Repeal the Eighth

If there is an overarching theme to this blog it is that everyone should have the right to bodily autonomy and that consent is sexy. Yet millions of people across the world have no guarantees of bodily autonomy. This is particularly the case if you are female. If you are female and pregnant it is often the state that denies you that autonomy, and this denial occurs in many western democracies, and several members of the European Union. This is not a hangover from the past either. Social conservatives are active in many countries seeking to reverse the gains of the last 50 years. Who can say that Roe v Wade is safe from being revisited by the Supreme Court of the United States once Trump had packed it with right wing placemen, in a country where the lifestyle choices of women are being made to penal sanction because they happen to be pregnant?

Tomorrow, the people of Ireland  have the  chance to contribute to the fightback when they vote in a referendum to decide whether the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, approved by a referendum in 1983 and which gives the unborn a right to life on the same footing as the already born, should be repealed. They have the chance to say that bodily autonomy matters, that women matter, that bearing children is not the sole criterion of the worth of a woman.

And a yes vote in Ireland would be a big boost to women in other European countries fighting their own battles with the “pro-life” obscurantists. Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws  in Europe, and it is sign of the prevailing political climate there that the 1993 legislation which does allow for abortion in exceptional circumstances such as danger to the health and life of the mother, is regarded as an acceptable compromise by many. It is not. Every year thousands of Polish women go to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for terminations just as Irish women get the ferry across the Irish sea. Yet for the zealots this is not enough. A citizens’’ imitative in 2017 originating with a crazy fundamentalist Catholic group attracted support from the ruling Law and Justice Party and draft legislation was drawn up only to be shelved when women took to the streets in their tens of thousands in a Black March. There were women’s strikes, a mass walk out from churches on the day a pastoral letter supporting the proposed changes was read out. The Government took fright. The threat has not gone away.

The current legal position in both Ireland and Poland has led to women either being denied treatment they need or, disgracefully, being forced to undergo medical interventions they have not consented to. I had the opportunity to talk to a Polish obstetrician about the possible impact of a total ban on abortion. He have the example of a woman with severe pre-eclampsia at 32 weeks. The only treatment is to induce the birth. This may led to the death of the baby (although doctors will do all they can to save it) but, if that is what has to be done to protect the health and life of the mother that is what will be done. Unless the laws are tightened further in which case the doctor inducing a birth may find herself jailed for up to 5 years for carrying out an abortion.

Doctors, he said, will become reluctant to carry out medically necessary procedures, and women will die. This is where pro-life legislation grounded in theology and not actual biological reality leads. Give a foetus which can have no existence independently of the mother an inalienable right to life and you deny this right to the woman who is carrying it.

I hope the Irish people will vote yes tomorrow. I hope too that such a vote will give impetus to efforts to change the unacceptable and totally anomalous situation in Northern Ireland. I know that the women of Poland will be watching with interest too. I hope that the message to the fundamentalists will be what many of us have chanted at demos over the years:

“Pro-life that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die”

Gavin Shuker Rides Again

The Nordic Model is a bit like Brexit. The more discredited it is by facts and evidence, the more tenaciously its advocates cling to it. It is not entirely surprising that The All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution has recommended the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in its report on pop-up brothels. This group is chaired by Labour MP and evangelical Christian Gavin Shuker. This is the same Gavin Shuker who failed to answer any of the questions I asked him in this e-mail exchange 5 years ago. I doubt that he grasps the complexity and multi-faceted nature of the sex industry (if we can call it that)  or the way that high minded but simplistic solutions to complex issues will do more harm than good. The war on drugs hasn’t been a raging success has it?  This is a similarity to Brexit too isn’t it? And so is the shouting down of people who try to inject a little factual analysis into the debate. For “remoaner” or ”traitor” read pimp.

The report is actually quite long on sweeping statement but short on hard fact and .as the ECP has noted, the growth  in popup brothels may have rather more to do with austerity induced poverty and police crackdowns on more permanent premises  forcing ladies to move on regularly. The group has taken no account of the submissions of both sex workers’ groups and academics or indeed anything that didn’t fit their pre-packaged view of the matter.

 know anecdotally that trafficking does take place and I have heard some shocking stories from current and former sex workers. However the available evidence suggests that a large majority  of sex workers are not trafficked or otherwise coerced.  Many of them have taken up sex work because of their economic circumstances and would, in many cases, much rather be doing something else, but that is another issue. It is also not clear that those who have been trafficked are going to be helped by driving prostitution further underground. Clients and other sex workers can be, and on occasion, have been a source of assistance to trafficking victims and a source of intelligence to the police, a point made by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in their response to the consultations on Lord Morrow’s proposals (since enacted) in Northern Ireland.

