In this issue
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place Friday evening, and Coalition Partners were able to participate via streaming video to give their input on the new Consent Statement. Go to www.ncsfreedom.org to see the Consent Statement and comment on it.
"The Consent Statement is now launched to the BDSM-leather-Fetish communities for input until July 1st," says Judy Guerin, Director of Consent Counts. "This statement outlines the current legal climate in regards to BDSM practices, and describes the ethical responsibilities of kinky people, as well. The Consent Statement will be used to change assault laws so that consensual BDSM won't be mistaken for assault."
One focus of the weekend was how to move forward now that a fire has destroyed the NCSF office. An emergency fund drive is underway to raise money to replace what was lost in the fire. Please help us reach our goal!
The new board of directors voted in Kevin Carlson as Chairman, Mark Richards as Secretary, and John Baku as Treasurer. The CPs also heard reports on NCSF projects and some of the stats include:
Incident Reporting and Response received nearly 500 calls for help
The Kink Aware Professionals list is up to nearly 1,200 professionals
The Media Outreach Project gave over 60 interviews
Over 600 NCSF Facebook page members and nearly 5,000 twitter followers
98 Coalition Partners!
Friday evening's Pizza Meet & Greet was sponsored by the AZ TNG, while lunch Saturday was sponsored by FetLife and lunch on Sunday at the APEX BBQ was sponsored by AZ Men of Leather. NCSF thanks APEX for welcoming CP representatives, NCSF board members and staff to their APEX Dungeon Party on Saturday night, and at their Sunday afternoon BBQ and NCSF Meet & Greet. NCSF also thanks Kelly Beaton, Master Bleu Sadist, slave alena girl, and Karen for volunteering and helping out in all sorts of necessary ways at the meeting!
NCSF helps you, so please help us in our time of need! Support us by becoming a member or donating today!
After our elections at the annual meeting and an executive session that included appointing members, the Board of NCSF currently consists of:
Kevin Carlson - Chairman - Boise, ID
Mark Richards - Secretary - New York, NY
John Baku - Treasurer - Vancouver, BC
Race Bannon - San Francisco, CA
Laura Carlson - Boise, ID
Jim Fleckenstein - Manassas, VA
Leigha Fleming - Fort Worth, TX
Vivienne Kramer - San Diego, CA
Mercury - Nashville, TN
Stephanie "Sassy" Lynn - Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Julian Wolf - Albuquerque, NM
Susan Wright - Phoenix, AZ
Over 150 attendees packed the room at Yale Law School's 19th annual RebLaw (Rebellious Lawyering) Conference, the nation's largest student-run public interest conference, for a panel discussion which included NCSF. The discussion, "Safe Words? Legal Restrictions on Consent and Radical Sex" was conducted by three panelists: Judy Guerin, NCSF's Consent Count's Director, Ignacio Rivera, a two-spirit gender fluid kinkster whose work focuses on queer, trans, kink and sexual liberation issues within a race/class dynamic and Alexis Agathocieous, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who has worked on a successful case fighting a Louisiana law that required sex workers to register in the state's sex offender database. The panel was facilitated by Yale Law students Adrien A. Weibgen and Ryan Richard Thoreson.
The discussion was heavily focused on the issue of consent in the context of BDSM relationships and prosecution of BDSM as both assault and, more recently, under Federal trafficking laws. A connection between prosecution of sex workers and BDSM practitioners under Federal trafficking laws was discussed. The discussion also included a focus on the religious political extremists strategy to discredit the GLBTQ movement by tying it to practitioners of alternative sexuality. The fact that sodomy laws, although overturned by the 2003 Lawrence v. Texasdecision, as well as other antiquated sex laws, are still on the books in many states and are still being used to prosecute people was highlighted. NCSF introduced its recent statement on consent and its summary of the legal situation related to BDSM assault prosecutions, "Consent and BDSM: The State of the Law", as well as some of its recent survey results and examples of BDSM prosecutions for consensual BDSM.
The NCSF office in Baltimore, MD, was destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago. We've lost everything: computer, office supplies and furnishings, tee shirts, and all of our stored printed literature are gone. The Board of Directors along with our Coalition Partners and dedicated volunteers are working hard to recover from this tragedy, but much of that recovery takes money.
As part of the recovery effort, NCSF has launched the NCSF Fire Recovery Fund campaign with a goal of raising $20,000 to help us get back up and running so that we can continue to do the important work we do for the BDSM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities.
We are asking anyone who is able to donate to the NCSF Fire Recovery Fund drive:
Donations are tax deductible!
And whether you are able to donate or not, we would appreciate you getting the word out about the fundraising campaign. If you visit the fund donation page linked to above, you'll see icons that allow you to share the page on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and through email. Please share with your network and encourage them to donate.
Some organizations have been NCSF Coalition Partners for as long as the NCSF has been around, and many of them will say: being a CP means holding a fundraiser.
Yes, and then, no.
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom exists just as it says - as a coalition of people and organizations who believe in sexual freedom for everyone. Our Coalition Partners come to the organization charged to do really, just two things - to fundraise and more importantly - to participate.
The range of programs and services at the NCSF evolved as people just like you showed they were needed. When parties get busted, or people come out to picket events, contacting the NCSF is often the first phone call that gets made. When individuals in crisis call, NCSF responders are often the first understanding and sympathetic voice the caller will hear. We continued to maintain the Kink Aware Professionals list after founder Race Bannon was looking for another entity to take over because our partners spoke up and said it was important to keep the service going.
It is the 'speaking out' that is the most important function of a Coalition Partner. The NCSF is only as good as our partners' ability to bring to the table the real needs of our community. Protecting and advancing our sexual freedom will mean many different things to different Coalition Partners. Remember, the NCSF advocates for Swing and Polyamory communities as well as the BDSM/Kink communities. That diversity is why Consent Counts is at the very core of work being done by the NCSF. It matters to everyone.
At the past Coalition Partners meeting, someone referred to "50 Shades of Grey" as the BDSM/Kink communities' "Stonewall". Stonewall was a bar in New York where gay men first fought back from police oppression and aggression. It is often pointed to as the event that started the GLBT rights movement. While often these types of defining events have roots in fighting back, they don't all have to be negative. The overwhelming world interest in "50 Shades of Grey" threw back the shroud that has hovered around BDSM practices for centuries. It drew the interest of the world because it blazed a light on sexual practices that have been considered taboo. If it has opened the door to less oppression, greater inclusion, fewer custody cases, and less police and legal interaction in the BDSM community - then indeed - "50 Shades of Grey" IS our Stonewall --- and we can feel blessed that it lacked the violence.
Coalition Partners bring this level of community thinking to a single table. They bring concerns, problems and opportunities for all of us to consider as we safeguard our sexual freedom. The depth and breadth of the NCSF sits in the lap of every Coalition Partner. When you talk about the issues, the problems, and the services needed to keep your local community vibrant, risk averse, and cohesive, realize that when you advance those thoughts to the NCSF through a Coalition Partner, you have helped contribute to a larger network that can make a difference. That is the real gift that Coalition Partners bring to the NCSF...as well as that annual fundraiser.