Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ho Down #2 definition of & law forbidding prostitution:
"The Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 712-1200 Prostitution, states:
--A person commits the offense of prostitution if the person engages in, or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person for a fee.
--'Sexual conduct' means 'sexual penetration', 'deviate sexual intercourse', or 'sexual contact'."

My friend Tracy Ahn Ryan ran for Governor of Hawaii during the last race. She was the official candidate for the Libertarian Party, and included in her platform were the decriminalization of marijuana and prostitution. A prolific writer and ardent activist, she started APLE Hawaii, maintaining her stance that "Arresting Prostitutes is Legal Exploitation."

Sometime last year Honolulu Weekly ran some letters to the editor concerning prostitution. One was by someone called Tom Moore who wrote the usual PC BS about it being all girls falling prey to pimps and drugs. Tracy's response ( was printed the following week. I can't find it, but as usual she was eloquent and insightful. Maybe it's just me, but when Tracy talks, what she says is so for real, that it confuses me. She so smart.
I also wrote a reply to Moore's letter, but for some reason it wasn't printed. I don't know if it had to do with my personal history with the Weekly (tacky letters and quitting my internship because my name was in the credits, nails shit like that) or because I wrote in around the time of Girl Fest, and the staff at the publication was afraid to print something that might clash with the agenda of the organization? Perhaps my letter was too long or just plain shetty? Whatever. Tracy liked it but thinks it was too long.

Well, now that the planet is in the midst of an economic crisis, I know there are a lot of people who are entering the sex trade just to make ends meet. Some may be new to the business, and others might be returning, but all will suffer under the unfair laws and labels applied to prostitution, so I decided to print the letter I wrote to the Weekly here. Hopefully it makes sense... [for a bit more clarity I added stuff]

Dear HW

It's so cute when f---s like Tom Moore get a platform to spout off their ignorant, I'll say "ill-informed", opinions about something. They don't know how to just ask for the truth, basically because they don't really want it. There's something lurking beneath their facade of caring and concern.

His tirade was against legalizing prostitution. Maybe there was more to his letter, but the printed parts were arguing on behalf of addicted girls who get abused and killed. Tritely, his generalized argument, influenced by too much prime time TV, in no way reflects my experiences as a whore.

I pulled dates 'in butch or in drag', on the streets, at my 9 to 5 job, after shows, at the club, wherever and whenever I felt like saying "okay"to a proposition. When I was "prostituting", I wasn't ever a girl (even when I tried). I wasn't addicted to nothing (except maybe the money, but that's just'cause I love American capitalism). I didn't have a pimp. I never O.D.'d. Never got killed. Nor got a disease. The same went for a lot of my colleagues (female, male, and those in-between), many of whom are retired, and either married or on another career path.

We exchanged our time for money and gifts, mostly because we wanted to get off, or needed to get paid. There are a lot of people who work for themselves in this business, either on the streets, online, or on the phone. They are very professional and in control of their situation. Those who may lack control, yet still need to work, would benefit from a hassle-free profession that almost everybody's qualified for.

Prostitutes offer their time, often their bodies, to consensually give someone relief and release. Not everyone likes their job, but they do it.

You're Welcome.

Of course there are those who fall victim to pimps, clients, other citizens, and even the law. That's because criminalizing their in-demand services creates a situation where prostitutes would fall prey to would-be abusers. Because their job is illegal, they don't always seek legal protection, or are denied it when they do. To compound the problem, our society's immature attitudes toward sex, further alienate the sex-worker. Some clients -and most of society in general- treat prostitutes less than respectfully, and often abusively. Sadly, cops do too.
[Many positive things could come about if the current laws against prostitution were abolished]

Decriminalizing prostitution would erase the stigma placed on someone who commits a natural act willingly.

Legitimate places of business would open, discretely located and operated.

Employment rules and safety regulations would be observed. Standards for STD testing and prevention would be implemented and enforced.

Streetwalking would be greatly reduced, appeasing neighbourhood advocates, and making the job much safer.

Those in abusive situations (emotional, physical, or chemical) would come forward to seek help and receive it.

Punishing a person who performs acts of pleasure for politicians, police, and everyday people (every day) is more than preposterous, it's plain stupid. Outlawing prostitution has never stopped it. It's only kept it underground and risky .Opponents who claim to care about a person engaged in the sex trade, should get over their sexual hang-upps and face the fact that for many, prostitution is a choice. Maybe not their first choice, but a viable and profitable one.

By imposing prudish morals and pretending that everyone involved in prostitution is damaged in some way, attention-grabbing self-righteous idiots are consciously distracting us from any real solutions to the problems created by current laws.

Only by acknowledging that prostitution under legitimized circumstances would eliminate most of the bad elements associated with it, can we then act within the realm of reality and begin to face and solve actual issues of concern.

Doug Upp
[The letter's over]

Basically I think I'm saying "If you care about people, stop judging anyone negatively by what they choose to do with their lives. They may be loving life or hating it. Find out before you say you know what's best for them. Ask if they need help with anything, like a ride or a reference, whatever. Be a friend. Support laws that treat friends fair and repeal those that don't protect them. If no one's getting hurt, it might be okay. Find out the facts and then act." whatever, I'm stoned again...

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