This past Saturday, I was exposed as a sex worker who is also a New York City paramedic. The New York Post published a story shaming me for selling my nude photos online and made sure to include my full name, photos of me, my education, my height and weight, my location, and my workplace.
The article goes into detail about the content of my OnlyFans page, a subscription website for creators to sell content and what I used to sell my photos. They go on to quote an anonymous FDNY veteran who said, “Other EMTs and paramedics make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes.”
Here’s the truth about me. I am 23 years old and from a small town in West Virginia. My mother’s family is from northern West Virginia and my father’s parents were immigrants from China. I am the eldest of four children and our family was one of the only mixed-race families in my predominately white town.
I graduated from Winfield High School in a class of 200, the largest at the time. During high school, I was active in show choir, GSA, NHS, and dance classes. I moved to New York City when I was 18 to pursue my lifelong dream of being on Broadway. I completed AMDA, started auditioning, and then decided it wasn’t for me anymore. So I became an EMT.
I worked as an EMT for a year then I quit because I couldn’t put myself through paramedic school on minimum wage. I went back to hosting at a restaurant to make ends meet while I worked a year through paramedic school, one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I graduated paramedic school in February of 2020 and dove right into working, just as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
I was not prepared for all that I was about to see. New York City was hit the hardest between April and June, when it became the global epicentre of the virus, with over 22,000 deaths by the start of July. I work as a transport paramedic where my typical calls are to take patients from nursing homes to their various doctors’ appointments. With Covid, my transports were more often taking extremely sick patients from one hospital to another.
I transported a 40-year-old physician’s assistant who was intubated, on a ventilator, with three IV drips running, and still trying to rip his own tube out. The nurses on the floor said to me, “This is one of our own.” That particular patient reminded me of my father, who is also a healthcare worker, and I still remember choking up.
I also trained with community paramedics, who made house calls to high-risk patients in an attempt to treat them without having to go to the ER and expose them to other sick patients. There were several times where we were in Covid-positive patients’ homes for three to four hours in full PPE, waiting to speak with the doctor over the phone for orders. In some cases, these patients still had to be transported to the ER and their family members were not permitted in the ambulance or in the hospitals. I took many patients away from their loved ones and saw how they looked at each other, not knowing if they would ever see one another alive again.
I held the hands of dying people who could not hold the hands of their spouses, children, siblings, and friends. I listened to the president of the United States say on TV that all the hospitals and healthcare workers had everything they needed, while I was using a weeks-old N95 mask and waiting for a ventilator the hospital didn’t have for my patient. And at the end of every day, I came home to an empty apartment where I cried about the state of our world while sanitising my equipment.
The New York City 911 system was overwhelmed by the call volume during the height of the pandemic. On a regular day, NYC 911 EMS will have around 4,000 calls. My 911 brothers and sisters battled through months of close to 7,000 calls a day. They were forced to make critical decisions, like who was sick enough to be taken to the ER or who was too far gone to benefit from CPR. They had a 20-minute limit on working a patient up before pronouncing them dead. Many of these EMTs and paramedics have more than one job and work over 50 hours a week to support their families. I’ve seen people work 16 hours in a row at one job, then go work another eight hours at another out of necessity. Starting EMTs get paid $15 an hour and EMS workers are the worst-paid first responders in New York City.
The loneliness and helplessness I felt during this time was often overwhelming. My family lives 500 miles away from me in a state with local politicians who constantly downplayed the pandemic and I worried about them every day. I was watching the people of my city die in front of my eyes and there was absolutely nothing I could do except be present for them. Many nights, I felt like I’d rather just not be here at all.
But I also got to see the best parts of New York City. I heard every 7pm applause from every resident who could spare some pots and pans to show their love for healthcare workers. Restaurants that were struggling themselves gave free meals to hospital staff daily. Eventually, I had the pleasure of taking patients who were hospitalised for weeks back home to their families. Many EMS workers had much harder experiences than mine.
This is the reality behind the New York Post article about me, one which has now gone viral. Little did the reporters involved know that they would give me the opportunity to speak out about the things that mean most to me. How I make my money in order to help those in need is nobody’s business but my own, and certainly no patient has asked if I’m on OnlyFans before allowing me to help them.
I have always believed in using my voice to speak for those who may not be heard and I encourage everyone subjected to blatant sexism to do the same.
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