Sex work has recently come under attack in the United States. This mainly being due to legislation that makes it far more difficult for sex workers to operate safely online, with the supposed goal of curbing sex trafficking. This has created a dangerous situation, one that puts many peoples lives and livelihoods at risk. However, I myself am not in any way a sex worker. While I may support them and their struggles I feel particularly under prepared to talk about this subject and would prefer to allow someone more enlightened than myself to speak on the topic. It is for this reason I caught up with Louise Rosealma, a sex worker, Anarchist and Anti-Fascist.
B.S.W.: Please, tell us a bit about yourself
L.R.: Well, that’s always the hardest question. I’d describe myself as a polyamorous queer anarchist, working within the vegan, anti-fascist, working class, and feminist movements to create awareness and hopefully make this world a better place before we all tank from nukes or global warming. A lot of people like to call me the Antifa Porn Queen, which is a title I happily accept, although that name was hilariously made out of malice and I don’t really consider myself a porn star as much I do consider myself an erotica/art model. The haters give me to much credit, honestly.
B.S.W.: How did you first come to the idea of doing sex work?
L.R.: I’ve always, ever since I was a young kid, been interested in the philosophy and act of sex, and it being America’s favorite taboo only made me all the more curiouser. I needed to explore this sinful landscape that was my female body and mind. I couldn’t help but question why I was always getting dress coded in middle school, and what things like my hard-ons for my favorite celebrities meant to my identity in this world. As I came to become more radical and class conscious, I looked for ways to harness my talents in a way that would allow me to operate as freely and productively as I could in a capitalist society. Not only that, but I wanted to learn to love myself, so I jumped head first into nude modeling, and it quickly led me to sex work. As I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with myself, I’ve explored into the realms of pornography, cam modeling, go-go dancing, and especially erotic modeling.
B.S.W.: What have your experiences as a sex worker been like?
L.R.: My experience being a sex worker has probably been pretty unique because of my reputation as an activist, and my viral 15 minutes of fame. There are a lot of people out there who would love to see my life ruined, but that’s not anything new for a lot of sex workers, who battle with sexism, degradation, capitalist exploitation, social persecution and legal prosecution on a daily basis. The hate and discrimination I receive is just more heavily based on my politics. For example, my first porn shoot I ended up being verbally assaulted by the photographer who was a Trump supporter, or the other numerous times I had to shut down my cam show because an alt-right member posted the link on the /pol/ subreddit. That was a shitshow, but the jokes on them because I’m never going to be ashamed or back down because they said to. I guess my politics have made it a hell of a lot harder to find work, sex related or not. It’s proven to be something that is inseparable from the way I live my life, no matter how hard I try to be politically squeaky clean I have a reputation that will follow me forever, and I’m more than okay with that. I’m here to shake things up, even if that means I lose my job as a barista because I’m too controversial, or that an agency won’t hire me because I refuse to shave my armpits or cut my dreads for them. I make it very clear that I’m in control of the message I’m sending, and my image. Maybe it’s because I’m an artist at heart or just a perfectionist, but I find a lot of empowerment knowing that what I do, and what happens to me, is my choice. Even though the sex work industry has a lot of room for independent, self made workers, there is also a LOT of room to be exploited, and I refuse to not get my fair share of a bargain. A lot of people don’t like that I bargain. Oh well, they’re just gonna have to miss out. Overall, I have been very fortunate that my experience has been a good one so far; immensely liberating and empowering me to love myself in a radical way, meet amazing people, and own the means of the production of my work.
B.S.W.: What are your thoughts on the claim that FOSTA/SESTA protects sex trafficking victims?
L.R.: FOSTA by no means, will help sex trafficking victims. I believe there is a way to prevent sex trafficking without taking away people’s internet freedom. It’s actually pretty disgusting how they are using victims of such brutal slavery as a martyr to push an agenda that is meant to inflate the power of corporations and increase online surveillance and in one foul swoop. They don’t give a fuck about sex trafficking victims, they just care about using them to push an agenda that does not benefit them at all.
B.S.W.: What are your thoughts on FOSTA/SESTA and what kind of threats do they create for sex workers?
L.R.: The thing is, is that FOSTA is designed to choke out freelance, independent workers by taking away the platforms that we find work through. This is a blatant attack on the well being, safety, and income of sex workers across the board. By taking our accounts down, removing our posts, shutting down our forums and websites, education about what we do is becoming harder to access, and the way we advertise and do outreach to customers/collaborators is severed. The internet is the safest place to do sex work and prevent sex workers from becoming victims of sex trafficking. We are able to communicate with not only our peers, but vet clients, safely secure payments and receive money all from the safety of our homes. Taking this away forces sex workers to resort to the curb sides as platforms, and back into the arms of pimps for protection. Workers who own the means of their production are a huge threat to corporations and the State, so this bill is meant to completely disempower the huge portion of workers who are small and independent businesses with unique operations, as well as those in the industry. I cannot stress how devastating this bill is to our income, and dangerous to our lives. I know for a fact that people are going to starve, and die because of this bill becoming law.
B.S.W.: What kind of advice would you give to those who want to support sex workers?
L.R.: My advice to anyone who wants to support sex workers is to pay for the products created by sex workers that you consume. Don’t just watch the free clips on PornHub- find your favorite pornstar, camgirl, dominatrix, stripper’s ‘pay to view site’ and PAY THEM! When you’re enjoying their performance, TIP THEM! Not only do you need to recognize that sex work is legitimate employment, but you need to support and speak up for us on your platforms and spaces that are more “vanilla” and “family friendly.” The violence we face is immense, and we need people to openly support and speak up for us in their everyday lives, with their everyday peers. We need to be normalized, for the stigma to be challenged, and for our work to be decriminalized legally and socially. You wouldn’t expect a plumber, teacher, or therapist to work for free would you? You wouldn’t bother an accountant to work off the clock just because you gave them a compliment would you? We are, in the end, workers who are no different that any other worker who is victim to the exploitation of capitalism, and that needs to be recognized.
B.S.W.: Any final thoughts?
L.R.: Fuck you, pay me. Just kidding BSW, thanks for bringing attention to this important subject and it was a pleasure chatting. Workers of the world unite!
You can find Louise Rosealma at: https://www.instagram.com/tinylittlespitfire/?hl=en