Frequently during discussions about sex work, the subject is raised of bitches and bitchiness among sex workers. Perhaps images of girls pillow fighting while wearing skimpy underwear is tantilising, and often there are suggested scenarios of “professional jealousy” causing cat fights or other dastardly, non-violent deeds designed to sabotage working opportunities by those who believe they are above actual violence, or outright scraps, plenty of which happened back in the day among ship girls. I’m not denying these things happen, but overall, the sex industry is a pretty supportive environment in New Zealand this century.
In fact, from punters, fellow sex workers, and interested others alike there is actually a lot of admiration and support for the work we do. I have personally seen many situations where sex workers and their supporters go beyond what is needed, quietly and without expecting acknowledgment or reciprocation.
A lady I used to work with had a best friend who helped her write her ads, carry out her social media activities, arrange her advertising, occasionally take her calls when she was busy, carry her equipment when she had engagements (she was also a stripper), and deliver her to her clients’ houses for outcalls. She never received any money or expected anything in return, and neither was it anything creepy, such as a pimping situation, which may have been suggested or suspected if she was male (why should that assumption often be made so quickly?) She was just a caring friend who wanted her sex-working BFF to be safe and feel supported. I have so many friends with loving and supportive partners and family members helping them behind the scenes, you could be reading for hours if I wrote them all down.
For that matter, many a non-sex working friend has given practical help, moving things into a new brothel, erecting furniture or suggesting rooms to rent in towns where other accommodation has fallen through. This happened recently to a friend of mine when her accommodation was cancelled at the last minute, and a kind person suggested accommodation which is working girl friendly in a North Island town completely unfamiliar to her. A small thing maybe, but made a huge difference and prevented her sex work tour being cancelled at the last minute.
Thoughtful gifts are given to sex workers often to encourage and delight. Just yesterday, I received a gift from a lovely man which had been designed and made with me in mind, all while he was in a hotel in France, then delivered to him from Australia, then locked in a drawer in his office until he could give it to me – it was created to cheer me and make me smile. Thanks so much, I’m still smiling!
How about this? An ex-sex worker and her partner who occasionally arrange fun social get-togethers, are spending their annual holiday to accompany and care for a transexual friend (practically family actually) while she gets gender-reassignment surgery overseas. All at her and her partner’s own expense, I’d like to add.
Then there is the political. Sex work supporters from all over the world message us and retweet our tweets, email us with questions and experiences, blog astutely about sex work, lobby on behalf of other sex workers in places where they are not even affected, and support us in numerous practical ways here in New Zealand.
Actually, the friction and bitchiness is minor and really not worth a worry. Mostly the sex worker community is a generous place with loving supporters. It’s worth remembering that when things get a little dark.