Please Stop Saving The Children

This week has seen 2 very different approaches to the phrase, “Save The Children”. Two very sketchy, very powerful groups are parlaying this cause into very different reactions to advance their agendas. The groups in question are the NRA and the US Congress. The NRA wants to arm the world to improve the gun & ammo sales of their “corporate partners” – Congress wants to sterilize society. When we look at the entirety of both propositions, it’s not hard to see that the only good part of either is the insertion of “Save The Children” after the actual proposal. But let’s put these two ideas into a very simple scenario, and since we’re talking about kids, we’ll go to the playground.

There’s a kid in a playground. He (or she) hits another kid with a stick. My “common sense” does not blame the stick, but it takes the stick away. The NRA school staff’ would arm themselves with sticks, an idea that has been panned from Afghanistan to the White House (for whatever that’s worth). A kid gets mad and hits another kid. The staff starts hitting him with sticks. Some staff accidentally hits other kids. The cops come with their sticks, and since they’re afraid of being hit with sticks, they hit anyone they see with a stick, whether those others are swinging their stick or just holding it. This is the NRA’s solution to “save the children”. No one is safe on the playground.

There’s a kid in a playground. He (or she) hits a kid with a stick. The Congressional FOSTA/SESTA school staff would blindfold, bind, and gag the kids so they couldn’t interact, eliminating all interaction on the playground and strictly monitoring the kids’ actions. But this action makes all the children more vulnerable, as they can’t see or be warned about danger from the staff. There are all ages of kids with varying degrees of experience regarding the playground, which is a tough place. The older kids want to protect the younger ones from both outsiders and the staff. FOSTA/SESTA’s effect would be to prevent the more experienced kids from helping the younger kids deal with the difficulties of the playground. This is FOSTA/SESTA’s solution to “save the children”. No one is safe on the playground.

The NRA is a lobby group promoting gun sales and lax safeguards, not the advocate for responsible gun safety it was decades ago. Although Florida lawmakers passed a bill authorizing teachers for weapons training today, this idea will fade and die as at should. FOSTA/SESTA is much more dangerous legislation the drafters claim will address sex trafficking. One would think this was drafted after examining solid data and research, but this was not the case. This is a quote from a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“As with most other data related to human trafficking, there are huge gaps between estimates of prevalence or populations at risk and individuals actually identified as trafficking victims or enrolled in government programs.  Better data and research are needed to begin distinguishing among possible reasons for the gaps between prevalence estimates and administrative data.”

The FOSTA/SESTA bill was drafted based on “estimates of prevalence or populations at risk” instead of “individuals actually identified as trafficking victims”. How did this bill come about with no real information? “Save the children” has become cover for right-wing extremists, liberal un-or-improperly-informed do-gooders, and the anti-trafficking industry to advance their agendas. Neither the NRA nor Congress has done the necessary research to prove their ideas will improve the situation, and there has been no research (or concern) by either group as to the negative effects their plans will be responsible for. This blog by Elizabeth Nolan Brown goes into the harm which FOSTA/SESTA will create if implemented as presented:

https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/28/fosta

The support for this bill, which the DOJ has called unconstitutional, has come from a groundswell of public hysteria generated by manufactured and exaggerated statistics by the anti-trafficking/rescue industry. These efforts have created a ripe market for law enforcement to target all providers under the guise of “trafficking”. A more accurate statistical analysis can be found in “Sex Lies and Statistics” By Dr. Brooke Magnanti, which should have been mandatory reading for every member of Congress in preparation for their vote. But many “rescue” organizations and high-profile anti-sexwork groups like the Polaris Project and Demand Abolition are happy with the bill, since the practical application of these anti-trafficking measures translates into an attack on all sex work. Most rescue groups use law enforcement as the gateway, guaranteeing at least add-on trauma for those in need of actual rescue and the possibility of abuse by the keepers of the law. How effective are these rescue groups? What services can they offer to trafficking victims or sex workers wanting to exit the trade? You will not be impressed, but see for yourself. https://www.ratethatrescue.org .

