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Wednesday, 08 May 2019 22:26

How to Lobby

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Tips on Meeting with Elected and Appointed Officials—

It’s Easier Than You Think!

Setting up and participating in meetings with an elected or appointed official is not difficult. In almost all cases, they will welcome meeting with people who can educate them and their staff about an issue. And the views you express can have a significant impact.

Issues important to our communities are on the front burner for state and local elected and appointed officials across the country. Those officials—legislators, governors, mayors, county and city councils, school boards, zoning and ABC boards—want to hear what we think about those issues.

We can all write letters, and we should certainly do that, but actually meeting with your elected or appointed officials can have a major impact. And this is something we all can do.

Monitoring Developing Issues

It is important to be aware of developing issues on which lobbying can be useful. Getting in for a lobby visit early in the legislative or administrative process is the best way to affect the outcome. Monitor your local press for new issues of concern to our communities. Also, legislatures and administrative agencies have web sites on which they often (but not always) identify issues they will be considering and give timetables for such consideration.

Monitoring & Participating in the Committee Process

Almost all legislative proposals are considered by a Committee before being voted on in the Congress or state legislature. The staff of the Committee (which may be different than the staffs of the individual legislators) will do the necessary research, prepare a draft of the legislative measure and brief the legislators who are assigned to be members of that Committee.

It is important to monitor the Committee process to identify new legislative proposals at an early stage. Most Committees—certainly all Committees of the U.S. Congress—have websites that identify proposals under consideration and set forth the schedules for Committee hearings, Committee meetings and Committee votes. NCSF can help you find the right Committee and point you to its website.

Meeting with Committee staffers early in their development of a proposed piece of legislation can be effective, particularly on issues relating to BDSM and other non-traditional sex practices. Staffers will generally know little about the real practice of BDSM or other non-traditional sex practices and are likely to have adverse preconceptions that are important to dispel. You should try to become a resource that provides information that is both helpful to the Committee staff, and that can have a significant influence on the legislation that they draft.

As the legislative process proceeds, it will become important to have lobby meetings with the legislators’ personal staffs and possibly with the legislators themselves. NCSF can provide guidance as to the timing of such contacts.

What is a Lobby Visit?

A lobby visit is a meeting where you tell your elected representative or appointed official what you think about a certain issue or bill. Whether it is a City Council Member or your Congressional Representative, as one of their constituents you can ask them to take action on an issue of legislation, or of government policy/practice.

You can easily find the office of your local and national elected officials in your area. Some Members of Congress have more than one office in their congressional district, and permanent staff members are usually available for you to meet with. State legislators and governors can be reached at the state capitol or in their local offices. Local officials are equally easy to contact.

Requesting Your Meeting

Make your request in writing and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler. Be prepared to meet first with the elected official’s staff. Remember that the official relies on the staff, both to educate the official about the issue and to make recommendations. Based on what happens at the staff meeting, you may or may not seek a further meeting with the elected official.

Suggest specific times and dates for your meeting. Let them know what issue or legislation you wish to discuss. Make sure they know that you are a constituent.

Prepare for Your Meeting

Contact the NCSF to help you decide on your talking points, and get information that you can leave with your elected official.

Decide who will attend the meeting. Bringing more than four or five people can be hard to manage.

Agree on talking points. Your goal is to make a strong case for your position, so don't disagree in the meeting. If a point is causing tension in the group, leave it out.

Plan your meeting keeping in mind that time is limited. Decide who will start the conversation, and which points each person will make. If possible, each person should focus on why this is important to them personally, in addition to the general talking points.

Decide what you want achieve. Do you want your elected official to vote for or against a bill? Do you want them to support your issue or oppose a restrictive ordinance? Ask them to do something specific.

During the Meeting

Be prompt and patient. Elected officials and their staff run on very tight schedules.

Keep it short and focused. You will have twenty minutes or less with a staff person, and as little as ten minutes if you meet with your elected official. Stick to your talking points.

Know your elected official's record on similar issues or legislation. Begin by thanking them for voting in support of your issues, and for taking the time to meet with you.

Leave only a few pages of information that contain your main points. Include your contact information, and offer to provide more detailed information on any points in which the official or staff expresses particular interest.

Provide concise personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation or issue. This is the most important thing you can do in a lobby visit.

You don't need all of the information on an issue. If you don't know the answer to a question, it is fine to tell the elected official that you will get that information. This gives you the chance to contact them again about the issue.

