Decriminalizing sex work has been suddenly brought as a hot topic to the 2020 Presidential campaign. Kamala Harris’ late and unexpected supportive comments allow us to be hopeful about finding a gate to advocate for our hobby.
DC at the vanguard of decriminalization
As it is well known, prostitution is legal en a few counties in Nevada. However, the Nevada model allows sex work only in brothels and is highly regulated.
Clearly, it is one more example of the disadvantages of legalizing compared to decriminalizing sex work. Instead of following the European models that have overwhelmed sex workers with regulations, we advocate for a decriminalization aligned with New Zealand’s.
Surprisingly, Washington DC may be the first American jurisdiction to decriminalizing sex work, with a very advanced and progressive legislation. The bill is still pending, but its chances to be approved have dramatically increased with a new and progressive Blue House of Representatives.
Besides the DC project, there is also some progress in New York State. Over there, a few State legislators are pushing for decriminalizing sex work, collaborating with an advocacy coalition called Decrim NY.
DC and NY are the only two examples of legislation in the USA moving in the right direction we are aware of. However, perhaps there are more states, counties, and cities joining the club. If you know of any other cases, please share your good news in the comments below.
Advocating for decriminalizing sex work
Despite Kamala Harris’ unambiguous supportive declaration, many are looking in the wrong places. Clearly, her background on the matter is highly questionable. However, I do not think it is wise to be questioning potential allies’ sincerity.
Indeed, it is not wise either to jump in support of one candidate. Instead, it is time to reach out to every potential ally. If there is a ground favorable to bring up the debate about decriminalizing sex work, we should take advantage of every single opportunity to make it part of the public policy conversation.
Clearly, besides Kamala Harris, we may find more friendly public policy makers in the Democratic coalition. However, we should also try to find allies in the Conservative side.
After all, we know how fond of sex workers many GOP leaders are. Far from making a snarky comment, we are pointing to a fact. Perhaps it is time for Trump & Friends to come out of the Johns’ closet and join the fight for decriminalization.
SESTA/FOSTA has the declared goal of fighting against human traffic and sexual abuse. Nevertheless, we know that once it is regulated could be used as a weapon against consensual sex work. Evidently, it is crucial to join the teams where future policy making is being developed.
We cannot bet all our money to one ticket, it would be too risky. We should be trying to find a place everywhere, even with candidates that deeply disgust us.
The “advantage” of being men into men
As you probably noticed, most of the conversation around decriminalization of sex work focused on straight prostitution. Although we may feel forgotten and ignored, it is actually an advantage.
Just as the conversation about decriminalization mostly involves female sex workers, so does the debate about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Law enforcement stings and investigations usually ignore male prostitution.
However, we are not safe. We are not going to defend Backpage, but do not forget what happened to Rentboy. We should be indeed reaching out to our female allies, who are the ones actually leading this legal fight.
Not only you should be doing it if you are somehow associated to sex work, but also if you are related to the adult entertainment industry. Although pornography has a strong case for protection under freedom of speech, the industry will never be completely safe in a country full of crazy fundamentalist Christians.
Decriminalizing sex work now
Indeed, this seems to be one of the most favorable moments ever to advocate for decriminalization. Not only there are actual legislative initiatives with actual chances to pass, but there are also favorable changes in public attitude towards sex work.
As an illustration, a Marist Poll taken in 2016 shows a more open attitude in the public towards sex work:
Nearly half of U.S. residents, 49% report prostitution between two consenting adults should be legal while 44% disagree. Men, 54%, and residents under 45 years old, 58%, are more likely than women, 44%, and older residents, 40%, to believe prostitution should be permissible under the law.
Considering those numbers are three years old, it is reasonable to expect them to be even better should the poll were taken nowadays.
So we welcome Kamala Harris new attitude towards decriminalizing sex work between consenting adults. Furthermore, we hope she is the first one of a long list of contenders to run for public office in 2020. I mean any public office. After all, we need allies in cities, counties, states, and the Federal Government.
We all are whores. Let’s advocate for our rights.
Hasta la próxima pinga, amig@s!