In this Issue
NCSF at the AASECT Annual Conference
Consent Month In September
Get NCSF's latest pamphlet on Trauma
Incident Reporting & Response
The Sexual Freedom Resolution
Do Not Sit In Silence, a Response to #StandWithOrlando
Representing on FetLife
Consent Month is in September!
Please schedule a workshop on consent, a party with a consent theme, or a fundraiser for NCSF to raise awareness about Consent Month.
NCSF can send you Got Consent! Bracelets for your event along with materials on consent.
Let us know the date and we'll put it on our calendar on ConsentMonth.com
Take photos and enter our Consent Photo Contest! See the winner from Consent Month 2015.
National Consent Month is proudly brought to you by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and the Arizona Power Exchange. Thank you for supporting Consent Month!
By Susan Wright
Director of IRR
NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response received 20 requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in April, May and June. This is a drop from last two quarters (31 and 28 requests). This continues a downward trend in requests from the average (50 requests) for the previous 7 quarters, going back to the 1st Quarter of 2014.
NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest.
Here is a breakdown of the cases we dealt with in the 2nd Quarter of 2016:
There were 7 requests for resources and information involving criminal law. 2 of those requests came from people complaining about a kink-related assault or sexual assault who needed assistance in connecting with kink-aware victim services and/or resources to educate law enforcement. 1 person needed an attorney to help keep a restraining order in place. There were 4 requests from defendants for educational resources and referrals for kink aware professionals to serve as expert witness.
There were 5 requests for help involving BDSM groups. Groups asked for advice on dealing with consent violations: 1 group was dealing with a serial predator, another group with an educator who has been banned by nearby groups, while 2 groups needed advice on how to deal with violations before they occur. 1 group was dealing with zoning issues.
There were 4 requests for help with civil matters, an upturn in requests. 2 involved getting attorneys to write cease & desist letters in regards to threats to out them by posting photos from FetLife. 1 involved a woman threatened with a lawsuit for speaking out against a man who defrauded her. 1 person needed a legal form.
Three professionals asked NCSF for information and resources to assist in them in providing their services. These included a sex therapist, a psychologist and a lawyer.
There was 1 case of discrimination this quarter. A woman needed help explaining kink for a job in social work.
Join over 40 National Associations, Groups and Professionals who have signed the Sexual Freedom Resolution!
"I absolutely endorse sexuality as a human right and social justice as the best framework for seeking that, so I am thrilled to sign the sexual freedom resolution," says Elizabeth Sheff, Ph.D. CASA, CSE.
The Sexual Freedom Resolution is a stand against discrimination by professionals in the field of sexuality and sexual health. This Resolution can be submitted to civil, criminal and family courts by people who are stigmatized because of their sexual expression in order to help them get a fair trial on the merits of their case. We encourage organizations that serve mental and health professionals to sign onto this resolution, as well as educational groups and Kink Aware Professionals.
To sign on, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/sfr
Sexual Freedom Resolution
Working within the framework of social justice and human rights, we support the right of freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults. We affirm that sexual expression is central to the human experience, that this right is central to overall health and well-being, and that this right must be honored. We support the right to be free from discrimination, oppression, exploitation and violence due to one's sexual expression.
The best contemporary scientific evidence finds that consenting adults who practice BDSM, fetishes, cross-dressing and non-monogamy can be presumed healthy as a group. We believe that any sexuality education or therapies that treat sexual problems must avoid stigmatizing or pathologizing these forms of sexual expressions between fully informed consenting adults.
As professionals in the field of sexuality and sexual health, we actively seek to destigmatize consensual sexual expression and sexual practices among consenting adults, as well as to help create and maintain safe space for those who have been traditionally marginalized.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
AASECT (American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists)
CARAS (Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities)
Center for Positive Sexuality
Projects Advancing Sexual Diversity (PASD)
Science of BDSM Research Team
TASHRA (The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance)
And more! Go to www.ncsfreedom.org/sfr to see who has signed on.
NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner, New England Leather Alliance, for donating $3,216 from their Winter Fetish Fair Fleamarket held on President's Day weekend in Warwick, RI. NELA traditionally donates $1 per attendee from their fair as their annual Coalition Partner fundraiser for NCSF. This year, the attendance jumped to nearly 3,200 people from 2,000 in previous years, so NELA added an extra $16 for the year 2016, making it a grand total of $3,216.
NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner, Board of Education, for donating $1,076 on May 3rd from their annual CP fundraiser held in March.
Thank you to our Coalition Partner, Center for Sex Positive Culture, for donating $1,066.65 on May 4th from the proceeds of the NCSF Consent Summit held on April 23rd. An additional $108 donation was donated by our Coalition Partner, the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture in July.
NCSF would like to thank Marc Depaul, a long time supporter of the coalition, for donating $500 to the NCSF Foundation in May.
NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner, Adventures in Sexuality, for donating $390 raised as their annual CP fundraiser at Winter Wickedness in February.
NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner Riverbound in the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa for donating $300 in June. The funds were raised at the end of April at Riverbound's first annual vendor fair, held in Davenport, Iowa, where close to 20 vendors displayed wonderful lifestyle items from whips, embossed leather paddles and straps to collars, floggers, and lifestyle t-shirts.
Thank you to BASSN (Boston Area Sexuality Spirituality Network) for donating $200 to the NCSF membership group in April.
The EPIC Lifestyle Conference earmarked 25% of the lunch and dinner costs on Sunday of their May 12-16 weekend event in the Poconos, and donated a total of $160 to NCSF.
Coalition Partner, NOBLE, donated $90 in April as their CP fundraiser by holding a raffle of prize baskets to benefit NCSF.
Coalition Partner, Le Bon Temps, donated $123 in May from their yearly raffle that benefits NCSF.
NCSF thanks all of these generous donors who enable our all-volunteer staff to continue our projects to end discrimination.
By Julian Wolf
I am queer, polyamourus, genderqueer, I am not a Christian, and I like to go dancing. I have had violence threatened against me, I have lost work, I have had incredible opportunities, great loves, and I have chosen not to live in the closet. What happened in Orlando, and so frequently on a smaller scale so many places, could have happened here. It could have happened to us. It did happen to our extended family. Do not allow hate speech to happen in your presence. Call out aggression. Don't sit in silence glad it didn't happen to you.
Days after the tragedy in Orlando I had two conversations that we shouldn't have to have in this day and age. (Spoiler alert, the conversations went well and there have been good steps made toward eliminating hate in a small subset of a rather backwards part of our country.) I was tired, in the midst of my move and against my better judgement I asked the patriarch of my family of origin (FOO) if his (very conservative) church prayed for the victims on Sunday. He said that they didn't as it was early and no one really knew what was happening. That actually made sense, so I accepted it but didn't drop the subject. I then started talking to him about what happened. The news he watches hadn't reported it was Latin night at gay club. He'd heard it was at a gay club elsewhere, but no one mentioned it was Latin night. He knew that "guys and gals" (to use his words) had been killed, and we talked some about the people- parents, siblings, mothers... and how scared so many people are. I brought up that the shooter was blatantly homophobic, and this was an act of homophobia, and likely racist. He brought up that "ISIS hates everyone that isn't like them" and I pointed out that as of yet there are no proof that he actually was involved with ISIS, but there was that he was homophobic. Targeting Latin night at a gay club during gay pride month was likely not coincidental. We talked about how sad this is, and since there are kids in the house, I asked him to add the victims and their families to the prayers that they'll say at dinner. He agreed without hesitation. The fact that there will be kind words said for queer people at the place where I was told that anything other than heteronormative Christian monogamy was an unforgivable sin is profound.
I called my sister's eldest and we talked about what happened. He didn't know it was Pride month, or a gay club much less Latin night. We talked about why I have been trying to weed micro-aggressions out of him and his sibling's speech. Why we don't say something weak is "girly" or something bad is "gay." They are POC (people of colour) and we talked about why we don't joke about it in groups, because someone else might not be strong enough to know the difference and be harmed. We talked about the fact that transgender people are murdered more than anyone else and why it keeps happening. We discussed that GLBTQ (and what those letters mean) people kill themselves more than anyone else, and it's in part because people allow hate speech around them. We talked about how when someone went to Jesus and bitched about a woman having extramarital sex Jesus said "Dude, not cool. Stop being a dick." (And that I paraphrased that story from the bible, but he knew the story, John Chapter 8 from the New Testament if you're curious.) We talked about the fact that the message of Jesus was not one of hate, but of love and it's anyone's job who is Christian to have the back of anyone who is being bullied. (I seem to know more about Christianity than a lot of his friends who identify as such.) We talked about the difference that we can make as individuals with our own choices. We then chatted about movies, working out and before we said goodbye I told him that I wanted him to be the best man- no the best person that he could possibly be, and yes, I phrased the statement as a correction just like that. This is a start.
