So you want to do Porn?

I get emails from potential performers – A LOT. 

I can see why, though it is tricky to reply to them all and it’s often that they’ve sent one email out to multiple performers in the hope that one of us will just offer them a job.

Some are definitely legitimately just asking, but that’s definitely ‘some’ and not all. The calibre of the emails varies – from polite requests, to dick pics galore. I say dick pics specifically because most of these emails are coming from men.

So, I’ve got an email I send out for this purpose and I figure why not throw it up here for anyone else curious. It links to some other cool websites and information that, whether you’re interested in starting in the industry or not, I think are definite ‘must reads’ so, follow the links with wild abandon and get lost as hell on some of these sites – I do!

Hello Prospective Porn Performer –

I’m not going to use the word ‘Star’ because, frankly, you’re new. And I’m even uncomfortable using it in regards to myself – it implies a level of notoriety that I feel I’m definitely yet to achieve and it also doesn’t really sum up the requirements of the job. You’re not a star the minute you shoot your first scene – you have a long way to go yet and you need to develop a sense of understanding about the industry, what it means to work within it and have respect for both these things, as well as your co-stars.

Where to start, well first and foremost – PORN IS A JOB.

It’s not a case of, rock up, look good, have a giant cock and then fuck all the bitches. Sorry. If that’s what you were expecting, I’d delete this email and focus on other career paths.

So, Porn is a job, but it’s NOT a full time job. We’re not in America. We’re in Australia. Maybe travel is in your sights for the future, but right now, getting started here in Australia is not going to be enough to fund life. You need to be working. Maybe that’s elsewhere in the Industry, maybe you have a day job, but you’re absolutely not going to be able to make Porn your full time career and I cannot stress this enough.

Also worth considering: Porn can and will impact your life. Personally and professionally. If you have a day job that you think might be impacted by a career in the adult sphere: Don’t do porn. Don’t expect that everyone, personally or professionally will be down with your choices. And they don’t have to be, they’re your choices – but being in this industry has had consequences for me. I’m not trying to scare you, but I think people often look at this industry like some easy money dream job, without considering the space adult entertainers inhibit in society and the stigma we constantly face. Educate yourself. There’s a ton out there about working in this industry, a great book is ‘Coming Out Like a Pornstar’ which includes amazing writing from International & Australian entertainers and producers. A fantastic recent piece of writing from quite recently is ‘Once You have Made Pornography’ by Lorelei Lee, you can find it here: https://theestablishment.co/once-you-have-made-pornography-8720910befdc

Porn has brought me amazing experiences and set me on a path that I’m thrilled to be on, it’s given me the opportunity to do things and explore fantasies and helped me develop an idea of what I’d like to see and create. I’m grateful for that. But it hasn’t been all easy and I talk about that at length online and in the media (you can find all that kind of stuff on the media page of my website).

So, with all these things considered, what should you do if you’re serious?

Well, first things first: Don’t send the same email to multiple adult performers online. We’re busy people, with busy lives and there ARE resources out there, if you’re willing to take the time to perform a basic google search. I get it, contacting peers for advice is a great way to source the right information straight up, but clinging like a limpet to one female performer will not a career make. We aren’t your ticket to the porn show – sorry. And a lot of us work full time, so answering all your questions and looking at any pictures you may attached to those questions really isn’t something we have the time or inclination to do. It sounds harsh, but think about it seriously and I’m sure you can a) Imagine how many emails like this we get per day and b) hopefully see how freaking annoying that would be.

For every decent, honest and earnest email I get from someone wanting to get in to the porn industry – I get a thousand pictures of dicks or glamour shots and shoddy emails describing how great someone is in the sack and how they can ‘go for hours’ – People, I don’t care and neither will any producers you come across.

Porn is not all about size and shape. We have an amazing, super diverse Australian porn community and it’s growing every day. So, leading with your junk – that don’t impress me much. We definitely want to see more cool male performers, but we’re looking for personality and professionalism, more than any definitive physical attributes. Our industry is diverse in so many ways, but we can always do better. SO PLEASE don’t think that just because you don’t fulfil any image, sexuality or gender stereotypes, stop you from getting started or looking in to the industry – we’d love to have you. Literally and figuratively. (That was bad, forgive me.)

Applying for a job in porn? Like applying for a job in any industry, so I’d recommend writing a mean cover letter. You don’t need to attach anything to it, maybe a nice photo or two of yourself – even a nude or two. I mean, we’d like to know you have a body of some sort, so a good quality image of yourself, maybe with a smile or two – THAT’S GREAT! But thousands of grainy nudes taken on someone’s camera phone – not so much. And fuck, no crotch shots. It’s there, well done. Pat yourself on the back. I also have a groin region that I use – Yay, everybody wins! Pay attention to lighting, to location etc – these are really simple things you can do to ensure a really nicely composed photo. You don’t have to be an expert, just aware.

Introduce yourself. Explain why you’d like to get in to the industry, where your interests came from. RESEARCH the companies you’re contacting. Don’t send one long letter, then copy paste or BCC it to every company email you find. SHOW that you’ve done some research in to their work, that you’ve considered where you might fit in and what you might be able to offer. Do you have specific skills or interests? Fantasies or fetishes? Mention them, not in a super graphic ‘Mills and Boon’ kind of way, but be up front and practical about attributes you think might make you an asset to the industry or the producer you’re contacting. Also don’t be afraid to mention your hard limits, things you wouldn’t be up for, or aren’t interested in shooting. Those things are important to and it’s your right as a performer to feel comfortable on any sets you’re involved with.

Ethical pornography is at the core of so much of what we shoot in Australia. I’d recommend checking out this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-21/ethical-porn-does-it-exist-and-where-do-you-find-it/8091266 (featuring one of my porn idols Ms Naughty) and this website: http://ethical.porn/

I’d also recommend taking a really good look at your own Porn viewing habits and how the links up with what you’d like to make AND what’s good for the industry. I know tube sites seem like the ‘open late 7/11’ option in terms of convenience for consumers, but in actual fact: Not good for the industry. Check out: http://www.payforyourporn.org/  – it’s good reading and it’ll explain some of the behind the scenes stuff you ought to know.

As a small industry, we’re not shooting ALL the time, so don’t be shirty if you don’t get a response or an offer to shoot ASAP. But make yourself available to chat etc or answer any further questions they might have for you by email. You only get out what you put in. (ARGH, that sounds so much dirtier in this context, FML)

Another hint: Research. We’re not running in quite the same way as the industries in other places, but there’s so any out and very vocal performers in the industry and their videos and writing can be a source of EXCELLENT advice. This is all from my POV but seriously, Ms Naughty is an amazing porn producer and her blog is honestly an amazing source of information and advice for me. I link it to everyone, especially this: http://msnaughty.com/blog/2013/05/22/advice-for-aspiring-male-porn-performers/ – MANY of the points in here could apply to ANYONE, not just male performers. But, as you’re a male performer contacting me, it’s super relevant!

I know this a lot of reading, writing and research and perhaps not exactly what you were expecting in writing to me, but it’s honestly what I believe is at the core of making a great start in this business. I’m involved with Porn because I love it. I want to continue to give back to the industry, because I’m committed to what we can create and achieve going forward and being involved in all that is so much fun, even with all the hard work!

Three main Porn companies I’ve worked with that you may want to check out are:

– Bright Desire
– Light Southern
– Aussie Ass
– Feck
There’s a lot of independent Australian performers, including Cam Performers, creating their own content for clip sites and developing in to their own websites as well! You can find a lot of them on Twitter and it’s worth paying attention to what they’re talking about working on. If they need more talent, they’ll likely say so and provide contact details. You should approach them in the same way you would any company: Respectfully.

Anyway, that’s a lot to take in and I hope some of it has helped!

All the best with your future porn career and if it’s not for you, all the best with whatever you pursue!

