Decriminalising sex work helps prevent the spread of AIDS, recent (and older) studies have shown. These facts have been picked up enthusiastically by sex workers’ rights activists as an argument for decriminalisation. Although I believe it is important to debunk myths such as the idea that sex workers carry more STD’s or that sex work spreads disease, I’m not too fond of the sex workers’ rights as a public health issue approach. The point is, I wouldn’t accept the argument if it was the other way around. If decriminalising sex work would result in an increase in HIV infections, I would still believe that sex work should be decriminalised because this is a matter of individual human rights. Killing everyone with HIV would be a very effective way of fighting AIDS, but we all understand that the individual right to life overrules that strategy. Sex workers’ right are human rights, irrelevant of the impact on the spread on AIDS. Don’t get me wrong: we should debunk the lies. People against decriminalisation because they think it’s bad for public health should be confronted with the facts, people fighting the spread of HIV should support decriminalisation, but when push comes to shove, this is not a public health issue. Sex workers’ rights are human rights.
Anyway, I joined Marlies Dekkers, Jantien Seeuws and Andreas Wijsmeijer last night at the Arminius ‘Denkcafe’ on BDSM. We were invited to talk about the hype around 50 shades of grey, media representations of kink and of course the BDSM scene itself. More than 100 people showed up, the BDSM shop Mr. B. from Amsterdam showed us some kinky toys and all in all it was a great evening. I love getting in front of people and telling them about sex, it’s so much fun. I’ve never been nervous in front of groups. Well, that’s not true. I get nervous during mandatory introductions, I get nervous when I have to stand in front of a group as someone else talks about me and I just have to stand there (yeah, graduation was fun.. meh!) but when I have something to say I love to talk.
Some good news: they opened up the kink-location Phee’s! It had been closed because of kink omg sex omg whores omg trafficking, but after protests it was opened again! Yay! And then it was closed again. You can’t make this stuff up. But I met up with the awesome people from the Prostitution Information Centre in Amsterdam and their activist network, and with Felicia Anna, so that was cool. Het blog is a must-read by the way!