I am a sex worker. My colleagues and I dress up the label of this occupation in a plethora of ways: confidante, companion, courtesan – we are forever perusing the thesaurus to find an elegant alternative to the term escort, which itself is still a euphemism. 

There is less elegant terminology, too: hooker, whore, prostitute. I once got into an argument with an ex-partner about whether the word prostitute is derogatory. His argument was that “that’s just the word for it,” and I countered that it took over a hundred years for the formal definition of the word nigger to change from patronizing to pejorative. I was furious at myself for feeling the need to justify my opinion. As the person being labeled, I get to decide what is and is not offensive to me. 

I am a sex worker, and in my own country, my worker’s right are nonexistent. I operate under a government that demands and accepts the income taxes I pay, but offers me no protection or entitlements for the work I provide. Even under a Hilary Clinton administration, this would not have changed. 

During this past campaign season, I remained relatively quiet on social media, with a few quips I later went back and deleted from my Twitter feed. I don’t apologize for that – as Marla, most of what I offer is pleasurable escapism, and I don’t find politics serve that mission well. But I am writing this now to make clear that if you voted for Donald Trump, our values are misaligned. He has represented himself as misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic – and now, so has my country. The United States will now be lead by a President Trump. While his election to office does not speak for the entire country, this is our national representation. 

I do not like divisiveness, taking sides has never been my preference. Though I do not identify as Buddhist, its tenets of unity speak strongly to me. I find it now, however, more important to take a stand, and to identify myself to those who may need allies. If you are likeminded, I encourage you to do the same.