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May 6th, 2008

Sex Worker Solidarity: Gracie

Gracie from Sex Kitten

Sex Worker Profile
I’m a former escort, now running Sex-Kitten.Net, a lifestyles site for women who admit that sex is a part of their lives. SK, as we affectionately call it, has many regular columnists as well as guests (both male and female). I started it nearly a decade ago!

If you’d like more of my bio, please see here.

What kind of sex work are you currently doing?
Technically I’m a writer and an editor; but I see myself as a facilitator of conversations.

Are you active in sex worker activism? If so, what are you doing?
I consider myself an activist in the sense that I work very hard to keep sex from being a dirty taboo. By keeping the dialog open and ongoing, I hope to further understanding and acceptance of sex by society. If ‘mainstream’ society doesn’t accept sex, neither sex work nor the workers will be respected.

How I do this is by facilitating conversations and by providing a forum for these conversations.

I believe that it is through conversations that women identify, scrutinize, question, confront & come to terms with their concerns & needs. As women communicate with each other from a place of mutual respect, individual as well as partner needs, insecurities, & desires are exposed & understood.

In short, and I’m not known for being succinct *wink*, I believe that having a place to share and connect, to ask and to answer, to face their own fears and see them mirrored in the insecurities of others, is a place to not only build awareness but to exercise tolerance and understanding of others.

And I help others market their adult sites, products and services as The Marketing Whore.

Similarly, by keeping an open dialog between mainstream and adult marketers, I hope to break down barriers by showing that business is business and that ethics are a part of our business (quite often more than in mainstream business).

What do you think is the best way to promote solidarity with fellow sex workers?
Honestly, I often think the largest problem currently facing sex worker solidarity is ourselves.

I hear too many sex workers discussing the differences between types of sex work and debating the definitions of sex workers ~ and not just in a marketing sense. Like the political ‘red states vs. blue states’, we are focusing on the smaller differences which keep us apart, forgetting that we have much more in common than not, and making it more difficult to come together in terms of understanding & acceptance of one another. This also makes it much more difficult to unify and work for the understanding & acceptance of sex and sex work by the public at large. But this fragmentation of our industry is also far more insidious.

When I hear one pro belittle another pro, my heart aches. When I hear one sex worker claim superiority over another, I feel quite sick to my stomach. I’m not talking about individuals with ethics problems ~ we most certainly should be calling one another out and holding one another accountable for adding to the negative stereotypes; I’m talking about the sex workers who fall for the moral arguments, believing in lines & using them to keep some sense of purity… The “I’m not that kind” thinking not only divides us, but is proof that at some level the person has fallen for and accepts that sex work is dirty (in a bad way).

Bad ethics aside, there is no bad sex work.

Higher rates do not make one sex worker more pure than another; nor do specific acts. Escorts, hookers, hos, those who work directly with flesh & fluids, are no dirtier (or cleaner) than phone sex operators who work with words. Those making or selling sex products for the purpose of sexual gratification (toys, erotic stories, porn films & publications, etc.) are no more (or less) involved in sex work than an escort, a pro Domme, a PSO, etc. Those who write non-fiction works; who create educational sex films & guides; who report on sex health issues; who fight for better reproductive rights; who push for better policies & treatment for gender issues; who treat, medicate, counsel, & create tools with which to better treat, medicate, etc. ~ they all can claim themselves sex workers, should they wish to don the scarlet letters and cloaks.

And I hope they do.

For each one of us wants sexuality to be safe, sane, consensual, and pleasurable ~ be it free or paid. Yet every time we justify our work as better, more pure, more acceptable than the work of another, or limit entrance into the movement or industry, we move away from those goals.

We are all part of the same struggle. We should be welcoming one another with open hearts as well as open minds. After all, that’s what we are asking others to do with us, with sex work.

What project(s) are you working on now?
I am an editor, not just for the website, but two book imprints:
Sex-Kitten books
Gracie Passsette Productions

I also will be writing at Women Blogging For Democrats with hopes that ’sex’ can appear as part of a political platform ~ heaven knows there are plenty of these
issues, such as reproductive health, sex education, and basic rights which are linked to gender and sexuality, which should be a part of every candidate’s platform.

Gracie’s comment “If ‘mainstream’ society doesn’t accept sex, neither sex work nor the workers will be respected” really hit home with me. She’s right but she’s also timely. If ‘mainstream’ society didn’t have such a stigma around sex would Jeane Palfrey still be alive today? But this idea reaches beyond her. How many murdered prostitutes might be alive today? How many women who hide their sex worker past could come out of the closet if they were free from stigma? Would sex workers be able to put their work on a resume for a ‘normal’ job without fear of discrimination? The list can go on and on.

We have a lot of work to do to get the acceptance, respect and rights we want. I believe we can get them, though I’ll admit it’s a long road. Gracie makes an excellent point about sex workers getting caught up on our smaller differences. It’s a trap many activist groups fall into. Focusing on our similarities instead of our differences is vital.

I like to focus on the little details that we share in common. I was just talking to Jesse Cox earlier tonight. We were laughing about how our clients want to buy our expensive panties. She never sells the panties she wears on stage and I don’t sell the panties I wear in photos. We’ve carefully picked them to coordinate with our work clothes. Getting rid of the panties would ruin a good outfit. Though she strips and I do phone sex we find a lot of similarities in our work.

She comments that “We are all part of the same struggle. We should be welcoming one another with open hearts as well as open minds. After all, that’s what we are asking others to do with us, with sex work.” Well said Gracie, well said.

Sex Worker Solidarity Series
Sex Worker Solidarity: Introduction
Sex Worker Solidarity: Audacia Ray
Sex Worker Solidarity: Dallas From Babeland
Sex Worker Solidarity: Secondhand Rose
Sex Worker Solidarity: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Sex Worker Solidarity: Libertine
Sex Worker Solidarity: Jesse Cox
Sex Worker Solidarity: Amanda Brooks

Posted by Vixen as PSO Confessions, Interviews, Sex Workers at 11:33 PM CDT