Touching Base Inc logo showing a line drawing of two hands almost touching, and the byline "sex workers and people with disa ility coming together"  at the fingertips

Newsletter No. 3 2016
Touching Base ends 2016 celebrating significant recognition for two of our founding members and sharing an important submission to UN Women from one of our Patrons, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. Check out info about the Sex ED Up Disability Sexuality Expo coming up in Melbourne in February 2017, training dates, our closing dates over the holiday season and other news.

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Grant bestowed by the Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust

Photo of Winston Churchill, wearing a black overcoat and hat, with a lit cigar between his lips and a wise glint in his eye.
We end the year celebrating with Rachel Wotton, one of our founding members, who has been granted entrance into the Churchill Fellows Association of NSW.

Rachel has been bestowed with a scholarship to travel to the Euro zone to review training programs for sex workers providing services to clients with disability. Rachel is excited to be traveling to the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Denmark in 2017 to gather information and bring it back to further develop new Touching Base training modules for sex workers. Having recently completed her dissertation on sex workers who see clients with disability, we are sure that Rachel will share as much knowledge in Europe as she brings home to Australia.

Sexual Freedom Awards 2016

The United Kingdom Sexual Freedom Awards celebrate international pioneers in the field of sexuality and promote excellence in erotic performance and sexual services.

The proceeds of the Awards ceremony are used to fund the work of The Outsiders Trust – a charity, a social, peer support and dating club, run by and for socially and physically disabled people in the UK.

The Sexual Freedom Awards evolved out of the international Erotic Awards, which were run by Tuppy Owens in London once a year from 1994–2013. The Awards are famous for their Golden Flying Penis Trophies, hand carved for the event in Bali (see image below).

This is the 22nd year the awards have been celebrating sexual pioneers and Touching Base is thrilled that our President Saul Isbister has been awarded the Sexual Expression Award for Sex Worker of the Year 2016.

The judges chose to recognise Saul's 25 years as an out and proud sex worker activist and for his history of dedicated volunteer work for Touching Base since being a founding member in 2000.

Follow the link below to the Sexual Freedom Award's web-page where all the finalists are presented. You'll find a brief write-up of some of Saul's achievements halfway down the page:

The awards is a golden penis and testicles, with multi-coloured wings set from the base of the penis. It sits on a black pedestal with a small bronze plaque on the front.
Here is the trophy awarded to the winner in each category
of the Sexual Freedom Award - a famous golden flying penis, hand-carved for the event in Bali.

Keeping to principles critical in the post-fact era

Living in a 'post-fact' world is nothing new to sex workers. Many of those who are opposed to sex work for ideological reasons have been distributing lies about the sex industry, and distorting findings of research etc,  for a considerable period of time. One of the favourite past-times of post-fact trolls (including some highly unethical academics) is to conflate sex work with sex trafficking for exploitation. Some say all clients of sex workers are guilty of enacting violence against women and simply ignore all the evidence that shows this is blatantly untrue. Sex workers and our allies have fought against these kinds of post-fact distortions for a long time now with voices of experience and better research, but regressive abolitionist ideas still appear to carry some weight in many circles.

That is why Touching Base is so thankful to have allies like one of our Patrons, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. He has written a powerful rebuttal in the form of a submission to UN Women, which is presently consulting on "Sex work, the Sex Trade and Prostitution" at the international level. We encourage everyone to find a few minutes over the holidays to read Michael Kirby's submission. Michael Kirby demonstrates leadership by providing a clear example of what is required in the post-fact era. That is a focus on the principles and policy positions that have led to significant gains in sex workers human rights in many countries under the umbrella of the UN.  Here are a couple of quotes from Michael Kirby's submission to tempt you into reading more ;)

"There are ten reasons for rejecting a prohibitionist approach to adult
(non-children, non-incompetent) consensual sex work."

"Personal feelings of revulsion and religious conviction
must be treated as subordinate to
the principles of universal human rights and the integrity
and self-determination of consenting adults."

