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Pose’s Indya Moore just spoke about being trafficked as a child

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
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Indya Moore from Pose

Indya Moore opened up about her experiences.

In Pose, the show set in the underground world of 1980s ball culture in New York, Indya Moore plays Angel, a street walker who is searching for love.

The actor stars alongside Billy Porter, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek and more in the show, which has garnered praise from viewers and critics.

And now Moore, who has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter, has opened up about being sex trafficked as a trans child in the foster care system.

Speaking to Elle, they (Moore prefers to use they/them pronouns, although agreed with Elle that she/her pronouns were ok for the article) revealed how they were “overdisciplined” for displaying feminine characteristics as a child.

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Moore, who grew up in a Jehovah’s Witness family to a Puerto Rican mum and a Catholic immigrant father from the Dominican Republic, said: “Because I was assigned male at birth, they expected me to be masculine or to perform the way they thought young boys should perform. And I did not.”

Tensions grew in the family until, at 14, Moore finally entered the foster care system, where she was in and out of foster homes, group homes and the courts.

One of Moore’s foster parents was a trans woman, who shared her hormone replacement drugs with Moore.

“I just remember not feeling as sad,” Moore told Elle. “I just felt more connected to my body. I felt free. I felt attractive. I liked the way I looked in the mirror.”

Indya Moore, who plays Angel in Pose, performs during the FX Pose Ball in Harlem.
Indya Moore, who plays Angel in Pose, performs during the FX Pose Ball in Harlem.

After Moore’s foster mum stopped giving them the drugs, Moore turned to the internet, where some people sent her a message on Facebook saying they could help. The strangers, said Moore, “told me that all I had to do was play with these men who will come in for a moment to see me and play with me and then they’ll give me money”.

Moore stayed with these people who told them they were safe because Moore was not alone in the room when men came to have sex with them.

“They told me I needed to do it continuously so that I could afford hormones,” Moore said.“I didn’t understand what sex trafficking was at the time. The language I knew was that they were, basically, my pimps. I was just a kid.” 

Moore spent a year being trafficked, before a dispute left them bloodied and beaten and they took shelter with a boyfriend and his mother in the Bronx. While there, Moore “secretly sold myself online to bring money and food to the house”.

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After more foster homes, time in prison, a period in an institution where Moore was taken off hormones and given anti-depressants, and time in a foster group home where they were placed among LGBTQ boys rather than in an all-girls units, Moore attempted suicide.

Moore, who had been posting photographs to Instagram for years, began to draw a following, and decided to make a video about how it wasn’t gay for men to be attracted to trans women. The video went viral, and eventually IMG signed Moore as a model.

Moore auditioned for Pose a few months after fleeing foster care for the final time, winding up homeless, and got the part.

As well as being in Pose, Moore is also the face of Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein, and has since reconciled with their mother.

Images: Getty

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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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