Monday, April 8, 2013

Coyote Growls: A Voice for Sex Positive Feminism in the Late 1970s.

Coyote Growls, June/July 1975
After Kitty Desmond's Bush Street Bordello was raided in June 1973, one of the few places you may have been able to read about it was in Coyote Growls: The Newsletter of a Loose Woman's Organization.  In their June/July 1975 edition, Coyote Growls published this brief mention of the case:

Coyote Growls, June/July 1975
Seems the ACLU was enlisted, as well as a Dixie Land themed fund raiser, but further research is required before knowing how the case turned out.

The Desmond case may seem buried under the column inches of other stories, but this is only due to the wide range of relevant news that fell under Coyote Growls' (later re-titled Coyote Howls) watch during its run from 1975 to 1979.  "Dedicated to exposing and eliminating current laws against prostitution and other non crime-crimes," the journal was the
 public face of the still active Coyote sex activism group, which continues to advocate for the rights of sex workers across the United States.

Taking a look at even just a few clips from two of Coyote's issues reveals not just the political and social issues of the late 1970's, but the multifaceted spirit of an international community.

Coyote Growls, June/July 1975

Rallying against the dictates of the Lond's Women's LIberation Workshop (who claim to 'Support prostitutes, not prostitution' in an odd echo of the now familiar 'Love the sinner hat the sin" hypocrisy Coyote issues some dictates of their own, including that,  "All work is Prostitution, whether we work for money or room and board.  All women are prostitutes...Our whole lives are stolen from us by work," and, "Every alternative to prostitution is either another form of prostitution or terrible poverty or both." 
Coyote Howls, Winter 1977

Coyote Howls, Winter 1977
Later, in 1977, and under their new name, Coyote responded to continuing raids by police.  "Sex is supposed to be personal, always a free choice, different from work.  But its not a free choice when we are dependent on men for money...The line between paid and unpaid sex is what we get in return."

Echoing the need met by Kitty Desmond's "sexual therapy", Coyote writes that, "Destroyed by the work they are compelled to do, men come to us for the sexual gratification they need to continue working," reiterating the "all work is prostitution" argument.





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