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Originally posted on The Dish:

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

knox

Last night, a close friend told me he had been reading my posts about decriminalizing sex work. “I’m sympathetic,” he said, “and I want to agree with you. But I just keep thinking, ‘what if it were my daughter?’ That’s, like, every father’s worst nightmare.”

My friend doesn’t have a daughter, to be clear. He’s also one of the most sexually liberal people I know. But while his attitude does discourage me, it doesn’t surprise me. This is the sexist culture we live in—one where a man whom I know has had sex with at least three different women in the past week can literally imagine nothing worse for his hypothetical daughter than getting paid to have sex.

Damon Linker trots out similar sentiment at The Week today. Using his apparent mind-reading powers, he asserts that no one could honestly be okay with having a child in porn:

People may…

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Okay, so as-you-know-bob, I have this pet theory – based on not a whole lot, I admit – that many of the people who are Wired for polyamory in the sense that they Just Don’t Get Jealous are possibly coming to it from a place of Insecure-Avoidant attachment styles and the need to always have an escape route available. That said, not everybody who goes “Poly! It’s what’s for breakfast!” is going to attach in an insecure-avoidant way. A lot of us – self very, very much included – are insecure-anxious attachment types who are terrified of Being Abandoned, and carry around a secret (or not-so-secret) fear that the only reason anyone is hanging out with us is because someone better hasn’t come along yet.
And today, I kind of want to talk about making the switch from Monogamy to Polyamoury (where “Polyamoury” means the whole spectrum of consensual non-monogamy), as an insecure-anxious person, when the only road map I’ve ever had has been the one for Monogamy. View full article »

So… Being a kinky dyke, I’m kind of swimming in safer sex stuff all the time. Which doesn’t mean that I and others don’t screw things up on occasion. I’ve mopped up the last traces of blood play after taking my gloves off, for example. I’ve had unprotected sex with a hook-up in my early 20s, and I’m aware that fluid bonding, while it’s a harm-reduction method, isn’t necessarily as safe-making as we’d like to think it is. I’ve known more than one woman who accidentally got her girlfriend pregnant because, contrary to popular belief, T-blockers aren’t a particularly effective form of birth control. (Maybe someone who’s on them can shoot me some stats about that?)
 
None the less, I tend to forget that us Queerdos get a LOT more safer-sex-ed targetted at us as adults than the het population does. Which is… funny, really, given how much hetero sex is the default assumption, particularly during one’s teens when that’s all you get in school (and everywhere, but really: school).
Anyway. With all of the above in mind, here’s a little tiny bit of local information that may be relevant to Ottawa people’s interests:
 
Places where You Can Get Free Condoms (and other barrier protection) + not-so-free Emergency Contraception:
 
The AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) – will GIVE you roll-on condoms, insertable condoms, and dams if you just go in an ask. BYO trick-or-treat bag. :-) It’s at 251 Bank St, between Cooper and Lisgar, on the 7th floor.
 
Planned Parenthood Ottawa will give you free roll-on condoms and cheap/free insertable condoms. Not sure if they’ve got dams or not. They may have emergency contraception (2-pill version) available at reduced rates, but call to make sure. They’re on Riverside, just off Bank.
 
Community Health Centres (link goes to a list of Ottawa CHCs) routinely make roll-on condoms available free-for-the-taking in their rest rooms and/or by request.
 
The Sexual Health Centre at 179 Clarence will hand out free condoms and has Plan B (specifially that brand) available. They can also do IUD insertion and may have hormonal (I think) contraception available at reduced cost if you qualify.
 
If you are under 25 and street involved, the Youth Services Bureau on Besserer St, near the Redeau Centre, has a couple of regular sexual health clinic-nights (via Ottawa Public Health) and also has safer sex supplies – including latex dams + roll-on and insertable condoms – available through their HIV/HepC Prevention Education Program and their Youth Health Clinic.
 
Call your neighbourhood pharmacy to ask if they have over-the-counter (2-pill method) emergency contraception available (assume $35-$40/dose).
 
