or, more reasons I wish I lived in a big sexy gay city:

Ho: Trans sexworker photographic project

This makes me so happy, it makes me feel not totally crazy, or alone, in the few ways that I often do. I forgot if I’ve posted about my genderqueer identification much, probably not, it’s a little more theoretical than most of this has been. Doing sex work as a genderqueer IDed, female-assigned-at-birth person is a bit of a mindfuck, in addtion to the work beng a mindfuck in and of itself. I’ve met a handful of other genderqueer/vagina possessng people but not talked about it much, and have an easier time just not even tryng to assign theories. I don’t feel particularly gendered most of the time, and go through occasional phases of gender dysphoria in whch it feels like i’d like nothing more than to transition hormonally. I often talk myself out of this w1th the rationalization that I wouldn’t be able to work anymore and therefore fuck myself over financially. I wonder then if work is an “excuse,” if really I am either A) not “actually” genderqueer and somehow lying to myself and/or benefitting from non-trans privilege while not actively identifying with it, or B) in fact trans and should stop making excuses for not creating a gender identity I’d be more happy with. And this quandry tears me apart usually so I try just not to th1nk about it, in which case it’s mostly fine minus the subconscious dysphoria. Adding onto this confusion is my enjoyment of playing with “work-drag,” or extreme-femme dress up that I do for work. Doesn’t being a trans-male drag-queen just make you a girl again? (answer: no). Isn’t this type of inner dialogue and anguish a joke compared to the struggles of visibly trans people and/or trans people in need of specific, hard to access types of healthcare? Is the question I should really be asking, could I make a viable career out of working in the sex industry without selling myself as a femme-female, whilst the whorlw1nd of economic crisis continues to pull cash from the pockets of potential clients? Or should I just put real time into learning a legal trade?

Self indulgent ranting aside, it’s really exciting to see space being made to acknowledge the realities of sex workers working outside of our identified genders. Props!

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Summarized in a two line dialogue (courtesy Degrassi):

“You’re dancing in bikinis for Joey’s music video? That’s degrading!”

“There’s nothing degrading about making 20 bucks.”

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

By “hiatus” I meant that this will be updated about as often as I have internet access, and sex work-related content. Which won’t be as often. I just needed to share this gem, from the original Degrassi, of course. For those similarly addicted, it turns out you can watch season 7 and 8 online. So good!

So I’m coming up on the end of my adventures in small town Canada tour (ok, it’s the largest city in the province, but that doesn’t say much…), and have been trying to piece together some conclusive thoughts on my experiences with the sex industry here. I was talking to an artist from Ontario recently at his opening about the idea of doing a sex workers’ art show here. He was really into the idea, specifically of the experiences of small town sex workers. It hadn’t occured to me until then that it would be completely different to put this idea into practice than it would in, say, Toronto or Vancouver. The city affords you a fair amount of anonymity, the possibility of connecting with a community of out and/or radical sex workers. Not to say that the sex workers here aren’t political or radical in any way, but they don’t generally have the luxury of being out, much less outspoken. There’s a reason most of the strippers here aren’t from here. One strip club owner was explaining to me how they only recruit from out of province, because “the girls from here, they’re all fucked up, drug addicts, crazy. Who in their right mind would want to be a stripper in a town where everyone knows them?” Of course this is a problematic statement, but it gives a fair picture of the situation. One stripper was telling me how she just doesn’t have a social life, and still a year after retiring from one of the three clubs in town gets recognized on the bus.

As far as massage parlours go, none of the girls (I’ve only met female sex workers here, though there are definitely male ones who advertise online. There isn’t a big enough market for a male escort agency or strip club.) I’ve worked with are out. All of the ones I’ve worked with are from this province. Since it is indoor work, and carries more stigma for clients than strip bars, we are afforded slightly more anonymity. But still, I’ve seen clients at bars and on the street. Doing sex work in a small city has meant accepting the possibility, in fact the  strong likelihood that I’ve seen clients who are connected to or related to my friends, that the people I meet won’t generally be knowledgeable about sex worker issues (or even acknowledge that “that happens here”), that being out/spoken could cost me far more here than in a larger city.  There’s a fair sized music scene here, and I’ve played around a bit, and know for certain that I’ve played with or for clients. It’s just how it is.

