As I’ve stated in my guest column for Maggie McNeill I’m convinced most people do not mean to harm others, and that most of the harmful behaviour towards sex workers and other sexual ‘deviants’ come from a combination of good intentions, bad information and cognitive dissonance reduction. Although people often accuse me of being too positive or even naïve about the intentions of others, my experiences tell me that a ‘golden bridge’ and a heavy dose of debunking can get us a long way. Oh, believe me, I get discouraged when I hear about another rescue-hype, more money for sex workers who want to get out of the business but no help for those who want to stay in, another politician sharing some dirty story of pityporn. But I think the real perverse sadists are the exception, not the rule, and people can change their minds when they’re enticed to do so.
This week I spoke about BDSM for SPS-NIP, the student section of the Dutch Psychologists Association. I often do these type of lectures for students and professionals, and I’m always struck by how open-minded and concerned the participants are. Although many people have negative preconceptions about sadomasochism, they change their minds when they hear about facts and personal experiences. Now of course there’s a selection bias at work here, only those who are interested and open minded about kink will attend my lectures. Still, it’s so awesome to hear people ask “how can we change discrimination” “why is kink still in the DSM 5” and “what can we do, how can we help?”.
On November 21st I will be speaking at the ‘Ongelooflijk Genieten’ conference by the Dutch Sexology Organisation about the pleasures of sex work and the sexual experience of sex workers. I’m not the only guest, they actually invited an actual sex working sex worker to talk about sex work. Say whaaaaat? Yes, that’s right. Roos Schippers, an independent escort, will be speaking too. It’s going to be an awesome day.
See, people want to learn. They want to know, they want to support others, they will open their minds if they’re invited to. Good intentions. Good intentions, everywhere!