WHO’S THAT GIRL?
Re: Out Quotes in SSO 707, She dresses like a drag queen, a slave and sometimes a clown.
I thought it was a reference to Clover.

-” James, Glebe

HOME-BASED BROTHELS
I was astonished to discover that private sex workers in the former City of Sydney are prohibited.

I am a very horny gay man, HIV-positive, and prefer the safe service I get from home-based sex workers to going to a brothel or a sex-on-premises venue.

I only visited a brothel once. The place was full of young guys who were desperately competing for my money.

During the negotiations, I was offered any imaginable service including activities that cannot be considered safe. During my visit to a sex-on-premises venue, I witnessed six guys barebacking a drugged-out boy. None of this is for me.

Six years ago, I first met the private worker I see regularly in the city. We quickly established that we were both HIV-positive and that neither of us wished to complicate our sexual health with other STIs. Since then I have been able to receive a discreet, safe sex service from a lovely clean worker who genuinely likes his work and cares about his clients.

Sex work is a legitimate business and accessing discreet sexual services is legal too.

I presume that the worker I see has to pay off the council, and that is simply wrong.

-” John, via fax

RIGHTS OF + PEOPLE
We were shocked to see that ACON’s efforts to prevent the prohibition of sex workers in the former City Of Sydney came to nothing. Why did ACON not make a written submission to the relevant planning instrument? Why was ACON not in contact with the council’s sex industry liaison officer?

Since we read the letter in the Star (Forum, SSO 706), we heard that ACON claims to have made a written submission. However, it was sent after the closing date for submissions and was never received by the City of Sydney planners.

With an 18% rise in HIV in the City it is vital that ACON stops being behind the eight ball.

As was printed in the City Of Sydney Council election survey, Clover Moore is intending to develop a code of practice for home-based workers. We have no problems with a voluntary code of conduct for all home businesses. However, any planning instrument or code must not under any circumstances discriminate against our type of home business, or reveal our identity or location. Outing HIV-positive people like us is counter to national HIV/AIDS strategy and counter to Australia’s commitment to the UN declaration on HIV/AIDS and human rights.

Would ACON please ensure that when the issue of home businesses in the amalgamated council is renegotiated in six months’ time, the regulation of home-based businesses does not involve the outing of (HIV-positive) sex workers?

If local governments keep getting away with ignoring national HIV/AIDS strategy, then nobody should be surprised if sex workers lessen their commitment to harm minimisation as well.

-” Sam, Jack, Tom, Adrian and Max (HIV-positive, gay sex workers operating in the former South Sydney Council area), Surry Hills

THE ROLE OF THE VENUES
It appears to me that Barry Thinn (Forum, SSO 707) is putting the cart before the horse.

Blaming venues for unsafe sex behaviour is yet another example of how we as individuals prefer to offload responsibility to a third party. Is this the new I was drunk excuse? -“ the venue made me do it.

Wake up, all of us! Responsibility starts with oneself: I am responsible for my behaviour, for my actions and my choices. Has it ever occurred to Barry that safe sex requires only one person? As long as you decide that you practise safe sex and stick to it, you will have safe sex.

I am not saying that sex-on-premises venues (SOPVs) don’t have a crucial role in this -“ but our role is to ensure that safe sex can occur, that the relevant information is available and that the environment is as safe and clean as possible.

Calling for the safe sex police is a bit extreme (and how are you going to police the internet private sex parties and unlicensed back-rooms?) -“ not to mention not really feasible. Just close all the venues down and the problem will be solved -“ or will it?

I agree that we as a community have regressed in our safe sex behaviour but I believe this to be an issue related to lack of education and awareness. I believe that ACON could have done more in this regard: where are the education campaigns, where is the community presence, where are the guidelines of what is currently considered safe sex, and why is there no message out in the community to use condoms for oral sex?

Most SOPVs [subscribe to] the Code of Conduct which actually was created by the industry in cooperation with ACON -“ to identify venues that do provide a safe sex environment.

So maybe now it is time to license patrons: you have to prove to us that you know everything about safe sex, abide by all safe sex rules, and carry your safe sex passport (which can only be obtained from ACON after an intense training period and which needs to be renewed every three months) at all times.

Sorry, guys, but it is really time for all of us to reclaim our responsibilities and stop blaming someone else for our stupid choices.

PS. If my patrons wish to have a Safe Sex Police Night, I’d be more than happy to put one on every week -“ let me know.

-” Reiner Becker, for Ken’s at Kensington

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