Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm just going to keep saying this: Stop Bill C-36

 I wrote this response to a couple of my Facebook friends just now on a great comment thread that has developed on my Facebook site. The comments came after I posted a rather pleading message to people to get past the knee-jerk stuff around the Canadian sex industry and get informed before Bill C-36 becomes law. Figured I'd put it out to my blogger audience, too, because damn it, all of us who feel this way need to be shouting from the rooftops right now before this country goes and does something that is shameful, regressive, poorly considered, potentially harmful, discriminatory and mean.

     For Lisa and Darlene, you are both my friends and I have MUCH time for both of you, and I do understand that this is a divisive subject. But this is a time for getting together to understand why each of us feels the way we do. I know that both your viewpoints come from your own life experiences. But we can't just stay here like this, in a standoff where we will be doomed to repeat our many failures on this front. Even if we believe absolutely that the industry must end and people urgently need help to leave it, surely we still want safer work places and human rights for those who are not yet in a position to leave, or in fact are quite happy to stay. 

There is room for all of us in this tent, but this ridiculous pretence that we can "help" people by further criminalizing the work they do is insanity. I don't think this has to be a question about accepting the sex industry, it's about providing the same level of basic rights, respect, access to civil protections (police, contract law, employment standards, etc) and community welcome to people regardless of what job they do. 

    Those who want to debate the right and wrong of a sex industry can continue to do that and see what can be done about it, but the question of decriminalization is, in my mind, not one about why people buy and sell sex but one of rights for a large population of workers who are mostly women, mostly earning at the lower middle income level, and really needing a break from being judged, talked over, silenced, patronized, misunderstood and arrested. I can barely handle that my own country is poised to make life just that much tougher for these workers. People, it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Please don't sit on the fence on this one.

And here's my original post on the subject. 

     How can a country so similar to ours, Australia, be progressively having a public discussion around ensuring employment insurance for sex workers, while Canada is poised to retreat into further criminalization? I know people hate this subject - I know it by the teeny number of "likes" I get when I post anything about it, compared to when I post a photo of an attractive flower or a grandchild. But people's need to not have to think about the existence of sex work does not outweigh Canadian sex workers' need for safer work places and a little dignity and respect. If you've ever thought that you really should learn more about sex work and get out from under the misinformation and myths, now's the time. Start with the Sex Work 101 section on the new PEERS web site. http://www.safersexwork.ca/sex-work-101/. And please, please, join the fight to stop Bill C-36.


Anonymous said...

So articulate Jody!!!! - Amanda Bonella

Missing and Murdered Women said...

Jody, I have been following your blog and very much appreciate that you are speaking out on Bill C-36. This is personal to me. My friend Sarah de Vries was one of the women murdered by Robert Pickton. Sarah and I had talked about prostitution and I can say this for her, she believed and wanted to see prostitution decriminalized. She would not have liked people saying she was a victim, because she believed she wasn't.

Her sister Maggie was recently quoted in an article on Bill C-36. Maggie opposed the bill and asked to appear, she was not invited. She told "Star" “As I got a sense of how things unfolded I began to suspect that the powers that be may not have wanted a family member of a murdered sex worker speaking out against the bill” The article link: http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/news-story/4633506-prostitution-bill-hearings-had-strong-evangelical-voice/

Evangeline Grace said...

Please sign and share this petition to stop Bill C-36.


Bill C-36 Contravenes our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, endangers sex trade workers, will put businesses out of business, have a negative impact on our economy, and drive away some of our tourism.