Nevada legalizes male prostitution

But a lobbyist fears equal opportunity will destroy the brothel industry

Published December 14, 2009 4:15PM (EST)

On Friday, one of Nevada's most important industries took a big step toward gender equality. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean men in leotards will now be serving cocktails on casino floors at 9 a.m., but it does mean that people who like to have sex with men will legally be able to purchase an opportunity to do so.

Technically, male prostitution wasn't expressly prohibited before, but health codes required "that prostitutes must undergo 'cervical' testing for sexually transmitted diseases," leaving those without a cervix out of a job. Bobbi Davis, owner of the Shady Lady Ranch, hired an ACLU lawyer to ask that the language be changed, and the health board approved the request. Davis intends to have male prostitutes working for her in the new year. Like her female employees, they'll decide whether to accept men, women or both as clients.

Although Davis and other brothel owners will probably be happy to have a new revenue stream in tough economic times, you know that whenever the subject of men having sex with men comes up, somebody's going to A) be unhappy and B) say something remarkably stupid on the record. In this case, the outrageously offensive overstatement of the day award goes to George Flint, longtime lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association (and a former Assemblies of God minister), who called the decision "Pearl Harbor for the brothel industry." He predicts "fallout and backlash" because "Some may feel it's a repugnant thing to do or something that does not have the appetite of the state as a whole." As opposed to female prostitution, which everyone's thrilled about? Yep, if you ask Flint. "We've worked hard for years to make the traditional brothel business in this state socially acceptable and something we can be proud of that most Nevadans accept," he said. But clearly, a population that's cool with female prostitution, gambling and drive-thru wedding chapels will find the idea of men selling sex unacceptably tacky. Of course.


By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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