LB xx

Addicted to Love (And Robert Palmer) OR Musings on why I’m here.

I am a restless lover.

I’m expected, upon requests to know why I started or how I ended up here, to wax lyrical about financial security. Which I do, sometimes. I also yammer on about the hours. How much I enjoyed the night shift. The convenience. The re-discovering of my body and my self. The shunning of certain insecurities, only to develop new ones. I talk, at length, about all these things and they’re definitely all true.

But there’s something I talk about less in my story. Something that I’ve avoided, beyond a stray tweet or two, a matter of fact line in an interview or some, perhaps, rehearsed lines on film. Perhaps I’ve left it out of the discussion out of shame. Shame that I regularly insist that no-one should experience. Perhaps it’s that. Perhaps it’s because I have expectations regarding the responses I’m likely to get and I’ve already given up on trying to explain it as a result. I don’t think anyone could blame me for that, given the mind numbingly repetitive answers I offer the curious, the irate and the understanding on a daily basis. I should clarify, I don’t mind doing that, but you’d be right to assume that it grows taxing as time goes on.

Or maybe I’ve avoided it because I’m worried it could be a secret vice of mine, caught somewhere between an addiction and an obsession. Worried about what a lover might think of me, that my enthusiasm is hiding some sort of warped dependency. There could be any number of reasons for avoiding this line of conversation, or touching on it with humour and dry wit alone.

The truth. It’s nothing startling. I admitted in the first line of this post.

Since I first experienced the thrills that came from getting to know my own body, I’ve been consumed by pleasure and the seeking of it. Simple pleasures aside, the pleasures of the body, my own, someone else’s, have been at the core of my life for a very long time. The heated breathlessness of every sexual experience is perhaps, for me, a type of drug. Nothing to warrant an addiction, in the morally outraged, catholic sense of the word. But enough to fuel an already intense drive, coupled with a thirst for knowledge and experience.

When I’ve said ‘I’m here because I want to be’ – I’ve meant it. I’ve meant it because discovering what my body can do and what it enjoys and how that changes, on it’s own and whilst intermingled with someone new, brings me an indescribable thrill. I’m captivated by the little things. Where the beads of sweat gather first on flushed skin, those goose bumps that appear at the lightest graze of fingertips, the way a body moves and shudders and arches, almost out of control and riddled with a level of intoxication that we create on our own – we were created with the ability to indulge and enjoy a level of gratification that ranges from mild to vigorous. We were made with all we need to create these sensations.

Beyond experiencing these things, teaching people about them and learning for myself is blissful. I’m constantly reminded that what works for one person, doesn’t work for everyone and finding new ways to touch and experience is a privilege not afforded to many. Some of those people find their way to someone like me, but some people will go their entire lives denying themselves or denied by the world. The reasons for this are endless. When I think about it, I feel like it’s even more important that I absolutely devour everything life has to offer me. With this as my philosophy, or my mantra, it’s only natural that life finds me sharing it with others wherever possible.

I’m not what you’d call a spiritual person. I’m practical. Unflinchingly blunt. But I guess if there was anything I was inclined to get ‘religious’ about, this would be it. I’m not in to Tantra, or any other dozen different methods of sexual experience and worship – but I am into the simplicity of touch. And experience. And of the ability to connect with others that affords me.

‘You’re Welcome Here’

‘You’re welcome here’ – They said. 
But there was this caveat – it was…complicated.

They were apologetic.
Even though we weren’t ‘reasonable.’

‘You’re Welcome here’ but – don’t make a fuss. 
This is about all of us.
That other thing – that was just a mistake.
Our vision wasn’t a promise to break.
Just words on a page…

‘You’re Welcome Here’ – just mind what you say.
Keep the anger at bay.
We want you to ‘BE’ – but just tone it down – the children might see.

Whore’s a bit too much, but Pussy is OK – there’s just not room here for both today.

‘YOU’RE Welcome Here’ but we won’t need you to speak, see – there’s an order to oppression and you’re not in the lead.

But – unity –

‘You’re WELCOME here’, but, they won’t UNDERSTAND – it’s just…
You serve the man and weren’t part of our plan and PUSSY POWER is in!
(But not if you’re using your pussy for sin)

‘You’re Welcome HERE’ and look – they’ll STARE, but look at what you’re wearing?
It’s bold don’t you think?
It’s great you’re so proud, seriously, it’s true but – really, what do you expect them to do?

‘YOU’RE WELCOME HERE’ – it’s so great you can attend!
Look how far we’ve come! Annnd we had to bend a little, you know –
it’s a controversial issue –
but what a show –
of support —-

I’m not welcome here.

By some, perhaps.
But the looks & the sneers, the raised brows make it clear.
Don’t rock the boat.
Don’t spoil the day.
It’s about what’s REALLY important – ‘they’ say.

But we’re SCARED, I cry.
And others are too and that might not be so important to you,
BUT WHY live with a fear that we could take away,
WHY settle for less than what’s offered ‘the rest’
WHY be QUIET
WHY be SILENCED
Our existence offends you but WHY SHOULD WE HIDE IT?

I’m not welcome here.

So I make my own place.
I’m silent as I walk and I set my own pace and,
I am emblazoned with the words they won’t say and,
I stand strong
Because the women I know
FOUGHT so I’d have the right to do so.

So ‘bless’ your inclusion and bless when it’s proffered –
But we’ll fight another day regardless of it’s offered.
This is bigger than us and it’s bigger than you.
If saying so makes you uncomfortable – tough. It’s true.

We’re NOT your rescue project
NOT your ‘feel good of the month’
We’ve felt the punch of a Woman’s Words & a Man’s Fist
And we’re still fighting, regardless, for the right to exist.

Our RIGHTS are HUMAN.
Our SPIRITS are FIERCE.
The body may be weak, filled with a million unshed tears but –
WE WON’T STOP – and this will go on for years until –

‘You’re welcome here’
Goes without saying.

#Junket Musings.

I’ve spent hours on and off, sitting around pondering what I could possibly Pitch at Junket this year.

I’ve no shortage of things I care about, things that incite and excite me. But to narrow it down to just one – that’s the rub. I could talk for hours and hours about Sex Work. The industry, what it means to me and what it means to be a Sex Worker in 2016, according to my limited experience.

But I want to poke at the heart of the issue and it’s taken a little thinking to get to what I think that is.

My thoughts, so far, are thus:

What I experience as a sex worker, the level of vitriol and abuse from outsiders looking in, the immense level of moral outrage – this isn’t new to me. I’ve experienced this, to a slightly lesser extent purely for having the audacity to be a sexually active, sexually open, sexually confident woman.

I could go in to Gender here and the conversation would go down the roads we’ve been taking it down for a while now. But that’s not quite where I want to go and I think we’ll end up there at some point regardless.

We live in a world where sex is still shocking. It’s still Taboo. And in our efforts to rise up against that, to generate discussion and healthy debate, through this wave of sex positivity – I think we’ve lost sight of the basics.

Yes. We’re talking about Sex more than ever. But we’re still talking about a very specific type of sex. We’re so focused on ‘Good Sex’ and how we think people should be having it, that we’re now putting a whole different level of undue pressure on each other to be something that perhaps we’re not.

We’re now caught in a climate of ‘faux empowerment’ and perfection – where sex is still as much of a source of titillation and controversy as it was before, but it’s less about the fact we’re having it.

“It’s whether you’re having enough of it. Once a week isn’t enough you know.
If you’re doing it the right way, with the right person – no, the right people. One lover isn’t enough!
Are you feeling empowered enough after every experience? You should be you know. Why not?
Are you having enough of it on your own? You should really do that. Everyone else does.
How many sex toys do you own? You need to own more than one. You can only buy them here though.
Do you watch Porn? You should really be watching Porn. Ethically created, feminist, from the female gaze, no cumshots allowed paid for Erotica.

