Transgender woman reaches out to sex workers

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Transgender woman Sherry Sherqueshaa left the sex work industry to join Project X to help other sex workers.

SINGAPORE - She started wearing make-up and women's clothes, and liked boys in secondary school.

When she was 18 years old, she realised that she was a transgender person after she learnt about the term.

After serving National Service, Sherry Sherqueshaa made the transition from man to woman.

But she had difficulty finding a job. At the suggestion of a friend, she became a sex worker.

Plying her trade on the streets, she and other sex workers would often get shouted at.

"We always thought that this was part of a sex worker's life, to be humiliated and called names, especially for those of us in the transgender community," said the 25-year-old.

Three years into the trade, she met Ms Vanessa Ho, director of Project X, a non-governmental organisation which advocates for the rights of sex workers.

Ms Ho saw Ms Sherqueshaa's passion in changing public attitude towards the transgender sex worker community and offered her a job.

Ms Sherqueshaa left the sex trade and joined Project X in 2014 as a youth programme coordinator, organising events and gatherings for sex workers to share their experiences.

"I hope that in years to come, people would be more accepting and welcoming of the transgender community, not just in employment but schools and families," she said.

Now, she is the researcher and writer at Project X but continues to reach out to sex workers at night, informing them of their legal rights, where to go for medical issues and helping them find jobs if they want to leave the sex trade.

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