Have you ever wondered why people do sex work when they can get a job that society sees as normal? Some would say it is taking the easy way out or to live the lifestyle that they want; the list goes on. So allow me take you on free ride as usually I would charge.
My name is Maya. I’m a young transgender sex worker and also an activist trying to give back to my community. Just like you and I, humans beings, we do what you do everyday . Sleep, eat, wake up and go to work. The only thing which is different is the kind of work. One of the biggest reason that I have joined sex work is because of the amount money that I can get and that it is not time consuming. For us money is important for our daily usage as some of us are not just supporting ourselves but also our family members. Some would need to pay a daily rent (as opposed to paying monthly) because they do not have their own place and cannot afford to pay deposit plus rent at one go. With the extra time we would be able to cater to our responsibilities such as taking care of children, aged parents, or just other members of our community. These are experiences shared by a few of my friends who are in varying environments and situations. Due to the above reasons, this is why we do sex work. When we are put into a position we sometimes have to do things that we do not want to do and we have to take the risk to achieve something which would allow us to grow out and fly away from the situation. I would like to make it clear that there are a few who have chosen this line of work (sex work) and have grown comfortable with it. Some of us do not have an education to begin with and doing sex work has been our only way of survival. Let’s face it, even though Singapore is a developed country, there are many of us who are living in poverty or simply struggling to make ends meet.
Lovemaking can be fun, lets be honest. It’s how our parents got us–out of love, out of affection. When we are horny with our partners we do it. For some, they just want to release. Sometimes it can be a sense of therapy or relaxation as for some sex workers they do massages, fetishes or BDSM and it is not just the happy ending. Sex work is work. Sex work is physically demanding labour that requires stamina, strength, mental and emotional resilience like many other jobs. It is skilled work therefore it is not “easy” like what many people think. Imagine, when it comes to lovemaking, many would usually do it with the person you feel for right? Thankfully, we are given the opportunity to set our terms and conditions and if our potential clients falls into the criteria we would do business with them – or should I say we have to. In order not to put ourselves at risk we have to reject whoever is unreasonable or potentially dangerous .
Do you like people getting nasty or judging you? Or people saying something hurtful that would bring your dignity down low? Make you feel as if you do not deserve any respect? What I’m trying to say is that we face discrimination. Sometimes people ask for a price which is not reasonable; it makes us feel cheap, unappreciated, and it is not healthy. Yes, it does affect us in our line of work which is also a form of business. But some of my friends have been abused in many ways by clients not paying or being played out just for the fun of it. Clients who refuse to use a condom, trying to risk us by selfishly forcing us to not use protection just to have a better feel. There are so many people out there who do not know that this is a livelihood, it is a living. It’s for a bowl of rice for their family and themselves and it really hurts if we are being discriminated. So let this be put to a stop.
Out of this I hope you understand why we do it and for what reasons. It’s not an easy way out. It’s our livelihood, it’s a living for us. Just put yourself in my position – how would you feel facing such things? Perhaps the fact should surface and be brought out from behind the rock, in hope for a better day.
Maya Rizziantte is the Youth Program Coordinator and Communications Officer at Project X, a position she has held since October 2014.