Sex Work

Protesters Rally in Brooklyn To Condemn Rentboy.com Prosecution

Activists call for the decriminalization of sex work.

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Protest in Brooklyn against the Rentboy.com bust.

A small gathering of protesters rallied outside a federal courthouse in Brooklyn today to demand that federal charges be dropped against the male escort website Rentboy.com and to call for the decriminalization of sex work.

"People want to be able to control their own bodies and not have the taxpayers ruining lives and making them less safe," said gay rights activist Bill Dobbs, who organized the gathering.

About 32 protesters marched in a circle holding signs and reciting chants, such as "sex workers rights are human rights," while waving signs with slogans including "Feds Hands Off Our Bodies," and "Legalize Sex Work And Save Lives."

The rally's participants included several well-known figures from the gay rights movement of the 1970s and 80s, including Jim Fouratt of the Gay Liberation Front; Ann Northrop, a journalist and longtime member of Act UP; Randy Wicker, who has been a prominent gay rights activist since the late 1950s; and Andy Humm, a journalist and former New York City Human Rights Commissioner.

Federal authorities raided the offices of Rentboy.com on August 25 and arrested seven employees on prostitution charges, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For more on why the Rentboy bust "should inspire rage and protests," read my colleague Scott Shackford's "6 Thoughts on the Rentboy.com Bust from 1 Angry, Gay Libertarian."

NEXT: Wrapping up judicial non-delegation

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  1. Am I the only person who saw “Condemn” and read “Condom” instead?

    1. Yes, you are the only one. It’s because you always have sex on your mind all the time. NTTAWWT.

  2. If that’s a photo of the protest, I’d say that’s a very small “group”.

    What’s up with the 2 dudes who are dressed like they work for Blackwater?

    1. #BlackwaterLivesMatter

    2. “Kit up! There are fourteen, calm gay guys in the street!”

      Raylan Givens never dressed like that.

      1. Raylan Givens never had to take on FOURTEEN GAY GUYS WITH SIGNS, OK!!

  3. If they want to get somewhere, they need to be in the grill of every Democrat politician who had a hand in this or any influence over vice laws.

    1. Democrats would totally legalize prostitution, but the mean Republicans won’t let them.

      1. Eliot Spitzer almost singlehandedly legalized prostitution… for himself.

  4. “…and not have the taxpayers ruining lives and making them less safe,” said gay rights activist Bill Dobbs

    Uh… taxpayers?

    1. Those damned TAXPAYERS!!!

      *shakes fist*

      1. I found this to be remarkably honest. Government, after all, is simply the name we give to things we do together. Amirite?

    2. Well, technically he’s right. The government being “us” and all. It’s a strange thing to say though.

      1. I may be reading too much into this, but since he organized the protest, it’s possible he, like many activists, is unemployed, and therefore he can compartmentalize himself separately from people who actually pay taxes.

        Dunno.

        1. Yeah, I was trying to puzzle out whether he was using it pejoratively.

  5. Where were these people when the government shut down My Red Book? Oh, yeah. Women are further down the victim’s list than gays. And men are capable of making the decision to become escorts whereas women are not. Foolish of me to forget that…

    1. I don’t care for identity politics but if people can use it to scale back government overreach at any level then I say go for it.

      1. Agreed. But it’s just so hypocritical for the Progressives to demand the right of gay men to prostitute themselves while at the same time fighting to deny that same right to women. I can’t even imagine the mental gymnastics required to rationalize such a blatant double-standard.

        1. Anyone holding both beliefs would have to rely on some flavor of misogyny.

        2. Not sure what you mean by “these people” but from the description in the article this seems to be a gathering of gay activists. Maybe they have never heard of “My Red Book” – I know I haven’t.

          Progressives […] fighting to deny that same right to women

          What is this referring to?

          1. Progressives, Feminists, and most women on the Left vehemently oppose prostitution when it involves a woman and a male customer. On this issue they are in lock-step with the SoCons. Yet those same groups are up in arms about this crackdown on a gay escort site while silent when the same thing happens to female escorts.

            1. I think you’re doing an awful of lot of generalizing. You say these are the “same groups” without any actual evidence that they are.

              1. Did you miss the response following Amnesty International recent call to decriminalize prostitution worldwide? The Progressive leaders (and many–but not all–of their acolytes) universally condemned them for suggesting such a thing. Talk to any female ‘Sex Worker’ and they will affirm that they get attacked by the Left just as much as they get attacked by the Right. This has been documented many times here at Reason.

                1. Did you miss the response following Amnesty International recent call to decriminalize prostitution worldwide?

                  Yeah, I wasn’t following that. My takeaway is that – unlike the overall prog movement – the gay activists leading the latest crusade don’t necessarily give a crap about being in the good graces of the feminists leading the earlier charge.

                  1. gay activists leading the latest crusade don’t necessarily give a crap about being in the good graces of the feminists

                    That’s fine because the Gay Community knows the Feminists and most Progressives will support them in nearly anything they want to do (except be Conservative, of course). I’ve seen nothing but outrage on the Progressive websites (yes, I read them every day) over this bust, but there wasn’t even a mention of the My Red Book shutdown. Just trying to point out the hypocrisy of supporting one group (gay men) to do as they wish while also condemning another group (women) for wanting to be treated the same.

            2. Gays love the crack down.

              1. “You crack me me up!”

      2. I don’t care for identity politics but if people can use it to scale back government overreach at any level then I say go for it.

        In principle, I agree.

        However, tactically speaking, converting a broader issue into a narrow identity politics issue seems to be a good way to ensure that nothing is done on the broader issue. See, e.g., police abuse and Black Lives Matter.

  6. Its interesting that the protesters and I probably agree on NOTHING else but this. But someone else said it first that we don’t pick our positions based on who the “icky” person is and automatically choose the other side. If we have principles then we stick by them.
    And so on this particular issue (actually vice laws in general) I am proud to stand fully erect with my Act UP friends!

    1. I am proud to stand fully erect with my Act UP friends!

      nice 🙂

    2. Now that’s what I call rising to the occasion.

    3. Yes, but is it lasting or will you peter out?

  7. So “sex work” isn’t what Caitlyn Jenner had done…..right?

    *makes notes about all the new lingo these young people have these days*

  8. The only people allowed to fuck people up the ass are government employees.

    1. *and get paid for it are

    1. HE LOOMS.

      He’ll be around soon to crazy up the thread. Be patient.

  9. Can some social-justice-splain to me why Rentboy is a ‘nucular’ catastrophe, but Backpage and Craigslist werent?

    1. …or libertariansplain, for that matter.

      1. Sure, any ‘splaining will do.

        1. “Lucy you got some ‘splainin’ to do”?

          1. DON’T TALK ABOUT LUCY!

    2. Because gay men rate higher on the victim scale than women. Plus, female prostitution is ‘icky’ because it benefits those horrible straight men. But I believe Backpage is still in operation (for now).

    3. A Backpage crackdown is an attempt to save the female victims of Patriarchy. It’s totally different with Rentboy: no females — no victims.

    4. It’s because gay men cannot be exploiters. So gay man hiring a gay escort is perfectly OK.
      Straight men are exploiters. They think they are entitled to women bodies, and must not be allowed to exploit women through means of money.

      1. But how many of these escorts were really gay? It’s like categorising everybody working at the fish store as an ichthyolatrist. It’s just a job.

        1. Even better if they were not gay. Straight men going gay for pay is perfectly acceptable reversal of traditional power imbalance and should be celebrated. Though, of course, straight men going gay because they are checking their privilege should be preferred.

          1. What if the “straight male” whoring himself out is, in actuality,
            a wimyn trapped in a patriarch’s body, saving up money
            for her gender reassignment surgery, you stinking cis bigots!

            /SJW rant mode

            Kevin R

    5. I’m noticing a pattern in the responses…

      1. Libertarians are still recovering from getting burned by gay activist on the whole marriage debate. It’s felt that a lot of these protestors only care for their own rights. Rights for me but not for thee. Being wary of and a little pissed at these guys is to be expected.

        1. People have narrow interests – film at 11.

          1. No, not narrow interests. Pure self-interest. Narrow interest would have been fighting for gay marriage, then flitting off when the polygyny debate showed up. Self-interest is claiming polygamist don’t have the right to marry too.

            I don’t think they could get away with the same thing here simply because the prostitution laws aren’t set up to differentiate between gender, but that doesn’t mean wariness isn’t advised. They don’t care about the heterosexual prostitutes, so you have to be real careful to make sure the only viable options for legal gay prostitution takes heterosexual prostitution along for the ride.

            1. Self-interest is claiming polygamist don’t have the right to marry too.

              OK, but I think you’re overstating the support for that position among the supporters of gay marriage.

        2. We didn’t get burned because we’re not morons who think gay marriage and public accommodation laws are the same or who failed to notice that activists we’re already wield that particular hammer before the gay marriage ruling.

  10. OT: Pope throws open Vatican City to incoming North Africans and Syrians!!!

    http://nypost.com/2015/09/02/p…..-revealed/

    Or not..

    1. The prayers will focus on “peace and justice”

      As opposed to …?

      1. Smiting hip and thigh?

        1. Taking an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?

  11. I found the following rates at Rentboy.com.

    Warty = $650.00/hour

    Epi = $00.14/hour

    1. seems legit

  12. All I can say is, with gay marriage now legal, gay pay-for-sex will become more important than ever.

  13. Sounds like a plan to me dude.

    http://www.Total-Privacy.tk

  14. Can some social-justice-splain to me why Rentboy is a ‘nucular’ catastrophe, but Backpage and Craigslist werent?

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