So resolute to turn from prostitute to respected worker

So resolute to turn from prostitute to respected worker

This local transgender woman says that the discrimination got so bad, she turned to prostitution to make ends meet.

The 37-year-old, who wants to be known only as Jolian, was born male.

She is 1.65m tall and slim. Although she dropped out of school in Secondary 3, she is well-spoken and attractive - a natural for sales and front-line jobs. Yet, she turned to prostitution for nine months because she couldn't think of any other way to earn a living.

In the past, she was a hawker, cashier, clerk and fast-food worker. She stayed in each job for about a year or less.

This, she claims, was because she was ostracised at work for being a transsexual. When she was retrenched from her cosmetics promoter job in 2002, she was at a loss.

Jolian immediately applied for sales jobs. But after three months, she was still not successful.

She says: "I was rejected so many times because I'm neither a real guy nor girl. Employers wouldn't give me any opportunities." She hadn't had her sex reassignment surgery then, so she had to apply as a male for jobs.

And this worked against her the minute she showed up for interviews. She says: "The interviewers looked at me and I knew I wasn't going to get hired." Demoralised, she confined herself to her rented flat in Telok Blangah.

She didn't have money to go out. She was late in paying her utility bills. One night, she returned home to find the electricity had been cut off.She says: "I was desperate. My savings were running out."

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