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Showing posts with label transgender sex trafficking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transgender sex trafficking. Show all posts

Thursday, August 27, 2015

THE RISK OF FOCUSING ONLY ON TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

When we started Sex Workers Anonymous - we have always stood on the fact of "not caring where you came from, what you did, who you worked with, how much you made, etc.".   Nor have we focused on why someone entered the industry.  To us - it's like asking an addict or alcoholic to make a distinction about why they started drinking and/or using, or even to make a distinction about how they got the alcohol and/or chemicals.  I mean does it matter if the addict got their fix by a legal prescription or by stealing the drugs?  Isn't what we're supposed to care about when they come to us ONLY about helping them to transition out of sex work?

Which is one of the reasons why we strongly denounce the focusing of resources ONLY upon trafficking victims when it comes to helping a man or women to transition out of sex work.  We also don't believe that getting someone out of sex work is about just offering drug treatment and job training.  To prove our point - let's talk about the transgender issue that's going on in the news with now with respect to Cait Jenner.

Now we can all see that Bruce Jenner had enough money on hand already to pay for the surgeries, hormones, doctors, clothing, etc. without resorting to sex work.  However, that's not the case for the many transgenders I've come to know who are in the sex industry.  I've come to know many who have gone through the transition - many who are still going through the transition.  Trust me - work becomes an issue.  Not just to pay for the transition - but just to pay the rent.

First of all, many surgeons require that one live as the sex they're transitioning into for at least a year.  So if they're a man transitioning into being a woman - they need to live as a woman.  However, many employers are not very understanding about an employee who is wearing a dress while sporting a 5 o'clock shadow.  There's also the question of where is this money going to come from for the surgery, the new clothing, even legal fees for name changes, etc.  Nor are many landlords very open minded either.  So it's not like someone going through this can just get a job or an apartment anywhere like other people can -  so even the simple basic things can be an issue.

It's very easy to fall back upon the sex industry to pay for the transition - especially when most of the transgenders are young.  Especially when the category of the 1/2 man 1/2 woman is very popular within the sex industry.  Not just for physical sex but even on the webcam categories.  Many of the webcam sites, as well as many strip clubs, report that the "lady boys" are their most popular categories.  Even with the S&M communities - the idea of a mistress who is a combination of male and female are quite popular.

Now I'm not saying that all transgenders are prostitutes.  Cait Jenner proves that this is not the case across the board.  Nor do many transgenders choose to enter into sex work to pay for their transition.  But the fact remains that while going through the transition - just paying the rent becomes difficult.  I refer again to a short interview I had with Mya Taylor who is in the film "Tangerine" out right now who reported that many of the transgenders she's known have resorted to sex work to both pay for the transition as well as to support themselves when going through the awkward stages.

Again not always by choice.  We have an interview here for example of one of our members who was thrown out of his house at very young age when his parents found out he wanted to go through the change.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stopsextrafficktalk/2013/03/14/transgender-hiv-trafficking-survivor-speaks  Not having finished school, and not even being old enough to get a work permit - this young boy had to eat.  So sex work became a way for him to support himself when everyone else had abandoned him - and to also pay for his sex change.  This is more common than you might think as we get many members who report to us their families abandoned them when they found out they wanted to go through the change.  You also can't just go to any group or foster home - without finding yourself being beaten, raped, tortured, abused, etc.  So yes in some cases living on your own and working in the sex industry does become a safer option for you.

Even after the transition - questions are going to come up with employers and landlords.  In a bad economy with 1,000's of applicants - many won't hire someone who has gone through such a change for one reason or another.  Health even can become a factor.  I've known many transgenders who have had difficulty adjusting to the hormones - leading to a lot of time spent not able to work.  Which is another plus about the sex industry - you get clients, or regulars, who will often help you through these times because they care about you.

Now trafficking is a fact of life with anyone - male, female or transgender.  But the reality is that sex trafficking is very minimal with respect to transgenders for a few reasons.  One being that as a man to begin with - they're strong.  Strong enough to defend themselves physically if threatened and/or attacked.  So they're not likely to be so easily physically threatened like a tiny 90 pound woman might be by a pimp.

Second, they're not as prone to the emotional deception pimps use.  Nor can they be knocked up and saddled with a kid that ties them to the pimp for 18 years or more like they do when it comes to females.  It's just harder to traffick men vs. women because also of the way we're raised also.  Women tend to be more submissive and raised to sort of let themselves be dominated by men - but not the men who are transitioning into women.

It's also about the clients.  While there is a huge pool of clients who get off on the idea of seeing a woman who is being forced to see them, and degraded in such a manner as this - usually the clients who want to see transgenders are not into seeing this kind of degradation.  So there's also just less demand for trafficked transgenders.

Within the pimp communities - it's not a sign of respect to be trafficking in transgenders.  You won't see a lot of attention giving to a transgender pimp at say the "Pimp n Ho Ball" for example.  In some circles it's even an insult between pimps like "oh he is so bad he can only pimp transgenders".

Not that it's not done at all.  One of our early members was Mike.  He was sold at 8 years old.  The gang that bought him would dress him up like a girl, and fed him hormones in his morning juice.  The reason was the wealthy men who bought him could explain a young girl traveling with them easier than they could a young boy.  So when he'd travel with his clients - he'd always be dressed like a girl so as to throw off the press about who he was or why he was there.  Mike was also being prepared to be forced to go through the change - but killed his pimp when he was 13 years old because he didn't want to be forced to go through the change.

Now I want you to imagine how you've been in sex work to cope, and pay for, the transition for many years.  Only now you're there.  You've found a place to live and have a career and settled into your new life.  Now it's time to quit sex work.  But it's not an easy adjustment.  Where do you go for help to go through this transition now from sex work back into other work?

www.sexworkersanonymous.com

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Cook-County-Jail-works-on-transgender-policies-/42906.html