Speaking at SWAY

It was pretty familiar to me. I took this route two times a year to visit my family. I never really see my hometown when it’s warm outside. I always drive into Connecticut on the tail of a bitter winter. But, hearts were warming up at Yale University. Sex Week at Yale introduced a diverse number of panels and performers throughout the long weekend. Last night, Will and I traveled to New Haven to participate in the exchange.  He would talk about his involvement in the Global Network of Sex Workers Projects, and I would discuss my background as a former sex worker and my involvement in $pread Magazine.

I was invited up as a substitute so I was kind of unprepared. There was another speaker on the panel. Sienne Baskin represented the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project. So, tonight would bring a healthy education about sex workers’ legal rights here and across the world. I, on the other hand, really hadn’t participated in organizations like these before (for the exception of $pread). Also, I’m not a representative of any organization, just a representative of my writings and how my history and experience in the adult industry is used in some altruistic fashion.

After the lingering 2-hour journey, we were driven to campus by Colin, a Board of Director of Sex Week At Yale (SWAY). We sat at a large round table, which we could only imagine to be the perfect setting for an academic orgy. Colin told us that there was a group of students who made a porno on Yale Campus, but one of the actresses objected to the film and snitched about it to the higher-ups. A documentary was based on this whole debacle.

After picking through a bin of free American Apparel underwear, I took my fistful of new undies and headed back to the classroom, which had quickly begun to fill up with students and other guests. In the front row was Lamont from Love-146, an Anti-Trafficking organization. His performance preceded our panel; Lamont sang about 146 ways normal people like me and you can end Anti-Trafficking… around the globe… I would have liked to learn more about how one can spend an average day to help stop Trafficking, maybe one that wouldn’t require donations to third parties (like those damned canvassers!) Anyway, I wondered how he felt about our panel. While we weren’t against Anti-Trafficking (how can one be against the forced slavery of presumably children and women?), we were against how it’s used to automatically assume all sex workers as innocents when targeted, then criminals when police do pick them up.

Will spoke about the groups organizing in India, a community of sex workers that had grown to 65,000 members. It’s a testament to the way sex workers are forming a solid identity, one that has a voice and can strengthen the familial units that many youths need (especially when their biological family unit fails). This segued into my 10-minute introduction. 10 minutes is a long time for me. May I also mention that Buck Angel was in the audience? Yep. I never met Buck Angel but I heard about him. And everything I’ve heard has been positive, if not extremely touched and enchanted. And I can see why. He’s hot and his tattoos look so perfect, as if he was born with them chiseled onto his skin. After the panel, we had talked about the state of porn now, mostly as a money-making business – like one big casino that never stopped churning money. Or sin, if I can add a dramatic effect. It was pretty refreshing and it may have sparked a little flame of curiosity to work in movies again.

Overall the panel was successful. We raked in over 50 guests and spoke to a number of people about $pread Magazine. The Q&A was the my favorite part of the night, although Will and I wished there were some naysayers in the crowd, those who had slightly offensive and overtly condescending opinions that they wanted to air out in public. At least then some new knowledge and understanding sprouts from this panel. But, as one of the Directors of SWAY pointed out, most New Havens are liberal yaysayers who agree with what we have to say because, well, that have to. They’re liberal. At the end of the day, I wished people would just express their doubts and feelings about the issue at hand. I’ve had doubts and concerns along the way, but on some level, certain things about the industry cannot be talked about. Certain truths cannot be acquiesced because those truths can put people in jail, make people into targets, victimized the stable and the secure, and ultimately change one’s perception about gender and sexuality. This, essentially, is what we can all take away from the panel that night.

    • Daisy Azuras
    • February 12th, 2010

    I wish that one day there can be an open discussion about the myths and facts and point of views surrounding zoosexuality. I think it’s great that in 2010 we can have gatherings in public to talk frankly about sex without worry of being arrested, I just wish we can go a step farther.

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