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Claudia: Jackson Heights, Queens

The transsexual sex workers of Jackson Heights cluster around an all-night bakery, sipping coffee, tea, looking for Johns, and dodging the very drunk men. Almost all are Latin or Black. Little English is spoken.

 

In Hunts Point the sex workers are driven by addiction, by the need to get the daily fix. In Jackson Heights that is not the case. As Claudia said to me, “The women, they are all vain. They want the latest boob job, the latest Hermes bag, the latest butt injection, and the latest makeup. They want cash honey. Cash. Kajing! You know what I am talking about? “

 

In contrast to Hunts Point, there is a sense of contentment and few apologies. “This is me. Take it or leave it.”

 

She herself is from Honduras. Her story is very common. She knew she wanted to be girl when she was child, and fled to New York City, For the last few years she has been working the streets. Her family mostly knows what she does and is supportive.

 

The police are also much more respectful than in Hunts Point, focusing on keeping the overall area safe. “The men get rowdy, get drunk, and behave awfully. I don’t care if these women are men, nobody has a right to treat them like garbage.”

 

More Jackson heights photos here: Jackson Heights

 

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Taken on September 1, 2012