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THE ABOVE LIST.
 
RELATED: Here is a handy cartoon that explains how Emergency Contraception works.
 
 
STI Testing:
The Sexual Health Clinic at 179 Clarence Street can do rapid, anonymous HIV testing, plus tests for All The Things – although most of them will take up to three weeks to get results.
 
Ottawa Sexual Health has a number of satelite clinics (include youth-specific and gay-men-specific ones) around town, the list of-which is available about 1/3 of the way down this page. They offering confidential STI testing though not specifically “rapid” or “annonymous” HIV testing.
 
Your local CHC will also do STI testing but, depending on your risk level and how many tests you want done, they may suggest that you go to the Sexual Health Clinic (E.G.: If you are “low risk” and want a batery of tests for Peace of Mind reasons, you may want to just go straight to Clarence Street).
 
PEPPost-Exposure Prophylaxis – is available at an emergency room near you and can be obtained – sometimes with difficulty, so don’t take No for an answer – if you are worried that you may have been exposed to HIV.
 
 
Abortions, Carrying To Term, and Other Stuff:
 
The Morgentaler Clinic – covered by OHIP, among other things.
 
Sister Zeus – An online compendium of fertility-related Herbal Stuff that may be of interest to you or people you know. NOTE: You may wish to consult your doctor, if you want to go this route as, iirc, measurements aren’t particularly exact. (Check and see, I could be wrong).
 
If you are pregnant and want to carry to term, you might want to talk to some of the many midwives in the Ottawa area. Or go with an Ob/Gyn, that works, too. :-)
 
The Ottawa Fertility Centre has a page about acquiring sperm if you want to get pregnant but don’t have a donor/co-parent involved already.

syrens:

So, uh, this happened in New Orleans…

Originally posted on And the stones shall cry:

This past Sunday, something pretty scary happened at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans (First UUNO).  Operation Save America, a fundamentalist anti-abortion organization that is known for descending upon abortion clinics and making life a living hell for anyone coming or going, chose to land in one of our congregations.  Several members of OSA showed up at First UUNO as if there to attend worship, and during the service stood up and began verbally accosting the worshippers and pushing anti-abortion pamphlets into their hands.

I don’t think they were prepared for what followed.  That Sunday, First UUNO was commissioning the College of Social Justice youth leaders who had been gathering all week.  The youth leaders immediately circled in and began singing.  Rev. De Vandiver, a New Orleans-based Community Minister who was leading worship that morning, asked the protesters to please respect the worship space and if they couldn’t…

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So there’s this article up on Salon right now, talking about polyamoury’s age-old bugaboo, jealousy, and how one poly triad handles theirs.
In addition to talking about “transitivity” (which is fascinating, particularly when considered in conjunction with things like the annual Phamily Reunion that is Unholy Harvest), the author goes into some theories about where the whole idea that “jealousy is a problem that originates within the individual and so must be handled by that individual” comes from. She links it to the 20th Century (“Industrial”, “Modern”, “Capitalist”, etc) idealization/lionization of The Individual. Which I admit is a neat way to look at it if you want to situate polyamoury in opposition to a system (see: Nuclear Family) of isolation, alienation and the resulting anxiety that can be used to, ah, encourage people to buy a lot of stuff they don’t really need to buy. (Although her brief segue into class analysis is also kind of fascinating – again in the context of Queer Leather Tribe with its working class and broke-ass-chosen-family roots). View full article »

Originally posted on National Post | Full Comment:

Who’d have thought that hookers have more integrity than some politicians? A great many of you probably — and you’d be right.

Honourable members may or may not be more prone than the average person to seeking comfort in the arms of representatives of the oldest profession.

They certainly have more opportunity than most, being away from home and spouses for long periods of time. Some of the current cohort have succumbed to temptation and are well known to local prostitutes, according to the sex workers themselves.

“This is Ottawa, so of course people are talking. I’ll leave it at that,” said Frederique Chabot, a representative of POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work, Educate and Resist).

