The new Prose and Lore is out and I’m in it! Let me tell you about how rare and important this literary journal is.
In the introduction Dacia says, “When we are denied our human rights, telling stories for each other becomes even more important, because in the act of doing so, we say to each other: I hear you, your concerns are real, your stories ring true.”
That pretty much summarizes my experience of reading the book, which is made up of 26 stories from escorts, dommes, phone sex workers, strippers, and probably more. In every story I had moments of me too, or me too but I never thought of it that way, or me too but I didn’t know anyone else ever thought of it that way. It is probably the way you feel when you’re scrolling through Facebook and see memes about your job – except that for sex workers stigma means never seeing things like that about ourselves.
Most sex workers are relatively isolated from the realities of other sex workers. Even when we work together, if it is in an isolated area we develop a culture and shared identity that is different, sometimes very different, from other small groups of isolated sex workers. This means that many of us have a narrow understanding of who we can be. That’s dangerous.
It’s dangerous because it leads us to discredit each other and for many of us solidarity not just an ideological goal but something that we need for physical safety. It’s dangerous because it keeps us in boxes that are really hard to get out of, and some of those boxes are dangerous places to be. It’s dangerous because it makes us so vulnerable to other people’s definitions of us.
Seeing what other “people like us” experience, how they think about those experiences, and how they navigate the world makes us stronger, gives us infinitely more options, and ultimately makes us safer.
When you get your subscription to Prose and Lore, that’s what you’re supporting.