These are steps. If you can open a door that had previously been sealed shut, even if it's just a inch, please consider it. If you can ask someone to acknowledge that hate is not acceptable, please do. If you can ask someone if someone like me(/you/your friend/those people) deserves to die because of their sexuality or the color of their skin, do. Allow people to start considering if hate is what they want to grow in their hearts or if they want to start making room to consider that maybe it isn't ok that our people are dying on our soil because we're allowing - even encouraging - people to hate. Yes, other things need to change, but a difference you can make right now is start opening doors that used to be closed due to ignorance and/or hate. Not many people are going to be glad that so many people died so horribly over the weekend- help people consider what they can do to make it never happen again. I don't know how to grieve in a comfortable way. I only know how to work and keep fighting. Please, grieve. Please, work. Please, fight. Make changes, even small ones, to make the world safer for everyone.
by Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE
CEO, Sheff Consulting
A few reasons people choose to come out are:Increased intimacy - Hiding important relationships means closing off parts of your life, and being honest about significant things allows greater authenticity and emotional connection.
Explanation for person in social environment - Sometimes people in poly relationships that have become serious and entail more involvement in their lives decide to come out to both explain the presence of the person/people and acknowledge the importance of the relationship(s).
Being outed by an event or person - When someone else threatens to out a poly person, sometimes taking control of the situation and outing themselves
Political belief - As amply demonstrated by LGBT activists, it is difficult to take political space and organize for rights without a visible and recognizable presence in society. The more poly people who come out, the more visible polyamory is, and the more likely it is that poly communities will be able to gain rights for their constituents.
Not - If there is no real reason to come out, reconsider doing so if you are vulnerable. That vulnerability might be to losing custody of your children, losing your job, losing connections with your family and friends, or losing your housing. These things can happen when people come out as poly, so think carefully before deciding if the risks of coming out are worth the benefits.
Although the idea of coming out is politically important and some people feel compelled to be scrupulously honest with the others in their lives, most people should use caution when coming out because be identified as a sex or gender minority can be dangerous and should be done cautiously. A few of the ways to do so cautiously include:
Selective disclosure - Tell the people who are important and need to know that you have a poly relationship, but let them know this is sensitive information that they should not share with others until you are ready. If you are not sure if someone is safe to tell, then consider using a "litmus" question such as how that person feels about same-sex marriage or something like that. Their reaction could give you information about how they might react to the news of polyamory.
Matter of fact, not dramatic - If you present the information as a matter of daily life and not a cataclysmic announcement, others will be more likely to take it as a regular piece of news. Presenting it as normal part of your life can help others accept it as normal for you as well.
Private setting - In case you or the person you tell has a strong reaction to your coming out news, consider a setting that allows some conversational privacy.
Once you have decided to come out, prepare yourself. Think about what you are going to say, and plan ahead with your partners. Use the resources below to educate yourself and those to whom you are coming out.
NCSF has a resource library filled with information for activists, lawyers, people concerned with consent, mental health, and professionals knowledgeable about polyamory and BDSM.
I have written three books that would be very helpful to people coming out as polyamorous. The first one, The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), reports on my 15 year study of poly families with children and is best suited for using when coming out to social workers, lawyers, school counselors, doctors, and other professionals. Stories from the Polycule (2015), my second book, is an edited volume of stories written by poly people themselves and is best suited for coming out to younger family members, friends, and open minded people or people with shorter spans of attention. My most recent book, When Someone You Love is Polyamorous (2016), is a short introduction to polyamory and best suited for dear friends and family members who are older, more conservative, or might be afraid that polyamory might be a bad thing for their loved ones.
NCSF Media Updates are a sampling of recent stories printed in US newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant mention of BDSM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics. These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate or anywhere in between.
Here's a sample of three of our recent featured stories:The Softer Side of S&Mfrom Advocate
Why Google Accidentally Became The Best Thing To Happen To Polyamory from the Mashable
NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers with a comprehensive look at what media outlets are writing about these topics and to urge everyone to make comments that dispute stereotypes about alternative sexuality. NCSF permits and encourages readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.