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Toronto call girls make ad choices

Preference, not identity, dictates the image
By Sasha
Dear Sasha,

Reading your column off and on over the years (I try to read it as much as I can), I’ve noticed something that intrigues me.

As you know, next to your column are ads for female and transsexual escorts. Why are the faces of the women blurred out when those of the transwomen aren’t? Is this some kind of discrimination against the trans population?

I ask because I’ve seen some of these trans escorts before in bars (not naming where, of course). I assume that the reason why the women’s faces are blocked off is to protect them from overzealous men in everyday life. Why isn’t the same courtesy extended to transwomen? I mean, I’m sure transwomen, even escorts, don’t want to be bothered when they go to the store or at restaurants or what not.

Curious Transvestite

Dear Curious,

To blur or not to blur: this is a choice that all escorts make when they ply their wares in public forums. Transwomen are not forced by any publication or website to show their faces. This is a decision they make on their own.

My understanding is that transwomen do this because they want to flaunt as many assets as possible that ensure their passability – a contentious subject in itself. Biological women who do escorting never really have to prove that their face is feminine; they may be asked to prove it is not alarmingly unattractive, but femininity is a generally a given with cisgendered female escorts.

Still, many women are proud to be paid companions yet find that social stigma and legal repercussions make public visibility problematic.

As a side note, my column no longer appears beside escort ads. The Montreal Mirror was the last of my publications where I shared this hallowed space, and two weeks ago, after 27 years in business, it closed its doors. The Mirror was the first weekly that ran my column.

Dear Sasha,

Do you have any suggestions for people with HIV who want to have a normal, healthy sex life (other than telling them to use a condom, the obvious)? I am also hoping you can help bring awareness to this problem. The fear and stigma that exists today leads people to post on dating sites that they are looking for someone “clean,” “not dirty,” “safe.” These terms tend to place a divide between us and them, and the terminology is discriminatory. “Clean” is how my laundry should look, not my status.

In an ideal world, an HIV+ person could disclose his or her status in a risk-free way. In reality, reactions to this disclosure range from outright or more insidious rejection to verbal abuse and violence. What we need, and what most organizations and HIV legal networks are working on, are public service announcements and educational programs that better inform the public of the risks around HIV.

Disclosing one’s status is a legal obligation, for now. However, stigma and fear make this almost impossible, and some choose not to disclose. Most straight HIV+ women isolate themselves and live with no intimacy and sex, which, as you know, can be very stressful. The only way to address HIV+ disclosure and the misinformed public is to educate people to become more tolerant and accepting.

It’s a problem with societal attitudes, not with the HIV+ person. No one intentionally infects others, except in crazy, sensational stories the media pick up for shock value and to sell news that reinforce the belief that all HIV+ people do this and are highly contagious.

Any advice for disclosing one’s status without risking rejection and the possibility that the person given the information will broadcast it to everyone they know?

Can you address some myths about HIV transmission and support the cause, for a decrease in transmission rates and an overall healthier life for those who are HIV+ and society in general. Your audience would gladly listen to your advice. They sure as hell are not listening to ours.

Thank you for letting me vent and reach out to you as a person who can help set the record straight on sex with an HIV+ person.

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