International Whores’ Day 2020

2 Jun 2020 | News

You probably didn’t perve on My blog for political commentary.
Unfortunately, being a sex worker is an inherently political occupation.

I’m sitting in My bed with My cat on My feet and My laptop balanced awkwardly so as not to disturb the precious sleeping cat (even though I’m hungry and I need to pee) because she is snore-purring. And I am trying to put My feelings into a coherent form for your digestion, but this is not a promise.

International Whores’ Day 2 June started with protests and sex worker occupation of a church in 1975 in Lyon, France (Scarlet Alliance, Wikipedia) and has been celebrated annually as a day of lobbying and call to action regarding discrimination, human rights, and advocacy. This year in-person protests, peer-support actions and gatherings are all off the table as we go through the motions of a global pandemic. This year they are needed by so many of us. Many sex workers do not qualify for Job Keeper, Job Seeker, other forms of Centrelink or government assistance. Still more that do qualify have been unable to access any support because Centrelink – no further explanation required.

Did you that the Federal Government has released no plans to permit sex work premises to open again? Not strip clubs, not brothels, not escort agencies, not massage parlours, not kink premises. They are explicitly mentioned for continued closure on the Federal Government’s 3 Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia. There have been indications, however, that Sex on Premises Venues (SOPVs) will receive consideration in the third stage of restrictions easing. Sex is considered one of our essential physiological motivations on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, yet is deemed non-essential by our government. But it’s okay, because gambling and casinos are more essential than orgasms. I’m not bitter, you’re bitter.

While at a federal level sex work has been deemed non-essential, and in several states around Australia police can exercise powers of entrapment (which they have been most prolifically), in NSW sex work is decriminalised and is not a matter for the police unless you are breaking other actual laws while you’re at it. I could get in trouble for breaching the public health order for being in breach of social distancing regulations, but the cops aren’t red hot on this at the moment. They are too busy beating up teenage Indigenous boys.

Which itself follows straight on from what can certainly be considered an epic farce of a National Reconciliation Week, which commenced last Monday on Sorry Day with Rio Tinto blowing up an Indigenous heritage site in WA considered to be in excess of 46,000 years old with the only evidence of human occupation in inland Australia through the last ice age. Well done Rio Tinto (they “apologised” on 31 May).

Protests of police brutality, inexcusable use of force, and deliberate racial profiling are gaining solidarity that transcends borders. In America, some cities are meeting protesters with the National Guard, Riot Squad, and an (in)judicious use of tear gas and “rubber” bullets. 
In Australia, ScottyFromMarketing has reminded us “There’s no need to import things happening in other countries here to Australia” – conveniently forgetting that most everything here and that we take for granted has in face been imported. Also conveniently forgetting that there have been in excess of 400 deaths in custody of Indigenous people since the 1991 Royal Commission into the same and not one conviction has been upheld against those responsible.

It is easy to feel disheartened, disillusioned, and ambivalent in the face of such profound and soul-crushing displays of bureaucratic ineptness, ingrained violence, and capital cruelty. BUT it’s okay, I’ve got you boo…


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