FOSTA/SESTA was drafted with the belief that its implementation would result in hundreds of thousands of trafficking victims being freed and legions of brutal pimps sent to prison for their crimes. Previous anti-trafficking sweeps have resulted in large numbers of sex workers and clients being arrested, with a very small percentage being either underage or trafficked. Trafficking statistics are also muddied by the fact that two sex workers working together can be charged with trafficking each other under current law. Why have the anti-trafficking sweeps not reaped the rewards predicted? Is law enforcement being outsmarted at each turn by those crafty pimps, or are there just not as many trafficking victims in sex work as advertised? Either way, the implementation of FOSTA/SESTA is counter-productive in three ways – it drives everyone involved in sex work further underground, it silences the segment of the population closest and most able to identify and offer real assistance to trafficking victims, and it prevents those who have chosen sex work as their vocation from sharing information which would keep them safe.

“Save The Children” is only one in a line of recent seemingly-unarguable sentiments whose use masks a more devious or unacceptable thought process. “Make America Great Again” was a huckster sales pitch aimed at the lowest common denominator. “Respect the soldiers” was used as a tag line for racism. “Save The Children” is now being used to threaten thousands of citizens or sell lots of guns. Next time you read a universally-acceptable tag line, listen to what it’s covering up. Thanks.

 

 

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MLK Day 2018 And American Hypocrisy

Today is the day we celebrate Martin Luther King. We celebrate it the 3rd Monday in January to conform to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act – this year the holiday happens to fall on his actual birthday, January 15. Reverend King receives an outpouring of gratitude and love posthumously, but this was not the case when he was alive. According to Gallup polls, his approval ratings ranged from a high of 45% (in 1965) to 32% (in 1966). (Thanks to Howard Bryant for these statistics) The threat he posed to White America for his peaceful approach to racial equality would never have allowed these numbers to climb much higher. The numbers may be higher now, but the goal of racial equality has never been reached due to the continued fear of White America losing the power it has had from the beginning of our country.

Today Donald Trump made a statement parroting the ideals Dr. King worked for. The statement was carefully crafted and eloquently delivered, a masterpiece of hypocrisy and sandbagging. The direction Trump has “led” this country is not one of racial harmony but division with racist and exclusionary proclamations, backed up by policies approved by an equally hypocritical and racist Congress. White American fear still rules the roost, and the current “leadership” displays this fear proudly. There are very few Republican politicians and a substantial number of Democrats who could finish a statement regarding Dr. King today without having a “I’m glad that bullshit is out of the way” thought run through their head.

I am part of White America. Due to my upbringing, I was allowed to develop my own thoughts, ideals, and sense of “right and wrong” based on my observations. Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I witnessed and recognized blatant racism, both in word and deed, on a regular basis. While Dr. King was gaining a small but growing amount of support from more “progressive” whites, I was listening to Malcolm X intently. I had sports heroes as most boy kids do, but not the typical baseball or football stars. I was a tennis player as a kid – my heroes were Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe. Both had no fear in expressing who they were, and they gave me the belief that I could be what I wanted to be. The summer of 1968 gave me more support in this fashion. I was a fan of the Olympics. The strength and bravery of John Carlos and Tommy Smith were an outrage to White America, but an inspiration to me. Back in school, I wrote a poem about American racism and sexism for an English assignment, and was suspended from school for a week. White America was not ready to be called out at that time. It still isn’t. Yesterday, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, portrayed Trump as a victim, saying legislative process in the House was slowed because of accusations of racism against Trump, who has a family and personal history of racism. Yet 32% of Americans still support Trump and Republican leadership. The numbers are lower, but the effect is still tremendous.

I joined the Navy in 1981. It was probably not the best choice for a 26 year-old independent-thinking hippie, but I felt I could do some good. The accident at 3 Mile Island had prompted me to enlist to learn how to safely run a nuclear power plant – in retrospect, safe nuclear power was an oxymoron, but I wanted to save the world and that was that. I breezed through electronics technician school, and one fine January day I was summoned from North Chicago to Orlando to interview for Nuke School. At that time the program was run by Admiral Hiram Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy”. The school was his baby and all entrants has to pass muster with him. I entered the interview, he looked at my qualifications, and then started asking questions. The session was run-of-the-mill until he looked at me and asked if I had ever had sex with a black woman, but he didn’t phrase it quite so nicely. I am a “fast processor” – before anything comes out of my mouth, it goes through a thorough screening process for spelling, grammar, and content. When I called him an asshole, I knew exactly what I was saying, and despite having my Naval career go down the tubes in 1.2 seconds, I did the right thing and do not regret it one bit to this day.

