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'It's not all old men' - What's it really like to be a sex worker?

Non-binary activist and former escort Giuseppe Forchia sheds light on a job many still consider taboo.

2020-08-21

Amid a landscape of economic turmoil and rapidly expanding social media sites like OnlyFans, sex work is beginning to come out the shadows and confront people on their newsfeeds.

But while the medium of the world's oldest profession may be changing, the stigma which still surrounds escorting, web-camming and other forms of sex work remains.

In the Attitude September issue, out now to download and to order globally, former sex worker and non-binary activist Giuseppe Forchia shares his own complicated experience of escorting - a world he has now left behind in exchange for art and photography.

Born in a small town near Naples, Italy, Giuseppe suffered emotional and physical abuse from both family and the nuns at his Catholic school. He eventually moved to London - one of the most expensive cites in the world - alone.

 

Photography: Francisco Gomez de Villaboa

"There was a point where I was practically homeless, with no place to go and I had no money", Giuseppe recalls.

"Becoming an escort saved me from that situation. It meant being my own boss and living by my own rules, selling a ‘product’ that was mine.

"It allowed me to have a decent lifestyle and housing [at a time] when the government didn’t really do anything to help me."

Giuseppe says that he quickly realised the relationship between an escort and client is often about more than just sex.

"Being an empath, it was easy for me to understand what these people wanted and how they were feeling, and most of them simply wanted to be loved," he explains.

Photography: Francisco Gomez de Villaboa

"To be fair, in return, it did make me feel flattered that those men would pay so much to enjoy my company, which is a sense of validation that I fortunately no longer need."

He adds: "And no, in case you were wondering, it’s not all old men."

Giuseppe is upfront about the downsides to the sex industry, which can be fraught with danger - often due to its illicit and unregulated nature.

"There is a dark side of it, from which I always [kept] my distance…" he admits.

"I played it safe and never let work [interfere] with my personal life because I knew that it was only a temporary fix, although I have become friends with some of my clients."

With plenty of stigma still surrounding his former line of work, Giuseppe says attitudes towards sex work need to change.

"Prejudice against sex work and sex workers in 2020 is so stupid, [but] unfortunately it is a conversation we are still having, especially within the LGBTQ+ community," he reflects.

"Sex work is as valid as any other form of work. Actually, when done honestly and professionally, it is way more morally ethical than a lot of jobs that are legal."

Read the full interview in the Attitude September issue, out now to download and to order globally.

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