Where are all the conversations about pleasure that focus on something other than orgasms? Where are the conversations about sex that’s ‘ok.’ Why are we implying that ‘ok’ sex is the worst thing ever? Do we all really need to masturbate? Should we feel bad for having sex because making a partner happy in turn makes us happy, but we’re not so totally in to it ourselves?

WHAT IS GOOD SEX? And why does it matter so much? And why are we, in a roundabout way, shaming people who aren’t having it?

I want to talk about Queefing. And Smegma. And body hair and how and where it grows. I want to talk about how everyone’s genitals look totally different and that’s ok. I want to talk about how you’re no less of a feminist because you like semen. I want to talk about how you’re not going to get your soul sucked out through your bits because you had sex or had sex with someone on their period. I want to talk about how not having sex is just as powerful as having sex and you do whatever the hell is right for you. I want to redefine sex as something other than just heterosexual penetration or anal sex. I want to talk about the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes – all the things we don’t want to talk about – I want to talk about.

And more than that, I want to write this down. I want to write this down so that all people, young and old can read it. Because we can’t place the responsibility of sex education on people who haven’t had the luxury of it themselves. Just having sex a couple of times doesn’t make anyone an expert on the sheer diverse brilliance that is human sexuality.

Why does this matter to me so much? I love sex. It’s what I do. Personally. Professionally. And it’s only by having these conversations about sex, by taking away the Taboo, that I can start having better conversations with more people about the fact that I sell sex.

I really hate Fathers Day

I’d like to start by saying the irony of being a ‘Hooker with Daddy Issues’ is not lost on me.

I’m often reticent to admit it, but I have, at one time or another, fulfilled many of the stereotypes one prescribes to people in the industry in which I reside. Sometimes I think the urge to rail against whatever’s thrown at me as an insult is so great that I’m prone to denying or neglecting parts of my history.

I’ve always hated Father’s Day.

My relationship with my father is not a unique one. He was noticeably absent from early on in my life. I hate the term ‘broken home’, because my Mother left my Father to fix what was broken and to ensure I didn’t live the kind of fractured home life that she herself had been exposed to as a child.

My father, like many absent parents, was full of promises he couldn’t keep. But they were promises that I met as a child with wide eyed enthusiasm. I hung off his every word and believed everything he said. Often to my own detriment. Sometimes I think he got high off the pain and angst I’d have to endure at the end of every fleeting access visit. I’d cry, or positively howl, often making myself sick, hot headed and hyperventilating. That blind adoration was what he craved and when that disappeared as I got older, he didn’t want me anymore.

He and my Nanna always came to my home town to visit me, rarely the other way around. My anxieties meant I hated being too far from my mother and my knowledge that there remained some conflict between them meant that whilst I loved him, I was terrified he’d take me away.

I was an intelligent child. My Mother did her best to protect me from the knowledge that my father was not the super hero I saw him as. I held on to every single thing he ever bought me, like a talisman of his affections for me. I kept every soft animal close and promised fiercely to love and protect them and never, ever leave them. Because in that, my small mind could control some of the pain I felt. I could create a situation where what I felt wasn’t recreated and hope that some day it would be replicated in real life.

The first time I heard a man swear at a woman was my Father calling my mother a variation on the word ‘Whore.’ I think it was Moll. I can’t quite remember. Trust me, the irony of that isn’t lost of me either.

My Dad kind of just opted out at some point. I think I was around 10 or 12. The birthday parcels would come, with my Nanna signing cards and no doubt hoping I wouldn’t notice. He gave up on me. I wasn’t what he wanted, I didn’t just take what he said as gospel and I was making my own decisions. Decisions, he naturally blamed on my mother, who in all this was nothing but a watchful bystander, trying to protect me, but knowing well enough that I would fiercely forge my own path regardless.

I didn’t speak to him for years. Later, in arguments, his mother would tell me how much he’d been hurting, that he was human and in pain. I’m no stranger to pain. But I was a child. I’d done nothing wrong. Nothing that could wound a grown man so keenly that he would abandon me entirely. That level of ignorance, of petty action, that belonged in the world of Adults and an adult I was not. He was my Father and with that came the responsibility to love and protect. And he failed me.

I’ve seen my Father since my childhood. He’s rescued me on a few occasions,  welcomed me in to his home, packed me up and moved me from place to place, we’ve talked briefly about what my childhood was like. As of now, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in touch with him. Our relationship ebbs and flows like the ocean. I find my way back, but know that as much as I try to fill our time with the milestones he missed when I was growing up, as much as I run to him when I need a parent close by, give him the chance to be one – I cannot forget the impact of his absence on my life now. The impact of his rejection.

I’ll never get from him what I’m looking for, because deep down I’m not sure he thinks he’s done anything wrong. He stubbornly clings to the notion of how he was wronged, by me, by my mother – the woman he’d wronged perhaps most of all, but who, even when he didn’t deserve it, remained committed to restoring our relationship, to trying to ensure I had that, I had him, in my life.

I think, perhaps, the worst thing I’ve ever done to my father is turn out like my mother. Strong, opinionated, fiercely determined. She fulfilled in my life, the role of both parents and scarified more for me than I think my Father knows how to give.

Perhaps writing this down will upset him. Perhaps I should care more. I don’t relish the prospect of causing anyone pain. But I keenly feel the agony of his betrayal even now. I’m not out in the world, seeking to fill the gap he left in my life. I grew up surrounded by relatives, teachers, friends who more than took care of that. They are the people I aspire to, in every fight or struggle I take on today.

I don’t think he’ll ever understand and I don’t think I’ll ever get the apology I’m so craving. So days like today remain difficult. I know many amazing Fathers, but something still feels like loss.

Fun Fact: Services & Prices don’t define you. Neither does anyone else get the right to.

Let’s talk about services shall we?

Namely that between each and every sex worker in this industry, there’s a myriad of them on offer. Some people offer one thing, but not another. Some people offer a lot, some people offer a few. Some people disclose what services they offer and some don’t.

This is all totally fine.

It’s down to freedom of choice. Each worker has the right to only perform the services she’s comfortable with. And no-one has the right to tell her otherwise.

Now, some workers wildly disagree with the choices others make. Cool. Let’s throw out the elephant in the room – services like BBBJ (Bare Back Blow Jobs) are not everyone’s cup of tea. Plenty of workers offer it, plenty don’t and there’s room for both in this business. I personally offer the service, but I don’t offer it to just everyone who waltzes in my door. Again, personal choice. I assess a situation and make a decision accordingly.  I started my career in the industry in a massage parlor where I gave nothing BUT CBJ (Covered Blow Jobs), so it’s not that I don’t know any better or have only ever done things one way, oh poor misguided me etc – No. I still give plenty of CBJ. Offering BBBJ hasn’t changed that.

I have no issue with people giving their own reasons as to why they don’t offer a service. I’m not particularly fussed, however, when they come to me or to the internet, out of no where and state that they are, effectively, some kind of paragon who ‘truly cares’ about the health of their clients because they ‘don’t offer unsafe services’, when, essentially, all sexual contact can quite easily be deemed unsafe to some degree. I’ll gladly sit down and discuss how herpes is transferred if they really want to go down that road. And to imply that someone doesn’t give a damn about their clients because of a service they offer, with next to no knowledge about that person or how they run their business is just a wee bit shit. It’s all in the phrasing. It’s totally possible to say these things, without trashing, albeit often inadvertently, your fellow workers.

What I dislike even more is when they imply that they’re somehow more ‘Classy’ (and believe me, I hate this word to begin with), because of what they do or don’t offer. Or beyond that, because of their age. Their implied ‘social standing.’ What they do for a living outside the industry or where they come from.

We’re blessed in this industry with such phenomenal diversity. Sex Workers come from all walks of life and they enter, exit and stay in the industry for all sorts of reasons. Now more than ever that’s true. I haven’t been in the industry so long as others, but even since I started in massage, I’ve seen the number of workers in my home city alone grow hugely. And they all have something different to offer.

