I'm a ho, and I stand with #OccupyOakland

Tonight, I am watching in horror as my twitter feed fills with stories of protest and fighting back amongst teargas and police violence. I have avoided the protests, frankly, because I am scared of my own temper- I'm afraid I would hurt the cause and myself, because if I saw in person some of what I'm seeing on film, I would go into a blind rage. Knowing that people are being jailed and held without access to necessary medication, for example, or seeing a flashbang thrown into a crowd of people helping someone up from the ground after a tear gas attack fills me with such incredible disappointment. And yet I also feel such a swelling of pride when I see members of the military standing up for the protesters.

I don't have much in the way of resources, but I am going to scrounge up what I can to help. Because I am part of the 99%. I am a sex worker at the moment largely because I have been unable to get other work- despite being highly qualified for a job in marketing, I have been passed up, at least in part, because I want to earn a living wage. I have spent months trying for other jobs, in multiple fields, to no avail. As a woman, the one job I can do where I am guaranteed to make more money than a man is in the world of the sex industry. And that is incredibly fucked up.

I watch my 80+ year old grandmother stress about the stock market, because her pension depends on it. I watch her worry because social security is not sustainable, because the company that provided her health insurance pulled it out from under her. I've been encouraging her to move to Canada, because I do not believe the US is a safe place for her anymore. If I could flee, I would, too. I don't have that choice.

Yes, sex work is my choice, and I do generally enjoy my job, even if the Daily Mail declares me a "winning whiner". There are other underground, under-the-table jobs I could do to make money and fund my activism, I'm sure- I choose sex work in part because I believe in using the money from those who have privilege to help those who do not, in part because I need to make more money in shorter time so I have the privilege of time to spend doing activist work, and in part because I do not believe that consenting sex between adults should be regulated. But I am not going to pretend, either, that there but for the grace of "God" go I- who knows how long it will be before I am doing survival sex work, taking risks simply because I need to make money and my options are whittling down to nothing?

I support #OccupyOakland, and I am intensely proud of their bravery in continuing to stand up. The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" is in our Bill of Rights, and it's being violated tonight, not for the first time, and not, I fear, for the last. If that means anything to you, too, I'd encourage you to do what you can to support those at #OccupyOakland tonight, and your local #Occupy as well. If you are going there to protest, read up on how to take care of yourself when dealing with tear gas and be prepared. If you are not able to (and I respect that being in a position to do so comes with its own privileges, or the desperation that comes from having nothing left to lose) then I recommend reading their list of needs and dropping off donations.

This is not some rabble-rousing hippie anarchist group- as Fight Club would say, "Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on: we cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep.

Do not fuck with us."

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