EPISODE 41 Somebody You Love is a Deaf sex worker


Welcome to season 3! To kick things off, Holly & Jenna are joined by Deaf full service sex worker and owner of Sydney's Sky Sirens, Katia Schwartz, her creative surrogate, Auslan qualified interpreter and sex worker Dahlia Day, and Auslan interpreter Amanda. This special episode is available in both audio and video formats, with the video including Auslan interpretation and captions, and the audio being accompanied by a transcript (see below).


Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Jv01cpNLzyA


Sky Sirens: https://www.skysirens.com.au/

Make It Rain: https://www.skysirens.com.au/makeitrain

Katia Schwartz: https://www.instagram.com/katiaschwartz

Dahlia Daye: https://www.instagram.com/dahliadaye



LINKS

Patreon (from $3AUD/month): http://www.patreon.com/somebodyyoupod

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/somebodyyoupod

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/somebodyyoupod

Facebook: http://www,facebook.com/somebodyyoupod


Somebody You Love is sponsored by Assembly Four, empowering sex workers through technology: https://assemblyfour.com/

For more info on sex work in Australia, please check out the following organisations:

ACT (SWOP ACT): https://meridianact.org.au/swop/

NSW (SWOP NSW): https://swop.org.au/

NT (SWOP NT): https://www.ntahc.org.au/swopnt

Qld (Respect Inc): https://respectqld.org.au/

SA (SIN): http://www.sin.org.au/sindex.html

Tas (Scarlet Alliance): https://scarletalliance.org.au/links/

Vic (Vixen Collective): https://www.vixencollective.org/vc

WA (SWEAR):http://sexworkerrightswa.org

WA (Magenta): http://magenta.org.au

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/somebodyyoupod




TRANSCRIPT


Jenna Love 0:00

First of all we'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, work and recording the show. So I am on the land of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples, Holly is on the land of the Ngunawal people. And we have Katya calling in from Gadigal land, Dahlia calling in from Darkinjung land, and Amanda from Gweagal land.


Holly Harte 0:23

Smooth, silky and sensual, the owner of Sydney's Sky Sirens Katia Schwartz, is the hypno teasing siren of the sky. This foxy fatal is known for melting her erotic roots with arial artistry creating slinky performances that are both provocative and dreamy. As a Deaf artist, Katia remembers every count and pattern of the song, the placement of her moves and relies on vibrations as cues. She says being deaf is my superpower.


Jenna Love 0:53

Katia has worked in the adult entertainment industry as a professional showgirl, stripper, and full service sex worker for over 14 years. She is a huge advocate for sex workers and publicly discusses her time in the industry to create awareness and reduce stigma. She has set up a discussion panel Disrobed and is the producer of sex worker focus cabaret showcase Make It Rain. As the owner of Sky Sirens Katia prioritises the hiring of sex workers and works towards preserving the history of pole and erotic dance through educating the community and her students about its connection to sex work.


Holly Harte 1:30

Our second mistress of seduction is no stranger to the art of tease. With her bedroom as a wonderland of naughty props and costumes, Dahlia is always ready to pounce on her next victim. Dahlia takes inspiration from the world around her and is particularly moved by all things erotic. She has a love for movement, whether that be onstage in the bedroom or in the great outdoors.


Jenna Love 1:52

Dahlia has worked in many facets of the industry. She began her career as a stripper and a show girl. And from there she moved on to erotic massage. She continued to develop her passion for performance at the same time, drawing on her time working in the clubs as a way to carve out her dance style. She has been in and out of the industry for the better part of the last seven years. And she currently works online making fantasies come true for strangers all around the world. So this week's show is available to listen to as usual. And if you have us in your ears, then that's great. But we have also released it as a video with Australian Sign Language. So if you're just listening, then the link to the video will be in the show notes. Unfortunately, I had root canal this morning, which was really poor planning. And my uh--anybody who is lip reading hopefully it's still clear. But we do have the ASL for you there as well.


Holly Harte 2:54

Isn't ASL different to Auslan? ASL is American.


Jenna Love 2:59

Oh, I'm so sorry. Because I thought... Australian sign language. But do you not condense?


Holly Harte 3:04

No, Auslan


Dahlia Daye 3:04

Yeah, American Sign Language was I think created first or maybe became more widely known before Auslan. So it already had the abbreviation. So we say Auslan as an abbreviation of Australian Sign Language.


Jenna Love 3:28

Perfect. Well, now we've all learned some--well, I've learned something and hopefully some of our listeners have as well.


Holly Harte 3:34

Katia tell us your origin story, how did you get into the sex industry?


