One summer in my teens I was hiking with my father on the Jardine Juniper Trail in Utah. Our conversation had shifted from river rafting to my favorite episodes of Unsolved Mysteries when my dad brought up The Green River Killer, the moniker of Gary Ridgeway, the serial killer I had heard of on the news and seen in headlines. “He killed hookers.”My father told me with a casual tone ahead of me on the trail. “They wouldn’t be missed, nobody cares.”
Since 2009 I have been homeless twice, survival sex work as an escort and erotic massage provider helped me stay clothed, and fed and helped me find housing again. The risks I took and the privileges I had in being able to work indoors, independently has been something that weighed on me every day I worked. Breathing sighs of relief that I had met another safe client, that for the moment I didn’t have to worry about violence. I continued to do sex work as a dominatrix to expand on the skills I had learned going from working hand to mouth to studying small business practices in my spare time. I continued to do sex work to support myself on my own terms. I continued to do sex work to fulfill desires I might not otherwise have been able without a dungeon and versatile participants.
Other’s aren’t so lucky. This week has been a heavy one in my heart with reminders of upcoming vigils. December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, is a day of remembrance for the victims of violence against sex workers.There are people who care about their deaths. Trans and Non-Binary people who do sex work for their own reasons.Men and women who do sex work for their own reasons. People of Color who do sex work for their own reasons. People in Poverty who do sex work for their own reasons. Parents who do sex work for their own reasons. Theloved ones and the communities of victims of violence against sex workers.
To learn more and find out how you can participate in December 17th memorial events and support sex worker community activism visit December17.org.