Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Ryan, P;McGarry, K
Culture, Health and Sexuality
I miss being honest' sex workers accounts of silence and disclosure with health care providers in Ireland
2 ()
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In this paper, female sex workers tell stories of their interactions with health care providers (HCP) in four cities in the Republic of Ireland. While Irish society has made great progress in listening to the sexual stories of women that were historically silenced (e.g. stories of abortion, sexual abuse), sex workers have not benefited from this new climate. Regularly silenced by parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations who speak upon their behalf, sex workers are consigned within a narrative of victimhood and coercion. This paper draws from a participant action research study conducted in 2019-20 and explores women's motivations in whether to disclose their sex work, and the strategies deployed to conceal it while seeking access to sexual health care. These strategies included traveling beyond their own communities for health care and STI home testing. The paper identifies women, particularly, migrants who felt their precarious position made it impossible for them to be truthful about their sex work to health care providers, exposing them to greater health risk. The paper understands this marginality within a context of structural violence where sex worker health is shaped by institutional power relations creating unequal health outcomes but is also challenged by stories of solidarity.
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