chapter  4
10 Pages


Roberta Perkins
WithTranssexuals in Kings Cross*

The transsexual community in the Kings Cross and Darlinghurst area is divisible into four subgroups: the showgirls, the strippers, the prostitutes and the girls who pick up men in bars. While there is some overlap, and some girls have belonged to all four of these groups at different times, by and large they operate as separate social entities. The base on which each subgroup is structured is economic in that the girls tend to interrelate with one another as an extension of their working lives. The ‘activities’ and ‘territorial spaces’ (Clarke et al., 1976) are distinctive for each subgroup. For showgirls these are activities connected with ‘female impersonation’ entertainment and with the customers after the show. In addition, they tend to socialise with each other at parties, when going out and by visiting each others’ flats. ‘Territorial spaces’ are more or less fixed upon the places where they work and meet. Much the same can be said of the strippers, whose activities and spaces centre on the strip clubs in which they work. In the case of the prostitutes and bar girls, however, whose activities are a little more fluid and spaces less fixed in that working together is a less cooperative activity, each girl is not bound to a specific corner or street, bar or hotel, although waiting for a client or a pick-up is something they all do in common.