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I was asked recently in an interview why I was an activist. Why the interviewer asked do I put my head above the parapet knowing that I will be criticised and called names. It did make me think. I answered that I abhorred injustice and the treatment of sex workers by governments was perhaps the last great social injustice and that it can not be allowed to continue. This is true but there are other reasons that I later reflected on. For me sex work represents so much more than the selling of a sexual service, it represents the assertion of the individual free from the reactionary morals of a variety of self appointed interest groups who connive to repress and control the very souls of both men and women. For me sex is the one thing that remains constantly ours; it is our irrepressible identity that is both a private and public exclamation of our individuality, of our humanity. To hand control of our sexual identity and of our freedom to use our sex and our bodies as we choose is to hand the most personal and precious of our freedoms to the state. It is in fact to loose the very essence of our soul. It matters not if you are a whore or a mother or father or a virgin; as long as you have control over your body and what you do with it then you are truly free no matter how repressive the constraints that connive to control every other aspect of your existence. This is why rape is such a heinous crime because it is not just a violation of your body it is a violation of your soul and that is why prohibitionists abuse the imagery of rape by applying it to sex work with out justification or understanding of the nature of sex work and it is to their shame that they do this.
Each anti sex work group may promote different agendas to justify their illiberal intolerance. For some it is religious and others a desire to control for its own sake and for some like radical feminists it is about the reassertion of patriarchal intolerance of women’s choices and a reaffirmation of societal oppression of human sexuality dressed crudely as feminism. Radical feminism represents the infiltration and corruption of a once visionary movement that was part of the human and sexual rights movements of the fifties, sixties and seventies that fought for gender equality and for sexual freedom and against the social oppression of minorities. Once feminism worked along side the human rights movement which is something those who now brand themselves radical feminists can no longer claim to do. Human rights are blind to the gender, the politics or the labour of those whom they protect. Human rights do not just protect majorities but more importantly minorities from the injustice inflicted upon them by those who would use the power of the state to impose their own narrow reactionary morality to exploit and further their own interests. And the furtherance of self interest is especially relevant in the burgeoning and financially rewarding state sponsored rescue industry where names and careers are being made at the expense of sex workers who suffer the stigma justified by the state persecution of their labour. This is the reason why I am an activist for sex workers rights and it is why I know that if we can find a way of promoting ourselves to a liberal and tolerant public as well as our scattered and diverse industry that we serve, that we will win this most important battle not only for our rights but for the right of everyone to have control over their bodies and their freedom of sexual expression. It is perhaps the most important battle of all in the struggle for human rights. Sexual liberty is more than the right to gender equatlity, it is more than the right to sexual expression, it is about who owns your body; you the individual or the reactionary and illiberal interest groups who manipulate the media and government to further their own interests. They cannot be allowed to win.