I was very proud to be able to take my girlfriend to my first military ball.
So, here’s the deal. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three main anti-sex work laws as unconstitutional. These laws were solicitation in a public place, running a common bawdy house (brothels, etc.), and living off the avails of prostitution. While this is a huge victory for sex workers, it’s not perfect.
The Supreme Court granted the Canadian Government a one year stay of execution, meaning that the laws remain in effect for one year from today, and the Government is encouraged to draft new, constitutional legislation in that time. The problem is that the Government now has the ability to just make more bad laws. They might, for example, institute licensing as many legalized countries have. Licensing means that sex workers would have to pay large fees to the Government in order to work (it’s often around $3k annually), in addition to submitting to Government mandated health examinations. These exams are generally performed by doctors that are assigned to you, not doctors you can choose, and are very invasive. If a sex worker is found to have HIV or any other STI (and possibly any other health condition at all), their expensive license is revoked, meaning that they would have to work illegally. As I’m sure you can tell, this negatively impacts street-based sex workers the most and I’m not happy about it being a possibility.
One of the ways that this court case was pushed through was by saying that since sex work is technically legal, the laws around it were increasing the risks of violence associated with it. In Canada, it is unconstitutional to have laws that harm citizens doing legal activities. I’m no lawyer, but I imagine at least someone on the Crown’s side has already suggested actually outlawing the practice of sex for money itself as a response to today’s decision.
Another issue will likely be municipal. Cities, towns, and counties may begin instituting bylaws that curtain sex work in their areas, or concentrate it within red light districts. While to the outside observer this may seem to not be a problem, it can actually create several problems for sex workers. Generally, red light districts are placed in remote and isolated parts of a city. This can increase the risk of violence, as violent people posing as clients may feel less likely to be caught since there’s no one around. Some cities may even use bylaws to outlaw all sex work within city limits. So, again, this could potentially not benefit sex workers.
While today was a huge victory, it’s important to remember that the fight is not over. This is the first step in a battle that will take years to finish.
In the meantime, why not donate to one of Canada’s sex workers’ rights groups? I highly recommend donating to Maggie’s: Toronto’s Sex Workers’ Action Project. Maggie’s will be continuing the fight to ensure the rights, safety, and dignity of all sex workers across Canada. At Maggie’s, the focus is on street-based, racialized, and trans sex workers. Help Maggie’s continue our vital work by donating today.
ACTIVATING DEATH RAY
You death will be quick and pineless
It can be really frustrating working on the comics sometimes.
There’s a large, vocal audience declaring how much they want to see more diversity in comics and more LGBTQ characters. I was one of them, even. And it’s why I made The Pride.
However, when an indie project comes out with just that, a lot of this audience don’t actually buy the product they’d been calling out for: because it’s not from Marvel or DC.
Fact is though, if an audience doesn’t prove a desire and market for such a product, they won’t be willing to take a risk on creating one of their own.
Obviously, I’m small press. I self-publish. I pay to get the comics made out of my own pocket. At the moment, there’s still around £5000 to pay artists for work and get the rest of the series printed when it comes to it. This isn’t even taking into account the cost of postage etc…it’s hard work, and takes up a lot of my time and money.
But it’s a labor of love, so I keep working at it. I wouldn’t change that for the world. But I do wish that I was able to pay the artists faster and could afford printing easier.
The Pride has 841 Likes on Facebook. If all of them bought just one copy of The Pride digital issues (at just £1.50), any issue, that would raise a massive chunk needed towards paying off the remaining artists! It would literally fund itself. I wouldn’t make any money myself, but I don’t care about that. This project is as much about building my profile and name as a writer than it is about getting rich…I will never get rich off The Pride, but I love doing it.
Likes are all well and good, honestly they are great and a massive help in their own right, but it doesn’t help me actually make the comics. And it’s frustrating to see this market, this audience, saying they want a product and then just…not.
Just felt like sharing that is all. In case anyone is considering making comics of their own. Obviously, I don’t want to scare anyone off: you wanna make comics, make comics. But be prepared for hard times and struggles, but if you work hard it could well all be worth it in the end.
And of course, if you do want to buy The Pride, you can do so here.
I really do recommend this book, it’s absolutely a pleasure to read and a clear labor of love.
I’ve never seen this title I’ll buy for sure!
frozen food by Irving Penn 1977.