This is our truth, tell us yours
So last night while tweeting I tried to engage someone with a religious objection to sex work by pointing out that as a Christian it would be very hard for me to have an abortion, as it clearly goes against Gods will, it is, as far as I can determine a sin. This was instantly declared to be an anti choice position, despite the number of times I have said my personal views on abortion effect in no way my belief abortion must be freely available to all who want one. The lack of nuance in the fight for abortion rights seems to outstrip even that around sex work.
Its fascinating how a pro-choice position seems to be predicated on believing a number of things which have nothing to do with being pro choice, and yet again the parallels with sex work are clear. How someone feels about a right has no impact on whether that right should be freely available to all or not. How someone personally feels about a whole host of topics are used as evidence far too often. Rights, if the term is to have any meaning, must be moved from the arena of feelings and into the realm of rationality. Otherwise we are no better than the antis who believe that sex for money is a moral wrong, which must be righted.
Look at feminism and the labour and legal protections it has brought in, they are positives and have made the world, in my opinion a better place. However for those whose kink is of the 1950s variety, or those religious households where they might as well be practising 1950s kink these are not advances. 1950s kink is proof that no matter how reasonable or unobjectionable you think your feelings are, they are not universal, there will be someone out there who believes that they impinge on their feelings.
It may be the case that if someone is conflicted about their choice to have an abortion they may feel that anyone who personally disapproves of abortions is disapproving of them. In this situation it is almost impossible to convince the person otherwise. No matter how strongly you say this is my belief, it bears no relation to your choices, just as your choices cannot affect me, they will not hear you. This is most likely due to an external locus of evaluation, needing the outside world to approve their decisions so that they can feel it is OK. The problem with this is, of course, that there can never be universal approval for someones choices, and thus they will always be left feeling that they have done something wrong.
The only way to be happy with our choices is to make them from an internal locus of evaluation, for the choice to be based on our own self-knowledge and self awareness and be from a place of knowing and feeling it is the right choice for us. If someone is waiting for the world to all resemble a borg cube where everyone feels and believes as one, they will never reach this point.
It may be the case that the “happy hooker” narrative and the “sex work stinks” narrative are both from the same place. By placing feelings at the center of the debate, rather than rights, people may in fact be looking for that external approval of their choices. An approval that is as irrelevent to the wider argument as the disapproval of the antis.
As soon as we say, you cannot feel that, or you must feel this, in order to have rights or to support other people having rights, you are also opening the door to others who say, we can oppose your rights on our feelings. Lets ditch the idea that rights are about what we feel to be right.