‘To be safe, we have to break the law’‘There is a strong sex worker community in London. Criminalised people have to stick together and take care of each other. For me it’s important to sometimes be in sex-worker-only spaces, so that I can speak freely about the topics which affect me. I really like the community here in London because it’s super-diverse. It’s special. I don’t see so much diversity in communities outside London – I love it!
I have experience of working in a few countries and you can tell the difference when sex work is illegal or not, whether the stigma is high or low. You feel it in the way clients respond to you. It's great in New Zealand and Australia, where it's decriminalised. I came from Melbourne straight to the UK and could immediately feel the difference. There are more problems in the UK because the regulations are really high and so many of the things that help you work safley are illegal here. To be safe, we have to break the law – not cool at all.
Criminalisation affects stigma as well as security. If you're outed as a sex worker, you can't find a job and it’s hard to get a flat. So because of that stigma, it’s so important to show people that we are just normal people doing normal jobs. Being afraid of outing ourselves to our parents, our kids, our partners can build so much pressure. The stigma silences me for sure: I cannot out myself so I cannot speak and am silenced.
I want people who come to the opera to see us as people, just like everyone else. We’re doing a job and that’s it – my job is running around in fetish clothes looking fancy. I also want people to see that there is a huge diversity in the industry and it’s all cool. There are even good aspects to working on the street: there’s no admin and you’re not going to get in trouble if you’re late!
There is no typical day for me, really. I wake up between 10am and 12pm and sit in the park on my laptop, answering boring emails, thinking of new ideas for the workshops and outreach projects I run. Often I get a last-minute job, sometimes when I am out with a friend. I try to make the hours regular but it doesn’t work out – this is my reality. I also spend part of the day creating new work personas, essentially reconstructing myself. When I am playing a dominatrix I become another person. There is a hierarchy between me and the client – it’s empowering. It’s just acting, which is also why it was so easy to make a show like this: we are all actors.’