Photo of Michael Kirby by Marcus Mok
The Hon. Michael Kirby smiling as he sits at a desk covered with documents. He is holding a pen in his hand and has shelves lined with books behind him. [Photo by Marcus Mok]

Sexuality and Disability Expo, Melbourne - Feb 2017

Logo with the words Sexed Up Disability Sexuality Expo. The logo includes three stylised human torsos and two five pointed stars radiating out above the words, with a nine smaller multi-coloured stars scattered above.

The “SexED UP Expo” is for adults in Victoria living with a disability, their partners, family, current and future Health, Community and Disability sector workers and those with an interest in this area.

​The Expo will provide an exciting opportunity to attend workshops, information and training sessions to address sexuality and intimacy of people living with a disability. Sessions provide a platform for discussion, education and policy development to improve, enable and enhance this often unacknowledged aspect of people’s lives.


24th February 2017 9.00am to 6.00pm.
For more information, please go to

Our own Rachel Wotton will be representing Touching Base as one of the keynote speakers. And there is an impressive lineup of other speakers and presenters for the day. While Rachel is in Melbourne she will also be delivering a workshop for sex workers - see the next section for more details.

Training workshops

Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) - for sex workers

Melbourne February 2017
We are pleased to let experienced sex workers in Victoria know that Touching Base will be delivering our PDAT workshop in Melbourne on 23rd February 2017. This workshop is being hosted by RhED and is co-sponsored by Stablise (Stabilise is the company putting on the SexED Up Expo and flying Rachel down to Melbourne).

Sex workers wanting to attend the Melbourne PDAT workshop are encouraged to directly contact RhED to register.

Darwin March 2017
We will also be delivering a PDAT workshop in Darwin hosted by SWOP NT in March 2017 - along with a fundraising screening of the award winning documentary Scarlet Rd.

Sex workers in the Northern Territory are encouraged to contact SWOP NT by phone on 08 8944 7777 to register their interest in attending the Darwin workshop and/or screening of Scarlet Rd

Expertise of people with disability vital to the
Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

In breaking news: "A diverse partnership of 37 representative organisations of people with disability, disability advocacy organisations and disability peak bodies are calling for the 2017 Board of the NDIA to ensure strong representation of people with disability."  Link to full media release 20 Dec 2016

Touching Base agrees with their demand because we understand how vital it is for marginalised communities to be in charge of their own destiny. That's why our Constitution requires that the Touching Base Committee of Management has a majority of people with disability and sex workers. Also the roles of President and Vice President may only be held by a person with disability and/or a sex worker.

ACNC Charity Tick and making donations

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission charity tick logo. In a circular format it has the words Registered Charity across the top – with a website address underneath. The ‘tick’ is in the form of a stylised ribbon in two colours.
Last week the Sydney Morning Herald published a poll that showed 57% of participants intend to donate to a charity this festive season.

On 14th December the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) made it easier for the public to identify charities that are registered with the ACNC. As an eligible registered charity Touching Base is permitted to use the new ACNC Charity Tick and if you click on the Registered Charity symbol it will take you to our registration page on the ACNC website.

We can also assure any donors that we will only use your gift in ways that directly help us to meet our aims and objectives. 

A logo with the words Give Now in large letters - followed by words in smaller a font saying - Give more, give smarter, give better, give now. There is also a stylised flower with four petals.
Remember all donations over $2.00 are tax deductible and because we are unfunded every gift makes a difference. You can donate via our website or click on the GiveNow logo below to directly access our secure online donation portal right now.

Click on the GiveNOW symbol or follow this link to make a donation today

Touching Base will be closed from 23rd Dec 2016 to the 17th Jan 2017. We wish all our members & supporters a happy and peaceful time over the festive season.

Contact Touching Base

General Enquiries:                   
Phone: 0424 591 409

Postal Address:                         
PO Box 523, Newtown, NSW 2042
Referral List:
Referral Request Form:
Phone: 0499 054 400

ABN: 182 1399 7639

Copyright © 2016 Touching Base Inc., All rights reserved.

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