Katia Schwartz 3:44

So I started in the sex industry in 2008. I started off as a stripper. I worked in lots of different strip clubs in Sydney and around Australia. After a while I really, I loved the performance factor of stripping it really--that was the thing that I was really attracted to. But yeah, I guess after a while, I was learning pole dancing. And you know, I really connected with performing. So I decided to do buck's parties. And I was asked to do a few in my club that I was working at - they installed, they had practice time for me. It was really cool. And I used to come there during the day times and practice all my pole skills. And then I yeah, just got really good at pole and then they asked me to do all these buck's parties and I travelled around Australia doing lots of buck's parties. So I worked in Sydney. I did Melbourne, I went out to Cairns, lots of areas in Queensland. I also did rural areas like in Darwin. And I stripped in, basically like tin sheds, which was cool. Definitely like a very different experience to regular strip clubs. After that, I did, I sort of--my hearing was declining a little bit. And I found the club environment a little bit harder to sort of manage. So I started doing a lot of private escorting work. And I didn't do heaps of it. I just did it with a few kind of like trusted clients that I had from the stripping industry. And that's sort of how I found people. And, yeah, then I started to sort of really lose my hearing. And that was when club environments were just not possible anymore. And I got into full service sex work like in massage parlours. So that's what I currently do at the moment. So I work with, yeah, like, basically, massage clients, and then they will pay extra to do additional services. Yeah, and I really enjoy it. I feel like that's probably like the my favourite area of the sex industry that I've worked in so far.


Jenna Love 6:34

And Dahlia, tell us your story.


Dahlia Daye 6:37

It's a little bit similar to Katia's except I didn't travel all around the country for buck's parties. I started in 2014 in strip clubs after--I think I was 21. And I'd been thinking about it for a while--I actually have memories back to when I was 16, saying to one of my best friends, like "I want to be an escort when I grow up". So I've always been drawn to that industry. And so yeah, I started off in the strip clubs. And I did that for a few years and really enjoyed it. I think I worked in every club in Sydney, and each one had a different vibe and style. And I liked that it was kind of high energy and kept me on my feet. And from there, I got a lot of private jobs as well, doing topless waitressing, nude waitressing. Just clients that wanted to book you out to their locations rather than come to the clubs. And then I moved on to massage work. And I did that for a couple of years. I had a break, because I had a bit of a burnout from the industry. That might be an understatement, as well, I had a big burnout. But I kept performing and dancing, especially like with Katia at the studio and doing doubles performances, because that was kind of our thing when we were both in the clubs at the same time. And now I work online. And I really enjoy that too. I think it's really fun. And it's a little bit mysterious. And it's like lots of fantasy and I love to, I do love to spin a good fantasy. So yeah, that's been really good.


Jenna Love 8:13

Yeah, cool. So you've covered quite a few areas in the industry.


Jenna Love 8:17

Yeah, jack of all trades.


Jenna Love 8:21

I think we all are a little bit. Could either of you or both of you talk about what is similar or different about the world of stripping or working in a strip club versus working in a brothel?


Katia Schwartz 8:43

There's obviously a lot of similarities between the different areas of sex work, I have worked in pretty much everywhere. So I've been able to see a very distinct difference between the two different environments, but also similarities as well. I guess the similarities would be like a lot of the talk in the change room. I think like the camaraderie that happens in strip clubs is quite similar to brothels. And I think that like at the end of the day, like all sex workers are the same like, you know, we all talk about the clients, we all like to debrief about all of our different customers that we've had and just our nights our lives and stuff in general. So I feel like that's definitely a massive similarity. Um, I guess, like in terms of differences, the thing that I find really different for me personally, working in massage and full service work is the dynamic between myself and the customer. I find when I was working as a stripper it was often like environments where I was the naked one. And I was the one like when persons naked, like they're essentially vulnerable, and the customer was fully clothed. And now that I work in massaad, the, you know, you're both completely naked. So there's like a sense of like, equality there and like, the dynamic is very just, yeah, like, equal and balanced, and it doesn't feel like--and both people are there, you know, feeling vulnerable about our bodies and about the experience. And that's, I think, something that I really enjoy. Because I like to feel like I'm on the same sort of like level with somebody rather than--Yeah, just feeling like there's that division, I think sort of in stripping, I felt a little bit more like objectified. Because I was sort of like on show, whereas like,


Dahlia Daye 10:55

Yeah, I was gonna say that.


Katia Schwartz 10:59

Yeah, like, I feel like in full service work, it's definitely more like you have more of an intimate, like, a relationship with the client. It's more like you're both enjoying the experience together, rather than it being two completely different perspectives. Yeah.


Jenna Love 11:19

That's really interesting, it makes a lot of sense. And I wouldn't have thought about it. So yeah


Dahlia Daye 11:25

I think the work in a strip club, I think is, can be a lot more physically demanding. Just like walking around all night, in your high heels, which are usually seven to eight inches, and doing stage shows. And depending on the club you work out and how many girls there are on in a night, that you could be doing one show every hour, you know, which is quite a lot. There's also a lot, it's a lot different with like objection handling with customers, because you're dealing with people who are drunk, and on other substances sometimes as well, whereas it's not as common in brothels. People have been drinking, of course, especially if it's been at night, but most places don't offer alcohol. Or if they do, it's kind of like a complimentary glass on arrival. And it's expected that you kind of have your wits about you at the brothel. Whereas at the strip club, you're trying to actually get them to drink more so that they spend more. And then in terms of that, like having impact on your health as well. I definitely used to drink a lot more when I was a stripper, and I basically don't drink at all since then. So I think those are like really big differences that I found just yeah, having the impact that it has on your body, just night by night, the work that you're doing, but also long term, like what you're consuming, it's also expending a lot of energy and not really eating much and stuff like that. So I definitely think that that's a huge thing with stripping versus massage work.


