Many thanks to all who helped with this post.
Everyday Whorephobia grew out of a number of late night conversations on twitter between current and former sex workers. Sometimes sparked by something as simple as a TV show, at other times by real life attacks and abuse. We knew the excellent @SexWorkStigma existed, set up to highlight whorephobic and stigmatic news reporting, but often the things we saw were not covered.
Some of us also follow Everyday Sexism and Everyday Ableism. We know how powerful highlighting the abuse people receive can be. Everyday Abelism particularly seemed a model that would work for sex work. Ran by a team of people with disabilities it educates and has become a community space, promoting discussions for the disabled community even whilst it educates people without disabilities.
Thus @whorephobia was born. The idea was we would retweet instances of whorephobia other people sent us, as with Everyday Sexism, but also talk about our lives, allow people to ask questions, since so much stigma towards sex workers comes from othering, from believing the very limited media presentation of us. We recognise ignorance is often behind attitudes rather than bigotry. This particularly mattered when it came to the fight for our rights. Accepting most people believe the lies and distortions of the antis because they have no other information is something we believe strongly. This was not to be an account that wouldn’t answer basic questions, or engage with people who might know nothing of sex work. Instead we were to take to twitter ready to talk and engage.
Which brings us to a question that seems to come up again and again. Who are the tweeters and why don’t they identify themselves?
All of the tweeters are current or former sex workers. They can be of any gender and politics, they must accept the rules detailed here though. There are a number of reasons we allow anonymous tweeting .
- Some may not be out to friends and family who follow them on twitter
- Some may only have work accounts on twitter, and the “face” they present may differ from the issues they want to discuss on @whorephobia.While not everyone has the privilege of having clients who want a politically engaged service provider, their voices also matter.
- They may wish to protect their private account from radfems and other antis who will target them
- They may belong to communities where being a sex worker is not acceptable.
Being able to use your real name, or even your work name is a privilege, and demanding to know at any time who is tweeting is a sign of privilege. Sex workers may if they wish identify themselves, and are encouraged to talk about the forms of sex work they have experience of, but there will never be an instance people are named, and confidentiality will always be respected.
Whilst some of the founders are feminist this is not a feminist account, it stands against racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, homophobia and ableism but not from any particular political view point. Whilst individual tweeters will have views on any number of issues these are simply their views. We do not insist people only tweet on a narrow definition of sex work concerns because part of the point of the account is to humanise sex workers.
When it comes to sex work policy we support decriminalization on the New Zealand model. We oppose legislation,the criminalization of clients, mandatory drug and STD testing and condom usage. We recognise full service workers, cammers, phone sex, porn performers, strippers/dancers Pro Dom/me and sub as forms of sex work. All face whorephobia and stigma.
Blocked by us?
Then someone has decided for either self-care or because you seemed unwilling or unable to respectfully listen. The safety of our tweeters is the number one priority. Many have to face whorephobia day in day out in their lives,if they feel they need to block, they will, with our full support. Tone policing will also not be tolerated, while sex workers are murdered daily we have a right to be angry.