Skip to main content.
November 20th, 2008

Sex Worker Solidarity: Craig Seymour

Craig Seymour on the cover of Spread Magazine

Sex Worker Profile
Craig Seymour was a stripper in D.C. during the ’90s. He writes about the experience in his book All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. My review of the book is in the current issue of $pread Magazine.

What kind of sex work are you currently doing?
I’m not currently doing any sex work, unless you considering writing a memoir about being a stripper and then selling it to people as sex work : ) It’s certainly work, and both men and women have told me that they’ve gotten a little horny while reading it. So, in that way, I guess I’m still selling sex for money.

Are you active in sex worker activism? If so, what are you doing?
Not as active on the front lines as I should be or would like to be. But I do see my memoir as a bit of covert activism. I think a lot of people have a negative view of sex work because they see sex workers and their customers as stereotypes. But in my book I try to humanize sex workers and customers by openly sharing my own story and those of others who were a part of the scene. My goal was to paint a truthful, yet multi-dimensional, picture. Already, I’ve gotten emails from people who can relate my experience as a stripper to their experiences as waitresses, members of sports teams, and a whole host of other things. So hopefully I’m doing my part. I think the first step in any sort of activism is to get people to think about something differently, and hopefully my book is helping to change perceptions.

What do you think is the best way to promote solidarity with fellow sex workers?
It’s the same way you’d promote solidarity among all people — don’t judge, and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It would always drive me crazy when my fellow strippers would look down on hustlers or porn models. I mean, it’s fine if that’s not your choice. But there’s no point in looking down on people who make the choice to do it. And most people outside of the sex industry think it’s all the same anyway. (I learned this lesson firsthand from the critical reactions to my book. Numerous reviews refer to me as a “prostitute” even though all I ever did was j/o for one guy one time; he didn’t touch me, and I didn’t touch him.)

What project(s) are you working on now?
A novel. And, yes, one character is a sex worker…

Though Craig downplays his activism by saying he’s not on the front lines I still think he’s doing important work. All I Could Bare does an excellent job of humanizing sex workers. There were so many times I related to his experiences and I’ve never been a stripper. I imagine he’ll have plenty of readers who have never done sex work that will still relate to his stories.

In the recent issue of $pread Craig relates a story about a waitress who related to his book. Finding connections to others is vital if we want people to see sex work as just another type of labor. If I take away the titillating details of calls I can relate to a lot of workers. Who hasn’t had a day where they didn’t want to work or a day where some piece of important equipment breaks at an inopportune time? Once a connection is made acceptance can happen.

A friend of mine is a nurse. When she found out I was a PSO she found someone she could share her weird hospital experiences with. For years she worked as an emergency room nurse. That woman has seen some weird things shoved up patients rectums. Most people might not want to hear those types of stories. But she was able to laugh about them with me. I found them very entertaining. Our work is so different but we related to each other in many ways.

The more non-sex-workers can relate to us the more support we’ll have. We can try to mobilize ourselves as much as possible but for measures like Prop K to pass we’ll need as much support as we can get.

I’m also happy that Craig is still proud and out about his sex worker past. After reading Sarah Katherine Lewis’ books (reviews here and here) it was so nice to read a sex worker reflect on his work in a positive light.

It’s interesting to hear he’s writing a novel featuring a sex worker. I’d like to see more sex worker characters. Ideally, I’d like them to be similar to the PSO character in the book Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen. She was a PSO but it wasn’t the plot of the book-it was just a part of her character. There was no moral struggle about her work. Instead Hiaasen often used it comedic effect. This humanized sex work, just like Craig mentions.

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
Sex Worker Solidarity: Gracie
Sex Worker Solidarity: Catalina

Posted by Vixen in PSO Confessions, Interviews, Sex Workers

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 10:48 pm and is filed under PSO Confessions, Interviews, Sex Workers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>