I don’t subscribe to the notion of competition in the industry where possible, because I feel like getting hung up on the number of workers out there, rather than focusing on what I’m doing, what I offer, my own ‘brand’ so to speak, is pointless. Don’t get me wrong, I used to focus on what everyone else was doing way, way more. I’d be near breakdown level of anxiety if I wasn’t shooting as much as everyone else, if my services list was smaller, if my rates weren’t competitive enough.

It wasn’t what I’d call a fantastic feeling, or a good way to live. It took me down paths like considering surgery or making changes to my appearance because I was so terrified that at any second everything could come crashing down around me. Like a pair of boobs or some lip fillers were going to change that? That’s not me bashing surgery by the way, but I’m totally comfortable acknowledging that I’d probably look ridiculous with either of those things. I’m a tiny girl.

There seems to exist, however, this self appointed ‘old guard’ who consistently talk about ‘the good old days’ and openly discuss the woeful state of things, with all these girls (they rarely mention male or trans workers), offering all these services and being so young and so decidedly uncouth. Gasp! I imagine they probably do this while fluttering their fans and looking scandalized whilst playing bridge together and sipping tea.

Look, I have no problem acknowledging shifting changes in trends within this industry. More people, offering different stuff, traveling to different places – this is pretty common of any industry. It grows, changes, diversifies. I have a huge problem with people saying they’re doing this though when really they’re just perpetuating Whorearchy. And anyone who politely tells them this (or less politely, in my worse moments), gets much the same response as anyone calling someone out for their internalized racism or sexism – we’re trying to SHUT DOWN FREE SPEECH.

See Whorearchy doesn’t just affected women within this industry either. It goes hand in hand with slut shaming and victim blaming. And the people talking like this don’t want to acknowledge that but like it or not – it’s true. If you’re going to say shitty things about people, own it. Don’t try and imply it’s out of concern for anyone but yourself. Some people want to work really hard. Some people just want to bring others down to bring themselves up. You want to be a snob? Go nuts. It’s your right to be. I wouldn’t dream of taking that away from you. What I will do however, quite comfortably, is point it out.

Running theme in my blogs: I’m not perfect. I’ve had moments where I’ve said things that no doubt contributed to just this issue. I was ill educated on the subject and I’m definitely still learning. I have days where I massively need to check my privilege and also acknowledge the words I use. It’s a process and I’m exposed to people who are gracious enough to pull me up on this stuff directly when it happens. In that way, I’m very lucky.

What I don’t want to see is a world where a worker, regardless of what they do, how they do it, what their rates are, what they look like – feels like they’re any less of a human, because of what the self appointed ‘class police’ have decided to express their disdain for today or tomorrow, or any time over the next few years because they’re certainly not going away. They do things their way. They have every right to. They can use whichever words they want to describe themselves, they can offer or not offer whichever services they choose – and so can those they think so very little off.

What they can’t do, however hard they may try, is change the way we feel about ourselves.
You are not defined by a set of overused adjectives. We’ve all used them at one time or another and if a certain word sums up a part of who you are or the service you offer, then use it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But that is all they are. Words. Unless they’re backed up by actions, they mean nothing and you can call yourself the classiest person alive, but for me, personally, class has always been in how we treat people. Call me naive.
I’ve met High Class, VIP escorts that are also some of the sweetest, most generous and warm women you’ll meet. They also treat people with respect and as equals, regardless of where their price point is. They’re mentors, friends and wonderful human beings.

If someone offers a service you don’t like, at a price point you can’t fathom – what does that have to do with you? It makes no impact on you whatsoever. The client looking for someone who offers that service will not come to you. The client within that price range will not come to you. So there is no reason for you to discuss it. At all. It’s not your neck of the woods, so why are you worrying about it? I spent way too much time worrying about where I fit in the scheme of things. I assess my own worth based on what I can and can’t do and the effort I put in to something. I’m happier for it. Sometimes clients will ask for things anyway, they’ll try to haggle, but that is happening to everyone, all the time. It’s in the nature of some people to try and push boundaries. A worker could offer everything and the kitchen sink and STILL they’d think of something else to request and at a lower rate to boot.

You don’t make yourself look better by dismissing clients and workers you see as ‘below’ you based on words and a number. If you think you do, then perhaps the industry as it is now, one where we try to bring each other up, treat each other with respect and dignity – perhaps that industry isn’t for you then.

Musings of an ‘ill-educated’ sex worker.

Today I went for a walk.

A long one.

I got up, I had breakfast, tore through some admin, went to the gym, wandered through the city and got accosted by Zubats. I found a safe corner of Hyde Park to catch Pokemon in undetected. I drank about three coffees and I inhaled as much fresh air as my lungs, who’ve been so happy inside lately, could stand.

I needed to go for a walk.

The last couple of weeks have by no means been pleasant.

They’ve not been all bad either, I mean, I got to speak in front of some amazing people and tell them about my life, in my own words, with no frills and no bullshit. I didn’t really have to censor myself or, focus on the positives. I was able to stand in front of a group of people and be honest and direct without a hint of shame or fear.

Well, not a lot of fear.

I often say in conversations with friends or those asking me about what I get up to, that it’s only recently I’ve realized how much individuals against what I do for a living, really hate me and the community I’m part of. Like, I knew they disliked us. I knew they disagreed with us. That was abundantly clear, but it’s only recently that I’ve felt the full force of what I can only describe as a mix of disgust and pure loathing. They certainly don’t come across quite so Christian, or sympathetic to my ‘tragic circumstances’ when they’re actually in front of me, or talking about me directly.

They use ’empathy’ or ‘ compassion’, supposedly that which they have for me, as a weapon, in this case on Facebook Walls or in ABC Religion think pieces. They say things that, at face value, could be taken as concern or outrage for my ‘poor treatment’ – but none of that comes from the heart, none of it is real. It’s a cover for emotions that are ugly, sentiments that are rotten to the core and that I’ve face to face with even more directly this month.

They make up whole portions of my life. Whole chapters of my story. They attempt to publicly re-write my life, without my involvement or permission. They tell people I’m broken, I’m a victim, I’m ill educated and nothing but a passive mannequin who people do things to do, with out my knowledge or consent. They harp on about the chances I haven’t received and the cruelty of allowing me to get up and speak, being nothing more than a hand puppet for the ‘Pimp Lobby’ an organisation they’ve conjured up as the ‘big bad’ in this sordid tale they’re writing.

I don’t need to tell you that what they’re saying is lies. I’ve spoken enough about my life for that to be infinitely clear. I don’t have a degree. I want one. I started one. I want to get back to it. Depression and anxiety have played a massive part in my life, well before this industry and there were days when the prospect of walking in to a classroom full of my peers filled me with utter terror and yet, now, many years in to my career, I’m able to stand in a lecture theater, full of people and, slightly shaky, say my piece.

They’ll take what I tell you now, in this writing and say that my run ins with mental health are exacerbated by my job. They’ll use anything I say or do as cannon fodder for what they’re hoping to achieve and frankly, I’m still no clearer on what that is. Because I’m yet to find that many women that actually want people with no notion of what they’ve been through, exploiting their stories and speaking for them.  And they’re certainly not out to assist sex workers, because they consistently deny the existence of a huge portion of our community, that is Men and Trans workers. They don’t care what happens to the women that speak out against them, but they care even less about people who fit any other narrative.

It’s not my work that is the problem, that’s the source of my down days – it’s them.

I left school and a lifetime of bullying and abuse, I gave my self a few years of peace, just a few, then stepped in to an arena where it’s now happening all over again. I could have kept quiet. Just worked, escorted, shot a little porn, kept my mouth shut and maybe saved myself a world of hurt in the process. But that’s never been the sort of person I am. Ask anyone who knows or has known me, I don’t back down from a fight. Sometimes, the fight gets the better of me and I have to slow down, but I’m always there. I always have one foot somewhere in the ring, often against my better judgement.

