This week has been a week of dickheads.
Not only did two separate clients from America get nasty when I refused to travel with them to tropical islands because they refused to verify their identities, not only did a stranger called Kara send me an email saying I had “no soul” and “my life has no value” because I, single-handedly, destroy peoples’ marriages… but Instagram disabled my account.
Without warning. Gone. Just. Like. That.
I only had 2000 followers but I was new at it and was just getting the hang of photographing my lattes.
The reason being?
My content was “sexually suggestive” or contained nudity. Which is really code for “we know you are a sex worker and we don’t like it”.
Now anyone who knows me and my work knows I do not post nude photos. I do not post raunchy stuff. I am fairly conservative. I may be an escort but I am camera-shy and I don’t post anything rude. I post my dogs, me at some fancy hotel, or some silly meme.
I reckon the offending item was a photo of me and my friends at my backyard celebrating mother’s day, and I flashed my boobs under my thick jersey and there was a hint, and I mean a hint of a nipple. I see more nudity on Bondi Beach.
Most people get warnings or get told by Instagram to take the offending photo down.
My whole account was wiped out without warning. When I complained to fellow escorts, it was a story that was all too common. Our type aren’t liked by certain forms of social media. Once Instagram gets a whiff of anyone working in the sex industry, it’s curtains.
I’ve got nothing against Schapelle Corby — she’s done her time — but she has amassed close to 200,000 followers on her Instagram account in a week of coming home. There’s a fairly strong message there: convicted drug smugglers: yes, sex workers: no.
Or the notorious Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim is allowed to pose shirtless on his hugely popular Insta account? No one minds his nipples, nor the fact he has had to deny links in the underworld.
But woe betide the woman who works in a perfectly legal industry, who pays her taxes, who doesn’t have a criminal record, to accidentally flash a quarter of a nipple?
It smacks of fear and hypocrisy. And I am sick to the back teeth of it.
Of course our discrimination runs deeper than Instagram.
We are discriminated by banks, loan companies, insurance agencies. Trying to get credit card facilities for my (legal) escort agency is a nightmare. No banks want to accommodate credit card facilities because of the nature of our business. (Highly hypocritical when I could reel off a thousand names of clients who work in the finance industry including a few bank managers.)
I own my home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and I pay a lot of tax, and have the tax returns to prove it. You’d think trying to get a loan would be easy.
How stable is my job? (How stable is any job?)
Do I pay tax? Can I prove my income? (yes and yes)
And then it’s “Because of the nature of your industry, we’re not sure whether this application will be successful”.
Sex workers are the least judgmental people I know. We have clients with disabilities. We see clients no matter their race, colour, creed, or profession. I have had clients with no arms and legs, and I have had clients who have been to jail. As long as someone is kind, I don’t care what they do or what they look like or what their job is.
Sex workers don’t judge. So why should we be constantly battling against discrimination in this day and age?
It’s 2017. The sex industry is legal in NSW. Yet not only are we are labelled “home wreckers”, “whores” or “too dumb to do anything else”, but we are judged and discriminated against by institutions, industries and Instagram.
If escorts judged, no man would ever be able to seek our services again. So why can’t we get a bit of love back in return?