There’s a whole suite of reasons why I haven’t been posting at all about the rolling disaster for sex workers and online adult speech that is the FOSTA-SESTA bill signed into law by President Trump last week. For one thing, I was waiting to make sure His Vicious Randomness actually did sign it; for another, I’ve been busy with an exhausting rescue dog ongoing mini-crisis on the home front. Third reason: despite this being rather like the #pornocalypse on steroids from an adult free speech perspective, the primary negative impact is to sex workers, who are losing their livelihoods and are in many cases at risk of losing their safety and perhaps their lives. I’m not qualified enough or knowledgeable enough about sex worker issues to write about that, but writing about free speech issues while ignoring sex worker carnage is clearly shallow and wrong. Balanced against that, I’ve had multiple actual sex workers dropping into my Twitter DMs going “Hey, when are you going to write about FOSTA-SESTA? Do you need more info? How can we help?” Which is flattering — apparently they have more faith in my ability to write about their issues than I do — but also highlights the desperation that’s out there, as too many sex workers feel like they are being “vanished” from the internet with nobody much noticing or caring or speaking up.

On top of all this, in the last few days we had the likely final frost for the year in my part of the world, which means that a sensible person of constrained financial means who mostly eats vegetables really ought to be spending every waking minute in the garden putting seeds in soil, not pounding a keyboard about a problem that’s not going to go away before the midterm elections at the absolute earliest. So, yeah. There are lots of reasons for my sense of paralysis, even helplessness, when it comes to writing about SESTA-FOSTA just now.

But I do have a lot to say. Sex workers aside (and I’m not putting you aside!) this is an enormous threat to online adult speech; it offers, and is already being used as, an excuse to justify the blue-nosed pornocalypsing tendencies of every online community and platform out there. I am on this. I am with you. But I am also just insanely busy trying to survive and keep my critters alive.

For today, I can offer this roundup of helpful links, the mere titles of which are informative, and the reading of which should be eye-opening and instructive to anybody who has gotten this far without having previously been aware of the FOSTA-SESTA disaster:

  1. FOSTA-SESTA’s real aim is to silence sex workers online: Under the cover of trafficking, sex workers are being silenced (Engadget article by Daniel Cooper, April 11)
  2. Congress just legalized sex censorship: what to know — “sex work” is not another word for trafficking (Engadget article by Violet Blue, May 30)
  3. New Legislation Forces Sex Workers Back to Streets and Strips Away Internet Freedoms in One Swoop: The SESTA-forced end of a Craigslist personal ads era means big problems for sex workers (Alternet article by Rick Riley, April 15)
  4. The lies about sex trafficking that brought down Backpage: Powerful myths about sex work are behind the war against Backpage (Salon article by Noah Berlatsky, April 15)
  5. Strange Fruit: How Sex Trafficking Laws Affect Consensual Sex Workers (Louisville public radio broadcast on WPFL interviewing trans activist and writer Londyn De Richelieu, April 15)
  6. No One Wants To Listen To Sex Workers (Washington Post opinion column by Molly Roberts, April 10)
  7. Sex News: FOSTA-SESTA damage continues (Tiny Nibbles link roundup by Violet Blue, April 14)

More soon!