Preamble: Once a working friend told me that she didn’t want to take on “sex worker” as a politicized identity (1).
I respect that: no one should be obligated to identify a certain way, or to take on politics that don’t inspire them. But for myself, I’m certain that sex work is not and can never be politically neutral; it can’t ever be anything less than a site of struggle. Being a person who exchanges sex for money is to be a certain kind of cultural outsider. It’s to be someone who is researched and criminalized, someone who is the subject of fascination and the butt of endless sitcom jokes. The disgust with which our culture regards whores is very old and runs very deep, and our radical communities are not immune to this.