Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
MICROPOLIS: Transgender Training / Sex Work Survival Tips
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 04:00 AM
New York City -- universal beacon for gays and lesbians, right? Maybe, but ask some people how safe they feel on the streets, and they'll say, not very. Especially transgender women of color, who speak of constant harassment, threats and actual violence.
In this latest episode of Micropolis, we spend time with Daisey Lopez, a transgender woman in Queens who's learned to kick her assailants' collective asses.
Then we hear from Sempai Elena, THE self-defense instructor for New York sex workers. Here's 3 tips she gives her students, in the event they're in a car with a dangerous or violent john:
- Keep the window cracked a little, early on, in case you need to kick it out
- Even more dramatic is the back roll: "If you put your back up against the passenger door and started kicking [the john] with both feet, especially for these girls who are wearing heels: kick kick kick kick kick, open the door and back roll out. It seems very dramatic, but it can work."
- When a quick escape isn't an option: "Can you gouge out an eye, can you crush a trachea? If somebody’s trying to choke you there’s not a lot of room for negotiation, because you’re going to become unconscious very, very quickly. So you have to bypass that fear and extricate yourself from that situation."
Listen to the Micropolis segment, above.