I make no secret of the fact that I have my fetishes, am not shy about displaying my body, and have worked in the past perfectly legally in a profession that is generally considered to be part of the sex industry. That was until laws were passed to ‘protect’ sex workers by requiring their registration – thus, so the logic goes – giving them legitimacy and protection in case of abuse.
Sounds great, and it’s so wrong. It was part of the reason for me to stop that line of work, leave Europe, and end up in a perfectly respectable job, while also pursuing a degree at a pretty prestigious university, in New York. You’d think that I could be open about my past, show my face on pictures, and even use my own name. Dream on.
All I have to do is listen to office talk, to media reports, and to most on-line columns about sex workers, marital advice, and infidelity. The virtually uniform message is that the sex worker (or escort, but who care in this context about the difference), is not just undesirable, perhaps even engaging in illegal activities, but certainly responsible for luring men with sex for money, ruining good marriages, and generally a menace to society.
I have been fortunate enough that I have not been subject to any overt sexual harassment or abuse. But I was also forced out of a profession that I loved. Even more so, if it would ever come to light what I did, I would definitely be fired in my current job. I’m forced to live with a secret, not because I want to keep it to myself, but because of the consequences it would have for the image of my employer.
I’m proud of what I have done. I worked extremely hard to be good at my profession. And my hourly rate would put me into the same league as highly paid New York attorney. Why does it add prestige to an employer hiring a former highly respected lawyer, and shame hiring former highly successful escort? Within limits, we both were in professions where our job is to leave our clients satisfied. Hopefully so satisfied that, if the need arises, they will come back.
Me too, is right to focus on sexual abuse. I’m not arguing with the priorities. My point is a simple one. Me, too, can also mean, I, too, am proud of what I have done and worked hard for. I, too, deserve the same respect as anyone else who works successfully in a service industry. Sex or not is nobody’s business but my own. It’s my body and what I do with it is my choice. Period.