Sex workers and transgenders are groups that hardly get attention in the media. We never talk about them, but they\u2019re stigmatised and thought of as dirty and immoral. However, they\u2019re as human as you and me. Meet MS, who\u2019s both a transgender woman, and a former sex worker. She worked the streets of Changkat Bukit Bintang and prowled the heart of KL from August to December 2013. How It All Started I was actually working with an NGO before I became a sex worker. It wasn\u2019t something I planned, but the NGO had some issues and they told me that the project I was working on wasn\u2019t going to be continued. I was out of a job. I needed something to cover my expenses immediately, as my savings were close to zero at the time, so I turned to sex work. I stayed at a cheap hotel at the corner of Changkat Bukit Bintang. There were three of us sharing a room with a double bed, so we took turns using the room if any one of us had clients to bring back. I had some experience being an escort before, so the whole business wasn\u2019t new to me. In order to get customers, I\u2019d hang around the night spots around Bukit Bintang. Clients usually spot you as a sex worker through your body language, dressing, and eye-contact. Experienced customers usually know what to look out for. I was working solo and I had an average of about one customer every two or three days. A Working Girl My working hours were from about 9pm into the wee hours of the morning. I had a few interesting customers like this Datuk character. He saw me when I was just hanging out at the lobby of a 5-star hotel. At first, he passed by with a group of associates and didn\u2019t seem interested, but later he came back and made a proposition to me. His driver drove us to his mansion in a luxury car. He was a clumsy lover, but he paid well so I didn\u2019t mind. He paid me RM600 that night - the most I\u2019ve ever made in one night. But on the other hand, I also had about three clients run out on me without paying. That happens in this business. Other deals didn\u2019t happen because of a \u2018misunderstanding\u2019. For example, there was this one Japanese guy who didn\u2019t know I was a transwoman. He brought me up to his hotel room and I broke the news to him. He didn\u2019t believe it at first, so I guided his hand for a feel. He freaked out and we didn\u2019t continue. Security wasn\u2019t that big an issue for me since I worked in an \u2018open\u2019 area, meaning that nobody had exclusive rights there. But there were a few close calls. For example, there was this one time when there was this Indian guy who tried to engage my services, but I wasn\u2019t in the mood for it at the time. We almost got into a scuffle. Luckily, the guy handling the valet parking nearby stepped in to help me. Also, sometimes you get clients who try to take advantage of you. For example, they\u2019d send one person to deal with you, but when you get to their room, it\u2019s more than one person. Naturally, I rejected that client. In terms of diseases, I always protected myself by making my customers wear a condom if it was penetrative sex. Oral sex was a bit of a risk for me, but it was a calculated risk since I won\u2019t catch HIV unless I had a mouth injury. However, I was largely exposed to other STDs. Thankfully all the guys I met during my time as a sex worker were clean. Image credit: MS What Made Me Leave There were a few things I wasn\u2019t happy about. I just developed this loathing for men over the three months I was doing it. I actually quit before I even found a replacement job. I still remember, during the last days before I quit, there was this boy, somewhere between the age of 15 to 18, who followed me around and started asking \u2018how much for one round\u2019. I got fed up, and stopped and threw a water bottle at him. That didn\u2019t stop him. I had to pull out a pen-knife which I carried with me before he ran away. Another time, one of my clients tried to have penetrative sex with me without using a condom. That really made me think \u2018no more\u2019. I became a misandrist because I simply hated men. When you\u2019re disgusted with the main source of your income it\u2019s no use to continue. I was also tired of all the drama by the other transgender sex workers. They were vicious and would start quarrels. That was actually the bigger source of stress for me compared to the guys. Can you imagine that some of them went to \u2018bomohs\u2019 (witch doctors) to put curses on other transwomen? I\u2019m serious. They would cast spells to either make themselves look more attractive or make others around them look less so. Does it work? Well the power of belief is something very strong. There was also the issue of foreign sex workers spoiling the market rate by charging really low. They have a higher quota of customers per night so they made it hard for the rest of us by charging so low. During my final days as a sex worker I put out a call for help on social media saying that I wanted out, and if anyone can help me that would be great. So I had some of my friends channel a bit of money to my account. Someone else recommended me a flat for rent while another one recommended me to an employer who was looking for a secretary. What I Learned on the Streets I learned that many of my customers liked me because they thought that I was approachable, meaning that I interacted with them a lot rather than being stony and silent. That has helped me a lot in my fulltime jobs. Regardless of what you do, having good social skills is important. You have to be able to interact with people. Also, I learned to accept anyone and everyone no matter how they look, so that\u2019s me being non-judgmental.