NCSF on TwitterSubscribe to the NCSF RSS FeedNCSF Blog

NCSF Headlines

How to Write a Letter to the Editor

Guidelines for making your letter to the editor a powerful advocacy tool! It's easier than you think!

Why should I write a letter to the editor?

Letters to the editor are an effective way to convey a positive image of alternate sexual practices such as SM, polyamory and swinging. Letters help to de-stigmatize negative social myths and misconceptions about these types of practices. These letters help achieve the advocacy goals of NCSF because they:

  • Reach a large audience
  • Are monitored regularly by elected officials
  • Can introduce new information not addressed in a news article
  • Foster an impression that there is widespread support for or opposition to an issue

We also suggest that you send copies of letters that you write to members of Congress to your local newspaper editors. These letters are often published to highlight a specific issue in the editorial section.

Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor

  • Keep your letter short and on one subject. Newspapers typically have strict space limits for the editorial section and limited space. Keeping your letter short helps your chances of getting the letter published in its entirety, without important points being edited by the newspaper.

 

  • Make sure your letter is legible and words are spelled correctly. Your letter may be simple and short, but make sure that spelling is correct and handwriting (if typing or WP in not used) is legible.

 

  • Include your contact information. Newspapers sometimes call to verify a person's identity or address and will usually only publish letters with complete names and addresses. It is recommended that you also include a telephone number, if possible. Newspapers keep this information confidential and usually publish the person's name and city only.

 

  • Reference the publication and article. Many newspapers only print letters referencing a specific article. Include the specifics such as "As a concerned resident of Baltimore, I am writing in reference to your article in the latest issue of (insert publication name), dated July 23rd titled "SM and the Law."

 

  • Describe what you liked or didn't like about the article. NCSF sometimes includes a recommended response on important topics stating our position, which can be easily tailored to fit your personal use.

 

  • Personalize your opinion with the news article. Use examples that reference your own experience. Examples are: "As someone who has experienced job discrimination because of my alternative sexual practices, I feel strongly that·", or "As a long-time member of the polyamory community, I think·".

 

  • Frame yourself to establish common ground with the reader. We believe that it is important to frame yourself so readers relate to something you have in common with them. Frame yourself in terms of things like "parent, professional, involved member of my local community, proud U.S. citizen, former military officer, retired person, young person", or other ways that might enable you to relate to the readers as an individual they share something in common with. This also helps dispel the myth that alternative sexual expression is "wrong" or "abnormal."

 

  • Reference positive facts. Check out our recommended sound bites for the SM, swing and polyamory communities.

 

  • Stress the importance of national communities that promote safe and consensual sexual practices among adults through mentoring and education.

 

  • Focus on the issues, not the sexual practices. Try to focus the letter on violence and discrimination. The media already sensationalizes sexual activities and portrays them negatively most of the time. Try not to give them, or the radical right, any more ammunition than they already have by discussing your own sexual practices.

 

  • Point out that SM, swinging and polyamory is fun and enjoyable. The images and words depicted through the media about SM in particular are often negative and frightening to those who don't understand it. Words like "violence" are often associated with it wrongly, and the activities are frequently sensationalized and misrepresented. Discuss the caring relationships, intimacy, trust and communications aspects of these relationships whenever possible, stress that you like and enjoy it, and don't be afraid to mention that humor and laughter can also be part of these activities.

 

  • Send actual letters or faxes when possible. An actual letter or fax is generally given more weight by a publication than something received only by e-mail. If possible, send an actual letter by mail or send a fax in addition to the e-mail, particularly on issues of particular importance to you.

 

  • Send letters to community newspapers also. It's often much easier to get letters published in small publications than larger ones. If you're sending a response to a larger publication, copy the smaller newspapers as well.

 

  • Send letters to NCSF.  Be sure to send a copy of your letters to NCSF so we can track responses. Send to NCSF at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1312 18th Street, NW, Suite102,  Washington, DC 20036.

  • NCSF’s 2014 Roundup
    NCSF’s 2014 Roundup    2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and even Fifty Shades of Grey are transforming mainstream attitudes. The change in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 stating that BDSM is a healthy form of sexual expression has also had a significant impact on both the courts and public opinion about…
    Written on Sunday, 28 December 2014 20:51
  • National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Gray Movie?
    Does your media agency have resources for these special interest pieces?  Contact the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for interviews and information on kink and open relationships. NCSF is the national advocate for consensual adult sexual expression.    Why kink?   There has been a significant interest in BDSM sparked by the wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey.  Similar topics appeared in recent TV Shows from CSI to House to Desperate Housewives, and even animated shows such as American Dad.      Furthermore many…
    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 17:30
  • 50 Shades of NCSF Palm Cards
    Are You Ready for Fifty Shades? To coincide with the launch of the movie, get your Fifty Shades of Kink palm cards from NCSF to put out at your club or in local sex shops and bookstores so that people who are looking to find out more about kink know where to go. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request your cards. NCSF’s Fifty Shades of Kink resource page is for people who…
    Written on Friday, 12 December 2014 20:16
  • GayLawNet Joins Forces with NCSF
    NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals joins forces with GayLawNet   NCSF has expanded the reach of its Kink Aware Professionals by collaborating with GayLawNet, which now offers a way for lawyers in their database to self-identify as Kink Aware Professionals:  gaylawnet.com/attorneys/ussolc.html   “Whenever someone can’t find a lawyer in NCSF’s KAP list, I always refer them to GayLawNet,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “Many of their gay-friendly lawyers are eager…
    Written on Monday, 01 December 2014 20:10
  • Tides Awards NCSF $1,500 Grant
    NCSF Receives Grant Award NCSF is proud to announce the receipt of a $1,500 grant awarded by Tides Foundation. About Tides #TidesProject “Since 1976, Tides Foundation has worked with over 15,000 individuals and organizations in the mutual endeavor to make the world a better place. These include foundations, donors, corporations, social investors, nonprofit organizations, government institutions, community organizations, activists, social entrepreneurs, and more. We break down the walls between entrepreneurs…
    Written on Monday, 24 November 2014 20:01