I think what these people do, is wrong.

A part of me hates that.

I used to be able to say, even just a year or so ago that there was, somewhere, good intention residing in them. That, despite the hurtful things directed at me or people I admired, that, there was good and their disdain was begotten more of misunderstanding than anything. Now, I know better. I know you can’t judge many on the actions of a few, or at least I know, in my mind, I don’t think you’re supposed to – but, the things they say, the words they use and the actions they take, it’s like an army of clones. They rely on the same old tired excuses and rhetoric to best shut us up and when that doesn’t work they just sink to insults and tirades of abuse and wild works of fiction based on what little factual information they have regarding any of us.

They’re bullies.

I’m not perfect. I know that’s a really tired old cliche statement when writing about oneself, but it’s true. I’m really not. I’ve had moments where I’ve been harsh or cruel, or just plain stupid to people I cared about and, I’ve lost relationships that meant a great deal to me as a result. I’ve sunk, in anger to words and insults and raised my voice on more than one occasion – but I try so hard with these people not to do that. I’m fiery in the way I speak, no doubt. I have a slightly dry sense of humor and I’m slowly, slowly, perhaps more quickly as of late, losing all my tolerance for their behavior. But I try so damn hard to stick to what I know. To disagree, but not use name calling and personal attacks as a weapon. It probably looks like I’m doing little more than repeating myself, but there’s this part of me that feels like, if I just find the perfect scattering of words to explain the situation they’ll have their ‘Eureka’ moment and understand why we’ve been fighting so tirelessly as a community for so long.

I know this probably won’t happen. I paint myself as a pessimist at the best of times, but I’m ever the optimist, whether I like it or not.

What’s frustrating right now is not even the people saying these things, but rather, what they leave me open to. See, they’re not even always the worst of the worst. All it takes is one person with less self control, one person whose a little more radical or a little more hateful and I’m facing threats and being yelled at in the street or stalked online, over the phone – they don’t consider this. They don’t consider it at all. I don’t go out of my way to make what they do more public, just to be a pain in the ass – I do it because I feel this intense urge to document everything, because I don’t know what tomorrow could bring.

That’s what’s hard right now. This is only going to get worse. There’ll be good days, but I can’t say it’ll ever get better. Maybe, over time as the next generation take over and, things progress, maybe it’ll ease off, but for now this is something that I have to accept. Wrapping my mind around it is taking more time than I thought. Getting it out on paper helps. Though not the most titillating reading, it’s honest.

In response to the comments of Liselle St Germain.

(This is regarding comments made by someone on the ANU Sex and Consent Week Facebook Page. I also tweeted at length about this, including a screen shot, over the last few days. I saved this response, but I feel like it’s worth posting even though time has passed, because I acknowledged it towards the end of my presentation.)

I’d firstly like to thank Steven Bailey for his recognition of the comments as being in poor taste. Criticising a university event organised to facilitate discussion, educate and break down barriers within subject matter often deemed as too ’uncouth’ or stigmatic for discussion is harmful to the work and efforts put in by by all those organising the event.
If the opinions you expect to hear discussed within a speech offend you then don’t attend the presentation – or do and perhaps gain enough information to aptly engage in discussion.
The criticism made in the comments of Liselle St Germain applies to a piece of my work filmed early on in my career – it is a shame that some would seek to investigate my entire career (failing to note I once attended ANU) in order to create false accusations and belittle my knowledge of sex and consent as an industry worker.
In regards to the false accusations made, despite my work not being a film of sexual assault, many people suffer as victims of rape every day and the brash manner in which such a sensitive topic could be discussed is the reason we need sex and consent week. Many victims I’ve come across throughout my life have struggled with victim blaming and I can only hope that in future we can be more careful in our published materials that may act as triggers for those faced with demons of sexual assault.
Of course, I do not begrudge criticism of my work as I recognise the price that comes with being a public figure and an activist within the industry and I hope to have a chance to discuss some of the controversial topics in discussion during my brief time on campus this week. As somebody who once attended ANU I know what an honour it is to be making a key note speech and I look forward to presenting.
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Keynote Speech – ANU Sex & Consent Week. Tuesday August 2nd 2016.

My name is Lucie Bee and I’m, according to SWERF rhetoric, a ‘Happy Hooker.’

SWERF, if you weren’t aware, stands for ‘Sex Work Exclusionary Radical Feminism.’

So, I’m a ‘Happy Hooker’ and I’m here to tell you, that’s a Goddamn Lie. What I am is an Angry Hooker. What’s worse for the SWERF movement, including ‘divinities’ like Melinda Tankard Reist, is that I’m a Loud Angry Hooker.  I’m a loud, angry, tired hooker.

I apologise if that word makes you uncomfortable. But it’s thrown at me like a knife so often these days, even when accompanied by seemingly benign words like ‘happy’, it’s thrown at me so much that I feel like I’ve earned the right to say it. To reclaim it. To call it my own. I usually don’t hold court much with the notion of reclaiming words, but disarming them, disarming people with them, is something I spend a great deal of my time doing. God knows I’ve heard them all this stage. Slut, Whore, Prostitute, Bitch and recently, a great deal of dropping the C-Bomb. – Which leads me to politely let the individuals throwing them my way know that if the ‘best they can come up with is effectively a synonym for my job, they need to try harder.’

I try really hard to come across as tough. Like I don’t give a crap. I feel like I have a responsibility to the workers I’m connected to all over the world to keep my head up. But those words sting. Always. It’s this moment of sudden breathlessness, when a discussion or debate turns suddenly more hostile than it was 140 characters ago.

SWERFs want me to tell you this all comes from my clients. And yeah, as I’ll go into later, much of it has. But lately, so much more has come from those radically opposed to what I do with my life. A vast majority are women, some men – and it’s funny because the minute a male jumps to my defence, he’s a pimp, he’s despicable, but old, middle aged, often religious men are allowed to write long think pieces about how little I know of my self and my mind – and that’s ok. They’re praised.

So, I’m a tired, angry, loud Hooker – for a few reasons. But I’m not here to focus solely on that. I’m here to tell you about my life, my story, not so controversial as I think it’s supposed to be, this industry and how I got here. So, let’s start at the beginning.

I preface this by saying that I might disappoint you. I fulfil many of the stereotypes that mainstream media and pop culture prescribe to fallen women.

My father was noticeably absent for most of my life, a fact for which I’m extremely grateful. He was the source of a great deal of abuse to me as a child and before that to my mother during their marriage.
I wouldn’t be raised by a single parent for my whole childhood. My mother was soon joined by my Grandmother & Great Grandmother. Being raised by three strong, courageous women – each who’d experienced abuse in their own right, from three vastly different generations – taught me a lot and in so many ways has enabled me to take on much of the fight I have today.

I had a catholic education – light on sex education, heavy on bullying. I spent most of my youth being told what I wasn’t. I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t cool enough and I grew up on the coast without a Billabong school bag so I was doomed to failure from the start. Needless to say, my early introduction to sex and sexuality was not in my home town and not via anyone I met there.

I lost my virginity early, more for the sake of it than anything. I’d been surrounded by friends who were taking the plunge and I got to a stage where I was sick of hearing about it without a point of reference that didn’t come from dodgy movie sex scenes or Mills and Boon novels. I’m the sort of person who gets things done and sex was absolutely no exception.  Once I’d done it, whilst I had nothing particularly dramatic to report and it had by no means been a terrible experience, I really didn’t have any desire for a follow up until I got much older. Rumours went around my school about my behaviour, whilst simultaneously insults regarding how undesirable I was followed or preceded them. Which got me confused as to how anyone could call me a Slut in the first place. But I’m not about to dive into understanding teenage logic.

