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!

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