Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Double Standard

In the mid-nineties I met up with Claire Turner, an amazing political activist, primarily in the area of HIV/AIDS community activism and she introduced me to Catherine Healy, the Director of the NZ Prostitutes Collective. We ended up working together on a documentary for TV3's Inside NZ Series about decriminalistion of prostitution - it was during a time when police woudl raid massage parlours, cops would act as clients and 'entrap women, (and male prostitutes), rent boys would be convicted of crimes set up by cops and there was a lot of harrassment taking place. The documentary exposed a lot of that through dramatic reconstruction but it also outlined the point of view, not only of sex workers in the industry, but also the perspectives of their clients - from street workers to escort girls to massage parlours...the variety of workers and their clients spanned race, class and gender..
TV3 after agreeing to screen the final cut - ended up cutting one and a half minutes as it went to air and I had a public argument with the then programme manager, Geoff Stevens who reacted to my complaintes of their 'online editing' by saying i would 'never work again in this industry'.
Well, it might have worked then - but I'm still here, making my films, researching and contributing to a sector that is ever changing.
At the same time, I worked with the NZ Prostitutes Collective to make a safe sex film for new workers. Entitled 'Sold on Safe Sex' it was rated R18 by the Video Censors of the time, but it has been a major training video for new sex workers in the NZ community ever since.
The local sex worker industry wrote the script, acted in it and presented the information. It was devised by a community of bisexual, transgendered, straight and gay sex workers and is still being used today.

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