But I had a bad feeling about it. So I emailed the reporter and asked if I could read the article first. She said no, of course. There are some reporters who let you read the article first because they understand the insecurity around submitting to articles about marginalized peoples. But this reporter is very young, fresh out of school, and undoubtedly influenced by the old school, asswad mentalities of (mostly male) journalists, who NEVER allow their articles to be read in advance for accuracy or representation.
Here is the article:
By Hannah Sutherland
Oct 16 2007
South Surrey resident plans Exotic Goddess Night
Women helping women
To address misconceptions about the sex industry and raise money for a good cause, former exotic dancer Trina Ricketts is co-ordinating the fourth annual Exotic Goddess Night: A Sexpo for Women.
About 200 women are expected to attend the event in Vancouver tomorrow (Thursday), which will include a silent auction, fashion show and pole and lap dance lessons taught by women in the sex industry.
Money raised will support programs and services provided by Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE), an organization based in the Downtown Eastside that promotes safer working conditions for sex workers.
“Out of all the people in the sex industry, the people on the street need the most resources,” said Ricketts, a South Surrey resident.
She added that some exotic dancers who feel empowered by what they do, choose to dance and have control within their occupation.
“We want to be able to do our part for women in the industry who don’t have options.”
Through volunteering with PACE, Ricketts was struck by how many sex workers were previous exotic dancers.
“I always believed most exotic dancers don’t cross over to prostitution,” she said. “At least 50 per cent of the sex workers I met have been exotic dancers. I would’ve never suspected that.”
She recalls one day seeing a woman she had worked with before as an exotic dancer, who had taken to the streets as a sex worker.
“She’s on the streets, has mental health issues... and it just breaks my heart.”
Not only is the goal of the event to support sex workers, but also to bring women together and encourage them to be supportive of each other.
“We’ve all been in good places in our lives and bad places in our lives.” she said, adding the best way to get through the tough patches is with support from others.
“No one person is better than any other person. We’re all equal and we all deserve dignity and respect.”
Ricketts said there is still some stigma around the sex industry, which has resulted in difficulties finding sponsors for the event.
Its something she has gotten used to, however, after the other event she coordinates, Exotic Dancers for Cancer, was turned away earlier this year by the Breast Cancer Society of Canada for its controversial nature.
More than $4,000 was raised at last year’s Exotic Goddess Night, and $2,000 was collected the two previous years.
It will take place at the Penthouse Nightclub, 1019 Seymour St., Vancouver, from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Penthouse, regularly a strip club, will only be open to women during the four hours of the event. Tickets are $30 per person at the door.
Silent auction items will include hand-painted champagne glasses, gowns worth between $200 and $500, a $100 tattoo gift certificate and a package for eyelash care at a local spa.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate to PACE, or for more information about the organization, visit www.pace-society.ca
So, can you spot the problem with this article? The discussion about exotic dancers and sex workers arose when Hannah asked me if there has ever been one particular sex worker who has really impacted me. Several passed through my mind - a male to female transgenedered worker who told me she'd like to get out of jail before she dies (referring to getting a sex change operation), the woman I wrote "I Look Like One of Them" about, the woman who died at a ridiculously young age of complications from pneumonia, and many many more. But the one that stuck in my mind during this interview was the one I used to dance with.
Speaking on the topic of that one woman led to some other things that were included in the article. I will admit I said them all. I did say that about 50% of the sex workers I've met had tried exotic dancing. It's the truth.
It's what I didn't say that bothers me now. I was talking to Ryann Rain about it this morning. Most of the women we know who are exotic dancers would not cross over into prostitution. The reason they are exotic dancers is because they are not comfortable with contact. But when people read this article, that's not what they will think. Mom's of exotic dancers will worry that their daughters will become prostitutes. And it will likely increase the stigma even more.
I'm disappointed in myself for not choosing my words more carefully. In this kind of work, it's not the truth always that matters. It's how the truth is presented that matters. And in this case, it was presented to the detriment and increased stigma of exotic dancers.