Redefining Sex Work 

The East Bay is home to a new — and growing — group of sex workers who are educated, empowered, and open about what they do for a living. But Prop 35 would force them back underground.

Page 6 of 6

In order to legitimize their cause in the face of widespread distrust and misinformation, people like Parton are, by necessity, forced to play up the sense of agency and empowerment they feel, and to gloss over the less attractive parts of the job and the industry. "We do have to downplay the negative aspects and the annoying aspects and the parts we don't like," said Parton. "We have to prove to people that we're okay."

Lutnick's seen it, too. "What I've witnessed over so many years is there's this enormous pressure to say everything's okay," said Lutnick. "I've heard from so many people saying they feel like there's a performance to it. But to me, if we were able to talk about the nuances, to agree that it's not a homogenous population with homogeneous experiences, we'd be able to get past some of that. And yet I don't feel, culturally and socially, that we're at a place where we can talk about that in an open way.

"Really, there is a lot of agreement here," she continued. "We all want a system where men, women, transgender individuals can live a life free of harm and violence. We all agree on that. But moving on is the hard part."

She's confident that'll happen at some point, as the sex workers' movement continues to mature. And in the meantime, Parton's just hoping her dream job won't land her or her friends in jail.

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Election 2012

Author Archives

  • The Best Fiction of 2014

    In no particular order.
    • Nov 26, 2014
  • Un-Guilty Pleasures

    History-laden thrillers, intellectual capers, a romantic heroine with a Ph.D, a murder mystery penned by a MacArthur Genius: This summer’s best books — many of which have local authors and settings — are equal parts brainy and beachy.
    • May 21, 2014
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

  • Weathering the Heat

    In the decades ahead, as temperatures rise and droughts intensify, Northern California's climate, vegetation, and wildlife may look more like Southern California does today.
  • The Spanish Teaching Shortage

    In Oakland, where the shortage of language instructors is particularly acute, the school district has been recruiting teachers from Mexico and Spain.
  • The Return of the Crematorium

    Overburdened with air pollution, East Oakland residents and activists thought they had blocked a crematorium from opening in 2012. But it quietly began operations a few months ago.
  • A New Richmond Neighborhood

    Richmond has launched a plan to annex North Richmond into the city. But not everyone is excited about it.
  • New Oakland Law Fails to Protect Low-Income Residents

    Despite temporary rules enacted by the city council to preserve low-income SRO housing, property owners are converting buildings into boutique hotels.

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2017

Fall Arts 2017

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation