Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Men at (Sex) Work

I offer my services to clients, just like any other profession. 
And I’m proud of what I do.

via Kathmandu Post, by Bisika Thapa

The power dynamics stretch beyond the socio-economic to the most primitive and enduring perception of women as biologically inferior to men. This perception fuels the thinking that it is those who are physically weaker and prone to subjugation who sell sex and those who are physically more powerful and capable of subjugation who buy sex. Men are perceived as being incapable of occupying the space of the subjugated and the idea of sex selling by men seems therefore like an aberration dismissed with discomfort.

But here’s the reality check.

Many men and boys from economically disadvantaged communities who venture into large cities and engage in menial jobs with long hours and low pay face sexual abuse and exploitation by their male employers. Many then decide, as Hassan put it, “to sell sex out of choice as a service because they think that if I am to be abused wherever I work, why not turn it into something where I have control over it?” Sex work therefore becomes a means of economic survival, especially for those without any form of social protection—such as garbage picking boys on the streets of Karachi, or young transgendered people at busy crossroads in Kathmandu, or male migrant workers with no other job opportunities in cosmopolitan Mumbai, or adolescent opium users in the alleys of Kabul. Irrespective of the different contexts where sex work by males (and transgender people) occurs, what is common is the considerable marginalization they face from stigma at multiple levels—related to sex between men, sex work, gender identity and, in some cases HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).  
Read the rest.

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