How would you react if the mention of your occupation draws out a disgusted look thrown your way, followed by verbal abuse? Disheartened, discouraged, depressed, perhaps? Sadly, such abhorrent reactions are a grim reality for sex workers, particularly in their quest for love.
Trying to find love while your profession is so widely looked down upon seems like an impossible feat, especially in a world where hatred and discrimination still run amok. From the tales we heard, finding love seems irrelevant when your life is threatened while on the job.
To understand the problems and the plight of sex workers a little better, we asked Colombian transgender sex worker Mia Gomez about the difficulties she’s experienced while trying to find love.
What Problems Do Sex Workers Face While Trying To Find Love?
Would your date being involved in sex work be a complete dealbreaker for you? To the point where you’d get up and leave? Colombian sex worker Mia Gomez tells us that she’s experienced men not wanting to have anything to do with her as soon as she tells them about her line of work. “Many times I have had the opportunity to love, but when they ask me what I do, they immediately walk away when I tell them I am a sex worker,” she says.
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“I think that the label of being a sex worker is too big for people to look past. Just being involved in this industry ruins the interest of a person who might’ve otherwise wanted to talk to you,” she adds.
Years of discrimination have now started eating away at Mia’s confidence, something you’d expect to happen when you’re deemed unworthy of love because of your profession. “I dream of getting married and having children, but as a sex worker, it feels as though I am condemned to be alone and I do not deserve love.”
When the mention of your occupation immediately elicits hate, discrimination and sometimes even verbal abuse, predictably, it will take a toll on your mental wellbeing. Finding true love may be a distant reality. As bad as this may sound, for Mia, the problems don’t just end while trying to find love.
Discrimination a sex worker faces
Being a transgender sex worker, Mia is no stranger to receiving verbal/physical abuse. “Since I’m from a third-world country, the people there aren’t too accepting of sex workers in general. The tone of my voice causes mockery,” she says.
Speaking of the incidents she’d rather try to forget, Mia tells us about the time she came close to losing her life while on the job. “I was taken to a vacant lot, where a knife was drawn on me after engaging in sexual activities with a client. As though they regretted it and were guilty of it, and wanted to kill me for it. I was only saved by a homeless person who was luckily there to help me,” she says
“Thankfully, my life was spared, but the scars it has left on my soul are crushing me to this day. How can I try to find love, when I’ve been physically attacked for no reason at all?” adds Mia.
If you’re wondering if this is a story unique to Mia, think again. “All of the sex workers I know have a similar story to tell. We’re cast away by society, often physically/verbally harmed. But this makes us stronger,” she says.
How can sex workers hope to find love?
When faced with such a grim reality of the situation, it’s understandable that sex workers may have a pessimistic view of the whole scenario. Mia wants to have a family and be a mother one day, but she thinks it’ll be impossible as long as she’s involved in sex work. Finding a good man is hard nonetheless. Coupled with discrimination, it seems impossible.
“I am a faithful believer in love despite all the difficulties, but the only option I can see is to step out of this industry. I want to be a fashion designer, and I’m tired of the injustice we face. For the time being, it seems as though empowerment through education is the only way out,” she says.
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“The discrimination against sex workers isn’t ending any day soon. Immediately, they see us as a piece of meat, to be objectified and discarded. We’re not viewed as someone who deserves basic human respect or love,” she adds.
The discrimination faced by sex workers, not just in the dating world but in every sphere of society, is as appalling as it is unjust. While we can’t suddenly change the mindset of a whole generation, change can begin by informing others around us of the injustice that’s faced by sex workers.
Hopefully one day, sex workers like Mia will be able to find love without a scornful look thrown their way. Till then, the best we can hope for is basic kindness and respect to everyone, regardless of their occupation, gender, race or appearance.