Monday, January 02, 2017

Something Hard To Talk About

It is one of the little talked about facts about the trans community the trans community. The new 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reports that,
One in eight (12%) respondents have done sex work for income, and 5% of respondents did so in the past year.
And many were like this 17 year old,
“At 17, I ran away with no way of supporting myself. I turned to Internet prostitution, which allowed me to do things for myself that I couldn’t [before], like buy girl clothes, pay out of pocket for my doctor to prescribe HRT, and put a roof over my head.’’
And article on CNN is about this side of the trans community,
Transgender women at risk of sex trafficking
By Shasta Darlington, CNN
January 2, 2017

San Jose, Costa Rica (CNN)On a chilly Saturday night in the Costa Rican capital, fashionable young couples pack into nightclubs and spill onto the sidewalks.

But that's not the part of San Jose that Mariliana Morales wants to show us. She drives us down a quiet side street where the shuttered stores are covered in graffiti. On the corners, solitary women in high heels and bright lipstick stare down cars as they drive by.

"All of this area is prostitution," says Morales, the founder of the Rahab Foundation, a non-profit that rescues, rehabilitates and supports survivors of sexual exploitation and helps those who want a change, to get off the street.

The first step is outreach, she says as we pull up to an abandoned strip alongside a railroad track where two individuals stand shivering in short skirts.

"This is their turf," Morales says, as she steps out of the car, "all of the prostitutes around here are transgender."
We cannot pass judgement on them for doing what they need to do to survive.
"Here in Latin America, their own families can reject them thanks to a macho mentality," Morales explains. "They find themselves on the street and they don't have any way to obtain even the most basic things because no one will give them work."

She says she has recued transgender youth who were forced into sexual slavery -- most of them migrants from other Latin American countries who were lured to Costa Rica by traffickers or criminal gangs with the promise of jobs. Once they arrived, the traffickers confiscated their documents and they were forced to have sex -- while they paid off their "debts."
And don’t think that this is a third world problem.  It happens here in the United States, it happens here in Connecticut!

When I was interning I went to a meeting at Court Support Services Division office, they had a trans teenager who ran away from home that they were trying to find shelter for. Her story is typical of many trans girls whose family does not support them.

She ran away from home and she was at the Bridgeport bus terminal when she was picked up by trolling pimp who was looking for young girls. He took her in and locked her up, then he proceeded to get her hooked on heroin. Once she was addicted he sent the girl out on the street where she was arrested.

She turned in the pimp and he put a contract out on her.

So CSSD was looking for a place for her but no one wanted to take her in; a teenage trans girl addicted to heroin, with a contract on her life.

Another trans woman that I know had a similar history, she was thrown out of her home when she came out to her parent as a teenager, but when she was picked up for doing the only thing that she knew to survive, the police beat the crap out of her when they found out she was trans. She fled Virginia and found a homeless shelter in Bridgeport and later found her way to a YWCA shelter in Hartford where I met her. She got a job as a receptionist at a community center and an apartment under Section 8. The last I heard from here she had moved back to Virginia and was a productive member of society. I heard her sign at once at a TDOR and she has the most beautiful voice.

So please think before you condemn those who know only one way to survive, many of them are without family, friends, an education, all because they were thrown or ran away from an abusive family. Get to know their stories.

I hope that Section 8 Housing doesn't get cut, food stamps and Medicaid are also on the chopping block, Without them many trans people will not survive or will be forced back to working the streets to in order to live.

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