Sunday, October 11, 2009

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Unity

What’s the difference between a female exotic dancer and a transgender sex worker? “Nothing,” says founder of NakedTruth.ca, Annie Temple. “We’re both people earning a living in the sex industry.”The Naked Truth Logo

Eight years ago, Annie created the site to be a safe space where she and her exotic dancer colleagues around the world could turn for support, camaraderie, and information. With a little promotion and the addition of a discussion forum- exotic dancers, agents, club owners, dj’s, and customers became regular members of the budding online community.

In 2004, Annie began coordinating stripathon fundraisers, including the annual Exotic Dancers for Cancer, put on by a group of charitable strippers and friends who gained international notoriety in 2007 when the Breast Cancer Society of Canada refused to accept their donation.

As the site grew in popularity, many adult entertainers from other areas of the sex industry started lurking but not participating on NakedTruth.ca.

In the meantime, Annie was making friends. Susan Davis, 2007 Ho of the Year, has long advocated for unity and tolerance among industry members. Sue’s friendship and example inspired Annie. And when the opportunity presented itself a few short months ago, NakedTruth.ca, for the entire adult entertainment industry was born.

Escorts. Strippers. ProDommes. Nude models. Adult film performers. Agents. Drivers. Security professionals. DJ’s. Madames. Erotic Massage Artists. Peep-show performers. Former. Current. Male. Female. Trans. The list goes on.

Family members, event supporters, patrons, and advocates of the sex industry – including academics, lawyers, health professionals, and feminist activists – are signing up.

Although the changed site is only a couple of months old, membership is diverse and growing rapidly. The discussion forums are buzzing with intelligent conversation and fluffy but fun, off-topic stuff too.

NakedTruth.ca is what a classy naked facebook would look like if fantasy for money wasn’t so taboo,” says Annie. “Instead we have vulnerable, young girls mis-using their power for free, and those of us getting paid are shamed.”

Group of people wearing "G-d Loves Strippers Too" t-shirts outside a strip clubBut not anymore. Annie hopes to encourage a new era in adult entertainment using the Internet to connect industry members and friends, educate newcomers, and give business owners the information and tools they need to be ethical employers. However, entertainers are her first priority…because, well, she used to be one.

“First the Internet exploited us. Now it will unite us,” says Annie, referring to entertainers who’ve commonly been paid a pittance for their work on the Web now finding ways to use the World Wide Web to their advantage. “We are a crafty lot, us harlots, and we’ve learned a few things on the way.”

Among other things, entertainers are using NakedTruth.ca to share information with each other, teach patrons how to engage with them respectfully, and decrease the isolation that naturally occurs within stigmatized groups.

In the future, Annie hopes NakedTruth.ca will be the preferred resource for adult entertainers, with lots of money-making opportunities from ethical employers, a strong support system of like-minded colleagues, and a large membership of polite, well-paying patrons.



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