Isms and the Industry

So I lied. While reading one of my favorite blogs, a little glowing light popped on in my head, and I decided to hop over here to share some of my thoughts with you. The internet is glutted with sex and sex worker blogs (did you know that the internet is 83% porn?), but I've been realizing that my perspective is unique and important for two important reasons: 1. I am not white, 2. I am not straight. Because these two parts of my identity are vital to how I interact with and experience the sex trade industry, I thought I'd delve a bit.

Race Matters
I am going to disclose something about myself to you, my trusted readers. I am biracial. There is a huge niche market for non-white people in the sex trade industry, but I can't always take advantage of that fact because my specific race isn't always obvious at first. In fact, I am often mistaken for white. To some, it's obvious that I'm not, but unless I ask someone directly, I can't usually read how a person is reading me. But even if I were to make myself more phenotypically non-white, I think I would feel ill playing on those stereotypes to gather new business. Even when I bill myself as "exotic," I begin to feel the bile rise. But, if you know anything about desire, you probably know that people's tastes are usually very specific. In fact, most of the sex industry markets itself and is dependent upon stereotypes that are not considered acceptable to repeat in polite society (anymore). It's so strange, because I am usually able to reconcile my feminism with my sex work, but I'd feel like some sort of "traitor" if I was forced to play up my race or racial ambiguity for johns.

Queering the Sex Trade
There are many brilliant queer sex workers who write. Michelle Tea, Annie Sprinkle and Scarlot Harlot are the names of a very few, but to my knowledge, none of them have public blogs (probably because they don't need to; they're published authors!). However, the large majority of e-famous sex worker blogs I've read feature heterosexual women. Sure, most of them dabble in girl-on-girl, but I pretty much only sleep with biological men for money (though I've known to make exception on occasion). A friend of mine recently asked me how this affects my sex work. Very much, is my answer. I'm not sure how straight sex workers do it, but being able to make that very distinct separation between my sex life at home and at work is vital for my emotional well-being. I never thought that high school would prepare me for anything useful, but it seems that sleeping with men to whom I have no emotional interest in or attachment to was great preparation for avoiding the large majority of emotional messiness that I imagine could plague some in this industry. I also feel extremely grateful, because there seems to be a rich and supportive network of queer-identified sex workers out there in the world. I usually see them every year at dyke marches and pride parades, holding their fierce signs high, receiving cheers and whistles from the crowd of progressive queers who support them.

You are sure to hear more from me regarding these subjects in the future, but I'm also inviting my readers to share their stories of how race, sexuality, class, gender variance, etc. have colored their involvement in the sex trade. We aren't all size 2 fake-titted bottle blondes out here, and I want to know what that means for you.


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