Set deadlines for a response. You sometimes won't get a definitive answer at the meeting. Ask when you should check back in to find out what your elected official intends to do about your request. If you need to get information to them, set a date for when this will happen.

After the Meeting

Right after the meeting, compare notes with everyone in your group to confirm what the elected official committed to do and what follow up information you committed to send.

One of you should promptly send a thank you letter for meeting with you. That letter can briefly summarize the main points you made in the meeting and can list any action items to be pursued further.

Follow up immediately with any requested materials and information.

If the elected official or staff member doesn't meet the deadline for action you agreed to during the meeting, ask him or her to set another deadline. Be persistent, polite, and flexible.

Let NCSF know what you learned during your meeting by e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meeting with your elected officials is the best way to demonstrate that there is a constituency for civil liberties in your district. It's easy to make a difference.

Lobbying is Fun & NCSF Can Help

NCSF regularly helps local groups and individuals to prepare for and engage in lobbying at the Federal, State and local levels. Almost without exception, participants in such lobbying have found it a productive and enjoyable experience. You will learn a lot and find that you can make a difference on issues important to all of us.


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Published in Activist Resources
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 06:33


Photo at AASECT 2012_s  NCSF at AASECT 

On behalf of NCSF, Jim Fleckenstein and Susan Wright attended the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Annual Conference on June 8-10th in Austin, Texas. The NCSF booth in the Exhibit Hall featured free copies of NCSF’s newly refreshed guide: "What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory." 150 copies were given away to professional service providers courtesy of a grant by Alan of Polyamory in the News ( The interest was so high, that supplies ran out before the end of the conference.

“This year we saw a significant increase in interest about alternative sexuality at the NCSF booth,” says Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson. “The therapists, counselors and sex educators were asking for more information about kinky people. We are providing a real service by supplying this much-needed education at conferences like AASECT.”

The NCSF exhibit gave away hundreds of brochures about NCSF projects such as the Kink Aware Professionals free referral list, the DSM Revision project to depathologize BDSM, the Consent Counts project to decriminalize BDSM, and NELA’s Is it S/M or Abuse? brochure. Two brochures intended for kinky people were also popular giveaways as illustrations of the difficulties our underserved population faces: Finding a Kink Aware Therapist and Finding Kink Aware Medical Care.

Jim Fleckenstein was the lead presenter on (Re)Defining Fidelity in Committed Relationships: How to Negotiate Non-Exclusivity Successfully, a workshop designed to provide participants with a more complete understanding of the appropriateness of negotiated non-exclusivity as a relationship choice for their clients.

Susan Wright was the presenter on Violence and Discrimination Against BDSM Practitioners, a workshop presenting survey data from the BDSM community on the impact of persecution against kinky people.

NCSF also organized the AASECT Alt Sex Special Interest Group munch that took place Friday evening on the patio of the Hyatt Regency Austin. Over twenty-five AASECT members attended to further discuss issues raised in the Alt Sex SIG meeting that took place on Friday afternoon at the conference. It was an informative meeting that offered excellent networking opportunities for the professional service providers, and is another indication of the increased interest in the Alt Sex SIG at AASECT.

NCSF needs your donations to attend important events like the 2012 AASECT conference. Please join as a member now, go to our donation page, or encourage your group to hold a fundraiser for NCSF. Without your support, NCSF can’t continue to help the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities.

Published in Press Releases
Thursday, 29 March 2012 18:02

Board and Staff

NCSF Board of Directors

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Board Chairperson/Spokesperson

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Vice-Chairperson/Volunteer Coordinator

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Secretary

Ben Schenker - Treasurer

Judy Guerin - Director Consent Counts

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., PhD - Kink Aware Professionals Advocate

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Titleholder Outreach

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., LCSW, LCDC

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., LCSW-Supervisor

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NCSF Key Staff

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Membership Coordinator

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Literature Coordinator

        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Volunteer Coordinator

Brian Flaherty, Legal Researcher

Max Rulz, Social Media Volunteer - Twitter

Heather Gardner - IRR Team


NCSF Advocates  

Chanel Jaali, Washington DC Advocate

House of Blue, Mid-Atlantic Advocates

Hannah, Midwest Advocate

House of Trei, Southern Advocates

Jim Dunyak, New England Advocate

Monica Gray, West Coast Advocate

Phoenix Be and Adella, Northwest Advocates

Robert Webster, Southeast Advocate

Kelly McAninch, Southeast Advocate

Matt Connolly, Western Polyamory Advocate

Maven, Canadian Advocate

Stabigail, Canadian Advocate

TK, Canadian Advocate

        Zach Budd, Gulf Coast Advocate



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Published in About
Saturday, 26 March 2011 20:11

NCSF Mission Statement

The NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions.

