I talked to Seth tonight. Called his mobile on my computer. “Myles” is the new baby’s name. Love it, and, of course, Megan has a half-brother with that name.
For the first time, Seth seems to understand the extent of Megan’s anger. Or at least part of it. He fought with Meg often during a late summer visit she and Jeramy made to Seth and Noelle’s. Seth said that he had never seen that side of her. I told him that very few people have seen that, and that’s why people didn’t understand (or believe me) when I reported Megan for child abuse in the summer of 2011.
I feel really good that Seth’s eyes are opening about this. I made a plea for him to keep in touch with Sam, a phone call once a week, for example.
I am very happy now. I have reached a place of peace and contentment. I know what my dreams are (my hopes and wishes for eternity!). Perhaps I have fulfilled some obligations and lived out some karma I had. Perhaps I have found my One Love. At any rate, my energy is cleaner and freer now. I have a wish now to help others be happy.
Ireyca comes to me and kisses me on the cheek before bed and first thing in the morning. I return the kiss. This sweetness in Latin people is very touching and beautiful to me. The contact with and acknowledgement of the Other is delightful. It makes me feel treasured. And it gives a person space and time to be in the moment with the other person. This is important to me because I do not find physically approaching others to be either easy or natural. Yet, I love and long for this kind of intimacy. I think in a sexual relationship the cool shyness and aloof distance of a person like me (from the US) is a chilling, exciting contrast and compliment to the livid hotness and intense drama of the Latin person.
“Always be happy, but stay evil.” (song on WWOZ radio from New Orleans)
Lonely dog howling somewhere in this apartment building.
Ireyca and I went out for coffee, and I commented on the dowdy older women. I wear my short, swinging skirt and walk in that sexy California way. That is disapproved of here in Mexico and in much of the world, I think, where men have relegated older women to a non-sexy/non-sexual category.
Many older men insist upon being seen as “distinguished,” while older women are considered irrelevant, insignificant and ugly. I believe that a sexy and sexually active older woman (over age 50) threatens some men. We older women are not only wise in ways men can not be (because we are different from them and have had different life experiences), but we are also strong and independent (unless life has beaten us down too much), and we older women can and do stand up to men. We have our own opinions. Insecure men are threatened by this strong behavior. They prefer young, naive virgins with no thoughts of their own and no one to compare them to.
If older women are treated as non-sexual and dowdy, they become non-sexual and dowdy. Unless, of course, they are mavericks or artists/musicians, etc.
Ireyca says people in Mexico conform to cultural standards and family demands. Of course, humans do that everywhere. Social coercion is what makes people do what the society wants instead of what they want to do. Society will shame them if they don’t follow the rules. Family coercion works in the same way, but with the added threat of loss of love and support.
Rebellion and individuality may be more prevalent, encouraged, and admired in the US. The US is multi-cultural and our society has many other social groups based on things like economics, education, intellect, talents, etc. This allows for a great deal of diversity, experimentation, and movement across/between groups.
I have discovered on this trip that, in cases of long separation from American society, I like to go to American-style supermarkets (and even malls) and shop. I am eating very well now (fresh fruits and veggies) after my chicharone debacle the other night.
Had a wonderful time today with Jean Alain, a CSer from France who now lives in the DF. We went to the Zocolo, out for lunch, walked around the plaza at the Zocolo (and on nearby avenues)–it’s the second largest plaza in the world after Red Square in Moscow. A magnificent place. Went to the National Palace and saw all the murals of Mexican history by Diego Rivera.
I have enlarged my social group through travel and through using Couchsurfing. I now know and can enjoy the company of many more “kinds” of people than ever before.
Jean says a Mexican guy doesn’t see me as a non-sexual old lady. He sees me as a Gringa. Sex between a local and a gringa (even an old one) is apparently a not-unattractive thought to many Mexican guys. Okaaaay.
During the early morning and late evening hours, the first three cars of the Metro and the pink buses on Periferico (a huge avenue that circles the City) are for women only. Ireyca doesn’t go on them because some of the women with children elbow people out of their way. The last two cars between 10 pm and midnight (when the Metro closes, are occupied by gay and bi-sexual men having sex. My gay friend Jean, described these occupants as gay men and bisexual men “taking advantage of them.” Apparently, this activity came to the attention of the authorities (?) a few years ago, and, according to Jean, they shut it down. But Ireyca just laughs and says that, yeah, it’s still going on.
