By Swarnali Patra.
Yes, I am. Did you cringe at it? Did you blanch? Or did you feel like shaming me, trampling me under your virtuous, pretentious and hollow ego? Surely, you would never introduce me to your social circle, you would never acknowledge what I do as a job and nor would I ever have a place at your table. That’s fine though, not because I am supposed to be treated that way, but you, the educated, the pseudo liberal who brings morals and ethics from a value education book or societal decrees, are so impressionable . It baffles me – who is the blind one? The one who is blindfolded by bigotry and social stigmas, or me, who has to bed someone for mere subsistence?
How should I protect my child – yes, we do have children even though we take contraceptives – against your atrocities and prejudices, which are solely based on the fact that he/she is born to me? I cope with the product of your debauchery every second, and sure as hell you win the battle, but I emerge stronger. How is my child at fault if you deprive him/her of rights, education and a chance at life? I am questioning your reasons, your judgements! No, my child is under no obligation to do what I do just because I trade my body for money, for your entertainment so that you can smirk at it and want to have it simultaneously.
How casually you take my profession for an abuse and refuse to have slept with me, merely because it would taint that “dignity” of yours! How easily you cower behind those long put up drapes of morals and chastity! Here is what I smirk at – you buy my dignity as if it adds to yours and the mock me for the same, even as I try to have a chance at the life that I’ve got.
Sex starved, sex worker, sex slave, hooker, harlot, hoe, whore, slut – how many more synonyms would I be humiliated with, before I can exercise my human rights? No, I am not a poor little thing, and yes, I do have human rights. You must think that providing you pleasure is supposed to be my job but there have been days when I have been pinned down and made to gratify you. Yes, I have been raped too. Shocked? Don’t be. No prime time news would cover me, no newspaper article would feature my plight, you must even consider this unwarranted; but it’s okay. I have lost count now. I could just lie down like a corpse and be devoured without batting an eye. I would imagine an embellished sky and wonder how the stars shine independent of any celestial body or the cosmic movements. I’d dream of independence.
None of us were born to be in this profession, and how conveniently you label anything as close to being liberal as us! Yes, we are liberals too, but it is not congruent to your definition of it. While some of us were trafficked, some choose this because it is their choice! Yes, sex workers by choice! Are you sneering at it, coherent and chaste human? How is that we lose context though you advocate sex laws, freedom to do what you want with your body, and pre-marital sex? Because you put labels on us? Well, even your marriage is a label, so, why do you come to prey on us, to vent your frustration out on us, have transactions or relationships with us? Why can our job not be just another job because by choice or by force we lay with you for money only to fill our stomach even as exploitation by our souteneur and our superiors juxtaposes that? Is there any other primary reason you go to your nine to five job?
What picture do you have of me? Cheap make up, strolling by the sidewalk, smoking pot? I could be all of those things but why do you upset yourself, being a person with urban gravitas and morals? Does a particular gender come to your mind? I’m sure it did.
I am a prostitute and I am not bound by gender or anatomical conventions. I am a man, a woman, and also a transgender. I am sorry, but I don’t want your pity; even if I am a woman I am not submissive, and certainly not as fragile as your ego. If I am a man, then save the patriarchal applause or insult. I am more than that. And if I am a transgender, then I am already more fearless than you are, as I have embraced myself while you speak of me in hushed tones.
My job does not define me. I am a social being just as much as you are. I am iridescent, I am flamboyant, and I am a wildfire on water. While you have one thousand people at your back, our community thrives in the shadows and control rape to some extent. We take not one but millions for the team, pun intended! We empower ourselves while you resort to us for comforting your tired and fragile arrogance. While we are subjected to violence by you and your idea of us being trash; our tears mock you behind that wannabe dominant back of yours. I am just as human as you are, I have the same body as yours, I feel the pain inflicted on me just as you would, I feel just as stifled as you would if you are to stand by us, and I feel just as strong as your iron will to walk the moon. I am more than my job, I am infinite and I take no shame in being who I am. I am a prostitute, and no less human because of it. I will fight for my rights, make of it what you will.