Make the Merseyside petition a sex workers’ project by supporting it

02 May

Last night two sex workers bombarded me with block caps tweets for 2 hours about how I’m not a sex worker and am privileged, arrogant and too immature to be doing the Merseyside model petition. Apparently I’m a manipulative liar who made the petition because I want to “be a leader” in the activist movement, while also being the naïve poster child who has issues and is being used and “pwned” by Ruth Jacobs. They also seemed to think Ruth Jacobs is involved with the petition, when in fact we stopped working together well over a month ago and her name isn’t on it. I’m not going to name names or post screenshots, because this isn’t a reply to them and, (as far as I know without yet going on Twitter) they’ve stopped.

What this is, is a clarification: I’m not working with Ruth, she has no control over the petition. She can’t claim it as hers because her name isn’t on it. Jaynie’s  name is on it but posts on this blog, as well as Jaynie’s public tweets, prove that she only created it for me because of the legal name requirement. (All Government e-petitions take a week for approval while names and addresses of the creators are verified).

Before I realised a legal name was needed, I asked for sex workers to put their names on it since I’m not a representative sex worker (or, according to the people from last night, I’m not a sex worker at all). One person wanted to but then we realised it had to be a legal name, while one who I DM’d refused (because they seemed to think Ruth was still involved in it).

The important thing is that whether or not you like me really shouldn’t affect you signing or publicising the petition. Politics isn’t about whether you like the person or not. What if a sex worker met Rhoda Grant in a pub and didn’t know who she was – they might get along! But we’re against Grant’s Bill – her politics, not what she’s like personally. Similarly, if she were to make a Bill to implement the Merseyside model, I would support that while simultaneously challenging her first Bill.

Stopping rapes and murders is much more important than whether you personally like me. And I doubt that sex workers who benefit from Merseyside (if the petition succeeds) would really think “Oh I wish Merseyside hadn’t succeeded because it was a non-representative sex worker who clicked ‘create a petition'”.

If you really care about who created a petition more than the good the model can bring, it just hurts sex workers’ goals. Infighting over who is and isn’t a sex worker is not going to help with Merseyside or labour rights or anything else. Sex workers’ safety is the most important thing about my petition, not who created it.

And if I’m not a sex worker, that means I’m volunteering my time in a cause that isn’t mine and won’t benefit me.

The worst thing about this is the vicious cycle: that sex workers see this petition as an anti’s idea (although the model was created and supported by sex workers and the NSWP, as well as politicians and ACPO) so some may not want to support it. Then, because sex workers don’t support it, other sex workers see it as an anti’s idea. And so it goes around and around. And the petition doesn’t get publicised, and if it fails, that doesn’t benefit sex workers.

So what I want to say is this: It’s not an anti’s idea, it’s a sex workers’ idea and as we all know, it always was from the beginning in Merseyside. Ruth Jacobs (who isn’t sure about the Nordic model because it doesn’t offer exit routes and makes poverty worse) just wanted to expand the model to all of the UK. She didn’t create it and so owes everything to sex workers. And I’m not being “used” by her because I heard of the model at university then later on Douglas Fox’s blog (I think) and I’ve read about it on other sites and a Telegraph column too before Ruth showed up.

But, if you do think it’s still an anti’s idea or that Ruth was co-opting it, then support it yourselves. Because that will turn it into a sex workers’ idea if most sex workers and sex worker orgs support it.

I asked the two people last night if they wanted their legal names on the petition or what they wanted me to change about it. They wouldn’t even answer me about what they wanted me to do, instead resorting to swearing and name-calling, as they did throughout the 2 hours.

