked. I applaud their public statement of support.

On Sunday, November 2, the Ottawa Citizen reported that a faculty member at the University of Ottawa was being targeted by an email campaign clearly intended to question her position on the faculty. The basis for the attack?

The claim that she was as a sex worker.

An anonymous source began circulating an email to the University community and the media last week that included photographs, personal information and transcripts from research interviews.

The violation of the faculty member's privacy is astonishing. To have circulated information with the intent to discredit her is awful enough. To have included hotel room confirmations with home address, linked to her professional name is unconscionable. To have revealed confidential research data - and how was that acquired? - is unethical and appalling. Read more below the fold

Chris's picture

Ren on Feministe: Sex Work is Not a Monolith and Is Not "Selling Yourself"

Ren has two more posts up as part of her guestblogging stint at Feministe . They both address issues that seem like they should be stunningly obvious to anyone with progressive politics and who sees sex workers as human beings, but they turn out to be hornet's nests of controversy:

The Problem With Creating a Monolith:

Chris's picture

Ren Speaks About Sex Work at Feministe

There are very few things that give me hope these days, but one of them is that Renegade Evolution has landed herself a guestblogging gig at Feministe this week, writing about sex work activism.  She's already written three incisive, orderly posts, one giving an overview of the issues pertaining to sex work activism and her own personal beliefs about it; the second is a basic guide to the philosophy of harm prevention, especially as applied to sex work, and the third speaks out about decriminalization. They're both very orderly, intelligent pieces, but the thing that makes me most optimistic is that so far, neither seems to have triggered the weird, hysterical blend of erotophobia and misogyny that masquerades as "radical" feminism.

Michael's picture

More on Trafficking: The axes of evil and the search for mass destruction

John R Miller, former Bush Anti-Trafficking Czar at the State Department (2002-2006) has written a colourful Op-Ed in the New York Times, with the provocative title The Justice Department, Blind to Slavery.  The article stated that the US Department of Justice was subverting the course of justice by blocking passage of the highly controversial human trafficking legislation which would expand federal jurisdiction over prostitution, based on conflationary theory that the two are synonymous.  However Miller framed it in a way that portrayed Justice as being pro-slavery. Presumably his intention was to oil the Bill in the Senate and boost Republican votes in the forthcoming elections. Presumably his former boss would also smile favourably upon this effort. 

Michael's picture

When is trafficking not trafficking - or how to lie with statistics

Americans will be familiar with the hunt-the-needle-in-the-haystack approach of the State and Justice Departments in looking for victims of human trafficking. Jerry Markon exposed the hiatus between the actual evidence and the claims in an article in the Washington Post. The resources utilised for the yield obtained resembled the hunt for weapons of mass destruction.

The equivalent in the United Kingdom is the Police and UK Human Trafficking Centre operations known as Pentameter. This week's release of figures from the second operation triggered off the predictable moral panic and demand for more funding to combat this terrible menace. When Benjamin Disraeli decried the mesmerising effects of numbers "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics" he may have been considering this sort of agenda driven political spin. 

Michael's picture

In, Out, or on the fence?

Ellie (Lumpesse) has recently written about the frustration of combining being a sex worker with having another career (doctoral student) and the difficulties of keeping these apart and the internal pressures to come out. There is nothing unique in Ellie's dilemma, it is actually one of the most difficult things that indoor sex workers have to deal with. This is well described by Teela Sanders in her paper 'It's just acting' dealing with the emotional labour involved in keeping two lives separate. This in itself, is partly the result of the external violence of stigma, and partly the internal pressures of the 'management of feeling to create a publicity observable facial and bodily display' as described by Arlie Hochschild.

Elizabeth's picture

Remembering women killed in the Niagra Falls area

Much gratitude to Renee of Womanist Musings , blogging also at Feministe on June 23rd to remind us all about the killing of women in the Niagra Falls region:

When you think of the Niagara region immediately the mind turns to the majestic falls. Some who have spent more than an afternoon here will think of places like the Welland Canal, The Skylon Tower, Fallsview Casino, Clifton Hill, and maybe even the dearth of reasonably priced hotels, and restaurants. The aforementioned sites are the Niagara region you are supposed to think about. It is what you will find printed in all of those handy little pamphlets, that the tour guides like to give out. Yes the safe family destination, where everything is bright and sunny.What you will not hear about are the women that have been killed here since 1996. What if I were to whisper these names in your ear?

The names she whispers are these:

Gracie's picture

XXBN: Cult of Gracie Radio with Dr. Michael Goodyear

Tomorrow, June 11 (at 9 p.m. central), Cult of Gracie Radio has Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, as the guest.

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, his main focus there is in responsible human research governance, particularly the ethical aspects of research. His active interest in issues of women's health have lead him to a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society.

No wonder then that he would become interested in the issues & myths surrounding sex work.

Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's put his skills and knowledge to use in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work.

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