Journal Article

Adolescent and Young Adult Male-to-Female Transsexuals: Pathways to Prostitution

Ronit D. Leichtentritt and Bilha Davidson-Arad

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 3, pages 349-374
Published in print April 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch042
Adolescent and Young Adult Male-to-Female Transsexuals: Pathways to Prostitution

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The current study aims to reveal the experiences of young male-to-female transsexuals who work as prostitutes in Israel, providing a stage where the voice of this marginal group may be heard, as we believe social workers need to know more about the reality of these young people’s lives before they can offer meaningful responses. The study was guided by two main questions: (1) What accounts do young male-to-female transsexuals who work as prostitutes provide for their involvement in the sex industry? and (2) What are their experiences as young transsexuals engaged in prostitution? Using the life story interview and thematic analysis, two main themes were revealed: (a) what I ran away from or was thrown out of; and (b) why I became a prostitute, how I became professionalized and why I continue to work as one. The first theme focuses on transsexualism; the second on prostitution. Yet, these two themes are intertwined: from the respondents’ perspective, prostitution is a price you must be willing to pay if you want to achieve gender transformation at the beginning of the twenty-first century in Israel. Practical implications and further research are recommended to better inform social workers assisting this high-risk population.

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Subjects: Social Work

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