Sex Positive, Sex Worker Radio

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Surprisingly, or perhaps not, both Libby and myself each had our own interviews on XBN Radio, this past weekend. XBN is a media project of SWOP East, a chapter of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA, a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.

I say it was surprising, because neither of us knew the other was doing so until just days before; however, given our work & passion for the industry (big mouths), it really shouldn't be so surprising. Or maybe it still is a bit surprising for me...

Libby, who is still working with clients, is far more of the typical advocate; she's very vocal about sex worker rights, both on the Internet and in her community. Libby's not only a member of SWOP Chicago and working on the 2008 Desiree Alliance Sex Worker Conference which will be in Chicago this year (July 16-20, 2008), but she's started Red Light District Chicago. It makes sense that she'd be on XBN.

But me?

While I was thrilled to be asked to be on the program by Jill Brenneman, SWOP East's co-founder and Executive Director, I was also a bit puzzled... For even though I'm quite opinionated (and yes, I know I rant with foam-flecked lips), I'm far less visible and am not often considered an activist or advocate. Sometimes I think this is just due to my unwillingness to appear at conferences (even when I'd really like to; like Sex 2.0, for example); but lately, I'm feeling like it may have more to do with the fundamental difference of my philosophical approach.

I'm neither as tech-media savvy as podcasing-Libby, nor as willing to put my face out there as she and many others; but that's just the medium and personal choices. The real differences are the roads taken. While Libby and others are waging what I perceive to be a labor battle, with all the issues of worker safety, legal and anti-defamation concerns; I see myself quite differently.

Yes, I want sex work decriminalized. Yes, I want sex workers to be safe (from violence and safe in other ways by receiving proper medical & legal care, free from prejudice). And yes, I want the work respected. But I don't focus on the "work" in "sex work" as much as I do on the "sex" aspect. In my opinion, there's no other way to get people to understand "sex work" unless they understand & accept sex. It's at least half the phrase, right?

I'm rather certain this has to do with my inner anthropologist too; but in any case, I do feel my philosophy is quite different. And yet Libby, SWOP members and other activists, and I agree on most every issue (as far as I recall our conversations, anyway). While we, both Libby and myself and "all sex workers", may be presented in mainstream media and culture as stereotypical "prostitutes", as familiar stock characters you've seen before, we really aren't. Even if we agree on the issues and stand on the same ground holding the same positions, we've each arrived there in our own ways which includes our individual experiences & reasonings. And I think that's what makes for such interesting talk radio.

So I encourage all of you to listen to my interview and Libby's interview ~ and to XBN in general. I think you'll find that it's far more interesting and varied than you'd expect ~ even if you are an old opinionated sex worker like me. *wink*

So bookmark XBN, and listen to it; it's important.

Notes: Resources I mentioned the following in my interview:

Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History, by Robert S. McElvaine
Angela St. Lawrence, who called in, is also here at SK.
Bound, Not Gagged
Radical Vixen
Secondhand Rose

Thanks, again, to all who called in!

© Gracie


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