Indya Moore Talks Past Sex Work and Trans Success

In an interview with ES Magazine, the American actor and model said Pose has “really de-stigmatized sex work” for those who watch the show, and especially for themselves, because they had “internalized so much shame” from their past.

While it may be taboo to talk about, it is a reality for many in the trans community; often times trans individuals aren’t able to find traditional work for a variety of reasons, from companies discriminating to not being able to obtain official government documents. With that being said, these individuals often turn to sex work as it, at the time, seems like the easiest and most viable option. In turn, these same individuals could begin to fear that this lifestyle will come back to haunt them should they ever gain the means to have a more “traditional” lifestyle.

Indya worried that their past as a sex worker would be outed in the industry and harm their chances at attaining success. However, Indya is now able to talk openly about it without fear, which they describe as “beautiful and liberating”.

“I just never thought that I would have that,” they said, before explaining that they found an escape throughout their privilege of being “conventionally attractive, of having a form of beauty that is marketable”. “That’s not the reality of most trans people,” they explained. “There’s still a certain type of trans person that is visible, and it’s still a trans person that looks cis, is gender-conforming to an extent, that is easy on the eyes of cis people.”

While it might be a hard pill to swallow, deeming some trans individuals less appealing than others, Indya’s point does stand extremely valid. Indya went on to explain how mainstream media has accepted many trans individuals today but that doesn’t diminish the fact that trans individuals are being murdered on a daily basis. Not to mention, the trans individuals we see in mainstream media are often able to blend in with their counterparts as, like Indya mentioned, they are easier on the eyes.

Honoring the trans people that have been lost over the years, Indya dedicated their outfit at the Daily Front Row’s annual Fashion Media Awards to murdered trans women. They wore earrings consisting of portraits of the trans women who have been murdered in the US this year: Dana Martin, Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon, Claire Legato, Muhlaysia Booker, Michelle Washington, Paris Cameron, Chynal Lindsay, Chanel Scurlock, Zoe Spears, Brooklyn Lindsey, Denali Stuckey, Kiki Fantroy, Pebbles LaDime Doe, Tracy Single and Bailey Reeves.

Some memorable quotes from Indya that night:

“It’s a very expensive venue. It’s populated by very expensive people. All of our lives are so expensive, including mine and people like me. ” 

“Some of you may be uncomfortable with the politics of my speech, and I won’t apologize for that, because my life is politics. “

“I accept this award in honour of the truth that the best award, and the award we all deserve, is to be able to get home safe.”

“I accept this award in good faith that my recognition doesn’t lead to the erasure of other trans and gender non-conforming folks who also deserve healthcare, housing, safety, and visibility.”

 “Safety, acknowledgement and respect for trans people. Not just when we’re on the cover of magazines, but when we are in the streets, when we are poor, when we are sex workers, or when our hair isn’t laid. When we can’t afford Louis Vuitton, when we can’t get access to a hormone shot, and especially when we are dying”.

19 trans individuals have been killed this year, 18 of which have been trans women of colour.

Read Indya Moore’s full interview with ES Magazine here.