Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Naked Truth...Gets Bigger - YNOT.com

Peter Berton wrote about The Naked Truth for YNOT.com again! Here is the article:

Friday, July 17, 2009
The Naked Truth... Gets Bigger
by Peter Berton
Back in October 2008, I wrote about the Naked Truth. No, not the one that says I’m getting older and don’t like to look in the mirror as much after a bath! I’m talking about the adult entertainer website called www.NakedTruth.ca!

Ahem...

Launched by retired exotic dancer Annie Temple, the Naked Truth is not a porn site. (Sorry!) Rather, it is a safe place where adult entertainers can honestly talk about their work, their clients and their lives

Things do not stay the same. In the case of the Naked Truth, things have been... getting bigger. Expanding. Um, growing. Getting larger? Gaining in size??

What has happened is that NakedTruth.ca has vastly increased in scope and subject matter. I spoke to Annie Temple recently, to find out what had changed:

YNOT.com: What have you done to your website?

Temple: The first major change is the social network. The old NakedTruth.ca was a static website and corresponding discussion forum. The new NakedTruth.ca is a social network, similar to Facebook, only targeted to the adult entertainment industry – and not opposed to erotic photographs.

YNOT.com: Hurrah! Er, excuse me. Please continue.

Temple: The second major change is that previously, NakedTruth.ca was gender and genre-specific, focusing on female exotic dancers. The new site has expanded to be gender and genre-inclusive. In other words, females, males, and transgendered adult entertainers are invited to join the community with equal status. As well as, all aspects of the industry are welcomed – strippers, escorts, phone sex actors, BDSM/Fetish workers, webcam workers and more.

We also honor and welcome the coworkers in our lives: DJs, security, booking staff, photographers, agents, et cetera. Researchers, academics, politicians, activists, family members, and other allies of the sex industry are active, integral members of our community.

Furthermore, patrons of the sex industry are invited to NakedTruth.ca so they can learn how to engage us in ways to improve their sex industry experiences and have access to us in a safe and confidential manner. Customers also like to participate in our community activities and support our advocacy efforts.

YNOT.com: You even have a mission statement. What is it?

Temple: NakedTruth.ca strives to encourage, support, inform and advocate for adult entertainers through connecting community members and allies; challenging stereotypes; providing ethical employment opportunities; and collaborating with other businesses for a thriving adult entertainment industry.

YNOT.com: Why the changes? What are you hoping to achieve?

Temple: I’m hoping that NakedTruth.ca will create opportunities for adult entertainers in many ways. Here are some off the top of my head.

Unite a divided industry. Break down some of the hierarchy among workers. Bring webcam workers, escorts, exotic dancers, and business owners – to name a few - into the same discussions. Encourage people to express diverse perspectives. Inform workers and business owners. Make organizing in and among industry members and allies easier. Connect sex industry-friendly lawyers, academics and media with sex industry members.

Educate patrons. Share gig information. Help business owners find workers. Help sex industry workers find employment. Promote health and safety. Offer peer support. Enable entertainers to create, maintain, and nurture relationships with patrons. Inspire communication in an open, respectful, and safe environment. Aid in the transition from sex industry work to mainstream work or retirement. And recognize extraordinary people and businesses in the sex industry.

YNOT.com: Your website has a very upbeat attitude to adult entertainers.

Temple: NakedTruth.ca is first and foremost for adult entertainers. We try to make it as safe and supportive an environment as possible. Although we cannot control all the comments all the time, we do censor anything considered criticism towards adult entertainers specifically or generally. We do not tolerate entertainer-bashing in any way, including insults between entertainers themselves.

Adult entertainers deal with enough in their day-to-day lives as stigmatized workers. When they come to NakedTruth.ca, we want it to be a place of warmth and support to counteract the fatigue that comes with hiding and/or defending our job choices on a regular basis.

YNOT.com: One of the more surprising aspects of NakedTruth.ca is that you are actually positive about sex industry clients?

Temple: Yes. Clients of the sex industry are also stigmatized. On NakedTruth.ca, we want our patrons to know that we appreciate their business and the many other gifts they bring to our lives.

We know that -- contrary to mainstream opinion – our best clients actually care about us. We want to include them in our activities and successes. We want them to know that we do not see them as outcasts, nor do we feel they are exploiting us. If patrons are polite, pay appropriately and respect us during our interactions, they are clearly not exploiting us.

Granted, there are patrons of the sex industry who behave inappropriately and this occurs occasionally in the NakedTruth.ca community too. But we are very direct in how we respond.

YNOT.com: How do you handle misbehavers at www.NakedTruth.ca?

Temple: Depending on the severity of the circumstances, a member may be banned without notice. But generally, there is first a polite request for the behavior to stop. If the behavior continues despite one or two more attempts to resolve the issue, the member may be disabled temporarily or banned permanently. We take the safety of our members, particularly the entertainers, very seriously. However, banning is rarely used, and only in extreme cases.

Because we require respect between members, we attract open-minded, compassionate, sex-positive people to our community. This is true of industry workers and patrons, as well as allies. NakedTruth.ca is not just a public discussion forum; it is community that takes care of its own.

YNOT.com: What sort of impact have you had with nakedtruth.ca to date?

Temple: We’ve brought international attention to the rights of adult entertainers to contribute in socially responsible ways to our communities with Exotic Dancers for Cancer. We’ve succeeded in having regulations in the British Columbia Liquor Primary Licensee Guide revised to the benefit of the exotic dance industry.

We’ve increased opportunities for meaningful discussion among industry members. We’ve increased information sharing among entertainers. And we’ve become an inclusive, respectful, community supportive of diverse perspectives (except where they contribute to harm of sex industry workers).

Based on the “thank you” emails I’m receiving from members of the new, improved site, the impact has been good so far. Members appreciate how they are treated and respected. They like how the site is run. They are glad to be included and valued.

Peter Berton covers the adult industry for Klixxx magazine, and for websites such as www.ynot.com and www.booble.com. He likes to tell the stories of the remarkable, clever, and down-to-earth people who work in adult. Those with stories to tell can contact him at pbberton@yahoo.com.

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