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jeudi 1er octobre 2015
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
When I read Emily Lazatin’s Huffington Post (1) article about a new Vancouver-based prostitution agency catering toward disabled men, I felt compelled to respond from my perspective as a woman with two developmentally disabled brothers (one blood-related, one in-law) and roughly a decade of work experience in Special Education and respite care. I’ve also spent nearly 10 years providing practical support to a group of former sex-industry women who do self-advocacy. I hope the combination of these experiences gives me adequate license to address the topic of disabled men using prostitution.
My brother, who has both Down Syndrome and Autism, was born two months before I started Kindergarten. The relationship I have with my brother has had a profound impact on me. It has been central to the formation of my personality and my choice of study, my career, and even my spouse. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this article would carry more authority if I were a woman with disabilities myself, but I’m not. I have a point to make nonetheless.
This may come as a disappointment to you if you don’t have much experience with disabled people beyond Forest Gump or I am Sam, but individuals with disabilities do not exist exclusively to inspire the mainstream population and they are not immune to feminist critique. An uncomfortable but integral part of honouring the humanity of people with disabilities is recognizing that, not only can they be feminists and feminist allies, but they can also be misogynists, racists, and ableists. Frankly, I would suggest that disabled men who use prostitution to satisfy their sexual appetites are often a combination of all three.
When I hear non-disabled people frame the use of women in prostitution by disabled men as a human rights or sexual expression issue, my blood boils. There are three false statements implicit in this argument. The first is that disabled people are so sexually unappealing that no one would have non-paid sex with them. The second is that sexual preferences are a human right. The third is that the sexual appetite of disabled men should take precedence over the advancement of women’s equality. Let’s address these in order. Shall we ?
People with disabilities do not need prostitution in order to have intimacy or to have sex. Many disabled people have sex with each other or with non-disabled people. Typically in the community of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, individuals will have sexual relationships with others at a similar cognitive level to minimize the risk of power imbalance. The matching of cognitive abilities is not a concern for people whose disabilities are physical ; indeed, I know of many with fully-abled partners. People with disabilities have dating relationships. They have marriages. They have casual sex. Occasionally they’re doing it in inappropriate locations or contexts but, trust me, they’re doing it. Get over it. If you as a reader were patting yourself on the back for being progressive enough to think that disabled people could have sex, you can stop now and don’t let your prejudiced condescension hit you in the ass on the way out.
This brings us to our second point. Sorry Ghomeshi (2), but sexual preferences are not a human right. They never have been and they never will be. As a result of porn culture, however, a lot of men in general (including men with disabilities) end up believing that not only do they have an inalienable right to partnered sex, but they also have the right to have sex with women that look and act like the women they see in porn. It is a grave mistake to conflate sexual preferences with sexual expression. We as humans are all sexual beings but partnered sex is not a requisite part of sexual expression. Some of us will have other people that play a role in our sexual expression and some of us (including both disabled and non-disabled people in my life) may not. On the other hand, when it comes to “physical intimacy” (as many sex industry lobbyists like to call it), sexist, racist, and ableist expectations (such as the desire to only have sex with thin, able-bodied women with hairless vulvas and perky breasts or the desire to sexually act out racist tropes) aren’t helping anyone. Prostitution harms intimacy development in non-paid relationships because it teaches men to order women the way one might order an americano misto.
Lastly, disabled men’s sexual desires cannot take precedence over the advancement of women’s equality. Even if partnered sex were a human right, it would not justify the existence of prostitution — a system of deeply entrenched inequalities. I’m not going to detail the “women’s liberation approach” to prostitution here (some call it the “Nordic Model” position and some call it the “abolitionist” position) but I would encourage readers to look into it in order to put my point into context. One tenet of this position is the idea that, unlike Nico from the Huffington Post article, the majority of women in the sex industry enter because of desperate material need. Even if disabled men weren’t able to find willing partners, would it be just for the most marginalized demographic of women — many of whom are physically, intellectually, or developmentally disabled themselves — to provide this “service ?” I believe not. It’s unacceptable to pit the interests of two vulnerable people groups against each other.
I do recognize that society must be improved to make sex more accessible and enjoyable for people with disabilities. However, I do not see prostitution as part of this advancement. In fact, it is antithetical. We need to look to communication technology, mechanical technology, and public education instead. My brothers hold women in the utmost respect as their family members, friends, support staff, and caregivers. They don’t use prostituted women and they don’t need us to feel sorry for them. Any society that offers up prostitution to people with disabilities as a substitute for mutually gratifying, unpaid sex is a very regressive society indeed.
* See this website : feministcurrent.com
* Jess Martin is the founding member of Exploited Voices’ Allies, a group of advocates taking leadership from former sex-industry women. She lives in Vancouver.
On Sisyphe, October 2015
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