A look into the prevalence of Asian transgender sex workers in America

(Photo credit - Tiana Markova-Gold)

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Trans sex workers who are American citizens usually engage in the practice only when there are no other options — very few actually choose to become one. However, in the case of Asian trans women in America, there are other reasons for doing so — most common: no papers. It is the easiest way to make a lot of money without having legal status, especially if one is supporting family in the home country. Others find prostitution an escape from having to deal with heterosexual people, bypassing the need  to bring up their trans status.

Filipino sex workers in particular like the anti-discrimination laws here that protects even them, rather than being back at home and facing public ridicule and oppression from the dominating Catholic Church just for being transgender. New York City is considered a safe place by many sex workers — just the meeting of many others like themselves affords a sense of protection and a community for expression.

Clients easily found on Craigslist brings in up to $300 an hour they say. But the upkeep is expensive too – clothing, surgery, and other expensive upgrades to one’s look to attract clients.

But then, there’s the downside — violence, drugs, arrests, deportation – all unavoidable mental health stress fostering the decline of physical health.  There isn’t a trans-specific Filipino American organization to help those that come to America even though trans advocates say there is a need for one. But just the same, Filipino trans women would avoid a Filipino organization because of the negative cultural stigma of being exposed as prostitute and/or transgender in the Filipino community.

I do wonder what happens when health or age bring about the end of their days as a sex worker? Is there a community waiting for them here, or do they mostly go home?

More on the lack of Filipino American organizations for trans sex workers: http://thefilam.net/2012/03/18/theres-no-filam-organization-advocating-for-transgender-women/

(Photo credit - Tiana Markova-Gold)

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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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