And I’ve been thinking, that they obviously wish I’d never made the petition. But if I hadn’t, who would? Lots of sex workers and sex worker activists have known about Merseyside for much longer than I have, and while there’s always been lots of support for it, nobody has done a petition that (if it gets 100,000 signatures) will be debated by the Government. I’m not trying to disparage all the activism, media work and demos that sex worker activists are doing right now and have been doing decades before I was even born. I’m just saying that if someone had created the petition before me, I wouldn’t have needed to and we could’ve avoided what happened last night. So how can they attack me for, basically, not waiting for a ‘real’ sex worker to create the petition, when they themselves didn’t create it?

The fact that Jaynie’s name is on the petition was seen as an excuse by someone else, who was implying that I’m merely the puppet or poster child of a hidden group, but seeing as sex workers are usually anonymous, I can’t see any way past this. If anyone is willing to out themselves and put their name to it, tweet me.

This isn’t about who counts as a sex worker or me working with Ruth in the past (which is irrelevant as it’s got nothing to do with the petition as I’m not working with her now) or what anyone thinks about me. Whether I’m a sex worker in their eyes or not, we’re all people, and people doing sex work are being raped and attacked. It’s these people who matter. And if who created the petition matters more than these people, matters more than sex workers, that’s pretty shitty politics. However we’re all entitled to our politics, whether they’re shitty or not. So if you don’t like me, don’t sign the petition.

But  I hope you do – not because I want to lead the sex worker activist movement (I mean, come on, I don’t even call myself a sex worker activist! And I suspect that lots of contacts, years of experience, tons of media work and influence in sex worker organisations would be required to successfully be The Leader of Sex Worker Activists.) I hope you do because I do want sex workers to be safe – and I do want the petition to be a sex workers’ initiative. If lots of sex workers support it, it WILL be a sex workers initiative and that’s how the media will see it (if it gets media attention or is debated).

Kali xx


7 responses to “Make the Merseyside petition a sex workers’ project by supporting it

  1. jaynierogers

    May 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Excellent comment Kali. That stuff yesterday was ridiculous. Don’t people want to be safer??

  2. fallenfemale

    May 3, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Reblogged this on CraicWhore and commented:
    I’ll come to this myself in a while…but in the meantime, please read these wise words and consider supporting the petition…it’s all anonymous…

  3. jemima101

    May 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    You both make the same mistakes over again in this, Dont people want to be safer, why dont they care as much as i do…basically you care about dead hookers more than anyone else…and you still dont seem to get why people are angry.

    If you don’t understand why Jacobs being involved has tainted this, I really do not understand how to explain it, it;s like going to the Jewish community with a petiton strted by David Irving, no matter how great the petiton might be do you really expect people to go, oh well you may be a holocaust denier but thats not important.

    It;s not getting this that ha led to all the anger, and the belief that if you were a sex worker with the same investment then you would never have got into bed with Jacobs.

    “This isn’t about who counts as a sex worker or me working with Ruth in the past (which is irrelevant as it’s got nothing to do with the petition as I’m not working with her now) ” But you were, you chose to and she abused sex workers from an account you jointly ran, now to say oh well i have decided she isnt ok, how are we meant to feel? Jumping for joy that you have come round to agreeing that people might have had a reason for being upset?

    “So if you don’t like me, don’t sign the petition” thats just petulant.

    Perhaps the reason on one started the petition is that they are generally wastes of time that would have used a lot of time and energy. Sex workers rights orgs and support services have been pushing the model (Thanks for the history lesson by the way, as the person who told Jacobs about the model its nice to be patronized) An adjournment debate is highly unlikely to change anything.

    In terms of the name issue, why didnt you ask Brooke or Laura, or me, as a social justice activist and campaigner if i had chosen to put my name to it I would have been able to find allies who would.

    Constantly saying you don’t care if you don’t sign ignores the very real problems people have, as well as the debate within the sex work movement about how we should campaign.

    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      May 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I did ask Laura Lee, she said no because Ruth had once been involved in it, though she wasn’t involved by that time. As I recall, Ruth did want you to be involved and asked if you’d write something for it, but you ignored her requests or refused. I thought you wouldn’t want your name on the petition. I did tweet at the time for any sex worker who wanted their name on it to message me but nobody did.

