Hi Emily,

You ask how FOSTA/SESTA has affected my life and those around me. I think it’s making me and all of us (sex workers) think twice about everything we do. From how we promote our work (e.g., we’re careful to not call what we do by its name, we censor ourselves on social media, we’re checking into the terms and agreements of every company we employ, from our banking to our website hosting) and we communicate to each other and our clients (e.g., we’re ditching gmail, Skype, and regular texting and switching to protonmail, wire and signal). We’re checking our twitter feeds daily to get the latest update on which companies are changing their terms and agreements and taking down their forums on which we once advertised. We’re trying to collect information on how many of us sex workers are being pushed to the streets or profit-driven pimps to find work. We’re trying to figure out how many of us are literally dying because of this law that’s supposedly trying to keep us safe.  If we’re not dying from the unsafe conditions that we’re being pushed to, we’re dying because some of us have been pushed to their limits and have chosen to end their life because all of this feels like too much, it feels like we’re heading towards or living in some fucked up dystopian world that’s growing more emboldened to oppress us. Before this bill, we were already marginalized, censored and shadow-banned, but now after this law has come to pass, our work is becoming criminalized and abolished under the guise of stopping sex trafficking and keeping us safe. All of this feels ironically insane.

But we have to have hope and see what this law is truly doing to us. It’s not stopping us from doing our work. It’s only making us more clever about doing our work. It’s also pushing us to get more connected. Our individual twitter feeds used to promote our inidividual work, but now I see the our feeds evolving into an up to date resource guide for us to stay safe. We’re helping each other stay safe and informed by keeping each other in the loop (e.g., naming which companies are changing their terms and conditions and essentially are or becoming anti-adult content/sexwork). Before this, we were individual sex workers posting our individual ads up, but I’m beginning to sense that in the near future, when major companies are shutting down their forums and platforms because they’re concerned about being held liable for “promoting prostitution,” what’s going to happen is that all of us we’ll be each other’s strongest platforms and promoters. I see our individual websites linking to each other’s. We’ll effectively be building an amazing referral system for each other.

The political just got really personal. Of course our patriarchal structure wants to abolish the one industry where women are paid more then men. Here’s what the government needs to know, that when they fuck with us and our money, they have to get ready for a matriarchal revolution. We are entering a paradigm shift. We are no longer mere individuals looking out for ourselves (in a dog eat dog patriarchal structure). We are coming together and we are looking out for each other. Because this is the matriarchal way.

I know I’m not the only one looking into starting a non-profit and scholarship fund to help those in disadvantaged positions that need support. I know I’m not the only building a website that will be a step a step resource guide to help women step into their power (and learn how to create a sustainable business in their sexual healing arts). I know that I’m not the only one ready to share my story and philosophy as to why our work is going to become more than sex work. I know that FOSTA/SESTA is already doing its job in becoming an instrument of change. Because of it, we are effectively changing the way we work, we are changing the way we work with each other, and we are going to change the way people see and value our work. We know that have no choice but to change, and the changes we make moving forward will only be positive because we are coming together, and together we will grow stronger, smarter, and more connected. Right now it may seem like they’re crushing us with their  oppressive law, and it may seem like we’re dying, but we’re actually learning how to come together to help each other survive during this time of upheaval, and the force that we create in building a community of badass women in charge of their lives, work and community is going to be unstoppable.

 

I hope this was helpful.

All best,

Colette

 

 

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Photo: Lucy Sweetkill, me and Dia Dynasty at my home