Finding my home

Today I was thinking about how it feels to ‘be home’. I grew most of my teenage years in several residential settings. And as a kid I grew up in an abusive atmosphere where we most of the time tried to adjust en try to keep one of our family calm, to prevent that he became more abusive then he already was. Therefore I don’t think I really ever had sort of positive feelings of ‘being home’.

Despite the negative things at home, I did had the privilege to see and learn many countries and cultures as a child. One of the beautiful trips I made was to Egypt. I was amazed by the beauty of the historic and big buildings. But at the same time I was amazed at their culture of today. It is so much different then ours, but yet interesting and beautiful.

As a kid I also made some trips to the United States. I loved the beautiful nature and national parks and I also enjoyed the many Disney theme parks. However, these are not my most dearest memories of the States. I still remember the several strangers who asked me how I was doing and who didn’t accepted my ‘fine’ answer right away. Because of the way they looked and asked me wouldn’t make me surprise if they would intervene if they could. They noticed that there was something wrong with me. No stranger in my own country, Egypt or in any other country I visited in Europe, ever noticed and let me know that they were seeing that there was something wrong. It gave me a strange, but good feeling which I haven’t forgot.

I usually find it a bit difficult to leave beautiful places and people. Especially when I’m not sure if I will see them/it ever again. But these experiences were really worth it. And I’m wondering, are these kinds of feelings a bit of what home should feel like?

As a teenager I grew up in several residential treatment programs. I got depressed and that got out of control. Most of the time I enjoyed being in a big group of other teenagers, varying from about 10 to 30 others. It was never really quiet and I enjoyed the presence of all the others. Looking back it wasn’t really a good thing that these groups were mixed genders. There were also a lot of problems on the groups. Letting boys and girls live together (apart from family) is already questionable whether that is healthy and responsible idea. But putting (sexually) traumatized girls and (sexually) traumatized) boys together is a real bad idea. I also hear a lot of stories of other girls who had some serious negative sexual experiences with guys on such groups. Apart from that, I have been close to some other girls from time to time. This was on a friendly and non-sexual way, and they have been very valuable to me. With a few of them I still even have contact with today.

At the other hand the more things I see and the more people I met, the more I have to say goodbye to. I soon discovered that new beginnings and meeting new people, also means new endings. I realize that every new person I meet, means that I also have to say a final farewell to one day. Often the first “hello” and the last “goodbye” is on the same day. But it becomes more difficult when you know someone longer and really love that person. Even a marriage cannot prevent a last goodbye. Maybe there is really a place known as heaven. I personally hope there is and that I will see all the people and animals I love back again. But that scenario isn’t something I can be sure of at this time.

During my work as a prostitute I had some clients who where frequent visitors. Some said I was very good at some specific sexual act, while others said they were in love with me. But one of the most interesting reasons I heard was that he wanted a place to be himself and also want to talk. Often those men had difficult issues at home from what I’ve heard from them. So they visited me to find something that they didn’t had at home. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just talking now about a small group of my clients. But looking for some sort of attention or love from just a streetwalker as me, it was interesting. Most of my clients on the streets just want to have quick sex.

Through all my experiences I think I can say what it is like to ‘be home’. Or at least what it means to me. To me it’s being with people who loves each other and where is respect, freedom and desire to share important things to each other on a frequent basis. The hard thing of all this is that you have to miss each other from while to while and even have to say a final goodbye one day. It makes it even more harder if these people are living apart in all kind of places. But I guess to me that ‘being home’ is not restricted to some kind of physical place. Although I do sometimes miss the times of being with my grandparents on the county where I woke up when the roosters crowed in the morning. Unfortunately I had to say my final goodbye already to them. Maybe the memories of loved ones at a specific place is a part of ‘a home’ as well?

So I’m really curious, what means ‘being at home’ to you? Is it just your physical home or is at about people? Or both? Or did I missed something important? I’d love to hear from you!

Christianity & prostitution: an introduction

Being a Christian, a prostitute and at the same time enjoying being a passionate active church member can be quite a challenge. In the time of being a Christian and a church member I learned quite a lot about sexuality. I also followed some ministry classes about things as healing and deliverance. I’ve learned some very interesting and new views on sexuality, which you can also find some of it here (external link).

So having sex with someone is -not surprisingly- considered to be exclusive have place within marriage, between one man and one women. (The question whether marriages should always be with 2 people or only with the opposite sex, is a different topic which I will maybe come back on later.)

What I’ve learned in short is that having sex with someone creates a connection from soul to soul. As the Bible say with becoming one in a marriage, it is as explained as really becoming one through the act of sexual intercourse. One of the things a marriage protects people is that they not impulsively become one with someone else. Because it is believed that the connection is unbreakable except by either death or through the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.
It’s also that reason why in the Old Testament the death penalty was required, because at that time it was the only solution to break that connection between the rapist and the victim. Otherwise their souls would ‘stick to each other’ till one of them dies.
If this is the first time you hear or read about this, it probably sounds crazy to you. But trust me, if you learn more about this subject and their explanations – it really makes sense in some way.

It’s really an interesting view. It made me understand why (some) Christians do believe sexuality should be exclusively have space in marriages only. If it’s true what they say, as a prostitute I should be have quite a lot of connections and souls sticking to me. That’s really an awful thought. Many -actually all of the- clients I had were not the people I would want to be connected with in any way, except for business/commercial reasons. So if these Christians have it right, then I’m urgently in need of help.