Ireyca has had men put their hands on her butt on the bus and the Metro. She yells at them. She said she has seen women slap men who do this and other women call the Metro police when they get out of the car. Other women and men will help to hold the transgressor so he doesn’t run away before the police arrive. The Metro police are supposed to be present on the subway platforms at the rate of one police person for every three cars.
In a culture like Mexico (and many of the countries I’ve been in on this trip), the Madonna/Whore dichotomy prevails. A pure, good, wifely, motherly, grandmotherly woman is the Madonna. As she ages, she gets fat and dowdy. The woman who looks sexy in public, the woman who admits that she loves to screw, the sexually experienced (and proud of it) woman is the Whore (and usually she’s never gotten money for sex). Above all, never he twain shall meet: a Madonna womannever is and never will be a Whore, and a Whore woman can never be a Madonna.
In Mexican culture, with its special Metro cars for men to have sex in (and other cars where women fear men and no cars for women to experiment with sex with strangers), male privilege is obvious. Women who love sex, at any age, are disrespected. Fucked, but disrespected.
The ancient ways are these traditional values about men and women, and they work well in traditional cultures. But the new ways emphasize women’s equality and our needs and desires (even if some cultures are not overt about these things). Women’s orgasms and love of sex are given lots of attention in American society.
This new positive focus on women has been a cornerstone of my liberation–both sexual and otherwise. I didn’t have an orgasm until I was thirty-nine years old,* although I’d had over 100 lovers by that point. I didn’t know what an orgasm was until I finally read about it and gave myself my first fucking orgasm. (*I did have one spectacular orgasm at age 38 or 39 with Mark Edwards in Santa Barbara. His very large dick (9 1/2″ I’d guess) and relaxed nature [read: total alcoholic] allowed me have what is still the best orgasm of my life. I’ve had many orgasms since. I have a friend from India who is in her 50s, nice husband, kids, and she has no idea what an orgasm is.)
The San Francisco group COYOTE was founded by Margo St. James to support prostitutes rights. I went to one of their meetings when Megan and I lived in an apartment on Geary Street in about 1990. COYOTE stands for Cut Out Your Old Tired Ethics. Brilliant.
Margo St. James
(born September 12, 1937), a self-described prostitute and sex-positive feminist, founded the organization COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), which advocates decriminalization of prostitution.
Margo St. James (Margaret Jean St. James) was born in Bellingham, Washington.
St. James founded COYOTE in 1973. The forerunner of COYOTE was WHO: Whores, Housewives and Others; Others in this case meant lesbians. The first meeting of WHO was held on Alan Watts‘s houseboat; and the name COYOTE came from novelist Tom Robbins who dubbed St. James the coyote trickster.
St. James began attending international conferences: the United Nations Decade Face of Women Conferences in Mexico City, the 1976 Tribunal of Crimes Against Women in Brussels, the 1977 International Women’s Year Conference in Houston, the 1977 Libertarian Party Covention, the 1980 Decade of Women Conference in Copenhagen, the 1976 Democratic Convention in New York—where St. James organized loiter-ins—and the Republican Convention in Kansas City. In 1974, St. James lectured at Harvard, among other campuses.
In 1976, COYOTE, led by St. James, filed a law suit against Rhode Island. In the case, COYOTE v. Roberts, the argument was based on how much power the state should have to control the sexual activity of its citizens. The law suit also alleged discrimination on how the law was being applied. Data was submitted that demonstrated selective prosecution, the Providence Police were arresting female sex workers far more often than the male customers. St. James testified in the case. Although the case eventually was dismissed when the General Assembly changed the prostitution statute in 1980, COYOTE and St. James are given credit as one of the reasons prostitution in Rhode Island was decriminalized, prostitution was outlawed again in 2009 (see Prostitution in Rhode Island).
Other documentaries detailing St. James’s activism include Hard Work, directed by Ginny Durrin, Ain’t Nobodies Business, and Hookers. Hard Work, which is set in Washington D.C., was filmed in 1976 during the Bicentennial. The short documentary won the NYC Golden Eagle Cine Award in 1978 and the Edinburgh, Scotland award for Best Documentary in 1979.
