Connecting with your opponents

There are many organizations out there focused on prostitution, human trafficking or both. Their views differ quite a lot. Some are fully pro sex workers rights, while others want to abolish prostitution entirely. Some of my coworkers are surprised when I say that I want to be in touch with all of these organizations. If someone asks me: “Even those really horrible ones?” I’ll say: yes, even those ones.

Frequently I end up talking with someone who thinks prostitution should be illegal, or at least visiting sex workers. I still remember some chats I had with the people who think that sex work is just as any other job, but also with those who thinks I shouldn’t have the right to do my job. In some cases it can be quite challenging to not become defensive. Especially when the other person does become defensive him- or herself.

In all the conversations I did try to look for someone’s motive. Why does he or she cares? Is their any pain? Is there any (religious) core belief? Or any related personal experiences? Trying to figure out anything which may affect someone’s view and beliefs on prostitution. When succeeding, especially when we respect each other, I have the most interesting conversations. It keeps me critical on my own views, but I also find out what we both have in common. Usually both me and the other person are quite passionate about our goals. And for the people I see more often, I would lie if I say I wouldn’t love anyone of them – despite their different views.

To the people who wants to see prostitution to be abolished I ask: what do you think you would achieve by doing so? For the group sex workers who likes this job it doesn’t seems to be a good idea at all. But let’s focus on a different group: those who rather do a different kind of job. Perhaps they have a long history of abuse and neglect or a history of sex trafficking. Or they may have a transgender background and therefore some of them don’t get accepted by society. What would abolition of sex work do any good to them? Yes, it may give a moral sign -that we wouldn’t want this in our country- if that’s your goal. But I’m afraid that many prostitutes would end up much worse. Maybe they become homeless, without a job or a job they dislike even more. And if they have better alternatives, why wouldn’t they make use of that now already?

As a prostitute myself, I don’t really love my job. I sometimes do have fun moments with my clients, but most of the days are not that much of fun. But at the other hand, it’s by far not the most worse job I can imagine. So I never got convinced that abolition of prostitution would be helpful to me or my coworkers. However, I’m always willing to listen to new arguments. And I hope other people will do that as well.

Christianity & prostitution: an introduction

Being a Christian, a prostitute and at the same time enjoying being a passionate active church member can be quite a challenge. In the time of being a Christian and a church member I learned quite a lot about sexuality. I also followed some ministry classes about things as healing and deliverance. I’ve learned some very interesting and new views on sexuality, which you can also find some of it here (external link).

So having sex with someone is -not surprisingly- considered to be exclusive have place within marriage, between one man and one women. (The question whether marriages should always be with 2 people or only with the opposite sex, is a different topic which I will maybe come back on later.)

What I’ve learned in short is that having sex with someone creates a connection from soul to soul. As the Bible say with becoming one in a marriage, it is as explained as really becoming one through the act of sexual intercourse. One of the things a marriage protects people is that they not impulsively become one with someone else. Because it is believed that the connection is unbreakable except by either death or through the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.
It’s also that reason why in the Old Testament the death penalty was required, because at that time it was the only solution to break that connection between the rapist and the victim. Otherwise their souls would ‘stick to each other’ till one of them dies.
If this is the first time you hear or read about this, it probably sounds crazy to you. But trust me, if you learn more about this subject and their explanations – it really makes sense in some way.

It’s really an interesting view. It made me understand why (some) Christians do believe sexuality should be exclusively have space in marriages only. If it’s true what they say, as a prostitute I should be have quite a lot of connections and souls sticking to me. That’s really an awful thought. Many -actually all of the- clients I had were not the people I would want to be connected with in any way, except for business/commercial reasons. So if these Christians have it right, then I’m urgently in need of help.

Apart from the belief that being sexual active outside wedlock is harmful, often churches and Christians belief that sexual activity outside wedlock is harmful on a psychological level as well. According to the Bible we are created to be a child of God and have all kinds of non-sexual relationships with other people besides your husband or wive and even with animals. Just to love and to take care of each other, just as our relationship with God should be. Therefore it’s not surprising that many Christians are looking after me and my coworkers with the purpose to save and love us. In my own experience they really seem to be the most loving of all the people who help or support us. However, the problem is that many coworkers don’t want to be saved or have any help at all.

So we have the weird situation in which a group of people are driven by a passion to save us and love us because of our assumed pain and problems. And at the other side there are many sex workers who seemingly don’t have any problems with it. So, who is right? I guess this answer depends quite a lot on what you believe.

