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To end violence against women, we must end violence against sexworkers.


 
Eleven days ago, I spent the morning tweeting the names of Murdered women. I did this for hours, and was nowhere near close to listing the thousands of women – cis women, trans women, black and indiginous women, women enrolled in a particular class at Polytechnique – who had been killed.
 
Today is International Day to End Violence Agaisnt Sexworkers. Usually, if people think about violence against sexworkers at all, they’re thinking of either (a) women whose bodies were pulled out of dumpsters – so actual people who were murdered, or (b) sensationalistic/titilating (sensationalistitilating?) stories about human trafficking[1].
 
These issues do matter. For sure. But they’re not the only types of violence that sexworkers experience. I appreciate the above infographic because it brings to light some of the other stuff – stuff that doesn’t necessarily result in death, and which typically doesn’t involve a starting point of coersion, but that limits people’s options and makes tenuous situations that much less stable.
Here, have a link to an Open Letter from Brazen Lee (who also provided the handy infographic, below).
 

 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] Okay, here’s the thing about Human Trafficking: (1) It totally does actually happen. (2a) It happens far more frequently in the agricultural, construction, and home-labour (think: nannies, house-keepers) industries than it does in the sex industry, but (2b) you never hear about those situations because they don’t involve sex, or the combination of sex and violence, that is so damn titilating in our culture. Likewise, they don’t play into, or uphold, dominant cultural narratives about sex being something that men do to (or commit against?) women – who are typically coded as passive and victimizable. (3) There’s an entire industry – and I’m using that word deliberately – around “rescuing” women from sexwork. “Rescue organizations” tend to rely on inaccurate & inflated (And, sometimes, just plain false) statistics in order to secure their funding, and they tend not to work towards anything that will actually help people in the sex industry transition to different careers. Things that would actually help: Building affordable housing; working to make access to mental health care easier; pressuring businesses to end discriminatory hiring practices around things like race, immigration status, and gender identity; working to promote the decriminalizing sexwork; Pressuring provincial governments to increase the minimum wage to something where a person working *part time* (because most minimum wage jobs are part-time, and because people who – for mental and physical health reasons, or single-parenthood reasons, can’t work full-time sometimes turn to sexwork – where you can make a week’s minimum-wages in an hour – to make sure the bills are paid) could still make rent and afford food & utilities at the same time; Provide reliable, trans-inclusive shelter for both youth and adults fleeing abusive home-situations… The list goes on, but there are some suggestions.

This morning I asked my wife/property how she’d feel if there was someone else who occasionally sat at my feet.
She said she’d be fine with it.
FYI, there’s nobody on the horizon. That’s part of why I asked.
I’ve spent a good six-and-a-bit years identifying as poly without dating multiple people at the same time. And now I’m starting to look at people with an eye to something other than friendship. Even if it’s just friends-who-have-a-twice-a-year-date-ship or something. I’m trying to think through – because I am thinky, and I tend to overthink things in an effort to prepare well enough not to screw something up – how I would handle things like:
1) Having a casual sweetie in a different city
2) Dating anybody who isn’t my wife
3) Sleepovers, if they happened (At my house? At hers? How would we schedule things?)
 
And asking myself stuff like:
4) Could you date someone who had a young child, or who was actively pursuing parenthood[A]?
5) If yes, how would you handle this, given your child-free life? Would it even be (much of) an issue, depending on the nature of the relationship?
6) How will you balance two+ partners when one of them lives with you full time? How will you sort out stuff like travel if one of them lives in a different town?
7) How will you guard your heart enough to survive missing someone who’s far away most of the time, while still opening it enough to bother having a relationship in the first place?
 
Yeah. It’s #7 that’s really the kicker. So much fear about even trying to step out onto this limb, even hypothetically, knowing that if I fall, I’ll be pulling multiple hearts down with me. :-\
Mellodramatic? You bet. I’m a ball of poly drama all by myself. ;-)
 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[A] Full disclosure, this isn’t just about romantic stuff. I mean, yes, I’ve developed silly, from-afar crushes on at least two moms in the past 11 months, BUT (maybe it’s because I’m 35?) a lot of my friends have kids now, plus my sister’s due to have a baby in March and – unlike my brother-in-law and his two kids – she’s actually likely to bring said child to Ottawa. The possibility that I might need to even marginally child-proof this house (gods help me…) is starting to loom large in my mind. Dammit. :-\

syrens:

Please read this.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

I arrived in Montreal four hours after the killing was done.

Yellow tape wrapped l’École Polytechnique like a macabre Christmas present; surviving students gripped each other in numb disbelief.

I was 24, sent by the Toronto Star to write about the slaughter of female engineering students, all around my age; fourteen of them.

Looking back, I fear I sanitized the event of its feminist anger and then infantilized and diminished the victims, turning them from elite engineering students who’d fought for a place among men into teddy-bear loving daughters, sisters and girlfriends.

Twenty-five years later, as I re-evaluate my stories and with the benefit of analysis of the coverage that massacre spawned, I see how journalists— male and female producers, news directors, reporters, anchors — subtly changed the meaning of the tragedy to one that the public would get behind, silencing so-called “angry feminists.” We were “social gatekeeping,” as filmmaker…

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syrens:

Go read this.

