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NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2011

NCSF Newsletter

4th Quarter, 2011 


 In this issue

  • NCSF Annual Meeting, March 2012 in Minnesota
  • Consent Counts: Report & Looking to the Future
  • Consent Counts: Words from Our Board Chair
  • Coalition Corner: Siege Works
  • Meet Your Board! Returning Member- Mercury

 NCSF Annual Meeting, March 2012 in Minnesota

 By: Sassy, CP Rep - Minnesota Stocks Debentures & Bonds

March is known for "March Madness" in Minnesota. It's a time of high school sports championships and interesting weather. Not to worry, we will keep you warm and safe from the snow! Join us for the Coalition Partner Meeting the third weekend of March in 2012 in Minneapolis, MN. We are already putting together a series of people ready to scoop you up at the airport and deposit you at the hotel! 

The annual meeting is an opportunity for our Coalition Partners to send their representatives and help set NCSF policy, review and approve the budget and elect the board. NCSF has limited scholarships available to help facilitate the attendence of active Coalition Partner representatives to the meeting.   


 Consent Counts: Report & Looking to the Future 

 by the NCSF Board 

Eighteen months ago NCSF kicked off a new program called Consent Counts. The program is a direct outgrowth of the direction of the more than fifty Coalition Partners who vote for the NCSF board, approve the budget and set the policies and programs of NCSF. In conjunction with NCSF's efforts to help remove SM from the DSM manual that classifies mental illness, the criminal prosecution of consensual BDSM is a real issue that the NCSF sees every day. NCSF's Consent Counts program is a long-term effort to both challenge and change those laws.

Consent Counts began primarily as a legal program. In the last year the NCSF has done a tremendous amount of work with people outside of SM community, along with SM related legal and legislative work. The effort to change the impact of California SB 430 is an example of that work.    

The next step in the Legal part of the Consent Counts program is the development of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) classes for attorneys around the issues of consent in criminal law. The NCSF will be joining the Kody Brown/Sister Wives case by providing an Amicus, or friend of the court brief, in support of the decriminalization of consensual adult polygamy. By the end of the 1st quarter next year, NCSF will have an indexed list state by state available on the website citing relevant appellate or case law around consensual BDSM and providing the ability to search out laws in all 50 states that criminalize BDSM.    

Our coalition has given more than fifty workshops around the country on the legal realities of consent in the law in the last year. 

One of the things we have learned is that the legal work alone isn't enough. There has been an exponential growth in the numbers of requests NCSF has received for help related to consent issues in the last year. So, in an effort to be responsive to our constituencies we began to develop a guide for both victims of consent violations and those accused of consent violations. The two-part guide will have a section for victims who have had their consent violated and give them some tools for looking at what their options are (police, civil, outreach assistance, how to report, what to say etc.) Additionally, it will have another section for those who have had an accusation leveled against them (legal, criminal, civil, etc. The board anticipates having the guide available for public distribution at the beginning of next year.

Finally, the expansion of the Consent Counts program will include the publication of a community discussion guide that groups, workshop leaders, presenters, and events around the community can use to begin, develop, and turn into NCSF, the outcomes, of discussions around the issue of consent, what it means in their communities etc. To be very clear- the NCSF does not intend to develop some kind of unilateral statement regarding consent. The whole point of the of the Community Discussion Guide on Consent is to foster the discussion nationwide - leading to a policy summit at NCSF's next annual meeting in Minneapolis, led by Coalition Partners and finally to the development and creation of a statement about consent created at the Leather Leadership Conference (LLC)XIII in Seattle in 2013.


Consent Counts: Words from Our Board Chair

 by Leigha Fleming 

I believe- from the volume of requests and comments NCSF has had over the last 12-18 months that SSC- safe sane and consensual is a model that doesn't work for us as a community anymore. We've outgrown it the way a child outgrows the training wheels on his bike. There IS brand equity in SSC. It's still useful. We've done anamazing job over the last 25 years educating people outside out community about BDSM.  SSC- due in no small part to the work of activists in our community has entered the modern lexicon -- CSI episodes, "consenting adults", safewords, and news stories that reference SSC. WE- the SM community- did that. But it's also become not much more than sloganeering... and it's not enough for us anymore.

We've been discussing these attitudes and growing the Consent Counts program dictated by our CPs who have said this is the most important work we can be doing.

