I experienced my first brush with direct whorephobia this week, not from a gang of angry men or law enforcement, but from someone within the LGBT community, someone I used to socialize with. Daria is a transwoman in the community. She has a psychology degree and transitioned in her late sixties. She lives with her partner, Ramona, in a lovely apartment known in the community as the Tranny Palace. I have attended a few parties at the Tranny Palace in the past. It was always a good time.
Ramona and I have been talking lately. We both wanted to pursue a closer friendship. She shared some very personal things with me, which I was honoured to hear. Ramona recently underwent sex reassignment surgery, and this weekend, they were throwing a party to celebrate. Ramona insisted that I attend, which I agreed to do.
However, a day before, I received an email from Daria informing me that I am no longer welcome in their home. She accused me of attempting to sabotage their relationship, and said that a woman in my profession would bring negativity to an otherwise lovely gathering. Strange, since I seem to recall a proud ‘sex tourist’ bragging at previous parties about going to Thailand and ‘fucking tons of shemales’, but I digress.
So apparently, according to Daria, it’s ok to be a man paying for sex, but not to be a woman selling it. This weekend, I felt very much like an outsider with my face pressed against the glass, excluded from the festivities. It is deeply sad that someone who knew me socially can’t see past the whore stigma to the complex person underneath.
Now, this is hardly a shock. Daria has been very judgmental towards me on several occasions. Once, over drinks at a pub on Davie Street, she said: “I have a vagina now. My vagina is way nicer than your vagina, because my vagina is brand new and yours is very used.” Clearly this giantess of a woman has some deep-seated issues with women. Gender policing, slut-shaming, whorephobia, she has all of these in spades.
It is discouraging to keep doing this work when the dominant culture is intent on vilifying and dehumanizing you. It is extra disheartening when these sentiments come from ‘your people’ in the LGBT community, people who suffer from stigma and marginalization themselves. People who ought to know better.
When I chose to be out about my work, I knew that I would encounter some negativity, but honestly, I was blindsided by this. Even knowing how judgmental Daria can be, I don’t understand how she can take it to such extremes.
Still, overwhelmingly, the reactions I have had from the people I have told have been positive. Being out is tough, but it does show you who your real friends are. So, despite a discouraging week of setbacks, this whore is here to stay.