I approach this proposal honoring a woman for her condition; not for what society establishes as “honorable” but in the spirit of this woman as a fighter, who has been forced to work “in the shadows” until, defending her dignity, she decided to rise her voice against stigma and secrecy, and through her claim, represent those of thousands of sex workers.
The words that follow – written in the first person – are by Elena Eva Reynaga, founder of the Association of Sex Workers of Argentina- Ammar- and executive secretary of the Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean -RedTraSex-.
Her words are part of the hand cut text presented in my work. I chose this technique because it “hides and at the same lime unveils ” and because its shadow continues speaking.
“I am Elena Eva Reynaga. I’m not a bitch, I’m not a prostitute, I’ m not a hooker nor a whore. I am a working woman, a sex worker woman. “
I am an activist since 1994 and headed AMMAR for three years without knowing how to read or write. I studied my primary school at a neighborhood association at forty-seven years old. Now I have sixty-two and I’m in love with my activism, because I know that from my place I can change the reality of many sexual workers.
With my work I could make my children to study and my granddaughter already started university. Everything I got through what I found more dignifying. I explained to my children that they would never need to ask on the street…
My daughter is today also a militant in the field of human rights, and my granddaughter is at university . Both come with me to the marches.…….- and YES ! It is not a myth !!: sexual workers do not kiss in the mouth to our customers. When real feeling start, it always begins with a kiss, then, you preserve it aside for the personal feelings, for when you fall in love.
“ I feel lucky because I kissed .”
Elena Eva Reynaga