Apart from the belief that being sexual active outside wedlock is harmful, often churches and Christians belief that sexual activity outside wedlock is harmful on a psychological level as well. According to the Bible we are created to be a child of God and have all kinds of non-sexual relationships with other people besides your husband or wive and even with animals. Just to love and to take care of each other, just as our relationship with God should be. Therefore it’s not surprising that many Christians are looking after me and my coworkers with the purpose to save and love us. In my own experience they really seem to be the most loving of all the people who help or support us. However, the problem is that many coworkers don’t want to be saved or have any help at all.

So we have the weird situation in which a group of people are driven by a passion to save us and love us because of our assumed pain and problems. And at the other side there are many sex workers who seemingly don’t have any problems with it. So, who is right? I guess this answer depends quite a lot on what you believe.

However I never think that God wants people to dictate or judge people on their jobs. It’s fine to share any concerns and thoughts on it, as long as people want to hear it. If you choose to approach us, then please be aware of what we believe and how we see you. It’s weird and inappropriate to act as a teacher or as a savior, if we don’t see you that way. Imagine that a stranger is coming to you and talking to you, assuming that you are his spiritual father or teacher, how would that look like? From my own experiences, I can tell you: that feels really strange and I don’t take that person serious. At the other hand if I talked several times with someone and like what they say to me – it can happen that I will see that person as my teacher or as a mother figure for example. In that situation it becomes different – then it could be all right to tell more of your views and concerns.

For my Christian coworkers I advice to be cautious to who and how you tell your job as a prostitute, if you want to share it at all. There is a risk that others may either be too concerned or see you as very sinful.

To be continued…

P.S.: If you have experiences with Christian organizations as a prostitute and have some interesting stories, then I’d love to hear from you! To me it does not matter whether you’re from the U.S., Europe or from somewhere else. Also if you’re a Christian yourself and have some additional thoughts on this, I would love to hear from you as well. I will never publish names of people without their permission. Also I will always be respectful in communications, even if you have different beliefs. You can contact me here.

Sexworkers hunting

If you’re working as a sexworker, you probably have been visited by some Christians once in a while. I never see them among the streetwalkers, but I have seen them on the streets where the windows are. They usually step by and want to talk with you. Sometimes they even offer you a present. However they may not leave right away, when you ask for it. Or they may come back a lot of times. Also, the way they ask the questions or what they tell, can be (or at least feel) really offensive.

Sexworkers / prostitutes who chose this job voluntarily, may actually feel proud of their job. They could be proud of being meaningful to their clients. Or they could also be proud of their independency. There may be quite a few reasons why sexworkers are proud of their job. Imagine that you have a job you are proud of, and maybe even a job you like. And then imagine something tells you that someone else forces you to do that job. Even when you deny that, that person persists. The person tells you that you don’t know any better or that you are brainwashed. I bet the first time that happens to you, you will just laugh. But when that happens over and over again, you probably will feel annoyed or offended. Especially when a big group of people believes it, including some big media. After all, no one listens to you – because people believe you’re brainwashed…. Well, you get the clue. This is not the best way to make friends with a sexworker / prostitute who wants her job.

 

The thing is that many Christians genuinely believe that prostitutes are very often victims of sex trafficking, being under high pressure and that they could be brainwashed. But these cases seem not to occur much, but for these few cases this approach might help them. I don’t know about that. But many sex trafficking victims aren’t under these extreme circumstances. As for the rest, there are many people who I know who did choose to become a prostitute. And for them, such approach simply isn’t appropriate. By the way, this also count for some health professionals who get in touch with prostitutes.

 

However when I would be one of the Christians who believe that prostitutes are mainly victims who are in immediate danger, I would probably do the same thing. Going to the sexworkers and offer help. When I have that view and understanding in mind, I don’t feel so much offended as I otherwise would.

 

It probably helps for me that I have a Christian background. Although I think I’m agnostic now, in the past I worked several days a week for a church. I did that several years. Plus my mother is a kind and passionate Christian. So I know that religion quite well. It’s interesting to see that most Christian organizations that reach out to prostitutes are the ones with similar Christian views I once had. My church that I’ve joined in the past had connections (and still haves) with the Bethel church in Redding, CA. If you know that church, then you will now have an idea of what I mean. My faith changed as I had issues with it. As someone with a transsexual background and for someone who started working again as a prostitute, it did bring some conflicts. Conflicts with both the church and my own faith. Apart from that I also had issues with the animal slaughtering and offers in the Old Testament, but that’s off-topic.

 

To be honest I both love and really dislike the behavior these Christians show at the same time. So I dislike them often for their approaches to sexworkers, their immature behavior and lack of knowledge towards LGBT people. Also for a few other things I don’t want to share right now. But I love them for their patience, love and offerings they are willing to make towards others. I have seen Christians taking people they barely know into their families for years, because that person needed and wanted that. One time it was a young adult who was offered a place into a family and she was treated, loved and cuddled almost like it was their own child. Actually in one of my Ministry Team trainings I received, it was sometimes even recommended/indicated to do so. Of course these cases were not the standard. Nevertheless they generally will treat you as a human being, as a brother or sister (how they see and call it). That’s also how they usually would talk about you behind your back. Not like a client or some kind of visitor. I don’t think you will ever find so much amount of compassion, dedication and patience in secular health organizations. I think they deserve credit for that part. To be honest, I still know a few Christians from that period who are really close to my heart.

 

I personally hope that churches will be more open to hear our sides and vice versa. If churches understand that sexwork and human trafficking are two different things, they may even have the potential to offer better support/care to sexworkers then the secular social workers do.

 

Idealistically, I hope that there will become health organizations runned by sexworkers themselves, for themselves.