I get overwhelmed thinking about just how lucky I am and have always been. I'm alive right now (way better than being alive at any time in the past). Through luck of birth I landed in America in .a nice home with two parents who were pleasant enough and some older siblings that weren't so bad either. As I grew up, the internet grew up, and I've been able to find ways to make a living using it and not have to get a job.
Seriously, I'm 27 now, and I've been an entrepreneur since I was a kid. Any job I was qualified for always paid less than I could make hustling on my own, so I just never did it. Now, I've been traveling around the world for years. I make enough money to do whatever I want. But not so much that I draw attention anywhere or am known. I've been anonymous, comfortable, and I've loved every second of it. This blog is a direct threat to that anonymity, and so I resist posting on it as much as I can.
I probably have more freedom than almost any human in the history of mankind, including everyone that's alive right now. I am lucky.
One ethical principle that I've always subscribed to is that those of us who have this unwarranted good fortune should spend some amount of our time engaged in activity to help improve the situation of those with less. I have not found a way to find lasting meaning in my overwhelming freedom, except through helping other people to have more freedom for themselves.
I can have fun on my own, sure. But that really nourishing, sustaining contentment, that requires that I do something for someone else. The truth is, if I remain in the warm bosom of my obscurity, my potential impact will always be limited.
This reads so much like, "Hey everyone. I decided to be famous. Just because I'm such a generous person. OOOOOOOO. Look at me," and I hate that. But that's kind of what I'm saying isn't it? So, let's just accept the pretentiousness and move on. I don't know if this is all self serving fake crap or not. I think my heart is in the right place. Let's give me a shot and then judge me based on actions.
I have thought a lot about this. I follow the philanthropic activity of a lot of individuals and institutions. I know what people are working on. I'm really excited and inspired by Give Directly. I think they're doing something really special. I follow all of the big guys too. I also follow politics quite closely, everywhere.
How could I be of use? Is a question that I've thought a lot about.
So I decided to become a prostitute.
I know what you're thinking, lateral move Jordan. But just hear me out.
Rock & Roll is legal. We've been jamming for a long time on this. Love it.
Drugs are illegal. That's wrong. But there are a lot of groups working on this and they're making progress. They all have my support (though I rarely use any drugs personally).
Sex is... well. Here's the thing.
America has extremely harsh criminality of prostitution. Ditto with drugs. While an incorrect, but convincing, case can be made for harm with drugs. You can't do that with paid sex as easily.
Two adults consensually having sex with each other should not be illegal.
All of the, "yeah, but what about?'s" are worth exploring, but they do not invalidate that premise.
Prostitution should not be illegal. And for very different reasons than why drugs should not be illegal. The thing is, we now have broad popular support for drug decriminalization. People have been extremely rude to me when I've talked to them about decriminalization of sex work though.
It's not something people want to put their name on, even if they support it privately, even the same people who very openly support drug decriminalization. "It's never gonna happen man."
That fatalism is buoyed with a lot of researchable claims. Things like, "Americans are too conservative about sex." or "No politician is ever going to come out in favor." or "No one is going to support it because of the same reason I won't support it; too dirty, don't want to be associated with it."
Maybe they're right. Maybe everything sucks and people are the worst and injustice will always win and fuck Trump and fuck snowflakes and blah blah blah. Maybe. I'm gonna find out.
To be honest, even if they ARE right and resistance is futile, Jordan Laubaugh is not going down without a mother fucking fight.
Money is speech. Sex for money is the most basic of human freedoms. Anyone who believes that government force should be used to prevent people from having consensual sex is my enemy and those enemies will I hope soon learn that I'm prepared to take the fight a lot further than they are.
It's time for Americans to mind their own business. That business does not extend to the private, consensual sexual activity of other adults. There is no case for public good and no case for harm to justify criminality. A high majority of the harm that happens as a result of sex work is harm caused directly by the laws. In other cases, harm that occurs is addressed sufficiently by other laws, none of which need criminalized sex work to be valid laws.
If you'd like to throw a couple of bucks towards the efforts to legalize prostitution across the United States of America. Kick something into my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jordanlaubaugh
I'll be laying out my opening arguments in separate pieces. I've hinted at a few of them here. But real arguments require research and source citing which takes time. The decision to start calling myself a prostitute was simply in protest against FOSTA/SESTA legislation and as a show of solidarity. If people want to burn all the whores, they're going to have burn me too.
