Okay, the rundown. This is for you and anyone else in NYC interested in escorting. Depending on where you live, there are two clinics that could use your help: Dr. Emily’s, in the Bronx, and Choices in Jamaica, Queens.
My information is more current for Choices, because that’s where I volunteer (and that’s where I’ll be tomorrow/next week). If you want to volunteer at Dr. Emily’s, either email contactATnownycDOTorg and ask them for details, or let me know, and I’ll ask my volunteer coordinators who you should contact.
If you want to volunteer at Choices (which you should, because I am there, and thus it is clearly the superior place (mostly kidding)), the protesters show up on Saturdays from 7-10ish in the morning. Yes, that’s… incredibly early. It sucks balls. Some of the escorts come later, if that makes it more manageable.
To give you an idea of what my Saturdays look like: I used to live in the Village, and it took me 50 minutes to get out to Choices. Now I live next to Mount Sinai, in Carnegie hill, and it takes me an hour and 20 minutes. So I wake up…….. early.
If the whole “waking up at 6 in the morning to get yelled at for three hours” hasn’t thrown you off, here’s the basic info for getting to the clinic and becoming an escort:
The clinic is located at 147-32 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica NY. The entrance is NOT on Jamaica Avenue- it’s on 147th street. You will be able to tell, because the entrance will have an awning and a bunch of protesters around it.
If you are a woman/ you look female, you’ll know you’re at the right place because someone will tell you to save your baby.
When you get to Choices, locate the escorts. We are very easy to spot, because we will be wearing white lab coats. Tell one of us that you’re a new escort or that you’re volunteering, and we’ll take it from there.
If you don’t see any escorts, go inside and tell the receptionist that you’re a new escort - she’ll direct you to the right place.
And that’s basically it! Training is on-the-ground/ in-full-action - you’ll be with another escort or two, so you don’t have to worry about being new. We have all perfected our intimidating glares, and we are willing to share our secrets, so you don’t have to worry about not being intimidating!
(besides, I’m about as intimidating as a fly, and I do okay).
If you’re planning to come tomorrow, there will be cookies, made by me. And I will love you so fucking much. If you’re planning to come anytime in the next couple months, and you’d like to meet up with me (which is hard, because this is the internet, and we don’t use real names outside), let me know in advance, and I’ll tell you if I’m planning to be there. I am easily identifiable by my glasses, red-brown hair and grumpy look on my face.
AND THAT IS SUZANNE’S LONG SPIEL ABOUT HOW TO BE A CLINIC ESCORT IN NEW YORK.
Now, fellow new yorkers: DO THE THING.
There’s one basic caveat to this whole thing:
If you are a person of color - especially if you are black or brown - you need to know that the protesters will target you more. Be forewarned. Our Korean-american escort gets *no* racialized harassment, but the black escorts who do… get a whole shitload.
I have also been escorting at Choices for the last couple months. It requires me to wake up at 5am on whatever Saturday I can make it, and I have found it 100% worth it every time.
NOW NYC will have clinic escorting classes every few months, but they’re totally fine with you e-mailing and then showing up. They’ll send you a list of stuff to know, and they’ll give you another quick rundown when you show up.
The antis will make you feel so angry sometimes, but I have found that the other escorts are some of the most awesome people I’ve met since I moved to NYC last year. (hi Suzanne, I have probably totally met you but I have also learned almost no ones real name!)
I will also be at Choices tomorrow and I will be breaking out my last box of Thin Mints for all the other awesome folks who show up!