My intolerance to racism has caused me problems in my life – I have lost careers and many friends because I do not tolerate it and have no hesitation in challenging those who espouse it. I also realize that, as a member of White America, the inconveniences I have dealt with are absolutely nothing compared to the day-to-day battle people of color are subjected to in this country to this day. I can throw all my weight against this plague, but I am only one person supporting and recognize that it only takes one person opposing to to remind those not given my advantage of being white that they are still treated with suspicion and injustice. I look at this country with shame every day because of this, and, deep inside, I know at 63 I will never see a day when this is not the way the United States works. I can only hope future generations figure it out, but the new crop of racists and white supremacists, encouraged by Trump and his merry band of like-minded White Americans, gives me little hope. I wonder how many in this country have referred to this national holiday with a racist slur (like my asshole brother) instead of a celebration of a brave man who preached peace in the face of violence, and whose life was taken in an act of racist violence, not peace.

We can pretend there has been progress. I never thought I would see a Black man elected President, but Barack Obama proved me (happily) wrong not once but twice. This was a damaging blow to the fearful. Look at how White America is dealing with the fact that only 97.78% of United States presidents have been white. Then tell me about “progress”. I know my words will probably not change anyone’s mind or attitude. But I hope every member of White America who reads this will think about how they view people of color. Just think about it. Don’t let the prejudicial reflex that has been programmed into us be the first thought. People of color have to fight to survive it every day. The least we can do is fight it in our own minds. That’s how progress is achieved. Thanks.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Twitter is a mixed bag. It is a sales & marketing resource, like most interactive platforms. It is also a social platform – politics, chatter, humor, nonsense. This makes Twitter very much YMMV, depending on the mix each individual sees it as. I follow many in different areas – sex workers, LGBTQ+, scientists, leftists, libertarians, Vermonters – anyone I feel I have a connection to, can support or just enjoy. I have no interest in selling or making a “brand” of myself unless you want to buy a hot tub or pool. When I make a comment about anything other than politics, it isn’t going to be confrontational.

I’m not in a position to ever book many of the sex workers I follow and support – I follow to support the industry and the individual. I have my own reasons for this – they have to do with my feelings, which no one has a right to question. In turn, I do not question anyone else’s feelings. If I am unwanted in someone’s mentions, I would appreciate it if you would let me know and I will promptly unfollow you. I will not, “…but what did I do wrong…”. I will not “spy” on you. I will not follow you under another account. I will not shit-talk about you in backchatter. I use my real name and own everything I say. It isn’t because I “don’t care” – it’s because everyone sees everything differently, and I have no right to question what someone else sees or how they see it. Thanks. Happy New Year! Hope everyone makes it home safe.

“Respect The Soldiers”

You better respect the soldiers! What kind of an American would prescribe to any other sentiment? I’m a veteran – no one needs to tell me where my respect should be given. But the use of this phrase has taken on a new significance of late, and it is not a positive one. “Respect the soldiers” has become a veneer of safety which protects the user from whatever negative sentiment precedes it. In this case, the veneer is protecting the user from, in many cases, valid accusations of racism. We have white supremacists and Nazis marching proudly through the streets with tacit acceptance from our country’s “leadership” while a straight path of connection between a media giant (Disney), a major, unique corporation that actually owns a day (the NFL), and the government (specifically the Pentagon) gets a high-profile journalist (Jemele Hill) suspended for daring to point it out. BTW, Jemele Hill is a black woman.

“Respect the soldiers” has become “Save the human trafficking victims’, “Save the planet”, “Save the children”, “Save the whales”. There are those that truly believe in these sentiments – they are “honorable” and appeal to the goodness which theoretically exists in all of us. There are also those who have used these as cover for individual, special interest, or ideological advancement. Skillfully applied, the last phrase in a sentence can deflect the reader’s thoughts from a counter-productive or totally different statement to something profoundly agreeable. “We must endanger thousands of sex workers by shutting down a platform which can allow them indoor work. We must pass laws preventing them from working together for their safety. We must arrest thousands of consenting adults through government-operated stings. Save the children”. To many uninformed Americans, the “wholesomeness” of the last phrase outweighs the negative social impact of the proceeding statement. Many also tend to focus on the last thing they have read – a result of the overload of information that comes at us 24/7.

