Robin Hustle, a writer, artist, and sex worker from Chicago has written this brilliant piece for Jezebel on her coming out as a prostitute to her parents. It is a beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable piece that is well worth a read.
There are some things we’re better off not telling our parents. Mom doesn’t need to know about your creepy obsession with Chatroulette or your predilection for Sarah Palin porn. And when it comes down to it, talking about your job is (in most cases) the most boring, soul-sucking kind of small talk there is, so it’s sort of nice when that’s off the table. But hiding your life as a sex worker from your parents doesn’t feel like acting on a need-to-know basis. It feels like lying. Deception is a shitty fact of life for a lot of sex workers, and de rigueur for plenty of people who really have nothing to hide. That’s not the kind of relationship I want to have with my family, though — and after years of stressing out about what I would do if xyz happened and my parents found out, it was actually something of a relief when they did.
Our current biases towards sex work are deep rooted and strong. It’s striking how much this sounds like the coming out story of a queer person to her conservative parents.
Allowing my own anger to come through, insisting that he work toward a different understanding, affected my dad much more than any cautious explanation of my work ever had: a week later, he asked me to put together a reading list of essays by and about sex workers. While they may never be completely comfortable with my job, it’s a fine place to start.
I am fortunate that my family hasn’t disowned me or physically harmed me or reacted in any other number of physically and emotionally violent ways to learning that I’m a sex worker, but I shouldn’t be expected to be grateful for that. No one should. I am grateful that this is something I learned from them.