my move to #ldnont, #sexwork and other random things

When I first moved to London, Ontario, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going (which is honestly a re-occurring theme in my life). I was out of school after the thought of becoming an accountant went up in smoke. And well, eventually I learned that I basically suck at math.

It was June 2006 when I arrived in London, Ontario. The only reason I remember this date is because I went to Windsor, Ontario that same year for my twenty-first birthday, thinking I was going to visit Detroit at the same time to celebrate that milestone (whatever *that* milestone is). I also used strip at this time. Yeah, I used to get naked for money, shake my money-makers, you know…the whole shabang (except for those nipple tassels, I never did those). I went to Windsor for stripping and thought about working in Detroit (but that never happened because I immediately went back to London).

So, London, Ontario. June 2006. It was nothing special except I knew that I needed to escape Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. I don’t hate SSM. I just can’t stand being in one place for too long. I moved out of my family home at the age of seventeen and I was still in high school. Like most of my readers know, I also started escorting at the age of eighteen. Yes, I was still in high school and yes, I escorted before I started stripping. I like to do things the unconventional way…not that there is a conventional way to do sex work but people tend to assume most sex workers start out as strippers—not true, sex workers are a dynamic group of badasses that just do what they want, how they want and undoubtedly, they do things on their own terms…spank you very much.

But this post isn’t going to be about the history of my pathway way into sex work. Rather, this post is about why I recommend taking a women’s studies/gender studies course before you apply to law school.

Wait, what?! Why should I talk about London?! And sex work!? Well, after living in a dancer house for about nine months, I decided I wanted to go back to school. So, I applied to college, graduated college, had no idea what I was doing after I graduated and thought, “I might as well apply to university.” I applied to Western University (or The University of Western Ontario). Again, like with all things in my life, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going with this whole university thing. All I knew was that I wanted to study criminology and I knew that even before I knew what criminology was. I just saw that “criminology” was an area that I could major/specialize in at the Faculty of Social Science.

By the time I was in university and before I took my first women’s studies/gender studies course, I chose to specialize in criminology and have a minor in sociology but I hated sociology although all my criminology courses were sociology-based. Specifically, I hated studying all these white dude theories about the social and space… space! Can you imagine?! People in academia discuss topics like space and not outer space but space like Starbucks-coffee-shops-space.[1] I decided about half way through my undergraduate studies that I wanted something different. I didn’t know what I wanted so I chose women’s studies/gender studies.

I will always remember my first women’s studies/gender studies course because it was the first time I seen an Indigenous woman’s name on the syllabus. For that class, the professor assigned a chapter from Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples. It was at that moment that I felt “welcome” into that space, that my voice and experiences actually mattered in academia. And to think, it took many, many, many years to experience that feeling, sadly. Not elementary school. Not high school. Not college. But university…half way into my degree.

Anyways, Linda Tuhiwai Smith. Decolonizing Methodologies. Research and Indigenous peoples. Yessssss! It was mostly amazing because I already read the entire book and this was more like a review (so, double yessssss!). Then, in my other women’s studies/gender studies courses, more work by non-white people came up! I was in heaven. Sitting in the whitest-of-white spaces and not reading strictly white people stuff. Okay, maybe not exactly heaven but getting better than talking about the sociology of “Starbucks-neighbourhood” spaces. Nevertheless, this—reading and discussing works by people other than just old white men—is not the only reason I recommend taking a women’s studies/gender studies course before applying to law school.

In my women’s studies/gender studies courses, I also had to write a lot and sometimes, I had to present too. And the discussions in class? Vibrant, engaging, and you know, worth attending class for. You might think, “Wait, don’t you have to write a lot in university anyways?” No. These courses sometimes require you to write “journals” and then submit one of those journals to be marked. In the journals, you have to engage the course readings in a meaningful way (like critically engage with the reading and respond to the reading). This type of “journaling” was done in some of my first year law classes, which I truly appreciated (because I hate exams). Anyways, in all seriousness, enrolling in women’s studies/gender studies improved my writing (though I can definitely still work on my writing). The classes also helped to think critically about the things I was reading because the readings challenged me, helped me grow as a student and as a person, and the readings taught me to see things from a different perspective. I know this isn’t exactly the most convincing post to persuade you take a women’s studies/gender studies course before you apply to law school (if that is something you even want to do). There are other courses you can enroll in and there are other degrees you can take but I truly believe that my experiences (which are too many to name and describe) in these courses have continuously helped me throughout law school. Also, I will never forget my professors that I met in these classes.

As for the connection to sex work, it was sex work that got me out of Sault Ste. Marie and *poof* I was in London.[2] Who knows where I would be today if it wasn’t for sex work!


[1] I actually didn’t mind the course I took on the sociology of space but I hated my course on actual outer space, with stars and shit.

[2] Okay, my move to London wasn’t *poof* magical…it was more like “hi, welcome to this hot sweaty twelve hour bus ride” after I sold everything I owned (which wasn’t a lot…just enough to buy a ticket) and with less than $20.00 to my name.

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2 comments

  1. Hi! I am interested in picking up courses in gender studies at western, so this article came at a great time for me. Could you could recommend any courses or professors that really stood out for you?

    1. Hi Elizabeth, Thank you for reading my post. I really enjoyed the courses that focused on law. In my fourth year, Prof. Nussbaum taught a course on transgender people and the law in various jurisdictions–probably one the most memorable courses but I am not certain she teaches there now. I would recommend taking a course that interests you based on the content (usually previous syllabuses are available online via google). Also, don’t ever look at “rate your professor” sites because they generally (meaning they do) suck in all aspects.

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