In September, the Sydney Morning Herald reported a revolutionary culture change: according to a new UNSW study, “women across Australia are purchasing sex” – driven by the need for sexual ‘safety’ and understanding. Wow. That’s something. Let’s hear from the lone woman cited by reporter Sarah Keoghan:
Rachel* was in her 40s when she first purchased sex.
As a transgender woman, she had experienced life-long reservations about her own body and didn’t want to risk her emotional and physical security by diving into online dating. After talking to a friend in the industry, she contacted a sex worker.
“It was like hitting a gold mine,” she said.
That was the first indication that this ‘study’ by Dr Hilary Caldwell – who interviewed just 21 “women” for her doctoral thesis on this subject – may not be as nationally consequential as touted. A “transgender woman” is not, after all, a woman.
Today, the ABC is running the same report and the same angle:
The pursuit of pleasure is a major motivation, but it’s not the only one. Women are seeing sex workers to learn about their bodies, deal with stress or trauma and experiment in an environment they consider safe.
“People think, ‘oh, go along to a sex worker and have whips and needles or something’,” says white-collar worker Jocelyn*, who says a sex worker helped her recently after a period of significant work stress.
As it turns out, Jocelyn for the ABC – like “Rachel” for Fairfax – is the sole informant. In the thirty-first paragraph we learn:
For Jocelyn, who is a transwoman, the opportunity to better understand her body carried extra significance.
So there you have it: the top left-wing media organisations in the country are promoting a ‘study’ of 21 people – an unspecified number of whom are not even women – whose purported finding is that Australian women are increasingly turning to sex workers. But so far the only examples presented are two biological males.
There is a serious point to be made here about respect. Defining transexuals as women (in this case) may bolster the click-ability, media attention and academic kudos of the authors because it will tend to exaggerate findings and their implications. But these people are not statistical builder’s filler. They are human beings.