I often compare the sex worker rights movement with the Civil Rights movement and gay movement. Most often, I see it closer to the Civil Rights movement.
I’e become used to conversations with people or business interactions with them — all behind the scenes. But I understand that in public they might not wish to be associated with me. It’s not a condescending remark. Not everyone is ready to stand up to prejudice or make logical arguments to refute knee-jerk morality. I understand. So if we meet in public I pretend not to know and do not burden them with social embarrassment.
Take the constant checking I have to do with publishing-related businesses. I can’t assume they’re going to want to do business with me, so before we get too far down the road I have to give background info, detailed explanations, legal disclaimers (and prove that others have worked with me before) — and this is just the introductory e-mail. In essence, I apologize for what I’m doing and for imposing on them.
My hat must be in my hand, my eyes down and I should respectfully step out of the way so they can pass. In case I make them uncomfortable, I should cross the street so they don’t have to.
Usually I get praised for checking their tolerance level before daring to engage in a business conversation with them. Before I dare to believe I’m a regular publisher like anyone else making a book about cats (or cooking or yoga or whatever has been done to death). Before I dare to act as though I have a right to choose my business partners, instead of letting them choose me and being grateful for it.