In the years that followed my interest in sex grew and my sexuality developed. I discovered the joys of making out with girls for the sake of making out with girls, not for the benefit of men close by. I discovered that liking boys and girls was totally fine. I discovered that liking anyone, regardless of how they defined their gender was also totally fine, though not always understood and I discovered I didn’t much care what people thought about who I held hands with. I went to wild parties. I went to not so wild parties. I found myself in and out of relationships. I lost a partner to suicide. I lost friends to drugs. I self medicated with drugs and alcohol. I studied. I stopped studying. I worked, retail, the public service, administration – I kept myself busy. I met new people. I explored kink.

Those years were a blur that lead me to the start of 2011. I was fortunate enough to be friends with an amazing sex positive dynamo, we’ll call her Scarlet, who confided in me that she worked as an erotic masseuse. I’d left another admin job, dissatisfied and depressed with  the 9-5 life I was living. I needed work. I enjoyed taking my clothes off. Reports said I gave a mean hand job so…

I interviewed with the management at a parlour in Fyshwick. I picked my name, Lucie – with an I E not a Y. They need more variety in the names on the roster and Lucie was a nickname of sorts, used affectionately by fellow book loving friends of mine, after the character from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They gave me a rundown on what was expected of me, what to expect from them. The parlour was clean, there were towels in abundance, each room with it’s own theme, some more realised than others (there was camo netting on the ceiling of the ‘jungle room’). I started a few days later, my first job. 15 minutes. A blow and go, with a guy who seemed to enjoy seeing first timers – though I was hardly the shrinking violet he expected.

It was over in, well, 15 minutes. And just like that, mind the pun, I was hooked.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that the financial aspect of the industry, in my early days, didn’t hold serious allure. Oh it did. I was also a night owl. Working at night suited me. The work suited me. I enjoyed meeting people and I enjoyed making people happy. This was, perhaps, an unconventional method of doing so but, I was also shy in a lot of ways, though I’d try not let anyone see it. The work gave me a thrill, a sense of bravado – for a moment I could step outside myself, become someone else, someone devilish and sexy. Someone who in the past I’d only managed to bring out on special occasions, or in the dark hidden spaces in masked sex parties, someone I’d always wanted to be, but never felt I had the right to.

It wasn’t all glamorous.

I experienced the perils of working in close confines with other women. There was a support network, but there was also competition. I learnt the same as I branched out. Slow at first, I traveled to Sydney, worked in massage parlours there so I could spend a little more time in the city. The women were fierce, territorial and I was still the self conscious geek I’d always been in the waiting room – it was behind closed doors, with men who adored me or, just liked the cut of my jib, that I felt most at home.

I experienced sexual assault for the second time whilst working. It’s played a part of my life, personal and professional. I have had my boundaries pushed by clients, but, perhaps more hurtful, by men I knew and trusted. I’m fortunate that these days that my reputation as a no-nonsense ball breaker affords me some level of safety. But I think what affords me more is I stubbornly refuse to be silenced. On any subject. I’m not scared to say I’ve been raped. That I suffer depression. That there’s days I can’t get out of bed and the world seems too frightening to put in to words. Since starting to become more vocal, whilst leaving myself open to immeasurable cruelty and emotional harm…I’m also protecting myself from those who’d seek to harm me in other ways. Should anything happen to me, a fact that I have to consider, I have to be prepared for – I would speak out. Or others would speak out for me. Unapologetic and unashamed. I have, in the past, had that taken away from me and I’ll never go back there again.

Eventually I started modelling – something I never pictured I’d ever find myself doing and my early efforts were…rough to say the least. I took up small pockets of space in Picture and People magazines. I got the unparalleled thrill of seeing ones self in print and despite trying to fiercely deny it, every image was a fuck you to my home town. From that, I started developing more of the social media presence I’ve become more known for now and it was twitter which lead an Australian porn company to contact me.

To date, I’ve done around 50 scenes. That doesn’t seem like a lot in three years, but I’m telling you that the amount of time, effort and organisation that goes into putting a scene together, makes that a figure I’m proud of. Not all my content is online, some is still in update queues for websites both here and internationally. Some of it is on my hard drive waiting to be edited and as someone who spends way too much time sorting, editing and taking photos of herself I can assure you editing your own porn is next level awkward.

I like porn. I don’t like all porn. I’m happy to say I think some of it’s rubbish. I’m even more comfortably saying I’ve shot some rubbish. In my early career there was this desperation to create a name, create a face and do more, more, more – it’s hard, as someone like me, not subscribing to any specific porn stereotypes, particularly in regards to my appearance, it’s hard not to be aware of the pressing intensity of competition. A competition that you don’t necessarily want to be in, one I’m not altogether sure I believe in, but the knowledge that certain looks sell and….I don’t necessarily have those looks, is not lost on me. That, however is something that pushes me to build and develop even more on what I’ve done so far. I feel a responsibility to create the content that I know I’d want people to see and learn from. And I feel a responsibility to ensure that that content is representative of as many of the diverse, phenomenal, sexual individuals that exist on this planet. Lately, most of my work has been with Feminist porn companies, such as Bright Desire and Light Southern. Working with the smart, vibrant and inspirational women behind those companies has helped me define what Ethical porn should look like and what sort of impact I want to have going into the future as a creator.

Ethical porn, which Anti-Porn advocates will fiercely imply doesn’t exist – is the standard for which I’d hope to see all content produced. It’s intensely performer driven. It ensures the health & safety of performers, as well as taking in to consideration the impact on the viewer. You won’t find a lot of Ethical porn on tube sites – unless it’s been stolen. You will have to pay for it.

I love that people watch porn. I want people to watch porn. I want people to watch a variety of porn, with all sexualities, activities and fetishes represented. I want people to know that when they’re watching this porn that the performers have been paid, that their health and comfort has been taken in to consideration and dare I say it, they’re enjoying themselves, or at the very least having a good day in the office. I want this not because I am employed in this industry. Because I can honestly tell you that Porn in Australia is not something you can make an entire career out of. Many of us have day jobs.

I want this because I hear way too many stories of people who’ve been shamed in to remaining silent regarding their sexuality, who’ve never had the luxury of exploring or engaging with a part of themselves and I feel like as an industry we have a responsibility to create content for people to learn from, to enjoy – something that says, you’re ok. You’re not abnormal. You can like feet, you can like being tied up, having your hair pulled, you can be dominant, submissive, you can like missionary with the lights out. Your body is going to make noises that don’t always come from your mouth and that’s ok. Sometimes things are going to get messy, like really messy – that’s ok too. Sex isn’t just two people all the time. Sex isn’t a heterosexual couple all the time. Sex isn’t just for men. Sex isn’t just for the binary. This is beautiful. It’s weird. It’s fun. It’s for you.

We’re currently, thanks to Tube Sites, at saturation point with porn shot for and from the male gaze, with little consideration to anyone besides that – that’s an unfortunate fact and it’s not going away in a hurry. What we can do though, is speak openly and directly about porn and direct people to the kind of content that can help, not harm. We can speak about how porn, like candy, is a sometimes food. That the pizza boy probably won’t be up for banging strangers at the drop of a slice – and I can say this from a prolific pizza ordering history and from shooting a scene in which I had it off with a pizza delivery guy – finishing with the line ‘I don’t recall asking for this as a topping’ – That’s on the internet and that’s not going anywhere.

We can have these conversations with young people, we can have these conversations with all people. We can speak loudly, over the voices of conservative groups that for so long have dominated the conversation. Because the kind of sex education we need doesn’t just involve porn, it involves discussions of gender, of sexuality, of pleasure and relationships and friends with benefits. It involves emphatically assuring young women that they’re not damaged or broken the minute they lose their virginity and they can hold on to it or give it away whenever they damn well like. And it involves telling young men that they can have feelings and that won’t make them any less a man. And it involves telling young people that gender is a construct and biology sometimes gets it wrong and they’re right to sexuality and pleasure and exploration is no less as a result.  That’s the type of sex education we need. That’s the type that conservative groups like Collective Shout don’t want us to have.