The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.

We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities

Published in About
Saturday, 26 March 2011 08:07

NCSF Full Page "Are You in the Dark?" Ad


 NCSF Full Page "Are You In The Dark?" Ad

Published in Publicity Materials
Saturday, 26 March 2011 08:04

NCSF Full Page "Did You Know?" Ad

These are current NCSF advertisements and banners, suitable for use on your website or in printed publications. Several of these documents are provided as PDF files.  Adobe Acrobat Reader is available for download free at

 NCSF Full Page "Did You Know?" Ad  

Published in Publicity Materials

For more information on any of these programs, please Contact Us, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (410) 539-4824

Published in Uncategorized
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  • 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 kink.   Education Outreach Project  The NCSF Board Members and presenters gave Education Outreach Project workshops and tabled at 36 events in 2014 (compared to 22 in 2013), with a…
  • 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 people, married and otherwise, are discovering and practicing non-monogamy. From polyamory to swinging to open relationships, a notable percentage of the public are shifting their relationship parameters in an honest…
  • Media Kit
    NCSF Media Kit The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom provides educational resources on BDSM and non-monogamy. Resources include data from NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response program which directly helps hundreds of people and groups every year who are being discriminated against because of their sexual expression. NCSF also provides original research on kinksters and the issues caused by the stigma we face, as well as statements on consent and best practices in BDSM. We also offer experts who are knowledgeable about alternative sexual practices as well as experience in community organizing. Contact Susan Wright, NCSF This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Susan Wright founded the…
  • 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 are kinky and/or non-monogamous, whether they’re just starting out or an old hand at this:          Check out our Media Kit   Dated: 12/12/2014 Updated: 
  • 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:   “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 to work with kinky people, and the GayLawNet database is huge.”   NCSF recently started an outreach campaign to the lawyers who have listed themselves on GayLawNet to let them…
  • 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 and their efforts to bring positive change to their communities. We are all about new ideas, innovation, and providing the tools to make these great ideas a reality.” NCSF is…
  • NCSF Mental Health Survey
    NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences: NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University’s Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations – one college-aged and the other LGBT. NCSF will use these results to help with our advocacy, benefiting both existing and developing programs. Specifically, the study’s results will assist in educating law enforcement, legal and psychological professionals about the practices and mental health of BDSM practitioners. The survey…
  • Military Court Accepts NCSF's Amicus Brief
    Military Court Accepts NCSF’s Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy April 24, 2014 – Washington, DC – The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has accepted NCSF’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief advising the court that prosecutors are avoiding the Supreme Court decision, made in Lawrence v. Texas, that moral judgment is not a basis for criminalizing consensual sexual conduct, and that consensual sex should only be criminalized if that conduct is injurious or goes against a valid societal interest. In the appellate case, it was argued that the activities were “public” even though the sexual…
  • Ombudsman Committee Established
    NCSF Appoints Members of the Ombuds Committee   June 3, 2014 - NCSF is proud to announce these appointments to the Ombuds Committee: Desmond Ravenstone, James Huesmann and Bjorn Paulee. The Ombuds Committee handles complaints and concerns regarding the conduct of NCSF officers and staff, and the operations of NCSF institutions. The NCSF Ombuds Committee shall be established as an Advisory Committee, as per NCSF bylaws, to review Coalition administration and activities, assuring ethical and effective fulfillment of NCSF’s mission and goals. Board Member Fil Vocasek is the Board Liaison to the Ombuds Committee.   NCSF thanks the three members…
  • NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Military Court
      NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy March 26, 2014 – Washington D.C. – NCSF has filed an amicus brief in a military case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and because of that was convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy and indecent conduct, a "crime" based solely on undefined sexual conduct inconsistent with "common propriety."   In its brief, NCSF points out that military law is out of sync with U.S. Constitutional law and societal mores, especially when it comes to consensual sexual behaviors. Dick Cunningham, NCSF's Legal Counsel who prepared and filed…