“Respect the soldiers” can take on many meanings. Does this imply everything associated with the military must be respected? Are the soldiers the same as the flag and the anthem – just assets of an untouchable institution? The military is inherently conservative – not financially, but ideologically. It is steeped in tradition, and therefore racist (personally observed on many occasions), as racism is an American tradition. The newly-found courage of openly-racist movements and those whose racist views were less obvious have been emboldened by racist governmental leadership. For some, “Respect the soldiers” is an honest sentiment.. For some, it is is code for “I’m a racist but I don’t have the balls to cop to it”. For some, it is justification to fly the Confederate flag next to the American flag. But whichever the motivation, “Respect the soldiers” has nothing to do with respect or soldiers – it’s just a sucker phrase which depends on our shortened attention span to not think about the cause and effect of the statement it is protecting. Here’s an example – “We have to trample the rights of women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ citizens with any means possible, whether it be legally by killing social programs, health care, and legal protections, or by openly killing citizens. We need to make the flag and the anthem mandatory monuments of an authoritarian government which happily violates the values the flag and anthem are supposed to represent (but never really have). Respect the soldiers.”

 

 

Football, Apple Pie, and War

 

This is a post about how American ignorance, fake morals and values, and stigma can play into any segment of our society as they do with sex work. This post is about politics playing a role in areas politics has no business being in. This post is about the commercial marketing of war at the expense of those who have already paid for it.  This post is about Colin Kaepernick, the NFL, and very rich white men. If you’re not interested in this subject, I apologize for wasting your time. If you are, please read on!

One autumn day last year, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, quietly took a knee during the National Anthem to protest the rash of shootings by police of black Americans. Virtually no one noticed this at the time. However, when it was brought to the usually-short attention span of the American public, a groundswell of outrage grew to the point where, after the season, Kaepernick was released from the team. Other players joined in on the protest, but Kaepernick was singled out as the primary “antagonist” and has received the brunt of American patriotic fury to the point where he has been blackballed by the posse of billionaires who own NFL teams. As a result of these protests, the NFL suffered a decline in the all-important ratings numbers. Ratings equal dollars, and the most important part of any business is dollars. The American public screamed, “Keep politics out of our football”, a notion I totally support. But Kaepernick was not responsible for bringing politics into football – the NFL and the Pentagon were.

You enter Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, passing the American flags hanging from the light stanchions in the parking lot. You take your seat and wait for the game to start. There is a tribute to military members who served time in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Hundreds of police and military unfurl a 300’ x 160’ American flag as the National Anthem is played. Some people stand & remove their headwear – others chat or wait in line for their cold Budweisers. All in all, this is a marvelous example of Military Americana – in other words, politics. How great is it that the NFL allows the military to honor its members with such a display! But wait – is it really the NFL showing its patriotism, altruism, and support for those who lay their lives on the line to defend our great nation? No, it’s not – it is a paid commercial, a sales and marketing ploy. What is the product being sold? Militarism and war. Who is really paying for these efforts? Those who have already served and struggle for assistance the Pentagon will not give them.

I am enraged every time I see a commercial for organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project. When I incur a bill for actions I have taken, I assume full responsibility for the cost. The Pentagon is responsible for every veteran who suffers from physical or psychological disability due to their military service. The Pentagon has carte blanche when it comes to starting or conducting a new or existing action or developing new and wonderful ways to kill people, and yet there are thousands of vets who struggle due to inadequate care. Surely a couple million dollars could help this effort. So how does the Pentagon spend their money? By pumping millions of dollars into promotions at sporting events to recruit even more people for their purposes. Here’s a link to a quick breakdown of how the Pentagon spends money on recruitment and desensitization instead of taking care of those who served –

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/11/paid_patriotism_the_pentagon_gave_50_sports_teams_taxpayer_money_to_honor.htm

