I’m lying here in bed, starting to type this blog post, and stopping every once in a while to check out one of the photos rotating through as a slideshow for my desktop background — all of them involve nude women in some form or another, and the current set is artistic and “classy” nudes — much of it certainly pornographic, but not “sex! sex! sex!” type stuff.
I’m thinking about the fact that I make clear distinctions between types of pictures with nude women in sexual contexts, and smiling. I spent some of this evening preparing to attend and participate in events for December 17th as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with my boyfriend there.
I have a boyfriend! I’m a lesbian, I’m transgender, I’m kinky and queer and ethically non-monogamous, spiritual but not religious, and I have my own personal worship and ritual if I choose to indulge myself in it.
I’m listening to my roommate fucking quite loudly in the next room with her current boy-toy, the most recent in a long string of boys, men, lovers and fuck-buddies, and my reaction at the moment is mild annoyance — but at least it sounds as if they’re just going for a quickie before sleeping. I hope so.
I’m a feminist, and an aspiring social activist, with some very clear ideas about where I stand on many different issues. I’ve been keeping an eye on Planned Parenthood and the attacks against them, reading up on the latest from the EFF and Bruce Schneier, following a ton of queer, sex-positive, BDSM-friendly, and feminist blogs, looking for good quality porn that depicts the kinds of things I like, adding my name to form letters to elected officials when there’s an issue that grabs my attention, and sharing what I can on Facebook and Twitter with the hope that others will see and support the same causes if they feel strongly.
And then I look back 3 years, and I shake my head and laugh, just as my eyes widen in amazement — because it wasn’t all that long ago that I wrote my very first blog post (on MySpace back then) under a fake profile and an assumed name. It wasn’t all that long ago that I’d never seen another naked body in person, was still hiding from my parents the fact that I was masturbating regularly, and not too long even before then that I was trying to “give up the sinful habit” completely. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a boy — a rather fat one, too, at 250 pounds!
3 years ago I would have cringed if someone brought up prostitution, because back then I thought hookers were dirty, evil creatures, the lowest of the worthless invisible people. Actually, knowing the group I spent time with, I probably would have made a horribly insensitive joke about the difference between “theft of goods” and “payment for services.” Back then I would have said plenty of hateful things and thought they were hilarious, because that’s what I was surrounded by. Lots of young, heterosexual, cisgendered, white males whose idea of a punchline could just as easily be “That’s what she said!” as it could be a one-line rape joke.
Today if someone mentions prostitution or other sex work, and I hear the echoes of what I once thought — and if there’s a comment that comes from misinformation, general application of old, broken stereotypes, or a chance to teach someone, I step in. I call people on their hateful and ignorant comments when I can. I listen when someone calls me on something, because I want to learn and I especially want to learn from those who really know.
It’s delightful sometimes, to “look back on where I’m from, look at the woman I’ve become…” and to enjoy how beautifully routine some of these once-strange things have become!