A groundbreaking project from the authors of Male Sex Work and Society
Over the last 10 years, lots has changed in the landscape of male escorts and male sex work. One casualty of criminalization and over policing of the internet was the Me, Us, & Male Escorting project. Originally devised by the authors of the outstandingly researched and presented Male Sex Work and Society (Harrington Park Press, 2014), Victor Minichiello, Ph.D., and John Scott, PhD.
Their website described the project thusly:
Me, Us, & Male Escorting is the result of a joint research collaboration between Professor Victor Minichiello and Professor John Scott. Together they authored the book MALE SEX WORK AND SOCIETY. In creating this blog their intent is to support the development of an ethically operated and entrepreneurially responsible business enterprise in society by:
- ENGAGEMENT: Sharing and engagement of reliable and research-based knowledge
- PROFESSIONAL: Exploring topics that move escorting into a more professional and decriminalized activity in society
- CREDIBLE: Highly specialised with evidence-based, expert commentary
- WELLNESS: Promoting health, wellness, and high standards in male escorting – people who use escorts as well as the escorts themselves
- GLOBAL: Always a global perspective and promoting social justice as decriminalization of sex work is an important human right issue, see Amnesty International declaration [PDF]
Nobel goals for a community in need
In addition to the website, which acted as a sort of on-the-ground companion to the book, there were plans for an Android app designed to collate male escort directories and male sex work resources for both providers and clients:
Access over 300 male escort websites from around the globe (60 countries) with an app called MALES, and designed for both male and female clients. Soon to be released in an Android App.
With the shutdown of the world’s largest male escort website, rentboy.com, and a broader crackdown on providers and those who provided any type of services to providers under FOSTA/SESTA. The plans for this endeavor were ultimately scrapped. Even a project like this, designed only to help and to reduce harm would have been subject to potential prosecution in the United States under FOSTA.
The purpose of the Male Escorting project
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the minds behind Me, Us, & Male Escorting made some profound and enduring statements, and it’s worth preserving them in some form until we realize their dream of full decriminalization:
“As we are talking about male escorting, we want to capture the full dimension of this phenomena. This includes males who offers services to both other males and females. We acknowledge that male escorting is mostly about men who have paid sex with other men and our research has largely focused on this dimension of sex work. Our blog, that describes the existing websites, shows that the majority of these are sites marketed for men. Likewise, research shows that gay identifying men form a large percentage of escorts and clients. But there are a significant number of escorts who either offer services to other men or women or male clients who are not gay or women.
“We make several assumptions, directing attention to the future possibilities in sex work: that sex work will be decriminalised across the globe (in some place this reform will occur in our lifetime, in others not); that as a result, stigma around paid sex will be lessened and same-sex relations will be legal in most or all nations and widely accepted (although this will be a slower political and public civic right issue in some states); and that people will be more comfortable with the diversity of sexualities, probably debunking the old lines between heterosexuality and homosexuality. We do not wish to affirm that one sexuality is superior or inferior, one more legitimate than the other, or both are the same. We acknowledge that people express their sexual selves and freedom with great diversity and embodiment of their world views.
“Hopefully this context will lessen the need to segregate information for people into separate boxes and move the agenda beyond coping with the effects of stigmatisation to how stigma can be eliminated. We don’t want to over-dwell on marginalisation, even though it is a reality experienced in everyday living as we speak, particularly for gay men. We do want to extend a dialogue on male sex work to existing and new and untapped audiences on this topic and create forums that assist in the deconstruction and removal of stigmatisation.”
About the authors and project creators
Victor Minichiello, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health & Human Biosciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne (Australia), and Section Editor of BMC Public Health. An internationally recognized sexual health and public health researcher, Victor has published over 170 books and journal articles that have a high citation rate. He has published extensively on the male sex industry (over 20 journal papers), including invitations to contribute to four recent international edited books and an encyclopedia on men and masculinities, and is one of the world’s top authorities on the subject. His research has focused on the sexuality issues of a number of marginalized groups, including men who have sex with men, sex workers, and older people.
John Scott, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Law, School of Justice, Queensland Institute of Technology (Australia). He is an internationally recognized sexual health and public health researcher. Since 2001, John has published one book, one book chapter, and eight peer-reviewed articles on the sex industry in Australia. He also has published two encyclopedia entries on aspects of the sex industry, and has presented numerous seminars and conference papers on the sex industry at national and international forums.
Minichiello, V., & Scott, J. (n.d.). Male Sex Work and Society. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9781939594013