That’s the type of conversation that women who jump on Facebook pages for ‘Sex and Consent Week’ telling people that I was a victim of anal rape, that i’m Ill educated, I’m a puppet for the industry – that’s the kind of chat they want to shut right down. And I’m here to tell you that I won’t let that happen.

My life, has not existed without it’s controversies. My participation in the porn and escorting industries stirs controversy, but more than that the fact I have a willingness to speak out about these things openly, without fear or shame, seems to really piss people off. I don’t believe that everything within the sex industry is without fault. That would be an ignorant position to take. What I do believe however, is there is an active, determined group of people, throughout the industry, all over the word, determined to make change from the inside. And that is due support and admiration, not stigma and disdain.

Anti-Sex Worker activists will tell you that our jobs are what kills us. And I’m here to tell you that it’s in-fact those activists that kill us. They perpetuate a stigma that tells the world we don’t known our own minds, that we’re lost, abused, less than – that we don’t have the ‘luxury of a university education.’ They’ll call us pimps, liars, happy hookers – they’ll tell you, during the online conversation taking place during Amnesty ICM last year that ‘Your concept of consent is somewhere between Ted Bundy and Bill Cosby’ (That’s a real quote and I’ll readily admit I cried after that one). They’ll tell me when I engage in these discussions that I’m not welcome, that I’m privileged, a fact I don’t deny and thus not deserving of a voice and ‘Don’t I have another pensioner dick to go suck?’

They’ll take the pictures and the stories of our friends, of those activists who’ve worked so tirelessly for our safety, for the recognition of our human rights and they’ll use their stories as cannon fodder on social media and in the mainstream media for campaigns that don’t represent them. That attempt to desecrate their memories. That trivialise their work. They objectify us as much as they claim the clients they hate so much do. They tried to do it with Grace Bellavue, but her writing remains as testament to the absolute powerhouse she was as a human being, a sex worker and an activist.

SWERFs will tell you that as feminists they support sex workers. That as supporters of sex workers, they support the Nordic Model. If you support sex workers, if your support their right to health and safety and rights – then you’ll know that the Nordic Model is absolute garbage. I wish I could offer you something more eloquent, but I feel like we know each other well enough now that you’ll sympathise with my desire to tell it like it is. Antis are going to tell you that the Nordic Model Decriminalises sex work. Because we’re not at fault here. We are the poor, damaged minority, just working and trying to get by.

So they promote a model which criminalises our clients instead.

Think about that for a moment. “We don’t want to destroy your livelihood by throwing you in to jail. We want to do that by throwing men in to jail.” Because all our clients, of course are men. And all sex workers are of course women. Not only does their rhetoric make broad assumptions about our work, our clients, but it also makes even worse assumptions about who we are as a community. They steadfastly ignore male and Trans* workers in all dialogue. The methods for enforcing this system in Sweden involve stalking individual workers – oh wait, it’s the police doing it – ‘observing’ workers, in order to find out where they’re working, then catch clients as they leave.

Explain to me, please, how anyone is supposed to work in these conditions?

Did I mention that in Sweden workers run the risk of losing their homes? See, it’s illegal to profit off the proceeds of prostitution, so land lords are now nervous. What was once taking place in the open is now being pushed underground. Explain to me how an industry taking place under cover of darkness, untraceable, helps workers? Explain to me how that helps victims of trafficking or slavery? I asked the same questions when Visa and MasterCard decided they wouldn’t work with Backpage – because the one thing that’s going to really stop trafficking is if traffickers can’t advertise. Who cares that the removal of those ads also took with it a key strategy for monitoring and tracking abusers. Who cares that it was a knee jerk reaction to a nasty letter from the Cook County sheriff whose track record regarding the location of traffickers and the trafficked looks statistically woeful. And who cares that that decision then impacted sex workers all over the world, including in Australia, where Sex Work is legalised in some states and decriminalised in NSW.

Decriminalisation is considered best practice by Sex Workers, by Amnesty International, By the World Health Organisation, by UNAids. It doesn’t decriminalise pimps. It doesn’t take away from laws regarding trafficking or slavery. Those things are illegal. The laws surrounding them are not hindered by a system that acknowledges what helps keep sex workers safe. In NSW, I can go to the police as a victim of assault and be taken seriously. I can go to the police as a victim of robbery and be taken seriously. I am afforded the safety as a human being that so many other parts of the world take away from me and consistently take away from people I work with and care about. It’s better than legalisation. Legalisation leaves Sex Workers running in a series of bureaucratic circles and often ends up marginalising anyone who doesn’t have the capacity to do so. Sex Workers who are drug users, those working on the streets, those who don’t wish to hand over their personal information to a doctor not of their choosing, to a government department who doesn’t necessarily have their best interests at heart. It’s as bad, if not worse than criminalisation, in that it effectively demonstrates that sex workers aren’t afforded basic rights to safety, privacy and health care. For example, In Tunisia sex workers under a legalised system, are required to obtain permission from the Police and PROOVE they can work outside the industry in order to leave it. Decriminalisation was implemented in NSW 20 years ago because of police corruption. It’s been proven time and again that police cannot be both protector and enforcer in regards to these issues.

In Victoria, in order to work I have to apply, using my real name for a registration number. That information remains in a data base which we’re assured is protected. Excuse my skepticism. If I don’t have that number and a client rapes me. Or beats me. And I go to the police station – they’re in a real bind. Because they’ll have to figure out what to do with me first. And after that, they’ll have to ask the age old question: Was it rape, or shoplifting? I want to tell you that this is a hypothetical. But it’s not. It happens. It’s not a joke. Or a meme. It’s a constant threat to my life, it’s a threat to the lives of others and apparently in Victoria and other parts of the world, our lives are not very important. When we’re killed, when we’re assaulted, when we’re abused we stop being human and become nothing but the sum of our work and the stigma attached to it. My job doesn’t dehumanise me. Other people do.

I love my job. I actually really love my job. I hate having to spend all my time convincing people of that. I hate being told that I suffer from ‘false consciousness’. I hate being told I don’t matter until I’m a corpse. I hate that I can be raped, or assaulted and that won’t matter up until the person responsible kills someone good, someone pure, someone not like me. I hate that my family lives with this every day. I hate that there’s groups of people seen as ‘saints’ that daily insult me, bring me down, threaten my safety, threaten my life – in the name of God. In the name of a warped radical feminism. In the name ‘protection.’

But I love my job. Even on the bad days, I love my job. I love my clients. I love the ones that just drop by for a shag, I love the ones that tell me that I’ve made a difference to their lives, I love the ones I spend hours gaming and eating pizza with. I love the ones who I can introduce to something new. I love my disabled clients who I can offer the gift of touch and intimacy, something society still doesn’t seem to understand they have ample right to. I feel the sorrow that radiates off the lonely and I listen. I just listen. I don’t judge. I offer shelter. I love that too.

I love the emails thanking me for being a proud unabashed, sometimes flat chested (this is totally a push up bra) Geek, with opinions. I love knowing that I touch people, without always touching people. I love that instead of waiting for the mens mag industry to catch up with me, I wanted a cover and I took it. I love telling people that they’re beautiful, that they’re all so beautiful and I am nothing if not for their respect and support. I love educating people. I love talking about sex and intimacy and rights and consent and the responsibilities we all have to each other in these things and more.

This fight, all these fights have no doubt prematurely aged me. I feel it every single day. But, I won’t stop. I can’t stop. We’ve come so far and we have further to go and if I go to my grave having done even the little I’ve done so far, by god, it’ll be worth it. There’s the people I work with now, there’s a generation after us and more to come. They deserve the right to live safely. To an education system that respects and encourages them. They deserve this regardless of who they are, what they do, where they come from and I will gladly make the rest of my life about pursuing these goals.