As the graph shows, although many sports participate in this marketing program, the NFL receives the lion’s share of both the “tributes” and taxpayer dollars. This makes sense, as football has replaced baseball as “America’s favorite sport”. What better way is there for the Pentagon to spread a message than through the outlet with the largest viewership? What better way is there for the NFL to advertise its product as “America’s Game” by playing the patriotism game? Do you not like Slate as a source? Here’s another – http://www.businessinsider.com/the-pentagon-pays-the-nfl-millions-to-honor-veterans-at-games-2015-5

As of today, Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job in the NFL, despite the fact he has proven he is better at his job than many quarterbacks that will be starters for their teams come the beginning of the season. He has been vilified by fans of the sport as being a “spoiled millionaire” as though this somehow makes him less human and not allowed to express his views on events he feels are injustices. He has been labeled as a “distraction” while the NFL has no qualms with putting players with actual violent offenses on the field. The party line is that these players “are better at their positions”, which somehow negates the distraction or negativity of having a domestic abuser representing “the brand”, as Emperor Goodell puts it. The NFL’s bottom line is “You can beat your significant other but don’t you dare disrespect the flag”. (I could go into a tirade about the “patriots” who I see disrespecting the flag every day, but that’s for another time) When we look at domestic abuse statistics, this is, unfortunately, a much more American stance than we would care to admit.

I have seen many statements about how people will not watch NFL games due to Kaepernick. I’m sure there are sponsors for individual teams who have privately expressed this. Certainly the owners have minimal sympathy for the protests by Kaepernick and other players, as none of them have ever spent a single day being black and poor in the United States. Those who say, “Kaepernick just isn’t good enough” are supporting the stigma against people of color which has existed forever. If a fading Payton Manning would have taken this action in his last year as a Denver Bronco, the voices screaming about patriotism and distraction would have barely been a whisper. There is a political distraction in sports. The distraction had been successfully enacted by the Pentagon the second they started to parade nationalism and market militarism and war in front of crowds at sporting events, and it is wholeheartedly supported by the leagues and the owners not due to their patriotism but due to the advertising dollars the Pentagon contributes to their coffers – dollars that should be spent on those whose lives have been adversely affected by the actions of the Pentagon.

I am a lifelong New York Giants fan. I attended my first game in 1960, when the likes of Frank Gifford, Rosie Grier, Sam Huff, and Pat Summerall wore the Blue. All my winter jackets are emblazoned with “Giants” in one form or another. I pull my money and cards from a Giants wallet every day. But I will not be watching the Giants, or any other NFL team, this year. There are many reasons for this. I find the suppression of studies regarding CTE by Goodell to “protect the brand” despicable, just as I felt Big Tobacco was criminal in suppressing studies regarding smoking and lung cancer. This is exacerbated by the hyper-competitive nature of football, where players feel they must stay on the field despite obvious or unseen injuries or risk being cut. I feel uneasy supporting a sport where a player is injured on every other play – a modern-day “Rollerball”. I am uncomfortable with Goodell being omnipotent as he doles out judgement as he sees fit instead of following a template which his vision of “the brand” does not allow to exist. Most importantly, I will not watch due to the fact the NFL, Goodell, and the owners are supporting racism (despite 67% of the players being black) by blackballing Kaepernick due to his quiet protest.

I am a veteran. I served so that citizens of the United States could have the freedoms the Constitution provides. One of the most important rights we have is the right to protest – it distinguishes us from many other countries and forms of government. To deny this to any citizen is simply un-American. I understand that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. However, in my view, the collusion between Goodell, the owners, and the Pentagon to market militarism and war is a much more objectionable statement than that which Kaepernick chose. I also greatly resent the use of NFL, and all professional and college, players as assets instead of human beings affected by current events. If Colin Kaepernick gets a job, I will think about watching. Until then, the NFL has lost a lifelong fan. I realize the impact of this will be less than miniscule. I just can’t support an organization that willingly advocates for violence and war while taking money that should be used to assist victims of violence and war, and I just can’t support an organization that could be a significant voice in difficult discussions about racism but chooses to not participate. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooperative Relationship vs. Labor-Management