I hope that my presence here, as an out/spoken sex worker has had some minute impact on the thinking of my friends. Maybe it hasn’t, who knows. I’ll likely be back, until then, this blog will be a somewhat of a hiatus. I’ll update about work when it comes up elsewhere. This has been a great outlet at times where I had nowhere else to rant, thanks for reading!

Lately I’ve been feeling a little down, restless, unmotivated, uncreative, bored even (lack of phone or internet does that apparently!), lots of other not so fun things, and I definitely haven’t been feeling it. You know it. It’s work, music, writing, the scene, the shitty weather, even my own company. Definitely not writing. I’ve been thinking a lot about the type of voice blogs project, especially, and the unspoken boundaries one ends up crossing while writing a blog. That is, between the “personal” and “political.” Of course, the personal is poltical, but I find myself almost taken aback when reading an intensely personal and especially present post. I wonder if people read mine in the same way- is there an invisible demarcation between a “journal” style post and an “informative” one? It seems like it, even when writing about one’s personal experiences in this objective-sounding way. It’s the difference between “as a sex worker, I find ___ hurtful” and “today this client did this shitty thing and I feel like shit.”

Maybe this is just how I read myself and other’s writings. It feels like I am consuming the thoughts of others, learning from them, definitely, but it is almost the antithesis of “community building.” I don’t believe in “online community,” and approach blogs as a medium for learning about other’s experiences without any social component. Functionally, as a writer, this means I’ll pour out “objective” sounding recollections of my own experiences, but when I’m actually having a shitty time, I don’t get anything back from anyone reading who isn’t already a friend. And though I usually do get that, it’s not necessarily a function of the blog medium. Fuck, I don’t know if that makes any sense. What I mean is, if I’m sharing my experiences with a friend coming from a different background than me, and vice versa, there’s a sort of implicit emotional support going on. You know your complaints are being stored and analyzed and responded to by someone who gives a shit about you. They don’t owe you emotional support, per se, but they’re not anonymous, either.

So I kind of hate blogs.

At least anti-oppression/personal ones.

And the internet. I hate the internet.

And winter, I really hate winter.

Is there an astrologer in the house? Or someone who can explain why everything sucks lately? It seems like everyone I read about/talk to is dealing with some heavy shit. A hippy friend just told me that the stars are aligning soon and everything will make sense and be groovy, but I think that’s bullshite.

I haven’t felt like writing lately, even though I’ve been at work and had opportunity to (this is the only place I have free internet access). I haven’t felt like working, and I think have been sending psychic “keep away” signals to all potential clients (this probably sounds like superstitious bull to anyone who isn’t a sex worker, little do you know this business is more full of superstition than baseball and the stockmarket combined). I’m just grumpy. This is probably due to a recent unwanted move (see previous posts) because of a harassing housemate, a good friend being given a concussion by her boyfriend, and an argument with one of my best friends. I kind of hate people right now, and life, and everything, and especially clients. I don’t want to be here. It’s funny that, given the political context of sex work, my being grumpy about coming to work could hold way more weight in some arguments than someone being grumpy about going to work at an office.

Nothing else eventful has happened.

Hat tip to Laura Agustin for the new header, in addition to collecting images relevant to the sex industry, she writes a really awesome and cutting edge blog- Border Thinking (see links sidebar).

You know when you have a conversation about something you’ve spent so much time thinking about, with someone you don’t expect to have any important imput, and end up feeling like you’re just repeating the same shit as you have a million times and just want to talk about something else? How about when that’s what you THINK is happening, and this person actually makes a simple point that you hadn’t considered?

Oh, I know you know.

Last night, hanging out with a friend at his work, we got into a discussion about sexuality and feeling burnt out on traditional “sex.” He was lamenting that he really just wants to cuddle lately, and I that I almost never trust anyone enough to explain to them exactly what I want. Or even know what I want. And also that I’m just not interested in the whole makeout-oral-intercourse progression, with a partner of any gender. I have to perform this conventional play of sexual desire so often for work, there is no mystery to it. And my past (and vast) experiences of it in my personal life have been consistently unrewarding. I’ve repeated this to so many people, my friend says

You know, you should have your own sexuality, too, you know? You’re my friend, and I want you to be able to express that, because it’s important.

me: (slightly put off) You’re assuming I don’t think about this constantly…

But I really haven’t put enough thought into it lately. I’ve taken for granted that the things I do for work I just won’t do for fun. I’ve drawn boundaries that are becoming obsolete. What form my desire takes really depends on the person I am with, lately going at it alone has been pretty awesome, but sometimes gets boring.

