Monday, September 17, 2007

Sexuality and D66

Sex and Politics... it feels like a Long Island Iced Tea with too much sour mix.

Yesterday I gave a workshop about sexuality for D66, a small social-liberal polical party in the Netherlands, together with the Björn van Roozendaal, Chair of IGLYO and Thirza Bronner, Chair of D66 Amsterdam-West. I was asked to talk about sex work and the sex industry in the Netherlands. Personally, while I don't really identify with any polical party in the Netherlands, I feel more for GreenLeft than D66. Though any oppurtunity to lobby shouldn't go wasted, and truthfully said: it's still one of the better parties in the Netherlands.

The discussion floated easily to the recent discussions about the famous Red-Light District in Amsterdam. Just to place things into context, here is the speedy version":

A long ago, in the land of Amsterdam, there was a Red Ligh District... Skip to present: this Red Light District is going to be gone if it's up to the PvdA, the Dutch labour party. More specifically: two of the PvdA city council members (aka Schaapman and Asscher) have taken up a personal (aka moralistic) crusade against the sex industry. Schaapman, drawing on her own experience in prostitution, feels she has to "save" us from such vile and a-moral practices. Apparently she feels that just because she had it bad, none other should feel better than she did. Tackling windows in Amsterdam is symbolic, nothing more. It's a hypocritical move, hoping to make this industry invisible and underground so they can pretend to have done a good job, regardlessly how bad to sex workers end up when the windows are gone. Take in mind, windows are one of the more independent and transparent ways of working in the sex industry. But of course "some people" think it's justifiable to force a group of independent and strong worker into the invisible and strip them of their independence just so other can feel good about themselves. Yes there is still coercion happening, but it's stupid and irrational to quote numbers like "99%" etc., even then actions should take the labour rights of the independent sex workers into account.

D66 does not yet have a position about this subject, but hell I wish they'd for one soon, and one that reflects their social liberal background and takes the rights and lives of sex workers themselves into account. Some humanity in all this hypocrisy wouldn't do any wrongs.