Adolescent and young adult male-to-female transsexuals: Pathways to prostitution

Ronit D. Leichtentritt*, Bilha Davidson Arad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The current study aims to reveal the experiences of young male-to-female transsexuals who work as prostitutes in Israel, providing a stage where the voice of this marginal group may be heard, as we believe social workers need to know more about the reality of these young people's lives before they can offer meaningful responses. The study was guided by two main questions: (1) What accounts do young male-to-female transsexuals who work as prostitutes provide for their involvement in the sex industry? and (2) What are their experiences as young transsexuals engaged in prostitution? Using the life story interview and thematic analysis, two main themes were revealed: (a) what I ran away from or was thrown out of; and (b) why I became a prostitute, how I became professionalized and why I continue to work as one. The first theme focuses on transsexualism; the second on prostitution. Yet, these two themes are intertwined: from the respondents' perspective, prostitution is a price you must be willing to pay if you want to achieve gender transformation at the beginning of the twenty-first century in Israel. Practical implications and further research are recommended to better inform social workers assisting this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-374
Number of pages26
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004


FundersFunder number
Interdisciplinary Center for Children and Youth Studies


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