By Max Zhou

What if hairdressers were regulated like sex workers are in Victoria right now?

A simple appointment at the barber is both legal and as normal as it gets. But a similar type of appointment with a self-employed, independent sex worker is illegal if it occurs at the sex worker’s home or apartment.

This double standard is outrageous considering both hairdressers and sex workers provide personal services, and they both pay tax (I know I do). As an independent sex worker, the law prohibits me from describing the services I offer in my advertisements.

Why Decriminalise Sex Work?

Decriminalising sex work would regulate this type of work using similar business laws which already regulate other service industries. Decriminalisation would provide sex workers with the same rights and legal protections as workers in any other personal service industry.

Most gay male sex workers, like myself, work independently from their private residences. They constantly fear eviction by their landlord, should the landlord discover their status as a sex worker.

Currently, Victorian anti-discrimination laws provide no protection for sex workers from discriminatory eviction. I am also fearful that my bank will close my business bank account should they discover my cash deposits come from sex work.

How Decriminalising Sex Work Will Affect Me?

New South Wales, New Zealand and the Northern Territory have already decriminalised sex work.

I look forward to Victoria bringing its laws in line with these jurisdictions.I’ll be able to confidently operate my bank account openly as a sex worker.

Also, I’ll be protected from discrimination by the banks and other financial service providers. COVID-19 has accelerated a move away from cash – with secure access to business bank facilities, I’ll finally be able to accept card payments.

What Would Change for Me After Sex Work is Decriminalised?

Personally, I love sex which was a motivating factor for me taking up sex work.

Decriminalising sex work would make my work safer and more convenient as I will be able to legally work from my own home, rather than going to a client’s house, which I feel has far greater risk. As an immigrant from China, being gay is taboo, let alone advocating for sex workers’ rights.

Decriminalising sex work in Victoria would mean I could do the work I am passionate about within a legal framework providing me with the same rights and protections as other sole traders.


Max Zhou is a Melbourne-based gay male sex worker originally from China. Max does independent in-person sex work as well as online live adult entertainment. He is a long-term member of peer only male sex work organisation Working Man. Max Zhou is his professional name.


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