by Laura LeMoon
I am scared as I write this. Not for my physical safety, but for my emotional safety. I am scared to name names. I am scared to tell the truth about Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and the people involved in it. I am a former sex worker and sex trafficking survivor living in the Seattle area. In Part 1 of this two-part series, I wrote about the LEAD program, which is Seattle’s diversion program for prostitution charges. I also wrote a brief background on “end demand” ideology, which is at the heart of LEAD programming. “End demand” philosophy is a form of policy related to criminalization of prostitution. It focuses policing on the buyers’ side of sex work as a way to limit or end prostitution.
I am a trafficking survivor, and yet because I have the dual identities of trafficking survivor and sex worker; because I am pro-sex work and sex worker’s rights, I’m seen as invalid and illegitimate by the “end demand” movement in Seattle. The very basis of their philosophy is that all prostitution is inherently exploitative. And I disagree.
Continue reading OPINION: Prostitution and the City Part 2: The ‘Good’ Survivors and the Troublemakers
by Laura LeMoon
There’s a change coming to New York City — a change in prostitution criminalization policy that has already been in place in Seattle for many years. NYC is going to stop all pending and future prosecutions of prostitutes. It will continue to prosecute prostitution-related offenses and sex buyers. What this means is that New York City is moving to a system of prostitution criminalization that has been around in the rest of the major U.S. cities for years. It may initially sound like a smart, even progressive and empowering move to only prosecute sex buyers instead of sex workers — but think again.
Continue reading OPINION: Prostitution and the City — Seattle’s ‘End Demand’ Problem
by Laura LeMoon
Social worker and shame researcher Brené Brown has been quoted as saying that “shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence and judgment.” Sex throughout history is probably the singularly most powerful commonality between human beings. Despite this reality, sex remains one of the most taboo of all human subjects and experiences.
While sex positivity may be a very new concept in America, many cultures in other parts of the world have long held progressive ideas about gender and sexuality. The United States, being a puritanical society founded on Christian religious zeal and white patriarchal hegemony, is not the leader we were raised to believe we are, especially in terms of sexual attitudes and beliefs. In many ways, our nation is just beginning to grapple with concepts such as equality, power dynamics, and consent in sexual interactions.
The Seattle Erotic Art Festival (SEAF), being held Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, will bring together those interested in sex positivity ideals as well as art enthusiasts to share in public processing of these concepts through artistic expression.
Continue reading The Upcoming Seattle Erotic Art Festival Is the Feel-Good Event We All Need