By Fiona Hernandez | February 28, 2022
(Photo Credit: Fiona Hernandez)
In honor of Gender and Sexuality month, Liara Roux came to UAlbany this past Thursday to discuss her memoir, Whore of New York.
Liara Roux was interviewed by Deborah LaFond, Subject Librarian for Africana Studies, Educational Psychology and Counseling, Psychology, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies where they discussed Rioux’s early life as a child, her experience with sex work, and her relationship with her former wife Anna.
Roux discussed her early life living in the Upper East Side and how she was raised in a very Christian conservative family. Growing up, she struggled with hiding her queerness from her family.
“I hid it because it felt very much like a life or death type circumstance,” Roux said. “I didn’t want to deal with the judgment of my parents and the Church community.”
As Roux went to college, she became comfortable enough to express her sexuality now that she was out from under her family’s view. And when she later went into sex work, Roux was able to find her place in being able to live to her true self and eventually find her love for sex work.
But as a child, Roux also dealt with the pain of cluster headaches and felt like it was hard gaining attention from her parents. “It was very very intense pain and it was almost like being tortured,” she said.
But through it, Roux found comfort through reading and talking to a therapist. “I think reading books really helped me escape into a totally different universe and having a good therapist later in life really helped me with that,” she said.
Even more, she also explained how it was very important for her to talk about it with a therapist because of having the support of someone realizing that it is okay to be in pain.
Therapy also helped her with the trauma she faced in her relationship with Anna. Roux met this woman named Anna who was 27 and she was just 16 at the time. The relationship grew to be a romantic relationship, but Anna later turned out to be a controlling and abusive partner. Roux found herself to be in a vulnerable place, but it made her learn about the importance of boundaries.
“I think it was my responsibility to maintain my boundaries and having a really good therapist on how to say no to people,” she said and she learned from her therapist on how “to respect both yourself and other people at the same time.”
Roux was also very adamant about trying to have more discussions about sex education in schools. She believes that sex education should include more about safe sex for people in the LGBTQ+ community. She also believes in decriminalizing sex work because she is proud of the work that she has done and believes that she and so many others have helped their clients in approaching sex.
“I think my favorite part about being a sex worker is working towards clients who have a lot of shame or have had a really hard time just having sex or being close to people,” Roux said. “It was really an honor to get to help people do these things.”