Jenna Love 13:05

Yeah. And have you experienced much--I didn't write this question down, sorry. But I was speaking to Katia about it the other day, have you experienced much in terms of the whorearchy, so where people that do stripping having an issue with full service, or vice versa?


Dahlia Daye 13:27

Definitely. I definitely was one of those people that was like, I was like, I'm a stripper. I don't do that. And then then I did that. And I was like, "Ah, this is so much better". In my opinion, I was like, "This is so much better than the other work". Or even in more subtle ways. It would come out like, you know, when we're chatting to each other in the backroom and be like, "Oh, another guy asked me for a handjob. Like, if you want that, why don't you just go see someone at a massage parlour or something?". And there was that kind of really kind of subtle, but still very much implied that there was a hierarchy of like, "we're strippers. We don't do that". Or like, "They do this. There's a time and a place for that and it's not here" kind of thing. Whereas I think if I went back to stripping now, I'd probably be one of those people doing that in the back room. I wouldn't really care anymore.


Katia Schwartz 14:21

Yeah, I totally agree, D. I feel like--I think back when we were dancing as well, which was quite a long time ago now. I started dancing 14 years ago. And back then there was a lot of stigma for sex work just in general. And stripping was definitely the least stigmatised sex work that you could do because actually online work wasn't really a thing. You know, stripping was definitely the most palatable form of sex work. And even I remember like in the clubs like I used to do extra services in the club, nothing even remotely even comparable to what I do now. You know, I was definitely like, "Oh my Gosh!". I thought that was very taboo. But anyway, but I remember I--actually it was a dance with you, D. like we did it together. I don't know if you remember this actually.


Dahlia Daye 15:22

Maybe, we'll see!


Katia Schwartz 15:23

It was that customer that really disgusting breath.


Dahlia Daye 15:27

Oh, yeah. And he kept going on our nipples?


Katia Schwartz 15:31

Yes and it was like the train of the nipple. And so we all had to stand, there was about 4 of us or something in this private show. And this customer just would like, like a little baby, just take turns on just sucking each of our nipples. And her and I were just sort of sitting there we were like, "ohhhh", like kind of dying. Because it was so gross. Because my boobs smelt like breath afterwards. Like it was disgusting. Anyway, we did that. And I remember like, we got heaps of money for it. Okay, like, and I was actually fine with it. Like, I didn't really feel like it was I just didn't like the breath. Like the actual act of it was--it was a bit odd, but it was fine. Like, I was just like, "Oh, whatever, you know, the dude wants to do that, that's fine". But I remember telling another girl and I think I remember telling you this, D, and we were kind of talking about it afterwards. And I said to her, she was a stripper. And I said to her, I said "oh, this is what I did". Like, I was really excited about it. I was like, yeah, like, you know, I like got I forget how much money it was. But I made all of of this extra money last night. And she was like, "oh my god, I can't believe that you let a customer do that to you. That is so disgusting". And like, this is another stripper we're talking about like, this isn't some random civilian person. Like this is somebody who literally grinds on guys laps as her job. And she's telling me that like, you know, another part of something that I do is disgusting, because she doesn't feel comfortable doing it. Like it's just, and that kind of really hit me. And I felt a lot of shame about like that particular booking for a really long time. And I think sometimes like the effects that the whorearchy has is often more impactful when it comes from other sex workers. Like I find it you know, it's almost like, especially at the time, because at the time, like it was such a long time ago. And you know, it was, yeah, definitely, you know not how it is now. And also once I accidentally had sex with a customer. Like, not accidentally, like, I accidentally prostituted myself to a customer. Like, I wanted to do it for free because the customer was hot but I actually didn't realise that he thought that it was a transactional experience. Like, at the end of the experience, I got lots of money. Like he just put it in my bag. And I was like, "Oh!", I was like, "Cool!". I was like, I didn't expect I was like I didn't tell him I was like, oh fuck that I'm gonna take money like Yeah. And then yeah, and then I went back for more the next day. So like, even back then it was like, you know, like that experience--that was kind of the first time I had done any kind of full service work. And I actually just fell into it, like I accidentally got paid. That was like my very first ever like booking. It was like accidental prostitution. And I was like I said to my friends. I was like, "so... say for example, you have sex with a guy like then for some reason he gives you money


Jenna Love 19:05

And then there's all this money in your bag


Katia Schwartz 19:07

Is that really whoring? Is it really? And everyone's like "yes", and I was like "Oh, it's actually fine."


Dahlia Daye 19:16

Even then you were trying to be like, "but is it?" because that whorearchy structure was still so strong


Jenna Love 19:23

I feel like it doesn't count because you didn't know what you were doing.


Holly Harte 19:29

Oh it does


Jenna Love 19:30

Well the fact that you took the money afterwards I guess. But...


Dahlia Daye 19:35

It's in a grey area. I have another thought to share about the whorearchy before we move on if that's okay?