So, yes. I am a tired, angry hooker.

And I guess, in a lot of ways, that makes me a very happy woman.

Let’s talk about Cosplay. And Sexpo!

Let me start by saying that I don’t come in to this as any sort of expert.

Cosplay for my started as a fun thing to do at a Convention one day and is fast becoming one of my passions, though I’m taking a little longer than others to get anywhere near expert level.

My first Cosplay was a character called Moxxi from a Video Game called Borderlands, back, a few years ago now, at an EB Games Expo. I remember it as one of the best days of my life. I learnt that white body paint can be a real pain in the ass to maintain, that walking around in boots all day, no matter how flat they appear, hurts like you wouldn’t believe and that people get an intense delight out of seeing their favorite characters wandering around beside them at gaming conventions. Which worked out rather nicely because I got an intense delight out of being one of those characters.

The decision to Cosplay was not an easy one. I remember looking, a little awe-struck at other cosplayers when I went to conventions and naturally assuming that I couldn’t possibly do anything so cool. It wasn’t just the acquisition of a cosplay I was worried about, it was taking that step and putting myself out there. I wasn’t the prettiest or the bustiest or the best gamer, the greatest and most knowledgeable fan girl. I was just…pretty average really. And that scared me a little. I didn’t know if that world was made for someone who didn’t feel like they were made to stand out.

Needless to say, with the help of some friends at the time I got over those feelings and took the plunge – and it was one of the best days of my life. People stopped to talk to me, ask me questions about my costume and where I’d found it, how we’d put bits and pieces together, who I was and why I loved her. I got my photo taken more times than I can count and finding those photos in the weeks that followed was enough to give me a confidence boost that could last me the whole week. I was happy. Genuinely happy and for a girl who so often wasn’t, that was a pretty big deal.

I stepped cautiously in to Cosplay after that. I dipped my toe in the pool and dabbled here and there, mostly at parties etc, but never full on at Cons like that. I’d been exposed to, online, in my quest to learn more about Cosplay, some of the intense bickering, competitiveness and bullying that comes with the social aspect of cosplay and I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate any further than I already had in the scene as a result. It all seemed so….Highschool. And I’d been very, very happy to leave Highschool. I was bullied a lot. More than my fair share. I tend to avoid conflict as best as I can, most of the time. I try and let the bullying I still experience just slip by, but it’s when I see other people getting bullied that my overactive sense of empathy kicks in and I get furiously angry, frustrated and highly defensive. My desire to provide a voice for the voiceless gets me in trouble sometimes and earns me praise in others and in reality I do it for neither.

Over time I’ve thrown caution to the wind. Once you Cosplay at one convention it seems to make going back as a civilian rather difficult. I find some of my Cosplays, I’m starting to make and build others. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding the right pieces of clothing, others it’s altering them or creating new ones. Accessories are always a stressful portion, it’s rare that things made for macho army guy costumes actually fit me. My Lara Croft harness was some suspenders used rather creatively. My Fallout Cosplay was the first time I’d put something together, something a little more large scale and that made the Cosplay bug even more intense – there’s a different vibe when people are impressed by not only the character, but also the work you’ve put in. I was proud of myself. A little chuffed, a little honored, especially when people with way more experience than I had in Cosplay, had nice things to say.

Being able to embrace this side of my personality so fully, alongside my life as a Sex Worker and Adult Entertainer, has been a blessing. Some would say it’s a gimmick, but as I mentioned during one of my Seminars at Sexpo this year, that usually clears up when they see me gaming or bring up some sort of contentious comic story line – there’s some….colorful language. And besides that I actually have an opinion on things. I like to think I mostly know my stuff. I’m not the best gamer in the world, I’ve not read every Graphic Novel or Comic, but I know what I like and I can gladly wax lyrical about it for hours.

I guess what prompted me to start writing about this though, was Sexpo.

You might have heard, we had a Cosplay Competition there. I was asked to help host and to some extent judge, a long with some other members of the geeky side of adult entertainment, some special guests and the amazing Sexpo Crowd. Involving the crowd was so important. One of the best things about Sexpo and the entertainment side of things is the way that each and every performance keeps the Audience engaged, interested and involved all the way through. Sexpo has never been a passive sort of place for me. It’s been a place to let go and have a great time, learn something new, often about yourself or just about Sex and Sexuality in general. Annnnd you can stock up your Sex Toy and Lingerie collection for at least a good 6 months, which I’m certainly not complaining about.

I went to my first Sexpo with the same sort of hesitation as I went to my first Cosplay event. Was this for me? Was I meant to be here? Well, yes. I was. I had an amazing time. Sexpo always chooses it’s staff and volunteers with the knowledge that people need to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed while at the Show – that’s how people have fun. I was shocked at how welcomed I felt as a patron and signed up to work with them not long after. My first Sexpo, I worked the Information Booth and it was not long after I’d first shot with AussieAss. My next Sexpo I came back with AussieAss, then Spider, then Kim Cums and I had our own booth and now this year It’s been me on my own (with a cracking support team)! I’ve had my own little Sexpo journey, that’s followed me a long all the different points in my career, so I’ll always look on it fondly.

I was ecstatic to learn that there was going to be Cosplay at Sexpo. And even more thrilled they wanted me to be involved! A Sexy Cosplay competition – what’s better than that? Don’t get me wrong, I adopt a policy most of the time that provided you’re not flashing your genitals, you should be able to Cosplay however you like at cons, as in, this whole notion of it being ‘too sexy’ when in reality it’s just a new idea, a new imagining or often a true representation of a character, strikes me as a bit odd and pretty stupid. It’s another chance, in my mind, for people who perhaps wouldn’t do that kind of Cosplay themselves, to judge those that do, then cast a shadow over their character in some way, just to make themselves feel better. Not Cool.

Cosplay can be and often is, Sexy.

I’m not saying that’s why EVERYONE does it. Nor am I saying that sexy is defined in one way – because it’s not and that’s why I’m so proud of what we did at Sexpo this weekend.
We had Cosplayers of every shape, size, gender, sexuality and level of Cosplay and dress who came to have fun, put themselves out there and hopefully win what was essentially the biggest prize of any competition here in Australia. The prizes themselves scream to me that ‘Yes, we appreciate you and what you’ve done in putting yourself out here. We appreciate your work. We appreciate your bravery. We appreciate your passion.” I don’t think we always get the chance to reward cosplayers for all that comes with what they do. The technically elite often stand out, but to me it’s about way more than that. A Sexpo Cosplay competition has the chance to do what not many other competitions have and that’s give EVERYONE a chance to take centre stage.

It also takes this idea that anyone gets to dictate what Cosplay is and literally knock it on the head. Shout out to any Cosplayers reading this: You don’t get to decide what Cosplay is for someone else. You just don’t. I constantly refer to it as someone ‘wearing their fandom on their sleeve’ and I believe that. This is something that has the capacity to bring so much joy to both Cosplayers and those who watch and engage with them. I hate that people want to make others feel bad about the work they’ve put in, about something they’re proud and passionate about.

We went to the Grand Final with more than just one group from within the community represented – I’m so proud of that. I’m proud of every person that got up on that stage this weekend and had a go and I’m proud of those entrants for supporting each other and our eventual winner. I’m proud of the amazing audience that joined us for each heat and I’m proud of Sexpo for having a show where my other community, the geeks, the nerds, the cosplayers, felt safe and welcome and got the chance to explore and engage with their sexuality in the way I’ve been so lucky to. The sheer volume of spectacular people I got the chance to engage with this weekend, from all walks of life, often brought together by having a laugh, having a game, coming to my seminars, asking questions and sharing stories – was astounding. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.

This has by far been one of the best weekends of my life and I’d like to thank Sexpo for helping me make it happen.