Originally posted on This Bridge Called Our Health: Re(imagine)ing Our Minds, Bodies, and Spirits:

Also i need to say this, loved ones. Please don’t just ‘like’, share or comment on a status that discusses the ways black women, girls, and femmes are left out of national dialogues around state-santionced, anti-black violence. and go on with your day. When we are complacent about the violence against women, femmes, girls of color, we send the message that our lives do not matter, that the lives of black women, femmes, and girls are disposable, that our lives hold no value, and that our deaths & negligence are all in a days work. Dismantling oppressive power structures that inflict violence upon black women, femmes, & girls absolutely depends upon each and every one of us. It is URGENT that we centralize the livelihood and self-determination of black women, femmes, and girls in our freedom work and continue to transform ourselves intentionally to unlearn habits that uphold misogyny and…

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Hi folks.
So, from time to time, I post links to stuff written for the business-suit set because I find that they can be helpful for dominant folks in full-time power-exchanges.
 
With that in mind, here are two such articles. Some of you may find them handy. Some of you may find them kind of old hat. Either way, here we go:
 
10 Rules for Successful Delegation
AND
Giving Constructive Criticism
 
There you go. I hope they’re useful to at least some of you.
 
 
TTFN,
Ms Syren.

syrens:

Harvesters:

Originally posted on kinkyfemme:

There is a tradition in leather culture of earning your leathers. The theory is that leather gear should be bestowed upon you by the community or by your top or by an elder because you have achieved something. This is of course a fairly vague definition, but in being so it kinda encompasses the various permutations of earning I’ve seen/heard about/read about/participated in.

Like many things, this tradition started with the gay boys and their motorcycle clubs.  And as the notion of leather family has broadened and encompassed more identities, the ways in which I have seen this idea of earning your leathers be adapted has similarly broadened. In Robin Sweeney’s short story Daddy (from doing it for Daddy, an anthology edited by Patrick Califia in the mid 90s), a genderqueer boy earns her leathers when her Daddy confiscates them and only returns them to the boy as challenges are…

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syrens:

New UK regulations of online porn disproportionately affect women. This isn’t surprising. Most laws enacted to regulate human sexuality are enacted to control ours.

Originally posted on Another angry woman:

Content note: this post discusses consensual BDSM

Today, new regulations have come into force which bans vast swathes of online porn. Fisting’s on the list, obviously, because someone at the CPS has an enormous fetish for showing juries fisting porn. So is hard impact play, simulated non-consent, urination, facesitting, and female ejaculation, among other things. The justification is that this is an attempt to bring online video under the same regulations as would apply to porn DVDs.

Which is all very well and good until you notice that these regulations are ridiculous when applied to porn DVDs too.

If we look at the list again, we see some strange things. It’s worth noting that facefucking–an activity which, when shown in porn often involves a man putting his penis in a woman’s mouth hard and fast (so basically, exactly how it sounds)–a staple of mainstream heterosexual (and often…

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First up:
If you would like to support people arrested in Ferguson, please donate here.
If you would like to support sexworkers’ fight to get Bill C-36 struck from the books as soon as possible on the grounds of its blatant unconstitutionality, please donate here.
If you would like to support Indiginous people fighting legal battles against Kinder Morgan and the proposed pipeline through Burnaby Mountain, please donate here (this one’s not an indiegogo campaign).
 
New Brunswick abortion restriction lifted by Premier Brian Gallant – Hurrah! :-D
 
A Variety of Posts Relating To Sexwork:
Bill C-36’s negative impact on racialized and migrant sex workers.
Remembering Stone Butch Blues‘ Pledge to Sexworkers.
Why Feminism Needs Sex Workers and Trans People.
 
On a completely different note, you can find music by awesome pianist & musicologist Dana Baitz here (music compilation ft all trans performers), here (lgbt spoken word), and here (Dana’s reverbnation page). Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Bloggess:

I’m sad about last night for a lot of reasons.  And if you are human, and allow yourself to be so, then you probably are too.  Maybe it’s the verdict that upset you, or the destruction afterwards, or the long and difficult path that has led us here and has shown us we have so much further to go before we get to the place where we want to be…a place where kindness and compassion and vulnerability are the things which can be lauded and seen and encouraged and felt.  Or maybe, like me, you’re upset about all of those things and you feel too defeated to want to care anymore.

But if you’re like me, you can’t switch those emotions off.  It’s so much easier to turn those feelings of vulnerability and hurt into a shield of rage.  Rage feels powerful and strong.  It feels good.  And rage is important.  But…

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Pie and Moral Purity

syrens:

Worth a read. (And it talks about baked goods!)

Originally posted on Pie It Forward:

((This is the text of the speech I was planning on giving at Ignite Ann Arbor on Friday, November 7th. Due to a conflict, I had to cancel my appearance, but I wanted to share the speech regardless.))

For 2 years I’ve been giving away free pie, mostly to people but also to the occasional dinosaur.

IMG_4841

The whole idea is that I made the pie, but I needed countless people to plant fruit trees, harvest wheat, churn butter, drive produce trucks, and install electricity in my house first, so how can I claim that the finished product is 100% my effort and 100% mine to hoard to myself? It’s not.

pie flow chart

In order to pursue this dream, I quit a stable job in the non profit sector, throwing away my first shot at health insurance and a stable income.

As a four time college drop out, by all rights I should…

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