Hetaira, Courtesan, Companion – Women of Status & Sexuality

I’m a big fan of the sci-fi TV show Firefly; particularly the character Inara Serra. Played with grace and understated sensuality by the alluring Morena Baccarin, Inara is a respected, high-status courtesan known as a “Companion”.

As she travels the galaxy, Irana Serra provides her delectable sexual favours to an elite group of chosen clients. But much like the famed Geishas of Japan, Irana gives so much more. This because being a Companion is a life-long calling: It is a licensed vocation that requires its practitioners to be extensively trained in the arts, social graces, psychology, and – of course – the finest points of providing pleasure to those clients who meet the Companion’s standards.

Irana Serra may be a fictional character, but the notion of a courtesan being the living embodiment of rich sensuality, informed intellect, and sensitive humanity is a long-standing ideal. In the past, this ideal has been realized in flesh time and again by the appearance of some truly great courtesans.
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Moving forward

Rather than rewrite this as a blog post, I’ll just let my tweets tell the story:

It feels good to be excited for the future again, instead of ruminating on what’s been lost and dwelling on the past. Onward and upward.

Globetrotter extraordinaire

I’ve been doing quite a bit of travelling lately, and as usual, my blog has suffered for it – but you can catch up with my exploits on Facebook, Twitter, or my relatively-new Instagram account (which I also used as a visual fitness journal during my return to athleticism). But really, I can sum up most of my travels with this one simple pic, taken not far from Bangkok:

wiring (allegedly)

Seriously, you do NOT need to be an electrician to know that setup is ridiculous. 😛

Media Advisory – International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Dec 17

Media Advisory – Dec. 15, 2014

On December 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, sex workers and their allies will be calling on Canada’s provincial leaders to take action.

Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, COUNTERfit Women’s Harm Reduction Program (South Riverdale Community Health Centre), and the publishers of Toronto weekly paper NOW Magazine will bring a powerful messages to the provincial government and Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne at 11am in the Queen’s Park media studio.

Wynne has already expressed her “grave concern” that the law, brought into force December 6th, will not make sex workers any safer, and the province’s Attorney-General is assessing its constitutional validity.

More information is available here: https://nowtoronto.com/news/councillors-write-to-kathleen-wynne-bill-c-36/

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 11am
WHERE: Queen’s Park media studio

Wynne to Examine Consitutionality of C36/PCEPA

The next time someone tells you that you can’t make a difference, just tell them about the time a bunch of hookers, pimps and perverts were able to convince a Premier to request a consitutional reference.

Premier Wynne Statement on Bill C-36:

Yesterday, on December 6, after months of hearings and public debate, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act came into effect.

When the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three provisions of the Criminal Code, they found that each of the impugned laws placed sex workers unnecessarily at risk in a way that violated their rights to safety and security under the Charter.
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Letter template requesting constitutional reference of C36

Would you like to add your voice to those calling for a constitutional reference of C36, even though you’re not a sex worker? Please copy & paste the text, fill in the appropriate fields, and send it to the Premier of the province you reside in!

Thanks to the amazing Naomi Sayers for her contributions to this letter.

 

Dear Premier ________:

I am writing to ask you to refer Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, the new anti-prostitution laws which are in response to the Bedford decision, to the ___________ (highest court in that province) to determine if they are constitutional. Please do this before pursuing prosecutions under these laws, or directing police to enforce these laws.

Many experts and sex workers have testified that these laws are dangerous for sex workers, and will recreate the harms that previously existed under the old laws. The current Conservative Government has passed these laws despite the objections of those who will be most affected, including the most marginalized and vulnerable, outdoor sex workers.

I am not a sex worker myself, but I believe that sex workers have the same rights as other Canadian citizens, and I believe in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, I believe that sex workers have the right to life, liberty and security of person. These laws do not respect the constitutional rights of sex workers, and should not be enforced before the courts have evaluated them.

Please refer these laws immediately to the courts, before more harm comes to the sex workers who will be most affected by these laws.

Sincerely,

 

Open Letter to Kathleen Wynne: Refer C36 to the Ontario Court of Appeal Immediately

The Right Honourable Premier Kathleen Wynne:

Bill C36, the Conservative Party of Canada’s response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision on Canada’s prostitution laws, has now passed third reading in both the House of Commons and the Senate. It is likely to receive Royal Assent in the coming weeks, after which it will become law.

