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The Security Inked Deepthroat Found at Rentboy.com

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COVER DESIGN: MICHAEL SHIREY/ PHOTOGRAPH: ISTOCK USER TAWS13

Inked Deepthroat was with his uncle, who is gay and worldly wise, when a text flashed on his cell phone announcing the raid on rentboy.com –– and that his world had been turned upside down.

One friend was among the seven arrested by agents from the US Department of Homeland Security backed up by the NYPD, and he thought, “This was not okay. I’m not going to let people I care about be arrested without a fight.”

He joined a coalition trying to protect the human rights of sex workers.

Tattooed young man talks about sex work’s role in moving beyond troubled upbringing

The tattooed young man, who is 27, was a regular advertiser on rentboy.com and met men frequently through its services. He was a satisfied customer who found the staff “sweet and genuine.” They “cared” about my having a “safe experience.”

Inked Deepthroat explained that his work with rentboy was an essential part of his income and well-being. An attentive listener and blessed with a pleasant smile, he formed connections through his advertisements that gave him a solidly middle class life. He was moving from a chaotic adolescence to a more stable life, and rentboy was one important means for making that transition.

Given the prosecutorial bent of federal officials, Inked Deepthroat asked that he remain anonymous, but he was eager to recount his story dating back to high school, which he spent in a haze of alcohol and pain pills with friends whose lives were similarly enmeshed in addiction. That led him to a two-year lockdown in a drug rehab program that provided the skills to claim his sobriety but also actively repressed his gay feelings.

He moved from his hometown to San Francisco to come out and discovered he wasn’t just gay but was a sexual adventurer, as well. He met people who wanted to do things he had never dreamed of and after trying something new often found he felt ecstatic.

“I learned I was pig,” he said matter of factly. The natural progression of things led him to work as a stripper and in porn. To be sure, that broke him out of the closet, but it wasn't the direction he wanted his life to take.

“I moved to New York to get a career and build a full life,” Inked Deepthroat explained.

The porn experience was useful, however, in helping him find work at a television production company. On his résumé, he listed the production work he did for San Francisco porn filmmakers and that proved to be the clincher that led to an entry-level position. It was his first employment that offered a career ladder, after working as a waiter and other jobs he considered dead-end.

Still, at $650 a week, the TV gig was not enough to live on. He needed to roughly double his income if he were to keep current on his student loans and pay for a weekly visit with a therapist. Rentboy provided access to those funds.

Rentboy, which takes no share of their advertisers’ income, offered parties and courses on health and knowing your rights. Honors were handed out, and a sense of community encouraged. These events allowed to him to meet other advertisers. People can often be hostile to those they compete with at work, but the friendships Inked Deepthroat made through rentboy, he explained, provided stability and a sense there were people who could be trusted to watch his back. If he had a new client he would provide the phone number and particulars to a friend with instructions to call the police if the friend had not heard from him with an hour and a half of an agreed-upon time. In a testament to how successfully Inked Deepthroat was able to use rentboy to establish limits and agree to mutual likes and dislikes with men who contacted him, his friends never once needed to trigger the police alert.

The complaint authorizing the rentboy arrests cites information that advertisers provided to those curious about meeting. Such communications, in Inked Deepthroat’s telling, are precisely what led to a sense of decorum with his potential customers and dramatically reduced the risk of misunderstandings that could make for unpleasant or dangerous encounters.

“I’d have a client and we would discuss what we would do and what we would not do,” he said.

A range of legal thinkers –– from the Canadian Supreme Court to Amnesty International and a group of leading LGBT legal groups that signed on to AI’s call for decriminalizing sex work –– all place particular emphasis on the ability of a sex worker to communicate, negotiate, and screen clients in order to reduce risks of harm to either one of them. It was the special genius of rentboy that its website facilitated these negotiations. It allowed two consenting adults to meet –– with clarity about their purposes.

These measure that reduce risk are seen by the prosecutors as evidence of prostitution, and not as evidence of two people trying to find games they both are willing to play.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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Reader feedback

write term papers says:
No doubt that rent boys are the bane of our society and government should try to stop it by taking strong action against them. Because it is against the law of nature that's why we are facing more problems now in our lives.
June 15, 2016, 2:41 am
krogerfeedback says:
No doubt that rent boys are the bane of our society and government should try to stop it by taking strong action against them. Because it is against the law of nature that's why we are facing more problems now in our lives
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