Opening: 19 November 2021
Advisory Caution: Language Used In The Text Below Is Explicit

Do you know what is a transgender sex worker is?

Is it someone who sells sex and is a transgender?

Yes? No!

 

No don’t really know what it is do you?

 

Transgender sex worker means:

 

Men started fucking you when you were a child and you thought it was cool because they could see you were a girl.

It means your parents did not come looking for you because you were too much of a problem at home, a problem they didn’t know how to deal with.

 

It means social services turned a blind eye to all of this because you cannot place a child in foster care or a shelter who has gender issues.

 

It means the police turned a blind eye to the paedophiles who give you drugs and fuck you since you were a teenager because social services don’t know what to do with you and you can’t arrest a child.

It means you will experience rape, see murder and death before you are 18.

It means the day you hit 18 you will suddenly face the law and you will now find another ready to acknowledge your gender identity.

 

Let’s talk about prison.

There you are a lady. Now you will slowly walk with pain and more violence to start learning how to use your body with power over men who want to fuck you.

It means you will most likely have HIV before you are 21 and only discover it when you are almost dead…

But excuse me… I am tired of performing my poverty now I will leave out the other 20 definitions of a black transgender sex worker.

Because this is a performance, it’s not a speech. It is a performance of my life by me. Thank you for the opportunity. But I want to tell you some other things too.

I am a whole person. I am 38. I am beautiful even though my body is so messed it.

I have known love and I have known adventure and I have had power and I have touched things most people only fantasise about.

I have come to an understanding to use what I have learned in the underworld and it make it work this world.

To be able to look at society from the underworld one can see the problems with gender, see the violence of capitalism.

This world which is not the underworld favours certain people and looks with disgust at those who are left behind.

My eyes have been open. I have not given in to that.

I live in my shack, I walk the streets, I suffer the terrible medical system that I’m supposed to use.

But I know it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault that I don’t have a car that I don’t live in a brick house.

I have a brain.

 

And so normally at this point of my speech I say this:

I feel your side glances, your blind spots, your superiority and I see you looking at these images of me, sipping on your wine… But I will say something else today.

Stop wondering about whether we should decriminalize sex work?

Stop wondering if we should make clients the criminals.

Stop all this wondering and listen.

 

Listen to me.

I don’t want your daughter to be a sex worker either. But what if it did happen to her?

Let us decide to live in a world where sex work is ONLY about consenting adults do with their bodies. Because let’s face it – that’s what it is. Nobody should be telling you how to have sex.

Shouldn’t your daughter one day to do with her body what she wants? And when she makes her own decisions…

Let’s have a way to say no to police brutality.

Let’s have a way to say no to stigma and the hate people have, because a law gives them permission.

Because this is the only function of a law banning sex work.

It does not stop sex work. It does not protect women. It does not keep men at home.

It does not stop the spread of HIV.

It does the opposite.

Make sex workers and their work legal. Give them the power to make choices. And when they want to move on if that is not for them, give them the power to do that too.

Change your mind if you are still doubting. It might save your child’s life.

 

Thank you.

 

Speech by Leigh Davids of The Sistaaz Hood from the exhibition interseXion.

 

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