Because of employment discrimination, Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians are left with few options and often resort to the underground economy, putting them further at risk of violence, particularly when faced with unpredictable treatment by the police and the potential to be incarcerated in prison facilities that do not reflect their true Gender Identity and Expression.
Faced with barriers to comprehensive healthcare or housing, Transgender and Gender-Variant Canadians are at a much higher risk for HIV/AIDS and other STIs when they are conducting sex work, and often experience greater marginalization from the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
An important resource for female identified Transgender and Gender-Variant sex workers in Vancouver is the WISH Drop-In Centre. WISH provides services–including meals, supplies, showering facilities, on-site nursing–and programs like Supported Employment and a Learning Centre. WISH’s programs and services are inclusive of Transgender and Gender-Variant individuals and aim to create a safe space. WISH also manages the Mobile Access Project in partnership with PACE, an overnight support van that addresses the needs of women engaging in the night. People who want to help important resources like WISH are encouraged to donate and volunteer.