Tags / Stripper
Sex work is often just work. Some do it out of economic necessity -- for survival. For others, sex work offers a path to empowerment and independence. Yet because sexuality is typically hidden in the darkest corners of our culture, sex workers are marginalized, harassed, and put in danger -- not just by the people that use their services, but by the police whose "protect and serve" motto doesn't always extend to sex workers.
In this series of portraits and interviews, we go deep into the underbelly of sex work in New Orleans, Louisiana -- the Big Easy. Sexuality is on display in every doorway and street sign on Bourbon Street, but the day-to-day lives of strippers, escorts, and other sex workers is not what you'd expect. The woman sipping coffee and tapping at her laptop in the cafe? You'd never know she was a sex worker.
There is a persistent myth about sex trafficking during large events in the United States -- the same story about an increase in trafficking before the Super Bowl is trotted out every year, but the numbers don't add up. In this story, we explode myths around sex trafficking and take you inside an average day in the life of several New Orleans sex workers, during and after the street bacchanal that is Mardi Gras.
My photo story portrays cross dressers and transgender women that engage in sex work in Yerevan, Armenia — the most vulnerable and at-risk group in Armenia. The subjects in my photographs are predominantly young adults who have been cast off from society, who cannot find another job because of their appearance. Many of them have had a difficult childhood; they were sexually assaulted at a young age, grew up in orphanages, lived in socially insecure situations or under the care of a single parent. Being deprived of family, education and employment, many of them chose the easiest though most dangerous way to make money. Many transgender sex workers dream of having another job, a house, a family. Sometimes they organize private transgender social gatherings, where they party and dance until dawn. Transgender sex workers mainly live apart from their families, renting alone, or with a few people (in the same apartment).