Prostitution is Okay.

A still from The New Era of Sex Work - Vice's piece ft. Lowell.

A still from The New Era of Sex Work – Vice’s piece ft. Lowell.

My Chinese family is conservative as shit, and they don’t even know it. 

They’ve changed a lot, but for that to have happened, I had to be the change agent. I had to first unlearn things like:

  • LGBT persons were sub-par and it was okay to make their sexuality the butt of jokes;
  • Sexuality was as black or white as “gay or straight”;
  • Women were to be seen not heard;
  • and fat people were fat because they were simply lazy.

Shit like this was so deeply engrained and perpetuated in my mostly Asian community, it took me removing myself from my family for 3 years in university (minus 3 summers) and moving to a city (mind you, from the outer suburbs to downtown Toronto) for me to be able to articulate the important why to them, without losing my patience and relapsing into a mess of “it’s just bad!”.

Needless to say, growing up, “hookers are worthless members of society” was the general thought.

In playing catch-up with other liberal revelations, I never really read much on prostitution – it remained taboo because nobody really talked about it (this is what happens).

Until Bill C-36.

It’s marketed as a law that protects sex workers.

The truth is, it criminalizes prostitution.

The bill emphasizes the number of sex victims and young underage girls sold to the trade, trapped and abused by gangs of men and pimps for the rest of their young womanhood. The video above hosted by Lowell (awesome artist and former club-dancer) explores the other side of prostitution and strip clubs that I had no idea existed: consensual sex workers.

What do you mean some women are okay with this being their career? Isn’t it demeaning? It’s so disempowering!

It’s actually empowering. I love when a worker says around the 28:30min mark, “In dancing, you have to learn perfect boundary controls – you have to know exactly where your boundaries are and how to exert control over it“.

It’s only demeaning because sex workers are victimized — regardless of whether they have been abused or are perfectly happy with their career choice — and you only perpetuate this victimization if you view them as victims. And Canada’s lawmakers are doing just that.

I’m finding life isn’t just about learning. It’s also about unlearning. That’s why I need to stay open-minded.

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