By now you no doubt have heard about the massive arrests in Phoenix, Arizona which targeted Tracy Elise’s Goddess Temple. Thirty people were indicted and Tracy Elise is being held on a million dollar bail. Meanwhile, tantric practitioners and sex worker rights activists have weighed in on the merits of Tracy Elise’s defense which is that she was not practicing prostitution, but rather exercising her freedom of religion.
Some have scoffed. Others have been supportive. But in the final analysis, I believe we need to suspend our judgments and refrain from applying our personal standards to this situation. This is an important moment in history which may advance sex worker rights and sexual freedoms or catapult us into an even more draconian era of sexual repression. If we desire the former, our stance must be inclusive, not divisive.
If we come together to assert “standards” against which we feel entitled to measure the motives and veracity of others who are doing NO harm, then we run the risk of emulating the very oppressions we seek to rise above. Instead, let us support the freedom and choice of ALL those who put healing into the world. Our only standards should be that NO harm is done. Consensual, adult behaviors must be protected as the freedoms we all have an inalienable right to. It is not our business to determine what is “real” religion, “true” spirituality or “right” tantra.
Live and Let Live should be the maxim by which we live. And in the context of a sexual bill of rights it is imperative that we support all who are seeking to create a peaceful, pleasurable world in stark contrast to the predominantly violent and sex-negative world we currently live in. Certainly we want to distance ourselves from and even enact sanctions against those who would use “sexual freedom” as an excuse to perpetrate against anyone who is underage or otherwise unable to give consent. But short of that, we must stand firm for the rights of others to practice any form of religion, spirituality, sacred sex, tantra, sacred prostitution, prostitution, or sex work they feel called to.
Let’s build bridges not barriers.