As a Sex Worker, I Didn’t Feel Exploited

As a writer, it’s an expectation

Kitty Stryker
Gay Mag
Published in
11 min readMar 3, 2020

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Illustration: Carmen Johns

MyMy first job was working at a daycare for a few hours after school a few times a week. I helped put out snacks, wiped away tears, read them stories, helped with their craft projects. I was 17, and glad to do something with my time that I hoped would help me with employment further down the line. It was unpaid. No one blinked an eye.

My second job was working retail at the mall. I had to walk for an hour and a half to get to work, and an hour and a half to get back because the bus cost $2 each way even if you were low income. Sometimes, I walked in the snow. Often, I walked home in the dark. I was 18 and already eating at the mercy of food pantries since I could only get four hours of work per day a couple of days a week. Otherwise, the company I worked for would have to pay me health insurance. I was paid the minimum wage of $6.75. When I left that company five years later, having transferred to another state, I was making $7.25. Eventually, I took on another job, also at the mall, to make the walk worth it. Over the holidays, I worked yet another job, ensuring I was working 7 days a week, usually 2 jobs a day. I still wasn’t making enough to consistently pay rent after taxes.

Then I became a sex worker.

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Kitty Stryker
Gay Mag

Professional Bleeding Heart. Sick & Tired. Patronize me: http://t.co/RSd5cSVGE5 Image by @mayakern