Join date: Mar 15, 2022

The recent media coverage of Only Fan's attempt to ban sexually explicit content has been a small win for sex workers who have been raising awareness of the harms caused by abolitionist groups. While many journalists missed the mark, we hope they and the public will now turn to sex worker organisations such as and series such as this to better understand sex workers and the extremely restrictive way they have been forced to live. Today, we chat with Xuan Rayne about how queerness relates to their work, the need for decriminalisation and the function of anti trafficking organisation in global capitalism. Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far At 18 years old I posted my first ad on craigslist, in the “casual encounters” section where people went for “no strings attached” hookups. My parents were abusive and controlling in raising me. Our relationship was explosive and unstable. I was prohibited from working as a teenager or having access to any money. I felt scared of being abandoned, completely moneyless with zero job experience.  I entered this industry in order to have a safety net. I wanted to do something that would get me money, fast. Shortly after entering college I was disowned and briefly became homeless. I dropped out, got several food service jobs while continuing to escort so I could afford to move in with friends. Sex work supported me through the long path of completing my undergrad and somewhat mending my family relationships. Whenever a food or customer service job started wearing on me (creepy manager, exhausting hours and break policies, pain from repetitive motions, verbal abuse or harassment from customers, etc) having sex work as my back up plan allowed me to leave without worrying about not being able to have housing and food. As I get older, it becomes harder and harder to work under bosses or managers no matter what type of work it is. I thought that I might want to find work in my field of study but frankly I find those work environments stifling for creativity and autonomy. A traditional work schedule and structure does not allow me to take care of my health, which I’m starting to realize is impacted by undiagnosed and untreated disability as well as traumas stemming from that. I have shifted to escorting more or less entirely. I have never been “high end” so this work is still very much about meeting basic needs. I am looking for more stability. Until the closure of CL and Backpage adult sections along with the passing of FOSTA SESTA, I was able to work without publicly posting my face. I liked the anonymity and privacy of posting an ad without even a name attached, just a text description of myself and_or what specific activities I was willing to do on that particular day. On the downside I had almost zero interaction with others in the industry due to fear of drawing attention from law enforcement. FOSTA SESTA changed the landscape of escort work in Toronto in the Canada, taking away free and cheap places for posting ads and making it harder to find clients. I had to reassess the risks I was willing to take in order to make money. For the first time ever I started paying for ads and I showed my face. I also signed up for social media to do “organic” marketing (switter was important during that first year!). Since I was already taking the risk of showing my face, I decided to connect with my peers through social media as well. It’s harder work than it used to be. I miss the days when I didn’t have to cultivate an online presence to make money, when I could work more anonymously. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work Bike riding has been a consistent love for many years. I ride my bike for transportation with destinations like work (pre covid), grocery stores, doctor’s office, shows (also pre covid...), a friend’s house, or to a spot I’ve never been before. I ride to feel good and in touch with my body. Biking puts me in a focused yet relaxed state. I notice and observe my surroundings more intently, I move through space differently than with a car. While biking I can experience more vulnerability and unique stress, but also more joy and awareness. This past year I’ve committed to practicing yoga more and hiking. It’s nice to have a break away from the constant vigilance of sharing space with drivers in cars. On trails I’m pretty slow because I like taking pictures and spotting animals. I enjoy gardening. That mostly consists of pulling weeds and putting down some native California plants which take care of themselves once established. I’m not so good at growing other plants. I tend to plant things that smell good like sages, lavender, lemongrass. I cook a lot. Once in a rare while I write poetry or short stories. I love reading but I’m rather sporadic; I’m either stuck on the same chapter for a week or staying up all night to finish the whole book. I’m a fan of magical realism, science fiction and fantasy of the feminist-y kind, and diasporic literature. I shop at thrift stores for most of my clothes, which lets me experiment with new looks without spending too much. Also, I get to browse for odd knick knacks that I have to talk myself out of getting. I was into photography for a bit and I’d like to pick that up again. As sex workers, we face several challenges in our line of work. What issues do you care about, and how do you think your clients can help sex workers People trading sex are constantly dealing with laws that make surviving harder. The main source of hardship are laws and practices enacted under the guise of combating trafficking or protecting minors, women, victims. Their proponents are ultimately aiming to criminalize sex in all forms aside from sex between cisheteromonogamous couples in the privacy of nuclear families for purposes of procreation, a structure that benefits men above all. Sex outside of this-- for pleasure, queer sex, for money-- is under attack. This is why one will find a significant overlap between people who are anti-sex work and those who support transphobic and homophobic legislation. Laws such as FOSTA SESTA increase surveillance not only for sex workers but for anyone using the internet, limiting the range of permitted expression and censoring crucial information about sexuality especially if it is queer and encourages bodily autonomy outside of traditional cishetero relations. When law enforcement make it harder for sex workers to advertise, communicate with each other, share safety resources, and work together they create conditions for bad clients and exploitative third party managers. Criminalizaing any aspect of sex work (buying or selling) emboldens police to assault and steal from sex workers under the guise of “cracking down”-- they are the biggest source of violence that they’re supposedly “saving” us from! Anti-trafficking anti-sex work legislation expands punishment while shrinking options for people trying to support themselves. I don’t necessarily rely on clients to “help” us combat these laws just like most people who eat out at restaurants or buy coffee aren’t in solidarity with the workers who serve them. A few of my kinder clients do take it upon themselves to learn about the issues and they also tend to be the ones who send me money or gifts, which is a direct way to support sex workers.

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