After A Proposal By Former Mayor, John Duran, West Hollywood Refuses A Sex Worker Task Force
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, sex workers are a major part of the LGBTQ community. While technology may have decreased the number of street workers, it has changed the sex work industry. Instead of walking down a shady busy street in a rough city, a sex worker can now escort themselves from their mobile devices or on popular websites like OnlyFans, which a plethora of Instagram popular people use to sell sex videos and the like. Some members of the gay community glamourize sex workers and porn stars as the ultimate fantasy, while others judge and degrade them. Some sex workers have what is described as “survival sex” AKA they must work to make a living. There has been long conversations on decriminalizing sex work to no avail. Former West Hollywood Mayor, John Duran, is trying his best to protect the sex workers in California.
According to WeHoVille, Duran made a proposal that would have the city of West Hollywood, California sponsor a Sex Worker Task Force. This group task force, including experts in the sex work field, such as experienced workers and representatives from the city’s Transgender Advisory Board, Public Safety Commission, and Human Services Commission. The task force would be asked to develop a report on abuse and exploitation of sex workers and what can be done to prevent that. Unfortunately, Duran, who has a history of sexual harassment allegations against himself, did not get his wish as the city council pushed back his proposal to have the task force. The Council was in agreement to explore ways to stop the abuse, and sometimes homicide, of sex workers, but are not certain what exact role they should play in this new situation. The Council did remind Duran that they already have a variety of current boards that would address the issue the sex worker task force would be focusing on.
Duran was passionate about his proposal, taking to his Facebook page to post the following statement:
“West Hollywood has a local economy with various forms of sex workers. While most people readily identify escorts/prostitution as a form of sex worker – do not forget the strippers at the Body Shop on the Sunset Strip, the GoGo boys at Mickey’s, Revolver, the Abbey, Flaming Saddles. There are also people involved in the porn industry or the “only fans” websites. There are the massage parlors and massage therapists. And if you are on grindr/scruff, you know there are plenty of guys looking for “GEN” or “GENEROUS”. There is lots of cash being traded for sexuality, sexual expression and entertainment. And the SW range from heterosexual to transgender to gay men – all sexual orientations. All genders. All ages. All races. We also know that this population is extremely vulnerable to abuse, violence, discrimination, stigma and being treated as “sub human”. To the extreme, serial killers historically prey on female sex workers Drunks feel for a $1 tip, that they can manhandle or physically assault dancers. When crimes are committed against escorts or prostitutes, they are loathe to report the crime out of fear of being prosecuted.”
Duran, who was clearly upset about the denial, withdrew his proposal. However, the City Council decided to ask the City Manager to work with other organizations to create a task force independent of the city, which would provide resources to support it. While Duran has a potentially sketchy history, he’s definitely earning brownie points for this incredible proposal and I’m fully backing him. Life is rough and sometimes you’ve got to work what you’re born with to simply survive. We’ll be following this and updating you in the future. We really need to start working harder to protect our own – especially the most vulnerable.
Check out Duran’s full plea below:
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.
H/T: LA Times