Jenna Love 19:44

Please.


Dahlia Daye 19:45

Something that I learned about the whorearchy as time went on, and especially I think I processed a lot of it when I had my break as well from sex work, is like how a lot of it is really focused around genitals, and what you do with the genitals. So it's like touching is different to, like, mouthing is different to like having genitals inside you, or on you, or like which genital or, you know. And it's really interesting because I identify as queer, I've always been queer since I, like I've always known I was queer, I've been out and have dated queer-ly my whole life. And I don't really believe that in my personal life. But it's interesting how that really runs very deep, or it did, maybe not so much these days, but it did run very deeply in the industry, it's like it went literally on a ladder of like, I wouldn't let them touch me versus I would let them touch me, but not have their mouth on my nipples, or like their mouth on my nipples, but not their hand down my pants kind of thing. And it's really staggered based on genitals and what you're doing with them. Whereas now I think, at least me and Katia understand that touch is touch and intimacy is intimacy. And that's what you're selling at the end of the day, because, you know, you could sell three hours with a guy at the strip club and sit on his lap and stroke his hair and talk to him and be really affectionate and intimate. And that might be harder work than doing a full service booking for 45 minutes where they touch all your holes, but they don't really connect with you on a deeper level. And so, yeah, that's, that's something that I learned on my journey.


Katia Schwartz 21:36

I agree with you as well, with regards to that. But also like from, like, from a queer perspective, like I understand because I'm also queer, but also from a disability perspective. I find, you know, the penis in vagina, like situations like as the definition of sex, very limiting, like for clients who have disabilities, and just for people with disabilities in general, because I've had a lot of customers who have had physical disabilities, who haven't been able to have penetrative sex, but they have other, you know, erotic zones in their body. And just because it's not, you know, penis in vagina sex, or to do with genitals doesn't mean that, like, that person is not like having a sexual experience. And I actually think it's quite ableist view of, you know, of sex to actually reduce it to literally just stuff to do with genitals. Like, I think it's just very, yeah, like, very limiting, and definitely not like, what sex should be. And that's why I think that the whorearchy is just absolute bullshit, because, you know--it's like we're all selling a sexual experience, like we're all selling like intimacy, no matter what part of the sex industry you're in it's all one and the same. It's just different people have different kind of ways of experiencing sex and as sex workers that we're there to provide like whatever service that kind of is.


Jenna Love 23:15

So moving on to talking about disability, thank you for the segue, Katia. And so we noticed when we were preparing for this recording, and I was talking a little bit with you back and forth, that you capitalise the D in the word Deaf. Can you explain why that is? And I guess the question is, is that something that you would like for hearing people to adopt as well?


Katia Schwartz 23:44

I'll answer this question in Auslan. Just for a little bit of a mix-up since it's connected to deafness. Yeah


Jenna Love 23:51

Great.


Amanda (Interpreter) 23:59

So in the Deaf world and in the deaf community, there are a lot of different identities that fall under that umbrella of being deaf. So not all people identify necessarily as one type of deaf so for example, I identify as capital D Deaf and that's with capitals. And capital D definitely denotes a cultural deafness, not just a physical deafness. So it means things like we use Auslan, we socialise with other Deaf people, weire involved in the Deaf community and its culture. Lots of capital D Deaf people have a lot of pride in their identity as a deaf person. It's not a shameful thing for them, or for us. So yeah, that's one of the identities that's a very strong identity for myself. Another way that some people might identify as deaf is little d deaf. So lowercase d. And basically people with that sort of deafness or who might identify as that don't generally have a connection to the capital D Deaf community, the cultural community. My grandmother, for example, I would call her deaf, with a little d. because she wasn't involved in the culture, she didn't use the sign language, she didn't have any involvement in the deaf community. No, still missed it.


Katia Schwartz 25:52

Profound. Maybe I spelt it wrong, sorry.


Amanda (Interpreter) 25:58

No it was probably me. So my grandmother was profoundly deaf as well, but would still identify us as little d deaf. So yeah, there's--that's two different ways of identifying as deaf within the community. There's another one as well - hard of hearing. So some people might identify as hard of hearing, or they might call me hard of hearing,


Katia Schwartz 26:23

I can speak. So a lot of the people in the deaf community who can speak sort of identify themselves as hard of hearing, I can also hear like, I have hearing aids, so I am still profoundly deaf, which is why I identify as Deaf with a capital D, because I do know Auslan, I am involved in the Deaf community. And I also like to sort of challenge what people's idea of deafness is. And that's why I don't identify as hard of hearing anymore. Because I think that there's like such a diverse range of deafness. And just because I can speak, and I can hear with my hearing aids a little bit doesn't make me any less deaf than somebody who doesn't speak. So that's why I like to use that label. But the fourth.


