Parliament: Interesting Speeches

Sex Industry Reform

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Following my raising the issue of sexuality and people with disabilities last month in this place, today I would like to read you one piece of feedback I have received from a constituent in regional South Australia who also happens to have a disability. His story, a message of support for some of the concepts that my party and I have been promulgating, is one of many emails and calls of support I have received in response to this issue.

I have, of course, had some people disagreeing with me, as is their right, but I would say that 90 per cent of the feedback has been positive, with these people thanking me for having the courage to raise the matter and for finally acknowledging that people with disabilities are sexual beings just like much of the rest of the population. The constituent states:

I would like to support the aims and objectives of legalising the sex worker industry in South Australia, as well as fighting for the rights of disabled South Australians to visit a sex worker. I speak as a disabled heterosexual man. I by no means assert that my sexuality or my gender is superior to any other persons. To each their own.

I also speak as a formal social educator of young disabled adult men with intellectual disabilities. As a social educator, it was impossible to teach young disabled men the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch without allowing them to experience what appropriate, sexual touch was. My solution at the time was soft porn and a few mumbled words about touching oneself, privately, and alone. It was not satisfactory.

As a disabled heterosexual man, I in no way conform to the ideals and dreams of many women, nor what women are told by media, like Cleo magazine. At singles [parties I found that] the disabled were the butt of jokes: ‘finding men is like finding car parking, the best are taken the rest are disabled.’

As a man with strong sexual urges, I have had, from time to time, a few lovers. But at some stages of my life there have been times where I had not touched or been touched by a woman…for eight years. During these long, lonely times, I resorted to mild pornography.

After many years however, it became in a sense, painful. So, while on holiday in Adelaide from NSW, I hired a sex worker. She was clean, healthy, discreet and an adult woman. The brothel was also clean. I used protection. It was bloody fantastic. It was not however a substitute for love or the intimacy of a wife. It was however, mutually respectful. I did not know at that time it was illegal, that I was breaking the law or that I, or my willing sex partner, could be classed as criminals.

I support any legislation that supports the establishment of clean, safe, healthy brothels, where sex workers are free from exploitation or slavery and are all adult and can make up their own minds. I want brothels and sex workers to pay taxes and never felt threatened to seek medical help if they need it. Sex workers have a job to do, just like fire fighters, or accountants, and should be respected for the work that they do, not degraded or marginalised.

I support the right of any human to erotic touch if they want it. Disabled people deserve erotic touch if they want it regardless of whether they’re heterosexual or gay, transgendered or bisexual, male or female. Erotic touch [to me] is as important as free speech. I am now married, with a great wife. This was [obviously] not always the case.

Some people may be opposed to legalizing brothels, or allowing the disabled access to brothels, perhaps on the basis that sexual union belongs [in their opinion] only to those that can be married. What a disgraceful argument for total discrimination. These people would miss erotic touch, if it was ever denied to them!