Some of those MPs are Conservatives, who are also in favour of criminalizing the purchase of sex — a position that would appear to require a considerable degree of moral contortion to reconcile.

[related_links /]

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Originally posted on andrea366:

Beyond the Pros and Cons of Trigger Warnings: Collectivizing Healing
Andrea Smith

When I used to work as an anti-violence crisis counselor full-time, a counselor in another agency confided in me that she was currently being battered by her partner. She did not want anyone to know, however, because she feared losing her job. “People won’t think I have my act together enough to be in this movement if they know what I am going through,” as she explained why she did not think she could tell anyone. She was part of an anti-violence movement that she did not feel would support her. She had to address this violence on her own.

I was part of a larger collective that organized human rights/legal training for Native boarding school survivors. Frequently, survivors would drive literally hundreds of miles to attend at considerable expense because they really wanted this information. But when…

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syrens:

And there’s more! Elizabeth Dussault discusses the mess that is C-36.

Originally posted on Metro News:

An Edmonton sex worker told a House of Commons standing committee on the new prostitution law Wednesday that the proposed bill has a long way to go to help sex workers across the country.

Elizabeth Dussault—who spoke as part of Prostitutes Involved, Empowered, Cogent—Edmonton (PIECE) via video conference on Wednesday— said the bill needs more research so that sex workers can get “the respect they deserve.”

“What will come if this bill passes will be disastrous and dangerous, further unleashing opportunities for fear, abuse, neglect, increased exploitation and of course, more death,” she said.

Fired from her two jobs at brothels and her lifeguarding job for “being an advocate,” Dussault said the bill will further force individuals in the sex trade to hide.

As reported first byMetro Edmonton, Dussault had been a local sex worker for almost five years after starting in the industry while living in Australia.

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Hi again, folks.
It’s been that kind of a week.
 
My first link isn’t actually about C-36. It’s about street harassment and the policing of women’s bodies, sexuality, and freedom of movement. It Matters. I appreciate the author’s recognition that, when “hooker” is used to police a woman’s… existence outside of a home or outside of the accompaniment of a man… it reinforces the societal position that hookers are shameful and disposable. I also appreciate that the author, who is in the UK (I think), added links to the bottom of her post so that her readers could find out about C-36 and what it means.
 
The next one is from the CBC, discussing the lack of clarity within the proposed bill itself.
 
Third up, we have this article from the Globe and Mail pertaining to the lack of any response from the rest of the Conservative Party when Gauguen asked his appalling question about “freedom of expression”.
 
The last one comes from Impact Ethics, and offers a critical assesment of the proposed bill from the PoV of both former sex worker Kerry Porth and policy expert Genevieve Fuji Johnson.

So Maggie Mayhem has this post about “Women by the Wayside”. It’s a post about the cultural narrative we have about “women on the road”. But it’s also a post about the cultural narrative that we have about women who exercise agency and autonomy when it comes to our own bodies and what we do with them.
She says:

“There’s the rub, right? Whether you’re the woman who dared to stick out a thumb for a ride, tits for the rent, or a tongue for a tab of acid you get that message loud and clear: you’ll get what’s coming to you one way or another.”

 
It’s not an easy read. I’ve had harder, but be aware: The subject that prompted the post is that of Women disappearing on the highway and getting found in dumpsters. The subject of the post itself is sexwork, stigma and in/visibility. Just be aware of what you’re getting into.
 
Maggie also says:

“Engaging in sex work as a method of survival is seen as tragic, not victorious. You’re relegated to life in the objective case, not the subjective. When people are committed to the narrative of your context as defeat they will only see you as defeated.”

nbsp;
This is why I’m linking this post right now. Because I think it’s incredibly relevant to what’s going on with #C36.
It’s a post about how, for women who “presume” that we own our own bodies and can make our own choices even when they go against what Patriarchy would want us to do or believe, the presumed (presumed “deserved”?) outcome for us is rape and death.
Go take a look.
 
 
Cheers,
Ms Syren.