Amanda (Interpreter) 27:15

And another way, the fourth way, is people who describe themselves as hearing impaired. And so that's a very medical perspective of disability or a medical perspective of deafness. It's a very--used very much in the medical community. And it's sort of the way doctors and nurses sort of give that label to people who have lost their hearing. So they're often called hearing impaired. Some deaf people may choose that label as well, they might choose to call themselves hearing impaired. Because they don't feel like they're connected to the deaf community culturally, and they sort of want to perhaps distance themselves a little bit from that, they don't want to be seen as people who sign or something like that. So


Katia Schwartz 27:57

Yeah, so like, I personally used to label myself as hearing impaired, but I decided that I--as I sort of got into the deaf community a little bit more, I don't like that label as much, because I found that like, I don't know, it just connects to like a very dark kind of place in my life. When I first got my hearing loss diagnosed I was 18. And I was--I only was deaf in one ear, and it didn't really affect my life that much. But when I was, you know in like...what happened to Holly? She's gone.


Jenna Love 28:40

I'm just checking the messages, keep going, she'll probably come back


Katia Schwartz 28:45

Should I keep going? Yeah, so when I was, yeah, when I was about 25, I started going deaf in my other ear. And that's kind of when it hit me a little bit and my medical diagnosis was hearing impaired. So that's kind of what I referred to myself as like, I know, even D like, with you like I just when I first met you, I was just like, "oh, I can't hear a bit well", like I was like, "my hearing's like a bit bad"


Dahlia Daye 29:13

When we met in 2014 when we were working a civilian job together, you just said to me, "Oh, can you just stand on this side? I can't hear really well on that side." And I was like, "Yeah, okay", we didn't even we just kind of talked around it. We didn't even really use a label


Katia Schwartz 29:35

Yeah, like I didn't even identify at all like with being deaf, like deaf was not even a word that was in my brain. Like I was literally just like, "can't hear". And then I was like,


Dahlia Daye 29:46

Doesn't work, this one works


Katia Schwartz 29:47

Yeah, yes. Then the next kind of process I was like "oh okay, I'm hearing impaired". But the thing that I guess when I started learning Auslan, like the sign for hearing impaired is like hearing and then impaired. But this actually means like fault. Or like faulty. Like you're at fault


Dahlia Daye 30:08

You fail


Katia Schwartz 30:09

Like whose fault is that? That's the sign and yeah, when I kind of like realised that it like had a bit of a light bulb moment for me because I was like, oh, like, I don't really like kind of describing myself as faulty like I don't I really hate that, that makes me feel like shit about myself and, yeah, so I don't really like that label personally for me, there are people in the hard of hearing community and also like the deaf community who do identify themselves as hearing impaired. Hard of hearing is more of like, if you don't say deaf, like hard of hearing is the kind of more politically correct way of introducing people, most people are not offended, if you say hard of hearing, but like some people would be offended if you said, hearing impaired. Yeah, so it's just like a bit of a label thing. The best like way to sort of move forward with that is if just ask the deaf person, like, what is your label? What do you prefer to be identified as and generally they'll be very--usually Deaf people are very blunt. They'll just be like, I'm this. Like, it's actually a thing in Deaf culture. It's like called Deaf Blunt. It's like a Yeah, it's like a cultural, like, significant thing. We all basically just tell the truth, because our language is very matter of fact, yeah, it's no fluff.


Jenna Love 31:27

I was speaking to someone just the other day, and I said, "Oh, I met a Deaf sex worker the other day", because I had met Katia. And they said to me, "Oh, I think you're supposed to say hearing impaired, like Deaf is offensive". And I was like, "Oh, actually, I think hearing impaired is offensive". And I was like, I don't know. So anyway, the lesson is, you ask, and that applies to so many different things, doesn't it?


Holly Harte 31:58

How have clients reacted to you being deaf?


Katia Schwartz 32:04

I've had like some positive experiences and some like negative experiences. There's definitely very little very mixed. Generally, I don't tell people that I'm deaf. I feel like I'm very like passable as a hearing person. Sometimes, like I can sound a little bit funny. If I don't have my hearing aids on I sound quite deaf. I've got my hearing aids on at the moment so I sound sort of--hopefully--do I sound okay?


Jenna Love 32:27

You do, yes.


