Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Dr. Michael Goodyear

Tomorrow, June 11 (at 9 p.m. central), Cult of Gracie Radio has Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, as the guest.

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, his main focus there is in responsible human research governance, particularly the ethical aspects of research. His active interest in issues of women's health have lead him to a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society.

No wonder then that he would become interested in the issues & myths surrounding sex work.

Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's put his skills and knowledge to use in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work.

An avid supporter of sex workers' rights, Michael moves past academia, actively seeking out & speaking out.

He speaks directly to the matter of why decriminalizing sex work, especially that at the street level, is a feminist issue:
Public health measures must be built on evidence based best practice. Only by moving sex work outside of the criminal justice system, focussing on public health and social care, can we achieve this and help to break the cycle of violence. Criminalisation of sex work that limits access to care contravenes UN guidelines on human rights.

Remedies for social issues surrounding prostitution lie not in legislative measures but in social determinants such as wage disparity and access to welfare that limit women’s choices. Labour politicians frequently state that the moral fibre of a society must be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members, yet their policy discriminates against the most disadvantaged.
Michael Goodyear speaks on the inaccuracies of sexually transmitted infections in sex work (found via Dr Petra Boynton):
Unfortunately the discourse in public health, and in particular that concerning services to individuals involved in commercial sex, are more likely to be informed by opinion than by evidence. In addition repeated exposure to messages reinforces and polarizes previously held prejudices.
And he speaks sanely regarding an issue that drives me insane ~ the perpetuation of myths:
It is unfortunate that the Gazette insists on repeating tired myths about sex work, without checking its facts. This is a very unbalanced article. The German World Cup story has now made its way into the archives of urban myths. Even anti-trafficking organisations such as Prevent Human Trafficking are expressing concern about the constant reporting of untruths. "It seems that this estimate originated with unsubstantiated statements made by a few antitrafficking groups which, though they have no basis in reality, have somehow gained legitimacy through repetition".
This includes challenging Melissa Farley & her "findings" on several occasions:
Melissa Farley is one of those people who are convinced there is a connection between sex work and trafficking, but mainstream researchers do not.
For more information, see his Marginalization of Women and Sex Work page.

With all of this, I'm surprised that I had not discovered Michael earlier. (We "met" at my post at Sex In The Public Square). But then, as Michael himself has noted, the myths are passed along far more enthusiastically than the truths.

Click here to listen to the show live, and call in with comments and questions at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE:

There were some issues with BlogTalkRadio's server/site, and so the show will be downloaded, edited and uploaded to adjust for that. (Hopefully it is all recorded.) Meanwhile, please be patient with the "dead air" gaps ~ the show did go on (even longer than scheduled).

And look for the return of Dr. Goodyear on a future show. (Please fee free to listen to future Cult of Gracie shows , and past shows , as well! lol) Many thanks to him for sharing his information and his patience during a glitchy show.

Also, Elizabeth at Sex In The Public Square has posted her thoughts (&wonderful questions) on the show.

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