Today I had my first strap-on client. I’m really horrible at being a pro dominant, but this guy was really communicative and easy to deal with. Midway into the session, which he extended and I had to end after an hour and a half cause I was getting tired, I realized that this guy has probably never expressed what he told me to any of his girlfriends. He kept describing pretty typical s/m fantasies then saying “…have you ever heard that before?” or “is that weird?” I’m almost positive he’s going to come back in, and might even buy me some corsets and shit (score!). This kind of client I can’t help but like, for now. It’s hard to have what’s considered a “deviant” sexuality. Like has been thoroughly covered in Renegade Evolution as of late, there are a LOT of people who think that kinky sex is wrong. Whether describing us as “mentally ill,” “unfeminist,” “oppressive,” “unfit to parent,” “disgusting,” “sick,” there is always someone to point the finger at those of us who are into sex that doesn’t fit their definition of “proper.” The same logic has been applied in the past to queers, sex workers, even people engaging in oral sex. Who does this serve? Who is benefitting from stigmatizing people engaging in consensual sexual acts? Where do they get their “moral standard,” and what exactly is it protecting?

My second client was one I’ve seen before, talkative and easy to deal with. He was going on about going to one of the E bars in town last night and not being able to get it up after drinking. He had me jerk off and I got really into it. This is a complete anomaly for me, first because it’s in front of a random middle aged dude, and second because I almost always need a vibrator to get off. I didn’t let myself have an orgasm, it didn’t feel right, but I could have. WTF? Afterwards I wondered, is this a violation of my own boundaries? Is it going to fuck me up? Have I worked enough at this point that it barely matters? Work is the only place where I not only feel comfortable making noise, but make more money if I do. So screaming like mad, which I’ve been really uncomfortable doing in private before, becomes a business tool. And it’s fun. In the few times I’ve hooked up with anyone lately, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable making noise. In this way, work has been a boon for my sexuality, normalizing what has been taboo. Talking about sex openly and explicitly, expressing specific desires, these things have become far easier in the past few months. Before this gig, I worked so irregularly that there was no way to get in the groove of it.

My typing hands are getting tired, but all in all, I’m feeling pretty posi.

that I’m a big ol fag? and genderqueer? I think I’ve yet to write about it at all here. Well, there it is. I’m out of the closet. That said, here is my favorite video to watch at work. It’s even gayer than I am:

to pimp it.

So, as I’ve posted recently, I’ve been being harassed by a housemate over my refusal to take part in his “research” on organized crime in this city. I basically have to leave my living situation in order to not dissolve (even further) into a writing mass of rage and hurt. This means giving up a free room and heat in a nice house and a great locati0n. I seriously go to sleep at night unable to think about anything else, I don’t feel comfortable hanging out at home, I can’t trust most of my housemates (there’s 8 of them).

The worst part is feeling like there is absolutely no way of seeking accountability for this harassment.

Or so I thought.

Last night I was hanging out with some friends who work for the university, and brought up this situation, asking if there’s anything I can do about it. It turns out, to do research on any human subject, for ANY department, requires an approval through the ethics committee, and informed consent from all informants. I’m not sure if this is a Canada-specific thing, either way it’s good to know in case you find yourself being used as a case study! I called up the chair of the ethics committee, who was great about it. Apparently this is a pretty aberrant case. I’m pretty scared of some sort of outing/retaliation (though at this point, could it get much worse?), but he reassured me that they’ll address it without indicating that someone actually called in a complaint.

What I really want is to string this guy up by the balls, but I know that won’t happen. At best, a few profs will be like “ethix, u haz none.”

In other news, we got a new kitty! He’s eating up all the mice, and is a little needy (like jumping in my lap and ripping my stockings- bad kitteh!). Cuteness factor increased. Sweet!

What exactly are you supposed to do when you queef really loudly in front of a client? 5 times in a row, even? It’s just what happens!