Katia Schwartz 32:31

When I can hear myself, I can, I'm pretty good. But when I take my hearing aids off, I sometimes slur my words a little bit, but I always have my hearing aids on at work. So I tend to not tell them. I have it written in my bio, like on the brothel website, like it's in my bio, just in case--I don't want a client to book me and not be okay with it if it does come up in the room, whereas like, if I just don't mention it, like went in like a meet then it sort of feels a bit...It's fine. Like they've met me. But then yeah, I feel like it's one of those things where I'm like, "Oh, I kind of have to tell them" but like, do I? If their head is like down on the massage table, or sometimes like they're talking shit, and I can't hear them, and I have to be like, well, there's a reason for that. I'm not just being rude. So generally, I'll tell them like, after they're booked me and after they've paid the money. Sometimes, like clients, I have a really lovely client. He booked me from the website, and it said that I was Deaf. He had never met me before. And he came to the parlour and he actually, like learnt some Auslan like, because he thought that like I couldn't speak at all. And he went to the effort of, you know, learning a bit of Auslan, it was really sweet. Like, it was so nice. It was actually no one has done that for me before. Like it was really, really lovely. And he just learnt basic, silly things like, not silly like swear words, "I love you". "You're beautiful". Stuff like that. So I like I had that. Like that was a really nice experience. And he was really confused when he met me because he was like, "What? You can speak? Like, I learnt all that Auslan for nothing? And I was like, "No, it wasn't for nothing. Like, you know, it actually really touched me that you learnt that like, actually you are some random client who has respected me more than some of my friends who I've known for years who haven't learned Auslan, you know? So thank you, like that's, you know, that's really lovely. He's a regular of mine so he sees me all the time and I teach him a little bit of Auslan every now and again. And that's really sweet. But yeah, I've had a lot of other clients who haven't, I don't know, been okay with the difference. Like, usually they'll--in a meet I'll talk like, I'll speak like this. Sometimes they'll notice something funny about my voice and they'll say something, sometimes I think I have maybe like a speech impairment. Other times I've had people think I'm like intellectually disabled. I've had people tell me that I don't know how to speak English, which is weird. Like, you know, "Oh your parents didn't teach you how to speak English either". Sometimes, like in COVID there'll be wearing a mask, so I have to kind of tell them to pull the mask down, those clients generally will never book me. So I found like a massive lull in COVID, where I didn't get a lot of bookings, because I had to continuously tell people to pull their mask down. At first, I was telling them because I was deaf. But then they felt sorry for me, and like, they wouldn't book me like, it was kind of just this look on their face. Like, where I go all the time, you know, like, I'll go to a shop and I'll have to tell someone, "Oh move your mask". And then it'll be like a reaction of like, they have no idea what to do kind of thing. Like, it's this shock. Or like, Oh, you're different, or for some reason now, even though like you've, I've treated you normally, up until this very point, now, I'm no longer going to treat you normally. Because like, I know something about you and I'm now really confused, you know, and it's like, and that's a lot of clients just can't be bothered to, like, deal with that aspect of me. Like, they're like, I can't be bothered to learn how to communicate with this person. Like, it's too hard to know how, you know, even though like I am, I'm actually really capable, like I speak really well. And I can handle myself with my hearing aids really well, like, I really can integrate very easily in the hearing community, I have done that my entire life and like, literally, so is every other deaf person, but people just get really like weirded out or something like they just don't understand. They don't know how to treat you. Like they just like "What?", and it was actually really hurtful. Like, every single time like I had a customer, I would just like walk back into the room and I just say to the other girls like, "Oh, he's not gonna book me. Like, I'm not gonna get booked", you know? And then eventually, I sort of found a bit of a way around it. And I would say, "Can you take your mask down, I really want to see your beautiful face?" but then some people would move it back up again after I saw their face. Some people didn't. And then, you know, like, I could sort of trick them that way. It's like, it's definitely a challenge in that environment being somebody who has something different about you, I find, yeah, it does work to my advantage sometimes. I tend to pick and choose who I want to tell, like, for example, if a client has a disability, I will straightaway tell them that I'm deaf, and I'll get booked straightaway. Like I had a client actually who had a facial difference. And part of his facial difference was that he doesn't have any ears. And we really connected because he was also--his hearing aids that he wore sort of almost like a headband. And like we were kind of really connected because I said, "Oh well my ears look normal on the outside but on the inside they're fucked" he was like, "Oh, mine's the opposite - mine are fucked on the outside, but perfectly fine on the inside. So yeah, I just feel like you know, clients like that I immediately seem like more approachable. And it's like a huge advantage because I look very intimidating. Like I've got lots of tattoos and I'm like a very like pinup kind of looking and I I've got like a bit of a fierce look. So as soon as I have like something about me that's a little bit more, you know, not normal, like more approachable, and more friendly. People will book me. So yeah, it's one of those things where it's like, most people don't like it but then the ones that do I make a really huge and positive impact on so it's like, yeah, and it just goes to show that like people discriminate against deaf people. Like it's like literally I was like, I'm doing like a social experiment. And I know, it's like, I'm extremely hot, okay, like I walk in there. And I'm like, I know that it has nothing to do with my appearance, I am smoking. And I'm really good at my job as well. Like, I'm not like a I'm not a inexperienced sex worker. Like I've been in the industry for a really long time. Like, I know that, like my meets are not going badly because of anything that I'm doing. Like, it's literally because of the fact that--and I noticed. I'm like, "he's not going to book - I told him to take his mask off. He's not going to come". Also clients, they don't like being told, in the meet they're vulnerable. They're all, especially guys who've never been there before, who have never seen a sex worker before, and they're sitting there and they're fucking nervous and they're like, "Ah shit", you know, and then some girl comes out and goes "take off your mask" and they're just like, "oh my god" and then they have to take it off and they're just freaking out because they're like "I'm exposed" you know those kinds of guys like they just they don't even--they're so in their head sometimes like it may not even really be to do with me like they're kind of just like "omg she told me to like do something oh my god" and like don't even remember me because like I embarrassed them or something because they had to do something.


Jenna Love 39:54

Well, there's already all of the stigma and discrimination going on for sex work and for them thinking about themselves walking into a brothel. And then you add the layer of disabilities stigma and discrimination on top of that, and it's just too much for them, I guess. Yeah. So Dahlia, you're not Deaf?


