5th Desiree Alliance Conference – The Audacity of Health: Sex Work, Health, & Politics
July 14-19, 2013 Las Vegas, NV
Registration is Now Open for the 5th Desiree Alliance Conference
Early Registration Deadline: January 15, 2013
Please read the registration details below to begin the process.
The Desiree Alliance is a national social justice organization that is led by current and former sex workers in coalition with health professionals, social scientists, educators, and their supporting networks focused on building leadership, capacity-building, organizing and constructive activism for sex worker rights and autonomy.
Don’t miss this fantastic event! I won’t!
When I think about sex work in the south, two things come to mind immediately, things firmly implanted during my childhood. The first is hearing Dolly Parton on the radio when I was 7 or 8 years old, talking about how she modeled her signature look after a prostitute in her Tennessee hometown: the hair, nails, and flashy dresses. For some reason, a reason I don’t understand even now, I fell in love with her right then and there. The second thought is of Reba McIntyre’s song “Fancy”, which tells the story of a young girl from Louisiana whose “momma turned her out” in hopes that she could make a better life using her God-given assets: “Just be nice to the gentleman, Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you.” The message was clear, and I loved Reba the first time I heard that song, though the reasons for that are a little easier for me to grasp when I look back. (Yes, I just said I love both Dolly and Reba. I’m not ashamed of those facts. Ironically, my mom had cows named Dolly and Reba for a long time. One of the two is dead now, but the other is still living, though I can’t recall which one of the two remains. And, yes, my mom has pet cows. I’m definitely from the South!)
When I first head about the Summit on Sex Work in the South, sponsored by NC Harm Reduction, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I mean despite how prevalent the subject is in Southern popular culture, it’s not a topic we talk about much down here. But when I saw the amazing list of people who were scheduled to attend—Asheville Sex Worker Outreach Project, Sex Workers Without Borders, Women with a Vision, North Carolina Sex Workers Alliance, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), Human Rights Watch—I knew I had to go.
Today I spent time setting up my Twitter for the next few days, then was interrupted by dinner, shopping, and drinking. So, I’m a double liar, who will bring you the promised post tomorrow.
I promised you a post about the Summit on Sex Work today, but I slept too long, then spent a lot of time updating the blog. (I hope you like the changes!)
So, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that report. I want to make sure it does the Summit justice, and hopefully, you won’t be disappointed.
Edit: Of course, now I’m mulling over what I should do with my Tumblr blog. Thinking of making it about writing, which is what I tried to turn this blog into; not sure that’s the way to go there either.
This blog will be under construction throughout the day. So, things may look a little wonky and incomplete. Bear with me. I will finish before the day is through.
There was a time when I wrote this blog as if no one was watching, or rather only a few people were watching—a close-knit group who knew me, even if they didn’t really know me at all, at least not in the flesh. I was so open, so careless, so much like me. It feels like that was ages ago. It was a different place, a different time, nearly a different person who could so easily pour herself onto the wide-open space of the internet. I’d been doing it for years, in smaller spaces, with the same small group I imagined might follow me when I moved into a larger space that I could fully control. It was a matter of necessity that I move here, leave the smaller space behind, as it both hurt and confined me to stay in that tight circle.
One day, I realized other people were watching, and things slowly began to change. I told myself that I was becoming more directed in my actions as an activist, that I was serving a greater purpose when I filled this space. The older version of me remained, but only in pieces. It became more of an aside, though it occasionally took over. When it did, I was still serving a purpose in my mind, adding a human element to my sex workers’ rights mission.
I talk as if it was all planned. Really, it just happened, and I only see it with clarity now. Things often appear planned when we’re looking back. It’s our way of convincing ourselves that we didn’t make a mistake when we changed, though we always make mistakes. We always slip somewhere.
There came yet another day, which still feels distant but was just over a year ago, when I realized He was watching. He: aloof, secretive, too important in my mind. But I knew He was lurking here.
Everything jumbled together then. My purpose and direction faltered. I longed for the openness, the carelessness, that once took over when I approached these pages. At that time, I used this as a space to be open in ways I couldn’t be in the flesh. I guess you could say I got lost in me. The utility of this space was a mirror of my life, as it often is. I can’t say I got lost in He, because so much of He existed within me in the first place. That was always be the problem with He.
Suddenly, just as things got jumbled when He was watching, things crumbled when He stopped. I hid myself away. I ultimately left this space, making only minor appearances, too infrequent, and often too manufactured, to be of any use to anyone, myself included.
Today, as I drove home from the Summit on Sex Work, I made a promise to myself: I would change again. I would reinvest myself here. I say reinvest, and not reinvent, because I don’t want to reinvent. I want to dedicate myself to both the human element and the mission. They coexist. They’re real. They’re not new. I just need to be me, and be consistent about it.
I intended to write about the aforementioned Summit this evening, but these words felt more important tonight. You can expect to hear about the Summit tomorrow. I will also be changing the sidebar tomorrow. Maybe some people who used to watch but no longer visit will find themselves returning. Maybe new people will stop by to enjoy the show. He? Well, who really cares?