St. James claims to be a former prostitute and has been criticized by the anti-pornography feminists, including Dorchen Leidholdt. Her claim to have been a prostitute is based on a 1962 prostitution conviction. According to St. James, her conviction was based on her knowledge of the word trick. From 1974 to 1979, COYOTE published its newsletter, COYOTE Howls, from St. James’s office in San Francisco. Fund-raising involved an annual hosting of the well-attended Hooker’s Ball, which nabbed 20,000 attendees in 1978.
In 1985, COYOTE’s records were archived at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, in the prestigious Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.
Spectator magazine November 1, 1996
Feature story on Margo St. James’ nearly-successful candidacy for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
by Christine Beatty (excerpts from the article/interview)
I first heard of Margo at the tender age of 15 years old when she made headlines by organizing C.O.Y.O.T.E. in 1973. Although I had no idea that I was destined to become a prostitute, nor anything else I turned out to be, I was still impressed by this powerful woman. And my research into her public career bears out my impression.
Born in Bellingham, Washington in 1937, Ms. St. James moved to San Francisco in 1959, joining the beatnik scene in North Beach. In 1962 she was falsely arrested for prostitution, apparently set up by the police department. When she got to court, the judge was unimpressed with her protestations of innocence and convicted her. It was during this time that she began working for bail bondsman Jerry Barrish to work off her bail, and in her employment she met famed defense attorney Vincent Hallinan who persuaded her to go to law school. While she did not attain her law degree, she used her knowledge to successfully appeal her conviction, perhaps the only misdemeanor appeal on record in California. Later she became one of the first female private investigators in the state.
Strong not only in character, Margo reached another milestone in 1962. She began running in the Bay to Breakers race, six years before women were officially allowed to enter. And in 1974, she placed third overall in the National Organization of Women’s Olympics. She is also an avid bicyclist, and pledges to improve conditions for other cyclists in San Francisco.
In 1973, Ms. St. James organized C.O.Y.O.T.E. to address the many issues facing prostitutes, including violence, health care, and discriminatory treatment. In spite of laws that make such organizing a felony, Margo has continued to advocate for women and all marginalized groups. She has a long history of testifying before governmental bodies, local, state and international. These include the state legislatures of California, Hawaii, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan and Washington. She has also participated in many conferences, nationally and worldwide, on the subjects of prostitution, women’s and inidividual rights, and AIDS.
Christine Beatty is a California Girl, born and raised… a boy. She is a freelance writer and lead singer for the San Francisco rock group Glamazon, which just produced a CD. Her writing has been seen in Spectator, TransSisters, Anything That Moves and Herotica 4, among other books and periodicals. Being one of the few transsexual computer programmers in corporate America, she hopes soon to quit her day job for music and writing.
(See more of this interview with Margo St. James at writings.glamazon.net/margo.html)
I am and have always been (or always aspired to being) BOTH a mother and a whore. A girl/women who knows what fun means to her (that’s me!), and yet (surprisingly, to some really out-of-touch people) ALSO (drum roll) a loving mother and grandmother.
My Asperger Syndrome (that’s AUtistic, not ARtistic) had enabled/allowed/gifted me with the fantastic ability to be very matter-of-fact about sex. As a typical Aspie, I naturally apply all the rules of logic (rather than romance and idealism) to the sexual act. This wonderful, liberating, detached approach has led me into thrilling and informative experiments with prostitution and other things (like my many escapades with men living on the streets [“homeless” and usually alcoholics, druggies, and/or petty thieves]).I still love those guys.
My children were, of course, not fully developed intellectually or emotionally during the years when I was their major influence. And American society, with its inherent and often unrecognized sexual puritanism, was quickly becoming a major player in their lives. My rational, no blinders/no veils, no romance, unvarnished and ungarnished (“parsley, anchovies, anyone?“) approach to sex piqued their interest then and flabbergasted them later. There were and still are many things about my behavior that my kids aren’t (and maybe never will be) able to grasp. All my experiments (in all fields, from sex to travel) have been both highly individualistic and specific to persons with Asperger Syndrome.
Everyone who lives life on the edge makes mistakes. It goes with the territory, and that’s how you know you are walking on the edge, pushing social boundaries, and exploring new territory. I made a few colossal mistakes. I have done all my apologizing, and, believe me, it was with sincere guilt, sadness, regret, and great anger toward myself that I begged for the forgiveness of those people whom I hurt.
My humiliation and self-loathing are gone now, washed away with the help of many healers and other loving people (and animals and nature). I ignore with a “Whatever” people who keep reminding me of my errors and the pain I have caused. I have moved away from that address. No forwarding address.