Rausenberger [Abstract]

¿Mi cuerpo? ¡Mi vida! Voicing Latin American transgenders in Antwerp’s sex industry
[Full text]

Julie Rausenberger [1]

Abstract:  Prostitution is a well-known universal social phenomenon, from anywhere and at all times, that attracts many migrants. Yet sex work is clearly not evenly integrated into society. After all, there are still existing dominant conservative stigma that classify this sector as deviant. This causes sex work to exist further in the margins of contemporary societies while, in fact, prostitution is not more than a social construct which can differ in legal and moral terms. It goes without saying that sex workers often lead a double life. Latin American migrants selling sex furthermore live with two double stigma because they work in prostitution and are of foreign origin. If they are additionally transgendered, the stigma is even triple because they are also discriminated because of their sexual orientation and appearance. As an anthropologist, this asked for a broader understanding about the motives and effects of this activity in the sex industry as a Latin American transgender migrant. This consideration has led to this narrative study as a result by deploying the qualitative methods of participative observation and informal interviews. The purpose of this anthropological and phenomenological research project has been to find out who the Latin American transgender sex workers in Antwerp are, why they work in the sex industry, which journey brought them to Europe, how they experience life, how they feel about their bodies, identities and sexuality, and how art is used as a creative coping strategy to escape their remarkable reality.

Keywords: Sex work, prostitution, transgender, transsexuality, queer, migration, art, Antwerp, Latin America

[1] Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium, julierausenberger@gmail.com