I always hate when I read a piece that lays out a really good argument against something (not that I've done that here) and agree super strongly with it and then am not told what to do. Or the thing I am told to do doesn't seem like it matters. So if you think, like I do, that sex work in America should not be criminalized. Here are a few suggestions of things you can do.
1. Reply to my "general solicitation" tweet, here.
Express interest in procuring my services as a prostitute. Ask me how much for highly specific graphic things. Suggest that you're thinking about it and will decide soon. Retweet it with the quote, "Retweeting for a friend." That friend is me and a bunch of sex workers and their clients and you know the cause of freedom in general and we all appreciate it.
2. I mean I already talked about Patreon, but to clarify. That money is going into my non profit activity, not my personal stash. I am going to use all of it to move this fight forward in the most creative ways possible. So beyond donating, you could come up with ideas for how to use the funds. Provocative stunts, viral content campaign ideas, good works, lawyers, lobbyists, etc. Just send them to me.
3. Copy my prostitute post, put your name in, and start to identify as a prostitute. The point of that post is activism that points out how absurd the internet censorship around sex is. Hilarious performance art by someone like me would get caught up in the censor and that's unacceptable. It's just to make a point. Have some fun with it. But it serves a deeper purpose, cover for sex workers.
4. Volunteer. There's a lot of work and research to be done. Both in front of the scenes and behind the scenes. I don't know what most of that work is yet, but if you're committed to the cause, maybe you can help me find out. My contact information is around here somewhere.
5. My basic strategy. Pull in a modicum of initial support from my own network and general outreach. Launch a 501c4 to institutionalize the activity and make broader fundraising easier. Jurisdictions vs Demographics research to figure out who where we can win. Make allies. Introduce and lobby for ballot initiatives and amendment to legislation. Plan A, win. Plan B, try again. And again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
Some closing thoughts:
If I am arrested for prostitution/solicitation at some point in the future please do not let anyone commenting on my incarceration suggest that I deserve it because I should have known better. This is a super common, fatalist, loser belief. Excoriate them on my behalf. "Jordan knew that claiming he was a prostitute and openly soliciting carried legal risks. That was the point, you fucking moron." is a good general take down argument.
Unfortunately, I have strong disagreements with the vast majority of current sex worker activists in terms of "the right strategy." I don't think unregulated decriminalization will succeed (or be desirable). I don't think we get to ignore sex trafficking. Anti-sex-work agenda has done a great job of fostering a culture of "all sex work is either trafficking directly or facilitating trafficking."
We're going to have to make clear the statistical distinctions between these two and decouple consensual adult sex work from sex trafficking in the minds of the public. Freaking out on people anytime the word traffic is used is not the best way to do that. I don't think blackmailing politicians who have procured sex is a good thing to do either for every possible reason. Though I am OK with sex workers going completely bananas for the most part.
I don't expect sex workers to be policy experts, nor should anyone else. They shouldn't have to be. Our society has failed them because of weak willed and wrong individuals in our past. I honestly don't even expect a lot of support from the broader sex work community. But I intend to end the criminalization of all forms of sex with or without the help of that community.
The civil rights movement should have happened at the very latest in 1866 and it should have been done by white people because they had the power to do it at that time. 100 years of slow, boring suffering inflicted upon our fellow citizens could have been severely lessened or altogether prevented. Instead, we tacked on another 100 years of national shame to our history before we even started to seriously think about making some progress. And as a result, we're still not there.
Things can happen faster now than they used to. Information spreads more quickly. People are more intelligent and civically engaged than ever before.
America is an experiment. It's mutable. It was designed to change over time. We don't have to live under the stupid and oppressive laws of our ancestors (who didn't even have fucking Google by the way). The experiment of criminalizing sex workers has failed. Let's try another way and see how that goes.
I guess some part of me always knew that my dream to one day be a prostitute would always at best be a non profit endeavor. What with my physique, and face, and lack of sexual charisma. Some people would have given up on that dream. Some people aren't me.
Anyways, that's what I'll be up to.
P.S: This post was adapted from a post I also shared on Medium that more generally lays out my thoughts on this issue. https://medium.com/@jordanlaubaugh/how-i-think-i-feel-about-sex-work-legalization-in-2018-66da14d5d8ce