Why Aren’t the Anti-Porn Folks Standing Up For Tera Myers?

The other night, I was watching a cop drama. The story centered on a murder case (as they often do) and the cops uncovered information that the victim had been blackmailed for hiring a sexworker. So they tracked the escort down, thinking that she’d been behind the scheme. But as it turned out, she not only didn’t know about it, she was really worried when she heard about it. Rather than following the usual “sexworkers lure men into these schemes to ruin them” plot, the writers decided to change it up a bit. The escort explains that she has dreams and plans of her own and having it be known that she’s working as a sexworker would destroy them just as much as it would have affected the murder victim.

This has been on my mind lately, since a St. Louis high school teacher has resigned after a student discovered that she’d been a porn performer. Apparently, Tera Myers had also lost a job in 2006 for the same reason, and I can’t help but think that she resigned this time rather than waiting for the axe to fall.

Separate from the question of why people might think that a former porn performer might be unsuitable as a teacher, I can’t help but wonder where all of the anti-sexwork and anti-porn folks who vociferously proclaim that they want to help women leave the industry are. (They don’t ever seem to notice that plenty of men are also sexworkers, btw.) After all, if they genuinely want to support women and make it possible for them to change what they do for a living, don’t they have a responsibility to advocate for them when former sexworkers face these kinds of barriers? Do they not see that it’s harder to quit being a porn performer or a sexworker when it’s pretty clear that there’s no support  if their past is discovered? And in this era of tube porn sites, pirated movies, and such, the odds of being able to stay in the closet gets smaller all the time.

This isn’t the first time someone has lost a job for having been a sexworker without the anti-sexwork folks making a sound. And I think it really highlights how they don’t really want to help women leave the industry. If they truly did, they’d be standing up for Ms Myers and making sure that people had job options and protection when they stop making porn or seeing clients.

Just sayin’.

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Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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