Sunday, September 30, 2007

Airport security


I arrived at Schiphol airport to leave for Sydney, looking towards a 26 hour travel time, including a 6 hour transfer at Incheon. Right in time as usual, nothing wrong, all as planned. All as planned and expected, including this: Airport security... I always get some sort of trouble from them in they need to search me, the entire is she-a-man-or-is-he-a-woman, by now I am so used to it that it even bores me. In any case I have learned to make sure that there is no reason to search me. I just make sure I follow all security regulations to the smallest detail and dress so that the metal detectors would not even notice me walking through in the slightest.

No, when I was rushing to pack, I stuffed my dilator in my handluggage as I didn't had room anymore in the suitcase I was going to check-in, and I was stressing as well. Bad idea... Schiphol airport security are %&#! in every sense of that word. So they noticed the thing in on the X-ray, big deal. So it looks like a dildo, big deal. So they wanna giggle-slash-laugh a bit about it, big deal... I would do the same. But no, thinking that I don't understand Dutch they start this loud conversation right in front of me about whether I was a man or a woman and that it would be weird to have it as a man and blablablablabla... No, I am a patient and sweet girl, but this time they didn't put a toe out of line but marched straight over it. So I snapped at them in Dutch, in any other situation the look on their faces would be fun when they realised I understood every word they had said, in this situation their silent imitation of a drowning fish was not amusing. A polite "sorry for my rude behaviour" would've been very welcome.

So, that's what you get at Schiphol. Same handbag, same content at Incheon at the security: nothing but a polite goodbye and a smile. Sydney: nothing. Schiphol: full of shit!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oxfam International Youth Partnerships 2007 - 2010

Friday I will fly halfway across the world to Sydney for Kaleidoscope 2007. This event is the start meeting for the Oxfam International Youth Partnerships 2007 - 2010 organised by Oxfam Australia. I'm one of the lucky 300 selected out of 3000 applicants.

The Oxfam Internationa Youth Partnerships bring together young people and youth from all over the world that work in their specific communities towards social change. All those selected are involved in social minority communities, like lgbt or indiginous people, are youth activists and advocates. The Partnerships itself consists of a three year program. Mainly of course through the internet, the event in Sydney takes 8 days and is only a start off. But I'm looking forward to learning more and for new oppurtunities to collaborate with others working in similar fields in the rest of the world.

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.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Barbie Doll Demo!

Protesting in public may be too big a risk for you but not for Barbie or Ken, they are used to the paparazzi!

Ruth Morgan Thomas from the ICRSE and SCOT-PEP is organising a “Doll demo”. From Bishkek to Barcelona, from Malmö to Manchester sex workers across Europe speak out!
Beg, borrow or steal a doll or two, dress them up and make a protest sign for them.

Monday, September 10, 2007



Recently I've been having headaches and just now I am starting to realise why. Simply that I have, not just one but several, way-too-full-time-jobs. It just fucks with my head that the 28th is my first day off in whole of September. Not to mention the meager 3 days without at least 5-6 hours work that I was allowed to cherish in August. Summing up: IHLIA, YouAct, OIYP, PIC, etc. I'm losing track myself actually. It was easier to deal with it not knowing and just taking it on day by day, there is a reason I don't have an agenda of 2007 and just use a stack of notes for upcoming days, it makes it all seem less because the overview is lost.

A solution of just not working so much is difficult. After a while I the mind goes numb and I must admit a certain lack in common sense because of it. I guess denial is the first stage of this vicious circle. The second stage is just adrenaline and endorfines and other hormones that keep rushing in your body because of the stress. Lack of judgment keeps me from taking proper lunches or dinners resulting in a further decline of proper judgment... And there we are, an addiction to rival a crack addict. I am in need for Workaholics Anonymous.

Anyways, I guess it is not all that dramatic. Relieve will come soon in the form of my amazing Korean friends in October when I'll be in Korea again for three weeks after more 15 months of absinth (freudian slip... I mean absence of course). Though there are times I just want to smash my head into the computer screen in front of me, hoping that the shards of the monitor will jam into my forehead giving me a blissfull peace. Unfortunatly even that is taken away from me as they replaced all screens with flat-screens that are not strong enough to even just knock me out for an hour or so, but just break down and only supply me with a very bad headache.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

20 years Remembrance

"Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen"

"For friendship such an endless desire"

Jacob Israël De Haan (1881-1924)

On September 5th, 1987, history was written with the unveiling of the first "gay monument" in the world "to inspire and suport homosexual men and women in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination." It is placed on the Westermarkt in Amterdam, around the corner of the Anna Frankhouse. Funded partially by restoration funds for homosexuals in WOII, it's still the biggest and most visible monument specifically for gay people in the world. For 20 years it is a symbol of hope, recognition, acceptance,... Maybe not just for gay and lesbians, but all those who love differently.

The monument was designed by Karin Daan and consists of three equilateral triangles made of pink granite that are connected by an inlaid band. This band creates a fourth, larger equilateral triangle. One of the triangles is situated on the edge of the Keizersgracht and protrudes into the canal. This triangle has a set of steps that leads from the street and narrows to create a point that is suspended above the water. The point of this triangle, which symbolises the present, faces the National War Memorial on Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam. The second triangle, which is raised sixty centimetres above the ground and doubles as a podium, symbolises the future. Daan placed the third triangle between the paving stones. It points to the Anne Frank House and is the "memorial" that symbolises the past. A line from a poem is engraved in this stone: "Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen" ("For Friendship such an endless desire"), from the poem, "To a Young Fisherman" by Jacob Israël De Haan.