Dahlia Daye 40:16

No


Jenna Love 40:16

But you are involved in the community,


Dahlia Daye 40:19

I'm also a qualified interpreter. So recently qualified, but yes, usually I'm doing what Amanda is doing.


Jenna Love 40:27

Yeah, a backstory for the listeners is that I asked Katia to come on the show. And Katia was like, "Oh, I'll get Dahlia to interpret for me". And then she started saying, "well, also Dahlia is a worker". And then we were like, "Well, why don't we just have everyone on the show?" And so that's how we've ended up here. So thank you, both of you, all of you, for being here. Would you say, have you found the Deaf community to be accepting of the sex industry?


Dahlia Daye 40:59

I think people being deaf does hasn't--in my perspective--hasn't really had an impact on how much they accept or don't accept it. I think the questions you get asked are just a lot more direct and forward as Kat touched on, like the Deaf Bluntness before, but I don't, I think there are some people that like it and some people that don't in the same as other communities.


Katia Schwartz 41:26

Yeah, I feel like sometimes, like Deaf people, I think any type of community can sometimes be like, more accepting than, any kind of minority group can be more accepting than, you know, the majority. You know I know people in the disabled community, you know, outside of being Deaf, or people in the queer community, or people in the Deaf community, like, we are all used to people kind of discriminating against us, so when I tell people that I'm a sex worker, it's not really, they're less, I think they're less likely to, you know, say something, but it's, it is very, like, cuz also, like, I guess, with the deaf community, they are very insular, because they don't have a lot of access to the same information that hearing people have access to, so often with political views, and things like that, they can be, not always, like, not with everyone, but a little bit behind the eight ball because they literally don't have the same level of access to all of the stuff that we get every day if you're a hearing person, you know. For example, on me, like, I have my social media, okay. And I'll go through Instagram, and I'll be scrolling. And I can't access half the content that's on my social media, it's just a lot of stuff just doesn't have captions, a lot of really important stuff doesn't have captions. A lot of news stuff doesn't have captions or Auslan interpreters. So it's like, you can't really blame people for not being accepting of certain issues or even understanding certain things. Because they literally just can't get access to it. Like they, you know, even, you know, some interviews that I've done in stuff where I'm explaining things to a hearing community, deaf people may not be able to access that. So it's like, yeah, I feel like there is a lot of privilege, involved. So it's a bit--usually the deaf people that I've told are just like, "oh, okay, like, what's that?" Yeah. Just like, "oh, like, what do you do? Wait, what?"


Dahlia Daye 43:42

I think they, I think deaf people can be more curious because of that. What you've just talked about - that less exposure to information. And they can they can be quicker to be like, "oh, yeah, okay". But then they'll have like, 10 times as many questions.


Jenna Love 44:01

Yeah.


Dahlia Daye 44:02

And it's just a curiosity. It's like, "Oh, I've never heard of this thing. Like, what is it? What do you do?" Yeah, so there's kind of like, it's, yeah, swings and roundabouts.


Katia Schwartz 44:15

I think also with people in the Deaf community, they don't actually have the opportunity a lot of the time to actually have a conversation with somebody from outside of the Deaf community. Like because there's always--like nobody knows Auslan. So it's like, you have to use an interpreter to actually have a conversation. So sometimes, like when they meet me, who knows Auslan who's a fellow deaf person. They're like, "Whoa, this is like an opportunity to ask a whole bunch of questions". You know, because they literally have never met anybody with my job, like, they literally have not had that opportunity. And it's because like, hearing people don't make an effort to talk to them.


Holly Harte 44:55

I just also wanted to point out and pull me up if I'm wrong here. If I say anything that's not 100% correct. But my understanding, or what I've been taught about the Deaf community is that it's quite a small proportion of the Deaf community who actually have learned to read English or to, yeah, to understand it that way, that most of the Deaf community, particularly who was born deaf, speaks Auslan. And that's the language that they learn. So when accessing things like social media, where things are written just in, for example, English, or just, you know, in that sort of language, it's a lot less accessible for the deaf community. Is that correct?


Dahlia Daye 45:40

I'd say that what you said about social media being less accessible, is right. But I don't think it's a small portion of the deaf community that know English, I think there are definitely people who don't know any English at all. And there are people who are fluent and bilingual in Auslan and English, and then most people sit like somewhere in the middle with varying levels of fluency. But I would say most deaf people that we know and have met have an understanding of English, it might just be at different, like fluency levels. So just like meeting people from overseas, you know?


