Magdalene

// 18 April 2009

Just a quick one: I have to recommend listening to the latest episode of Renee from Womanist Musings and Monica from TransGriot’s podcast.

They talk to women from the Magdalene programme, a two-year residential programme for women who want to exit prostitution* and drug abuse. Sheila, who now works at the Magdalene programme after graduating from it, talks about why she ended up in prostitution and abusing drugs, and the impact that it had on her life, then another woman (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten her name and there’s no transcript) speaks about working at Thistle Farms, which is a cottage industry run by the women in the programme.

It exists almost entirely on donations and the proceeds from Thistle Farms, with no state support. The programme has a one year waiting list, and Sheila says that in January they were forced to close a safe house for women there’s no beds for because of the recession…

During the interview, Monica and Renee ask if the women-only programme is trans inclusive, and it does seem like they’ve not really considered this before (The problem isn’t really resolved, but during the podcast Sheila says that they’ve never had a trans woman wanting to join, so the issue hasn’t come up – but also that they wouldn’t turn anyone away without finding them help… )

*Note, I’m aware this is a contested word, I’m using the same language that the women interviewed use.

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