No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Que Sera Sera?

I'm going to take as read here that you've got a concept of the Rekers/Rentboy story currently developing from the US, and that you saw some of the initial media on it.  I do accept though, that you may not be fully aware of some of today's commentary on it, which I'm probably going to refer to in the following post, so to make life easy, here's some background reading for you all:

Rachel Maddow on why this story matters
Dan Savage on the impact on the rentboy
CNN's interview with Lucien
Joe my god's interview with Lucien
Conversation between Rekers and Lucien

Really, in all of this, I just feel sorry for the rentboy.  Now granted, I have a vested interest in the privacy and rights of sex workers, but whatever happens, his life, and more importantly, his current livelihood, is wrecked for the forseeable future.  Many things can happen that would contribute to this.

Irrespective of the actions of Rekers, his motivations, of his comments on the story, Lucien will be vilified as a sex worker, a degenerate outcast section of society that nice normal people would rather pretend doesn't exist, and that when they do, it's cause they're the centre of problem stories such as this, so wouldn't the world be a much better place without them.  Given that Lucien almost certainly follows legal challenges from *someone* be it the tax people, Rekers lawyers, or the media, he's going to need one of his own, and the sooner the better, and he needs a damned good one.  As DS points out, it's disgraceful that a major gay liberties organisation has yet to step forward and offer the support that they throw behind say, a school girl whose prom gets cancelled cause she wants to take her girlfriend there (if you don't get what im talking about, see here), and I suspect that this is partially due to the lack of any confirmed legal action against Lucien yet, but primarily, because they don't want to be seen as giving their donated funds to anything connected with the sex industry, even at the expense of their own mandates on civil liberties.

Lucien has some of his own issues, whilst I don't believe he's anywhere near as naiive as Joe My God makes out, he has violated a confidentiality agreement, which does put him at risk, and his 'opponent', or certainly no longer his friend, is a major spokesperson for NARTH, FRC, ACPEDS, states' expert witness against gay adoption, etc.  With all of the resources at his disposal that affords.  Versus a rentboy paid a $75 p.d. in return for a trip to Europe and some massages. 

One of the things that disgusts me about the media coverage of this, is that they have never bothered to block out his profile name, its bad enough that he could be recognised from the media coverage posting his face everywhere, but his ad was posted everywhere too.  In the early interviews with him, he says he doesn't want his full name published, for a variety of very reasonable reasons.  I don't use my real name when renting, I know very few that do, it's just not worth the possible downfall.  However in the recent postings his real name is being published.  Whilst I don't know if he agreed to this, I can't imagine why he would, especially given the media attention.  Having a persona that is distanced from what you're going through is gonna be the first thing you'll want to protect. 

Joe My God's post annoys me on many levels, he says a lot of good things don't get me wrong, but he seems determined that Lucien should be severely hostile to Rekers, and out to bring the man down as far as he can.  Don't misunderstand me, Rekers hipocrasy is vile, but again, drawing on what I know of/in the sex industry, most in Lucien's position wouldn't be.  Certainly, as Lucien now does, they would feel betrayed that Rekers made commented to the police but asked L not to, given what R has said, both in public and to Lucien, that almost certainly is the reason behind revealing the signed contract between them, but plenty others would a) not want to get too involved themselves and b) know that their work relies upon their being discreet with those with public lives, with celebrities, with older men, with married men, and that you have to judge your opinion of them on the interaction you personally have with them, not with what rumours might fly around about them, past or future.  JMG keeps calling L naiive, for not knowing so many things about gay culture, but why should he?  For one, the boy's only twenty, kids who went school three years later than me had a very different upbringing; most had computers, they got mobile phones at a young age, they watched different tv shows, they suffered the numeracy and literacy hours where I avoided them.  If 3 years can make such a big difference, the age difference between Lucien and JMG might have a significant difference in cultural awareness.  For two, different people have different cultural awarenesses.  I am generally very aware of things, and especially gay culture, I rememeber the Matthew Shepard story when it happened, despite being only 11.  That's a pretty aware 11 year old, let alone if I'd been 3 years younger and 8.  I get the impression from JMG's conversation with Lucien, that the boy is not the kind to watch the news every day, he doesn't know who Anderson Cooper from CNN is, or of the Haggard and Jones stories, and that's okay.  You don't have to know everything that's going on around you in life.  Sure, if you end up in this situation, it might serve you well, and its probably the sort of thing he should be looking into, but this is where that legal advice from a decent professional should be coming foward, to tell him what's happened in previous cases, because I imagine less than a week down the line, he's still in shock, he's still hiding out a fair bit, and hasn't had the inclination to go confront his situation.

The comments on the JMG blog go back and forth, some point out, as I do, that there's no problem with not knowing this that happened before his time, especially gay culture that happened before he was even born (i.e. orange grove lady).  Gay hustlers have a handle on being gay yes, they don't have to have a handle on historical gay culture, they live on current gay culture, what clubs are in, what drugs clients might take, or ask them to take, what the going rate for a boy in their area is.  And I defy anyone (except possibly the Haggard/Jones participants obviously, and even then, once doesn't make you an expert,) to have a handle on being the centre of a controversial news story such as this. 

Even if everything comes off relatively well for him, his renting to pay for his college fees is screwed, at least for the time being.  If he's lucky he can get a book tour out of the whole ordeal to make up for that, and eventually, things will calm down yes.  But for now, he's unlikely to want be meeting new clients, and they're going to wonder if he tipped off the press or not (as its still not certain how the miami new times knew when to be in the right place at the right time), and if he can be trusted with discretion.

But he won't get anywhere near the support he needs, working in the sex industry means if you suffer hardship, people will say how awful it is for ou, but very few are willing to actually do anything about it, because there's a stigma that you somehow brought media attention, rape, theft, STIs, whatever it is, on yourself.  Obviously its an increased risk, and as a sex worker you accept that it MAY happen, that doesn't make it any more acceptable, and that doesn't mean they don't deserve the same graces, from everybody, be it professionals, media coverage, commentary, or your own personal thoughts, that you would give to a friend if they'd suffered a similar situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment