Taxation Without Representation

May 6, 2022

So I’m just going to say it… we are on our seventh episode and why not just state what is actual and factual… conservative lawmakers don’t want the survival of sex workers.

In fact they don’t want the survival of a great many people whose autonomy they can’t control by way of labor, medicine, or prison. 

And while we are loved in our communities and needed in our families, we are of no use to conservative lawmakers because we can’t and won’t be controlled. In fact, we demand basic human rights, freedom in labor without criminal penalties, access to housing and medical services without shame, education and banking services, AND some of us are proposing to take up space in congress because representation matters! Well, the nerve of us insisting that we have a vote, a voice. That we are actual residents of this democracy.

Taxation without representation is a thing that is done in the United States towards citizens deemed unworthy of survival. 

For a recent example of this, we need only to look at the residents of Puerto Rico, who were recently denied rights of disability payments by the United States Supreme court. How does a disabled person survive without social safety nets and community resources? How inhumane must our legislators and judicial system be to take monetary resources from folks via taxes and turn around and not provide those same resources when its citizens are in need? I want to be clear here, because some of us fail to get this, the residents of the Island of Puerto Rico are United States Citizens

The fact of this hefty fee of taxation, while constantly being denied an existence and supports for that existence, is not new to sex workers. Disabled sex workers have been insisting that this is the case and, it is the very reason that they are sex workers, for survival purposes, in the first place. Inhumane legislation must be the key agenda item of the day for state and local legislators, following suit of national protocols.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, city council member Oliver Thomas tried it! On April 7, 2022 he drafted a proposed city ordinance to ban the “Permitting of premises for prostitution.” In laymen’s terms, [this means] providing rental spaces to people who are sex workers, and this ordinance makes it illegal in the city of New Orleans to conceal prostitutes. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this ordinance in particular would target the most vulnerable here in New Orleans — Black trans and cis folk, who are already paid the lowest wages in the state — all while trying to recover from a pandemic and hurricanes. Not to mention they are already discriminated against in housing and are the targets of police.

But let’s look at the concealment part of this ordinance. Medical and community resource service providers would be mandated to disclose and report to the police those who are laboring as sex workers. Council member Thomas makes the case for the necessity of this ordinance by stating that there has been in upswing of those participating in sex work in the city. If you were in a pandemic and existed in a state and city with little resources for poor people, would you want to be criminalized for surviving? 

But not to be out done by the deep south, a team of mostly Republican lawmakers have joined forces to further criminalize prostitution in the state of Ohio. HB 276, which passed the Ohio State House and is its way to the Senate, prohibits sex workers from receiving money or any other resource as a means of payment for their services! What has me further incensed about this bill in particular is that it goes on to read that, “…receiving proceeds of prostitution is a felony of the third degree.” Y’all,  a third degree felony in the state of Ohio can lead to up to 36 months of prison time and a $10,000 fine. 

This leads me back to my original statement, our legislators do not want us to survive. And what I propose is that we should not want them to continue on in their positions. Let’s start imagining what a sex worker uprising in votes can do, and get [these legislator’s] asses out of office. These people don’t represent me, and they surely don’t represent you. Why are we paying them again?