Creating laws that are overly broad and ineffective will just push sex work back into the shadows, and will continue to make it less safe for all those involved. Sex work can be safe, clean, and beneficial to those of us who choose it as a career. It can be conducted ethically, honestly, and freely, with the full consent of all participants. It can be done right, in the privacy of our own homes, without exploitation; we just need to ensure that governments do not restrict our right to choose what we do with our own bodies.
Nikki Thomas is Toronto-based activist, most recently involved in the SaveToronto.ca Rally to demonstrate against Mayor Rob Ford. She also has a long history as a sex workers' rights activist, and served as the Executive Director of the Sex Professionals of Canada from 2010-2013. Nikki is also a strong supporter of womens' rights and LGBTQ rights and freedoms. She is the host of the online TV show, "Sex Brains & Money" on the AllTalkTV.com Network, and operates her personal blog at www.MsNikkiThomas.com.Finally, she also co-hosts TalkingSports.TV on the AllTalkTV.com Network, and is one of the founders of the Autism Art Auction. Opinions expressed here are exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any group or organization associated with the author.
Throughout the drawn-out Rob Ford crack-smoking saga, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Rob Ford has very poor judgment. As a Mayor, as a person, and as a representative for the City of Toronto, Rob Ford has continually proven that his judgment is lacking. This, above all else, is the reason that he should resign immediately. As I wrote in previous articles about this subject, it's not his now-confirmed crack use that's even the problem. However, exercising terrible judgment in the consumption of crack brings a world of other problems with it, not the least of which is criminal association.
11/12/2013 05:14 EST
As the Supreme Court of Canada begins deliberating the fate of the existing laws restricting sex work, it is vital to examine the suggested alternatives, and expose their weaknesses, before public opinion embraces them without knowing their true consequences. Though it purports itself to be a policy that protects and respects women, the "abolitionist approach" is nothing more than a ruse, and does nothing at all to help those of us who participate in the sex industry.
06/13/2013 12:16 EDT
Self-described abolitionists have no idea how insulting and condescending it is for us to be told we're incapable of making our own choices. One of the principle tenets of feminism is that women should have the right to make our own choices with our own bodies.
06/12/2013 04:59 EDT
Dear Mayor Ford: Like it or not, you have a drug problem. I'm not referring to your alleged issues with alcohol, or your DUI in Florida all those years ago. I'm not talking about the time you were arrested for possession of marijuana, or even the alleged video that's said to depict you smoking crack cocaine. I'm not talking about the claims that you were inebriated at a Garrison Ball, or your brother Doug's alleged running of a hash ring during the 1980s. Your drug problem is the fact that nobody believes you. What other mayor could ever be accused of smoking crack cocaine, and have their constituents pause, and say, Yeah, that makes a lot of sense?
05/27/2013 05:44 EDT
I don't know for sure if Rob Ford's alleged use of coke/crack/alcohol/weed is the reason he's been such a terrible mayor. If so, then I would certainly encourage him to step down and seek treatment. However, if his incompetence as mayor exists independently of his alleged substance use, then the substance use pretty much a non-issue for me.
05/24/2013 12:21 EDT
Raising awareness is often a good first step, and functions well as a means to an end -- but it cannot be viewed as an end in itself. Activism simply does not end with the sharing of a Facebook post or a retweet; it's great to tell your friends that something is important enough to share with them, but it's virtually meaningless if it doesn't lead to further action.
05/01/2013 12:17 EDT
At the coffee shop, 10-year-old Clara sits across from me, trying not to let the frustration show on her face. "Do you know," she asks, "what it's like to have to call the police, because your brother's threatening your father with a knife?" Support for people with autism has grown in recent years, but is still badly lacking in many ways.
04/02/2013 04:55 EDT
Every time it feels like things can't possibly get any worse, Toronto politics finds a way to stoop to a new low. Rob Ford is engaged in yet another race to the bottom. Nonetheless, it's interesting to examine the attacks on Sarah Thomson, and the painfully-flawed logic behind them. But it's really worth examining the true meaning of the statements, and what it says about how sexual assault claims are treated. Exactly what burden of proof do we require before we believe a woman who claims assault? It seems that the court of public opinion requires a higher burden of proof than any other court in the land.
03/12/2013 05:46 EDT
In my early 30s, I made a decision to adopt a beautiful Chocolate Lab puppy. When I grew up with a dog, my family lived in a large house with a backyard, but my current home is a condo unit. Here are seven things that every condo-living prospective dog owner should think about when deciding to bring a puppy into their home.
03/08/2013 08:10 EST
As I got older, the so-called "Christmas Spirit" started to wane, and eventually disappeared altogether. I couldn't stand the sound of Christmas music, I hated fighting for parking spots at the mall, and anxiety over whether I had purchased appropriate gifts for friends and family became overwhelming. Surprisingly, I found that the "Christmas Spirit" was restored in me, from an entirely unexpected source.
12/05/2012 12:08 EST
On November 11, 2012, Rob Ford was officially removed from office for violating the Municipal Conflict-of-Interest Act. A humble leader would have simply paid back the money before it became an issue. A careful leader would have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations, before taking the highest office in the city. Rob Ford has truly been the master of his own demise, and his pathetic downfall was not due to any left-wing conspiracy -- it was simply the last, wheezing gasp of a mayor who tried to do one too many end-runs around the rules.
11/26/2012 01:51 EST
The government has again appealed the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision that current sex worker laws go against constitutional rights. On October 25, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether they will hear their appeal or not. Ultimately, it is my hope that the SCC agrees to hear the case in its entirety, for a number of reasons. Sex work is a highly contentious issue, but it is a legimate profession that one can freely choose if so inclined. We Canadians all have a right to life, liberty, and security of the person, even those of us involved in sex work -- and no government laws may infringe on those rights. That's exactly what this challenge is all about.
10/25/2012 07:49 EDT
On Thursday, Canada Customs, that wonderfully-democratic institution of unelected bureaucrats, decided that Canadians weren't capable of deciding whether Pastor Terry Jones, whose congregation held a Quran burning in March 2011, was worth listening to. They have a long history of overstepping their authority, and this denial of entry is just another case of censorship at the hands of unelected and unaccountable government officials. By taking the choice away from Canadians to decide what they're capable of hearing and evaluating for themselves, Canada Customs has done our country yet another disservice
10/12/2012 12:16 EDT
On Friday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada will rule on a particularly contentious issue -- the question of if/when an HIV-positive person is required to disclose their status. At the crux of Cuerrier was the issue of consent, and in 1998, the SCC ruled that one could not reasonably consent to sexual activities without knowing their partner's HIV status. Recklessness is merely exacerbated by the legal situation. This is perhaps the most troublesome aspect of using legal sanctions to deal with what is really a public health issue; people will actively avoid getting tested because it might help them avoid legal consequences.
10/04/2012 08:34 EDT
A lot has been made of Rona Ambrose's support for Motion 312, and her justification that she has concerns about sex selection abortion. I admit that it's difficult for me to support the abortion of an otherwise healthy fetus, simply because it has XX chromosomes. But I don't think that limiting womens' access to abortion is a productive answer. Why not look at the root of the problem? Health Canada's hastily-enacted policy, which prevents sex selection during artificial insemination. If Minister Ambrose truly cared about both a woman's right to choose and wanted to prevent sex-selective abortions, why wouldn't she try to remove this restrictive policy instead?
09/27/2012 05:01 EDT
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