Katia Schwartz 46:27

I would say like, I've haven't actually met a deaf person that does not know English, like, I've met a lot of deaf people


Dahlia Daye 46:33

It happens, but it's rare


Katia Schwartz 46:35

Yeah like their English might be not great. Like, their spelling and stuff might be like, you know, it might look like they, you know, have learned English as like a second language, just like another person who's like a non English speaking background kind of thing. It might look a bit like that. But no, I would definitely say like all deaf people, because Auslan sort of is a little bit like English in some ways, you know, like, the mouth patterns and everything. Like, it's, it's more that they can't--they don't--the reason why they don't have access to things is that it's more the fact that-not because they don't understand the English language, but because things are not made accessible to them, like, you know, like having things having captions, or there being Auslan interpreters and stuff like that, so it's, yeah, if it was all written down, like generally, they would be able to understand. Some Deaf people who sort of grew up with Deaf parents or who are more involved in Auslan would find big, massive chunks of text quite difficult to understand, and comprehend fully, but I just Yeah, I haven't met--because when I first started learning Auslan I didn't know any, like I didn't--because I learnt in my mid 20s. Like, I didn't know Auslan before that and I had to kind of communicate with deaf people as if I was a hearing person, even though I couldn't really hear. So I've had, I've been kind of like, on both sides. Yeah. And like we are very like perceptive like, to people's body language and just certain things like visually around us. I feel like at the beginning, I didn't really have that. Like, I felt like I kept getting almost hit by cars, because I was used to the sensation of hearing the car coming. Because I've grown up hearing the car, you know, and that being my warning for danger, but now I feel like I don't almost die all the time. Because my eyes are a little bit more alert. Not dying is good.


Jenna Love 48:38

Yes. I feel like we should say when we say things like something like most Deaf people can speak English. That's dependent on globally, like if they live in an English speaking country, right? I mean, we're talking about most deaf people, you know, maybe can speak a spoken language. Not necessarily English.


Dahlia Daye 49:04

Yes


Katia Schwartz 49:04

Yeah. Well, like every country has their own sign language, as well. But like I mean, I was talking about Australia


Jenna Love 49:10

Of course. Yeah.


Dahlia Daye 49:12

And the deaf people we know here.


Holly Harte 49:15

Tell us about Sky Sirens and Make It Rain.


Dahlia Daye 49:23

Make It Rain has been a project three years in the work. Two of those years were stolen by COVID. And it all started because Kat and I went to brunch, which we do a lot. And we were having--I just remember that we were at Flour and Stone in Woolloomooloo. And we were having runny eggs and soldiers and Kat was like, "so I want to talk to you about something" and I was like, "shit." And then she was like, "no, no, I had an idea. I think we should tell our story. Because we have a really good story to tell. And I think we should tell it about how we started, how we stripped and how we became like best friends and the things that we learned in the industry". And I was like, "okay, amazing". And this is kind of how mine and Katya's friendship goes. And we actually also have a running joke that Kat kind of conceives the baby and then I help her carry it to full term. So I'm like the surrogate, and Kat provides all of everything else


Katia Schwartz 50:38

Does that mean I'm the sperm?


Dahlia Daye 50:39

Well you're kind of all of the DNA, and I'm like the incubator. And we have like a running joke. Every photoshoot that we have together, there's always a maternity shot where Kat's holding my belly and everything, because that's how it happened with Sky Sirens, and then with the events that Kat wanted to put on, like, Heartstoppers and Glory Box and Disrobed. And then when she was like, "I want to expand the studio," and then "I want to renovate the studio". So Make It Rain was the next baby. And yeah, because Kat has all these amazing creative ideas. And I'm very logistical and procedure based. And so we work really well as a team. So we started writing this show. And you know, we just kind of brainstormed all of the things that you know, really stood out to us in our time at strip clubs. And that was the original form of Make It Rain. So Make It Rain has evolved since then. Originally, it was quite comical, and very cheesy and only focused on stripping. It was still educational, and it was still aimed to reduce stigma. But since then it's evolved to encapsulate more of the sex work industry. We're trying to touch on all parts of it and just really highlight the common themes. It's still about camaraderie, it's still about being sexy and glamorous and sensual. It's all about eroticism. We've also included the interview portion, as you know, Jenna, you interviewed for that. And it's a much more glamorous production now, which is really exciting. And you know, since then Kat has, we've both been, but especially Kat has been like on a journey with like her Deafness and disability and stuff. So we've incorporated kind of all of that into it.


Jenna Love 52:31

So when and where is it?


Dahlia Daye 52:34

It's going to be at The Vanguard on July 7th, 8th and 9th. I actually checked yesterday and it looks like Saturday 9th July, all the tickets seem to be sold out. I think that's what it said on the website. Friday is selling fast and Thursday still has a few left.


Jenna Love 52:57

So this episode will most likely be coming out on the Thursday. So if you're listening to this, it's possible that there won't be any tickets


Dahlia Daye 53:04

Come tonight! Yeah, So three nights at The Vanguard in Newtown, which is like, we've never had a three night show before.


Jenna Love 53:14

Oh, cool, nice


Dahlia Daye 53:14

Which is really cool. Yeah, so about 300 people can watch it total, which is exciting. And then hopefully we will also immortalise it for online viewing as well.


Jenna Love 53:27

Yeah. Thank you to Katia, Dahlia, and Amanda for being here with us today. I've learnt a whole bunch of things and I imagine our listeners have as well. And I'm really looking forward to going to Make It Rain.


Dahlia Daye 53:41

Yay. I can't wait to see you there.


Holly Harte 53:45

Thank you guys.


Jenna Love 53:46

Thankyou so much.


Dahlia Daye 53:48

Thank you














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