The Nordic Model will not “end demand” any more than any other legislative prohibition in the past has ended demand  for whatever it was the social improvers decided wasn’t good for us. It will not help anyone who has been coerced into sex work. What it will do is bring in even more patriarchal state control over women’s bodies. It both fascinates and appalls me that so many so-called “feminists” are happy to go along with that.

The Trial Run

I had been trying for a number of years to have my proposal for a talk at Blog Fest accepted.   And now, to my delight,  I had been invited to speak at SexBlogFest 2020 on the topic of Sex – The Transgender Experience. I had a lot of experience if this as you might imagine, and also plenty of things to say on the legal aspects, and how to get it all on the page in convincing prose. I knew this would be an interesting talk and I had another surprise: I had had the operation. My sex life was about to head off in new and exciting directions.
I got to the room in the Conference Centre early and set up my laptop, selected the Powerpoint presentation I had prepared, ran through my notes and waited. How many would come I wondered?  Anxiously I looked to see who was presenting in parallel with me.
“Good news Eve”.
I started. The conference organiser had walked in.  
“The other session is cancelled. At quite short notice actually.  So we’re all coming to see you and I am sure it will be fun.” 
She gave me a conspiratorial wink and left the room.
Soon delegates began drifting in from lunch and taking their seats. I smiled weakly at them. I was really beginning to feel nervous.  Then the double doors were opened and a bed was wheeled in. For the demo later I assumed. As the clock ticked round to two o’clock three burly security guards came in and stood by the door.
The organiser stood up and began to introduce me.   As she uttered the words
“I am sure we are all going to enjoy Eve’s transgender experiences. A warm round of applause please for the best sex show in town.”
Before I could pick up my notes to start speaking the security men rushed across, grabbed me took me down and bound me with ropes before dragging me roughly across to the bed to which I was secured with cuffs , by the arms and by both legs,  leaving me spread-eagled and helpless. A hood was placed over my head and I was plunged into darkness.
“Eve had just recently had the op. She now has a neo-vagina, a proper little trans fanny. Who wants to see what a trans fanny looks like?”
I felt cold metal against my thigh and heard my panties being cut and whipped off me. Hands pushed against the thighs to force my legs further apart and I felt cold lube around my new opening before fingers went in. 
“Well ladies and gentlemen this is a fine piece of surgical work, a tribute to the NHS, a marvel of modern medicine. Ladies and gentlemen, a warm round of applause for Eve’s c….,”
As the applause rippled round the room I felt more fingers go in, then the hand which balled into a fist.  In my excitement I so wanted to play with my new clit but I was fastened tight to the bed post. Even so I could feel the excitement and erotic tension mounting until she said, withdrawing slowly,
“And now let’s try out her clit”
I heard buzzing and let out a sigh as a vibrator was pushed against my clit, then pushed in harder as it was turned up a setting. Waves of pleasure rushed through me and brought me to orgasm, them to another and another until I had had enough and asked her to stop.
“Stop darling? You are joking? I am enjoying this far too much.”
She laughed and turned up the intensity again. the vibrator up a notch. I came again and this time the sensations that pulsed through me were too intense. I writhed and moaned pulling hard against the straps but they were solidly made and unyielding.
Again the fierce buzz landed on me and brought me to the edge until she removed it, just for a few seconds before plunging it down hard to make me orgasm with a painful intensity that made me scream. I began to cry. 
“Please stop it, please stop.”
I arched my back, rose up as far as the straps would allow, before sinking back  onto the mattress, panting and exhausted. She then announced brightly.
“I can confirm that this is a fuckable a pussy as any I have seen.  And we didn’t tell Eve this but we have had a little raffle and the winner gets to enjoy her.”
I said nothing. 
“Are you alright Eve? “
Again I remained silent.
“I think you will enjoy it too.”
There was a rustling of paper and then the announcement.
“On the yellow ticket, number 473.”
There was a whoop of triumph.
“Please don’t say who you are. We want to surprise Eve. Make her first time with a vagina special. Will it be a woman, will it be a man? Will she get cock ..or not?”
There were cheers as the winner undressed. I knew at once this was a man, the hair, the hard angularity of the body, the cock that was placed in my mouth. The man said nothing as he lay across me and I sucked greedily, licked as he moved the shaft smoothly in and out. He was not abnormally well endowed but he was soon hard. But I was not to swallow his come much as I would have liked that. He knelt up and I heard what seemed like a fumbling with a condom packet. He rolled the condom over his gorged member and he came down on me, a splash of lube and he was in, the first man to fuck me. 
It was quick and brutal, the kind of sex I had long fantasised about. Half a dozen violent thrusts and I came with a scream.
I woke up, hot and wet. I reached down and brought myself quickly to the orgasm that  had been eluding me for days. I showered and dressed. Outside Camden was bitterly cold. Flurries of snow whirled about in the cutting wind. The final day of BlogFest 2018 awaited. First, a cigarette and then breakfast, definitely in that order.