While there is ample academic literature on sex workers, and there are frequent reports on sex workers in the popular media, it is much more rare to hear about sex workers’ experiences through their own words. This presentation’s focus is on amplifying the diverse voices of sex workers in order to gain a greater understanding of their identities, their strengths, and the type of support that they might need. Through a discussion of the data collected from semi-structured interviews with current, former, and considering sex workers, we will learn how doing or thinking of doing sex work has formed, shaped, or defined their identities. We will hear from the voices of sex workers about the different ways that sex work has influenced their identity development personally and professionally, as well as sexually and relationally. We will also learn about the different experiences of individuals who identify as sex workers, and those who engage in sex work as a means of survival.
After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Identify the self-reported differences between individuals who identify as sex workers and individuals who engage in sex work for survival.
- Explain some of the differences between the personal versus professional identities of sex workers.
- Compare consistent themes amongst sex workers “alternative” identities.