I am firmly of the belief that decriminalization of and the combating of stigma towards sex work should be led by sex workers. I also believe that substantial support by clients is an integral part of this process. I have seen some sex worker organizations reject support from clients due to the view that the client is the boss and the sex worker is the employee – a labor vs. management issue. I certainly support any organization approaching the sex worker-client relationship in this manner because it’s not my place to impose my views on another. However, I personally do not conduct this relationship as one that pits one group against the other, as in a standard labor-management situation. I am a one-person business in 2 separate fields, one legal, one not so much (but hopefully legal soon). Although these ventures are not nearly as personal as sex work, they do involve business relationships rather than boss-employee scenarios. This is the way I go about my life as a client. I do not arrive at an appointment in my businesses as an employee, but as an equal partner. I make the rules, set the schedule, and determine the pay. The customer pays me. Neither of us is “boss” – we’re in a cooperative relationship. When I go to an appointment as a client, I understand and willingly (gleefully!) accept that the SW sets the rules, the schedule, and the payment. I am certainly NOT the “boss” and would never take that role. My companion and I are in a mutual business relationship, beneficial to both. I will abide by the rules – no haggling, no passive-aggressive coercion for services or time, no bullshit. “Anything goes” is a misconception shared by much of the uneducated public and far too many clients who feel their $ makes them the boss. It does not. Spending time with a sex worker is a privilege, not an entitlement, and for me, not a case of labor vs. management but more a case of two people enjoying each other’s company and caress within the framework of the sex worker’s comfort level. No more, no less.

Signs Revisited

Thanks to the 5 Man Electrical Band. I can be a bit political…

 

And the Sign Said, “Vote for this candidate –

He’s Gonna Save Your Town”

But when he talked, it wasn’t ‘bout bringing us up,

Just cuttin’ the other guy down.

He didn’t say a word about what would get done,

Just what the other guy wouldn’t do –

I put on my coat, and said, “You want MY vote?

Imagine ME voting for you!”

 

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Everybody’s sticking to their own party lines –

Vote for me, not him –

Can’t you read the signs?

 

And the sign said, “Vote for ME

Because I stand for Truth”

But the next thing I know, he’s running the machine

In the voting booth..

“There’s no conflict of interest”, he swore up and down

I’m a God-fearing man, not a sinner”.

I peeked in the Stretch, and said, “God would retch

If you actually came out the winner!”

 

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs,

Everybody’s sticking to their own party lines –

Vote for me, not him –

Can’t you read the signs?

 

Now, listen, mister, can’t you see –

Your vote is wasted unless it’s one for me –

If you don’t belong to the majority,

You got no right to be here!

 

And the sign said, “Everyone enter –

I’m gonna save your world”

And then he put up a picture with guns and bombs

And the American flag unfurled.

So I got me a platform and stood on top,

And these are the words I said,

“How the fuck you gonna save us all

If you can’t even keep all of us fed?”

 

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs,

Littering the scenery while everybody whines.

Do this, don’t do that –

Can’t you read the signs?

My Name Is Rick, Not John!

walk-a-mile-3

  My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers. I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached. I run my own one-person moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England. I’m just an ordinary person – not exceptionally “beautiful” or “ugly”, not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity. I am not a “pervert”. I do not “eye little girls with bad intent” like Aqualung. I do not abuse the women I spend time with. Most importantly, I do not “buy” anyone’s body. (There’s not enough room in my closet) I am in favor of total decriminalization of sex work. I try to actively engage the general public in discussion about the facts of sex work, and try to actively dispel the misinformation put forth by those who want to prohibit it for various reasons, some well-meaning but misdirected, some just for profit. The image portrayed in various media of drooling, sleazy “perverts” taking advantage of damaged, drug-ridden providers is meant to herd and de-humanize both sex workers and clients. We are ALL people with lives and feelings, and, yes, bills to pay. In America, money = a level of security = a level of empowerment. The money I give a sex worker makes her life easier, and the time she spends with me has more value than any material wealth to me. My life would be much poorer spiritually without the encounters I’ve shared with the women I have had the great privilege of meeting. I have made many friends in the sex work community, and I will support them however I can. I will continue to do my part by speaking out against the criminalization and stigma sex workers face. I am not afraid to show my face. I am not afraid to use my real name. I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS. If I can share a moment or two of pleasure in exchange for a little financial support for a friend, it makes my pleasure all the more complete. I do not speak as a representative for any group – this is my voice only. Let’s recap. My name is Rick Pettit and I support safe, consensual sex work and those who practice it, because you’re supposed to support your friends. Thanks!