Emily very kindly offered to host our first Belfast Coffee Gathering in May and we have just had a second one in July. Not only did we get a choice of coffee, tea or squash, but also Emily made to die for freshly baked cakes, that totally ruined my diet, as they were so morish! Whoever thinks that Escorts have no other talents, really don’t have a clue!
The venue is very discreet and fairly easy to find. It has plenty of space and hopefully we will be able to offer more than tea and coffee in the future, with possibly some holistic and therapeutic services , again using the talents of the sex workers attending.
The first meeting had a great turn out with mostly local sex workers turning up. Please be assured that it is all anonymous and no one has to say who they are or where they work etc. We’re there to support each other and chat about anything that takes our fancy. It does not have to be work related. However, on this occasion we were all concerned about the pending law change and how it may impact our safety and change the way we work. It was also good to see how we all worked differently and give each other tips and ideas in general.
For me it was lovely to meet other local girls working in the area and to know that I was not alone. One of the problems with being an Independent sex worker, is that you are not encouraged to work together and often there is a feeling that it is better to keep yourself to yourself and keep your nose to the ground, but in doing that you are also isolating yourself and not always doing things the best way, as you have to work it out as you go along. Just listening to these other ladies confirmed where I was going right and gave me food for thought on areas of my work that I had been looking at changing. It gave me confidence to make those changes and see how they worked. It also reminded me that sometimes what works for one, doesn’t work for another, so not to get worried if things need changing again.
Another thing that I liked and felt reassured by was the sheer variety amongst us. We all came from totally different backgrounds and were all working in different ways. For some reason people seem to think that all sex workers come from the same mould and that is so not the case. It even seemed that we often had very different clients too. This can be for many reasons, but even the time of day we work can make a profound difference. It really makes you wonder about this stereo type given to sex workers and just how very out of touch the media are and not due to ignorance, but because they desperately want to hold on to this stereo type. From my knowledge the BBC have interviewed at least three of us present at this coffee morning and none of us conform to that image and yet they still use it, nay they manipulate in order to use it, as I recall one interview Laura Lee gave had a picture of her by the City Hall with a claim that she was ‘looking for business’, which she evidently wasn’t, as she is not an outdoor worker and was posing for the picture for the interview. Isn’t it about time they showed the reality and stopped flogging a dead horse?
I believe our next meeting will be in the autumn and I’m really looking forward to it. This is a unique opportunity to meet people that know and understand how isolating this job can be and a chance to share our experiences, or just talk about the price of fish. If anyone reading this is thinking of attending, please do get in touch and details of the next meeting will be given to you closer to the time.