I'm asking all of you to join the discussion - on Fetlife, in notices at SM events, in your local groups and on NCSF's website. As we distribute the Community Discussion Guide at the beginning of next year, ask an NCSF rep to come to your group, take the guide to your own groups and events and munches and launch a discussion. Send us your feedback. This isn't going to be easy. But the issues surrounding consent are significant- and unless we address them, we will fail in our mission.

For the people who say - you know what, I'm not responsible for some idiot who thinks consent given once never needs to be given again. I would say- you're right; that is, if you're sitting on the sidelines. If you stand up as an activist, as an educator, or leader in our varied communities- you are responsible. You signed up to be responsible and to educate intelligently and ethically when you stood up to be an activist, educator or leader.

If we can't change the social discourse around consent and BDSM, we can never change the political or legislative discourse. We can do this and I believe with deep conviction- that this is the most important issue facing our community today - both as we try to gain a more nuanced view of what consent is for ourselves and our partners and as we work with the outside world to change their perceptions about us and to change the laws that affect so many of us every single day. 


Coalition Corner: Siege Works 

1) What is the mission of your group?

It is to the primary goal of The Siege to create within the rich and vibrant gay and BDSM/Fetish Communities of Nashville, a reoccurring, sex forward, intense, & energetic, mens play party to serve the whole mid-south region.  Attendees travel from as a far as two hundred miles away. We do not have a formal membership, rather we are a loose network who stay in touch through an email list and our own web forum. We host our parties at The Mark in Nashville, quarterly, in the past we have done so bi-monthly. Our second function, spreading information about BDSM play in a fun, sexy, face-to-face environment and provide a space for interaction between individuals who identify primarily with the BDSM community and individuals who identify primarily with the gay community.  Though I've not had the opportunity yet, I would like bring our event to other regions to encourage the proliferation of real time face to face gay mens BDSM/Fetish culture.

2) What inspired your participation with the NCSF?

As sexual minorities living in the bible belt, the need for legal action to push back against those who wish to repress our liberties is omnipresent. The NCSF is the only organization with such a focus, and thus far we've been impressed with what they have accomplished and the network of support they provide.

3) What's your favorite way to do your NCSF fund raising?

Throw a wild party and divide the proceeds between our host organization and the NCSF.  

For more information, find them on Twitter as SiegeWorks, on their site at sites.google.com/site/thesiegenashville, on Facebook under "Siege Works" and you can contact them via email by messaging  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


 Meet Your Board! Returning Member- Mercury    

1) Do you have a history of activism and community involvement? 

I have served the Middle Tennessee BDSM/Fetish/Kink community for over six years as the Executive Director of CPI, the 501(c)(7) non-profit corporation that runs The Mark in Nashville.  During this time, we have hosted over 600 events in our "community center" and have been financially self-sustaining since we opened our doors.  

I have been a regional presenter even longer than that, presenting an eclectic mix of subjects ranging from D/s Decorum and BDSM 101, to Team Topping and Physics of S/M Play -- hoping that I can give back more than I extract from the people I meet!

Additionally, I work with local university sexuality professors and certified sex therapists providing understanding opportunities offering lectures, discussion, literature, and facility tours to better educate them in regards to BDSM and polyamory.

So, yeah, I have been around and involved, helping strengthen our community as I can.

2) What specialties do you bring to the board? 

In addition to my volunteer role as a dungeon-keeper, I have worked in corporate sales and marketing for years, worked as a program/project manager, and owned my own design firm; yet my biggest asset to the Board may be my location in the Southeast, where I can help the NCSF grow its presence and value in, perhaps, an under-involved region.

3) What inspired you to become involved in NCSF? (What does the NCSF mission mean to you?)

Once I became increasingly recognized as being in a position of local leadership, more people would approach me with issues that they needed help to resolve.  Inevitably my research would lead me to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, who were the only people offering a sincerely sympathetic ear and real informed guidance.  

It wasn't long before I came to realize that a key component to making my local/regional community more secure was to help make the NCSF safety net stronger.  The best way I knew to do that was to step up and offer myself to the cause.

4) Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to thank all of the people back home who work hard for their community and make me look good in the process!  You folks are the best -- giving as you can to make life better for us all.

You can email your board member Mercury at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 



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Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments 

How You Can Help

    • Work to change antiquated laws
    • Work to change the social climate about sexual issues
    • Promote acceptance of safe, sane, and consensual alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
    • Oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression
    • Fight for freedom of academic expression about sexual issues
    • Help communities and individuals facing the threat of prosecution or legal action
    • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
    • Learn more about NCSF

Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments