Statement: Working from premises

I am an immigrant lesbian woman and I work as a prostitute. I have written this because I can’t speak publicly as a prostitute. I am fed up with living a double life.

I decided to go on the game because I didn’t want to be dependent on men anymore. But to be independent from men, to be able to do your own thing you need money to support yourself.

I couldn’t face the poverty of living on benefits. Going on the game seemed the only way to make some money and have a certain amount of freedom at the same time.

But the price I have to pay is very high, in terms of illegality, isolation, relationships…. First of all I have to go to bed with all these men in order to say no to men in my private life. But the worst thing is not so much the job itself, but what it means for the rest of my life.

People have funny ideas about prostitutes although it is changing because of the campaign for decriminalisation. We have more power and people are beginning to understand that the only difference between pros and non-pros is the illegality.

Although it’s becoming easier I still have to calculate all the time who to tell, when and how to tell them, and what effect it will have on my relationships. Some people freak out at the idea that I am having sex with all these men, they think it’s disgusting and therefore that I am disgusting. I really resent people using my job against me – I am not my work.

With the laws making us illegal we are very vulnerable to anything from rape, blackmail and pimping, to losing custody of our children. Also as an immigrant I could be deported and I wouldn’t know where to go. All these things put together mean that we can feel pretty low sometimes, or terribly angry and upset.

Lesbians and prostitutes are often the same women and even when we are not it is clear that we want the same things – the power to decide who to love and money helps a lot!