Hello Hana, this post is a reply to your comment on this blog post. The blog author, Juliet a.k.a. “bornwhore” did not allow our comment to be published which is why we are posting it here.
We — Feminist Rag & Zoongzi (pronounced Zoonzay and who is a female-bodied Two Spirited biracial (Anishinaabe/white) long-time Indigenous rights activist) — hope this post finds its way to you so you can continue expanding your knowledge about the sex trade from an Indigenous perspective because, as with anything in life, the more knowledge we have about something, the more informed decisions we are able to confidently make.
You had said that you are 2-Spirited multi-racial, and ignorant about the sex trade. We first and foremost want to say that we Respect your honesty and openness to learning. We’ve had some intense education about the sex trade by listening to the experts — prostituted women who’ve been in it, survived it, exited it, and who are now speaking out about its profound yet disturbingly normalized harm — profound harm which they inform us is not the exception but the rule of the sex trade.
Juliet gave you some pro-sex trade viewpoints and links and did not allow us to share with you a Decolonist, abolitionist viewpoint of the sex trade which we think is important for Indigenous women to know. There are many amazing, powerful Aboriginal women who are opposed to the sex trade and who are fighting for its abolition, with very good reasons why — the heart of it perhaps being that prostitution is literal sexual colonization, something that (traditional) Indigenous people are deeply and strongly opposed to because of the unfathomable harm and suffering colonization has and continues to cause this population.
The Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN) of British Columbia, Canada states,”We refuse to be commodities in the so-called “sex industry” or offer up our sisters and daughters to be used as disposable objects for sex tourists.”
Bridget Perrier, a fierce Ojibway woman from Long Lake 58 First Nation (in Ontario, Canada) who is a sex trade survivor-abolitionist activist and educator says, “We always hear that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. I always say it’s the world’s oldest oppression. Really, it’s paid rape.” (source).
One woman in a study* of Indigenous prostituted women says “what rape is to others, is normal to us.” The study also explains:
Prostitution is a sexually exploitative, often violent economic option most often entered into by those with a lengthy history of sexual, racial and economic victimization. Prostitution is only now beginning to be understood as violence against women and girls. Prostitution is intimately associated with sex inequality, poverty, racism and colonialism. […] Pimps and traffickers [and “clients”] take advantage of the subordinate status of women and girls by exploiting sexist and racist stereotypes of women as servants and commodities.
Here is a short clip about Aboriginal prostituted women:
One thing you should know is that pro-sex trade voices often try to discredit studies that say the sex trade is harmful by trying to shred apart things like “research methodologies” of such studies; these kind of arguments are usually just smokescreens that try to divert from the heart of the issue. For more about this, as well as links to some awesome, informed & powerful sex trade survivor-abolitionist voices, go here.
Also, statistics are often brought up in sex trade debates, and though it’s impossible to have exact numbers, leading expert Bridget Perrier believes 97% of prostituted women want out, and she asks, “Why are these three per cent dictating?” (source) Even if 90% — or even 80% — of women want out of the sex trade (we have never heard numbers less than 90%), why should such a small minority (who make a lot of noise) be dictating the conversation when they are throwing the vast majority of prostituted under the bus in doing so? We must privilege the most vulnerable/harmed voices, and it’s a no-brainer when the most vulnerable/harmed are also such an overwhelming majority (not to mention the alarmingly high rates of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder among prostituted women which is a direct result of this “work”).
Finally, here is the original reply to you from Zoongzi that Juliet did not publish in the comments section of her blog:
Boozhoo (Hello) Hana, what I’m about to say may seem strong or harsh but I do not intend to be unkind what so ever. So please keep that in mind while reading my comment:
In order to use multiracial, Two Spirited, middle class and superiority complex all in the same phrase/comment I would have to say that you are, as you did allude to being – at least confused/sheltered/privileged. When you say “Two Spirit” that is like saying “I am a kind of Indigenous American”, so unless you are quite TRULY an Indigenous young Two Spirit (that is an Indigenous American that has equal aspects of both genders) it is incorrect at the least and cultural appropriation at the most to use this term to describe yourself.
If you are a young Two Spirited person that is looking into thinking of moving to the big city and using prostiution to give yourself a better life than the life you have on the rez or the “small town” in which you live, all I can tell you is that I live in a place where true Two Spirits come to run away, to find acceptance and often consider prostitution a way to support themselves….. it never works out and at worst you will be one of the Jane/John Does the police find though rarely/never find their family or their killer.
It’s a daily happening, so much so there are several booklets making their way around the urban Native community about the reality of leaving the rez/small town for the big city and using prostitution (intentionally at first or as a last resort) to survive, to warn the young and naive BEFORE they end up the exact way they say never will. i.e. “Oh, that will never happen to me!”
I’m just telling you that the reality may not be what you as a naive young person might imagine it to be. Here’s a website that a young confused multiracial Two Spirit person may find helpful.
Hana, we trust that you will decide for yourself what stance to take on the sex trade by simply following what makes the most sense to your heart and Spirit. Much health, peace and balance to you.
*The name of this 2008 study is Prostitution of Indigenous Women: Sex Inequality and the Colonization of Canada’s First Nations Women. You can access it and other excellent Indigenous-focused articles for free on this website by just registering.
NOTE: It should go without saying that we have ZERO contempt for prostituted women, rather we want to see and advocate for real, sustainable choices and supports so that the women who want out of the sex trade but don’t have a way out CAN have one. This takes much work and efforts from many different people, and we will do whatever we’re able to contribute to these endeavors. For the ~3-10% of happy hookers / empowered “sex workers” out there, we are truly happy for them and do not care to take anything away from them (nor can we); our attention and energy is focused on those who are unhappy and want out and listening to those advocating for and calling attention to these many silenced voices. Peace and Respect to All.