100 Stories About My Grandmother
100 Stories About My Grandmother will use the narratives of male prostitutes to construct a picture of my grandmother, and will thereby deconstruct notions of family and the lives of sex workers.
Society tends to see sex workers as destitute, drug addicted, amoral, disease infected, and lower class. Their real voices are seldom heard. They are most likely to come to our attention when they enter the court system, or if well meaning community or church groups attempt to save them from the perceived perils of sex work. 100 Stories About My Grandmother allows the talked-about to talk; gives a voice to those who have been voiceless. In turn, their narratives are used to build my grandmother’s story.
Having sex workers speak for themselves but not about their work is a step towards understanding prostitutes as individuals. Sharing family stories may seem banal, but inviting sex workers to do so becomes a way of including them in a society all too frequently eager to reject them. Sharing stories like these would usually happen only among family and friends. Sharing them with an audience encourages the listener to feel a kinship with a marginalized community – we all have grandmothers.
I know very little about my grandmother; in fact I have no lived experience with her. These 100 stories will be threads in the narrative cloth I weave about my grandmother’s life. Audience memories of their own grandmothers will contribute to this weaving – the “My” of the title will refer not only to each individual narrative, nor to my grandmother, but will refer to the former and the latter plus the audience’s experiences with their own grandmothers.