However I never think that God wants people to dictate or judge people on their jobs. It’s fine to share any concerns and thoughts on it, as long as people want to hear it. If you choose to approach us, then please be aware of what we believe and how we see you. It’s weird and inappropriate to act as a teacher or as a savior, if we don’t see you that way. Imagine that a stranger is coming to you and talking to you, assuming that you are his spiritual father or teacher, how would that look like? From my own experiences, I can tell you: that feels really strange and I don’t take that person serious. At the other hand if I talked several times with someone and like what they say to me – it can happen that I will see that person as my teacher or as a mother figure for example. In that situation it becomes different – then it could be all right to tell more of your views and concerns.

For my Christian coworkers I advice to be cautious to who and how you tell your job as a prostitute, if you want to share it at all. There is a risk that others may either be too concerned or see you as very sinful.

To be continued…

P.S.: If you have experiences with Christian organizations as a prostitute and have some interesting stories, then I’d love to hear from you! To me it does not matter whether you’re from the U.S., Europe or from somewhere else. Also if you’re a Christian yourself and have some additional thoughts on this, I would love to hear from you as well. I will never publish names of people without their permission. Also I will always be respectful in communications, even if you have different beliefs. You can contact me here.

Sexworkers hunting

If you’re working as a sexworker, you probably have been visited by some Christians once in a while. I never see them among the streetwalkers, but I have seen them on the streets where the windows are. They usually step by and want to talk with you. Sometimes they even offer you a present. However they may not leave right away, when you ask for it. Or they may come back a lot of times. Also, the way they ask the questions or what they tell, can be (or at least feel) really offensive.

Sexworkers / prostitutes who chose this job voluntarily, may actually feel proud of their job. They could be proud of being meaningful to their clients. Or they could also be proud of their independency. There may be quite a few reasons why sexworkers are proud of their job. Imagine that you have a job you are proud of, and maybe even a job you like. And then imagine something tells you that someone else forces you to do that job. Even when you deny that, that person persists. The person tells you that you don’t know any better or that you are brainwashed. I bet the first time that happens to you, you will just laugh. But when that happens over and over again, you probably will feel annoyed or offended. Especially when a big group of people believes it, including some big media. After all, no one listens to you – because people believe you’re brainwashed…. Well, you get the clue. This is not the best way to make friends with a sexworker / prostitute who wants her job.

 

The thing is that many Christians genuinely believe that prostitutes are very often victims of sex trafficking, being under high pressure and that they could be brainwashed. But these cases seem not to occur much, but for these few cases this approach might help them. I don’t know about that. But many sex trafficking victims aren’t under these extreme circumstances. As for the rest, there are many people who I know who did choose to become a prostitute. And for them, such approach simply isn’t appropriate. By the way, this also count for some health professionals who get in touch with prostitutes.

 

However when I would be one of the Christians who believe that prostitutes are mainly victims who are in immediate danger, I would probably do the same thing. Going to the sexworkers and offer help. When I have that view and understanding in mind, I don’t feel so much offended as I otherwise would.

 

It probably helps for me that I have a Christian background. Although I think I’m agnostic now, in the past I worked several days a week for a church. I did that several years. Plus my mother is a kind and passionate Christian. So I know that religion quite well. It’s interesting to see that most Christian organizations that reach out to prostitutes are the ones with similar Christian views I once had. My church that I’ve joined in the past had connections (and still haves) with the Bethel church in Redding, CA. If you know that church, then you will now have an idea of what I mean. My faith changed as I had issues with it. As someone with a transsexual background and for someone who started working again as a prostitute, it did bring some conflicts. Conflicts with both the church and my own faith. Apart from that I also had issues with the animal slaughtering and offers in the Old Testament, but that’s off-topic.

 

To be honest I both love and really dislike the behavior these Christians show at the same time. So I dislike them often for their approaches to sexworkers, their immature behavior and lack of knowledge towards LGBT people. Also for a few other things I don’t want to share right now. But I love them for their patience, love and offerings they are willing to make towards others. I have seen Christians taking people they barely know into their families for years, because that person needed and wanted that. One time it was a young adult who was offered a place into a family and she was treated, loved and cuddled almost like it was their own child. Actually in one of my Ministry Team trainings I received, it was sometimes even recommended/indicated to do so. Of course these cases were not the standard. Nevertheless they generally will treat you as a human being, as a brother or sister (how they see and call it). That’s also how they usually would talk about you behind your back. Not like a client or some kind of visitor. I don’t think you will ever find so much amount of compassion, dedication and patience in secular health organizations. I think they deserve credit for that part. To be honest, I still know a few Christians from that period who are really close to my heart.

 

I personally hope that churches will be more open to hear our sides and vice versa. If churches understand that sexwork and human trafficking are two different things, they may even have the potential to offer better support/care to sexworkers then the secular social workers do.

 

Idealistically, I hope that there will become health organizations runned by sexworkers themselves, for themselves.