      I know why SWs don’t like Ruth and I’ve dealt with it in the post, by talking about the vicious cycle – that not supporting the petition because Ruth was once involved is just playing into antis’ hands by making it less likely that the petition will succeed. If you don’t like Ruth’s involvement then take this petition away from her by supporting it and making it a sex workers’ petition.

      When did I say “I care more about dead hookers than anyone else”? In the post I reference the fact that I’m not a sex worker activist, and that sex work activism has been going on for decades before I was born. I also point out how laughable it is that I could be the “leader” I was accused of being or wanting to be. You seem to be reading an awful lot of stuff into my post. I also don’t know who you mean by “you both”. I am working on my own re the petition (with lots of help from sex workers and sex worker orgs who are retweeting the link to the petition) and all blog posts are written solely by me.

      I know the petition might not work but isn’t it worth a shot, seeing as nothing else so far has worked to make the Merseyside model UK-wide. If you have a better idea, feel free to do it and I will publicise it and support you all the way.

      I didn’t say “I don’t care if you don’t sign” – I actually hope people do sign, as I’ve said in the post. This is much bigger than me, you or Ruth, and it does upset me to see the petition which can benefit people in a very real way, being affected because Ruth was once involved (at a very early stage and she hasn’t been for 2 months). If you want your name on it, email me and I’ll get Jaynie to change the name on the petition if possible. If Laura Lee and Brooke want their names on it then I’ll put all three of you.

      • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

        May 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        And no, I never said I expect you to jump for joy that I’m not working with her. But I do think it’s a shame that the brief period when I did work with her might ruin this petition even though the petition is nothing to do with her and was created long after I’d stopped working with her. As soon as I knew Ruth had tweeted that she doubted the sex workers she was arguing with were real, I took sole control of the account and apologised. I am not responsible for Ruth’s tweets or anything she did 2 months ago. I’m not asking you to “jump for joy” or forget I worked with Ruth, or like me. People can call me an arrogant misguided pawn or a manipulative prosti-tot all they like; I just don’t want it to affect the PETITION. Cos if there’s the slightest chance, however slim, that rapes or violence or a murder could be stopped, then that’s the important thing not whether you like me or who created the petition. It’ll be the Government who actually implements the petition anyway, so whose name is on the petition doesn’t mean that person is actually affecting policy; it’s up to the Government. I want the media and public to see this as a sex workers’ petition, but ironically by talking about Ruth as if she’s still somehow involved only creates the impression that she is still involved! Ruth’s input was negligible and brief, and should be treated as such. We don’t need to give her any more attention than she actually merits.

        I DO understand why sex workers hate her; I’m not saying “forgive Ruth” or “act like it never happened” or “You should like Ruth! REALLY!!” All I’m saying is that not supporting the petition because of Ruth is like shooting yourself in the foot. It doesn’t benefit sex workers (and it doesn’t hurt Ruth). It achieves nothing. By all means vent your anger at Ruth (as sex workers already did 2 months ago with blogs, tweets, etc) but not supporting the petition because of her is counterproductive to our goals.

  4. Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

    May 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    This isn’t a reply to Jemima or aimed at anyone…just my own thoughts:

    OK if I had a time machine I would change things. (And if Ruth really was the Wicked Witch who was using me as a pawn, no doubt she wants to go back in time too, because I’m no longer working with her which means that her Evil Plot has completely failed!) And I’m not trying to deny what I’ve done or gloss it over or justify it or make excuses.

    But we have to stop wishing for what could’ve been and I have to stop wishing I could go back. “What-ifs” and “what you should’ve dones” don’t help. We have to face real life and accept the situation we’re stuck in.

    And the situation is this: We have a Merseyside petition (which is nothing to do with Ruth). And what would me deleting it or you not supporting it gain? Nothing. The antis would prefer it to fail.


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