A significant number of transgenders, male as well as female, work in the erotic industry. Like other sex workers, most do so for financial reasons. By their own account, transgenders, end up in prostitution faster than other categories. Because of their gender identity, they are more likely to be the victim of discrimination in the labour market.
Transgenders with a foreign background face even more difficulties because they do no not always speak the required languages for a job. In summary, they are not only discriminated on the grounds of their gender identity but also based on their origin. They often find sex work more lucrative than any other job.
Most male transgender sex workers do not undergo complete reassignment surgery. They look feminine and usually have breast surgery but keep their penis. They work as "shemale" or "ladyboy" and let their clients live out their sexual fantasies.
“We are special, we are the forbidden gender. Men just can't get what we have to offer without paying for it. All men would like to have someone like us at home, we are special dolls.”
40 years old trans sex worker from Ecuador, extract from the report “Hormone use and transgender sex workers ”, Ghent
Some transgender sex workers go through life as a man but work as transvestite or have gone through a full reassignment and are now a transgender woman.
Most trans people work in Antwerp or Brussels. Violett identified 4% of the 2,614 sex workers in Flanders in 2018 to be transgender. Ten percent of the sex workers we saw in Antwerp last year were transgenders.
Violett's doctors in Antwerp ensure the follow-up of transgender hormone treatment.