This bill is an assault on the entire sex work community. We have done our best to share our stories, and we have raised our concerns, put forward mountains of evidence, and made every possible effort to have our voices heard. But we have been dismissed, ignored, and deemed unworthy of contributing to an issue that will affect us in the most fundamental ways.

This bill will put women and marginalized peoples in danger. This bill will put vulnerable people in a more vulnerable position. This bill will unquestionably visit violence and death upon sex workers, and will recreate the same conditions that allowed predators like Robert Pickton and Gary Ridgeway to thrive.

This bill absolutely violates the rights guaranteed to us by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Minister Peter MacKay has even admitted as much, when he claimed it may hold up under Section 1 – a tacit admission that it fails the protections afforded by other sections. But I remind you – this is the very same government that insisted the previous laws were indeed constitutional, and the Supreme Court unanimously disagreed. They ignore and disrespect the constitution at every turn, and they have allowed ideology to trump rationality time and again. Their credibility is non-existent, they engage in decision-based evidence-making instead of evidence-based decision-making, and their contempt for the Supreme Court is blatant and appalling.

When I spoke to you at Queen’s Park back in June, you assured me that your concern was with how this law would affect vulnerable people, and you have publicly stated that you will continue to monitor the situation. You said you would consider all available options. Now, Prime Minister Harper is trying to force you to dedicate provincial resources to enforcing this law, which is a failure on every level. Will you allow him to force his will upon you, and the sex-working citizens of Ontario?

I ask of you this – as soon as it receives Royal Assent, please refer this bill immediately to the Ontario Court of Appeal for a constitutional reference, and do not pursue prosecutions until they determine its constitutionality. You cannot, in good conscience, expend provincial resources on the enforcement of this law when it is so clearly in need of judicial review at the highest level. The sex work community cannot afford years of violence and death as this law works its way through the courts.

Doing so would cost you nothing, and you would simply be doing your due diligence to ensure the laws our provinces enforces meet the basic constitutional standard that all laws much satisfy. Sex workers are Canadians who deserve the full protection of our constitution, and do not deserve to be treated like we do not matter.

The time to act is upon you, and you are the only person who can prevent Stephen Harper’s laws from putting sex workers in grave danger. You must stand up to him now. If you do not, you will either be standing with him, or standing idly by while predators and exploitative criminals use these laws to their advantage. There is no middle ground on this issue.

I implore you, Premier Wynne – please stand up for what you know is right.

The “Bedford Rule” for Conservative Party Clients?

I’ve generally stayed away from the Bill C36 discussion (and blogging altogether) for a variety of reasons, but rather than rehash them now, I’ll just cut to the chase. On September 10, Terri-Jean Bedford appeared before the Senate committee assessing Bill C36, and said the following:

“If this law passes I’m going to make you guys forget about Mike Duffy, because I’ve got more information and more proof on politicians in this country than you can shake a stick at, I promise.”

For many years, Barney Frank had a rule regarding the exposure of closeted gay politicians – those who did not actively work to limit gay rights in the USA would have their right to privacy respected, but those who engaged in gay sex acts behind closed doors while also publicly opposing the advancement of gay rights deserved to have their hypocrisy revealed, regardless of the consequences. Known as the “Frank Rule” he explained it to Bill Maher in 2006:

“I think there’s a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. People who want to demonize other people shouldn’t then be able to go home and close the door, and do it themselves.”

Many of my past clients have had public profiles; I remember one enjoyable dinner date with a client, where we talked about seeing each other on the same TV program on different nights, and gave each other pointers for our future appearances. Some of my clients have been active in politics, either before, during or after the time I saw them. Although I can’t see myself ever “outing” a past client for any reason, I can certainly understand where Terri-Jean is coming from.

If members of the Conservative Party have purchased sexual services and they are simultaneously seeking to criminalize that very act, then Terri-Jean is well within her rights to reveal their actions, and their hypocrisy. Those who value their own privacy have no right to impose on the privacy of others, which is precisely what C36 will do. In that sense, respect for privacy is very much a two-way street – if you’re an elected official who doesn’t respect the privacy of other Canadian citizens, then you can’t expect the citizens to respect your privacy either.

It would not surprise me at all if a large number of male Conservative Party MPs are suspiciously absent during the next Parliamentary session, when Bill C36 is set to be voted into law.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below and tell me why!