Love & Sex Magazine

An Apology

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

unrung bellEvery writer, especially when first starting out, writes a few things that, on looking back, cause her to say something like “What the Hell was I thinking when I wrote that?”  In fact, there are a LOT of things I wrote my first year that make me feel that way.  However, I’m a big believer in transparency; before the Internet, one couldn’t just “un-publish” embarrassing articles, and I don’t think it’s ethical or even wise to try that now just because one can.  You can’t un-ring a bell, and you can’t unsay hurtful things, and to attempt to do so by shoving mistakes – even ugly ones – down the memory hole is to attempt to rewrite the past, a favorite pastime of censors and tyrants through the ages.  I’m a real, flawed human being, and though I believe racism and bigotry are deeply wrong, sometimes things don’t really come out like I wanted them to.  In September of 2010, I published a post explaining why some sex workers refuse to see black men, and it soon became my most controversial; a lot of people called me a racist and worse because of it, but because I also received a lot of mail from black men thanking me for explaining it (even if they sometimes rightfully chastised me for the crappy, sloppy, careless, insensitive, amateurish, assholish, and unnecessarily hurtful way I expressed it), I’ve always felt it was best to leave it up.  However, the essay has recently become a major bone of contention in the sex worker rights movement, and some people whose opinions and feelings I care deeply about have told me that they are offended or upset by it.  As many of you know or have surmised, I consider loyalty to those I love to be among the highest of virtues, so when a loved one says that something I did – even inadvertently, and even six years ago – hurt her in some way, you can bank on the fact that I’m going to try to correct that in any way I can.  And so, though I know the decision will annoy or upset some people as much as the original essay did, I have decided it’s time to take it down.  I am not doing this in order to pretend it never existed; as I wrote above, I own my mistakes as much as I own my accomplishments.  And even if I wanted it to vanish completely, the internet has made that impossible.  The reason I am doing this is, quite simply, because some people I respect and some people I love and respect asked me to, and that is reason enough for me.   I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my language, or who may be offended in the future by copies of the essay which exist elsewhere; please believe that any hurt I caused was wholly unintentional.


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