NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2011
In this issue
- Letter from the Chair
- Boston Annual Meeting
- Interview with a Coalition Partner
- DSM Revision Project a Success
- Why support the NCSF?
From the Chair
By: Leigha Fleming
NCSF Board Chair
Hello to all of you and an especially warm greeting to all of our supporting and coalition partners. 2010 has been an exciting year for NCSF. We had some major successes with the DSM revision and the progress of our Consent Counts project. We're excited about the completion of website overhaul which seems like it has been years in the making. We hired Devious Designs in the fall of 2010 to take over the website overhaul and we fully expect them to deliver on their promised completion date of mid-February. Externally, like many non-profit organizations, our funding which is solely reliant on donations, has dropped off some due to the economic recession. We're extremely proud that we remain debt-free and we are operating in the black.
NCSF's work is more than just providing immediate assistance when an organization, individual or business has trouble because of its BDSM, swing, or poly interests and activities. Our overall strategy is shaped by the belief that true social change comes in helping shape the tone and tenor of the conversation around personal privacy and consensual adult sexual expression. Our efforts in our media outreach program along with our educational outreach program offerings are key in helping change and set the tone of that conversation. I'm often reminded that social change is more than often not achieved by an insistent, persistent, consistent drive for change rather than radical revolution.
As the only organization dedicated the BDSM, swing, and poly communities, now entering its second decade of active work, we continue to meet the challenges of the 21st century full steam ahead, with our heads high and activism energy shining brightly. Thank you for being a part of this work.
Happy New Year!
Annual Meeting of the CP Reps
Boston this March!
By: Opn Heartd
CP Rep Mob New England & The New England Leather Alliance
Hi, fellow CP reps!
I've been NELA (www.neleatheralliance.org) and Mob's (www.mobnewengland.or) CP rep for several years now, working with these groups to spread the word about NCSF's media updates, incident response program, and special projects like Consent Counts and the Kink-Aware Professionals list. I've attended the annual meetings, networking and brainstorming with other CP reps and the NCSF board and staff members. We've read minutes (hot!), we have had break-out sessions, we've voted! I come away from these weekend-long meetings re-energized and inspired by my fellow activists who work so hard to defend the rights of kinky, swing, and poly consenting adults.
- Coalition Partner representatives will be meeting on March 25th - 27th, 2011 a river view away from Boston to discuss how NCSF has progressed so far and to plan for NCSF's next year.
- We've secured a great meeting space just a couple blocks from a terrific hotel offering us an excellent group rate, surrounded by restaurants, and just steps from the nation's oldest and fourth largest transit system, the T ( www.mbta.com ) so that Boston sightseeing will be just a ten-minute ride away. (The hotel is even a super-easy T ride from the airport, too!)
- Local groups are already fundraising to help cover the expense of meals served throughout the meeting weekend, to help make the trip affordable for meeting attendees.
- A Friday night group meal and presentation, open to meeting attendees and the local community, are in the works.
- Selected members of the local community will be invited to attend the meeting in hopes of encouraging continued NCSF support and fanning the fires under folks who have been curious but not quite sure how they can best help NCSF yet.
- A local party host is holding a private play party that Saturday night and CP reps are invited!
- Once the weekend-long meeting is wrapped up, we are planning another opportunity for the local community to join in on the NCSF fun on Sunday afternoon with another presentation.
The board is still continuing to work on programming and will post an official schedule and travel details once everything is set, but on behalf of Boston and all of New England's NCSF supporters and cheerleaders, I hope to see a TON of you out here in March.
While I'm waiting for the NCSF Annual Meeting to happen already (!), I am keeping busy spreading the good NCSF word. Since returning from the Seattle CP rep Annual Meeting in March of this year all fired up, I've tabled for NCSF and organized / co-organized some really fun NCSF fundraisers. I remember when fundraising felt overwhelming and impossible to me when I first became a CP rep, but I'm in the groove now and am proud of how I've been able to offer generous people a bit of awesome fun in return:
- Mob Speed Mingling and Play Party in April: Party attendees spent the first chunk of the party getting to know each other rapid-fire style; imagine musical chairs combined with kinky photos!
- Feet First NCSF Fundraiser in July: Service providers from various groups donated their time to tickle toes, black boots, and massage feet while attendees of the Fetish Fair Fleamarket donated cash to NCSF.
- Mob Zipper Night in July: With donated clothespins and twine, attendees did arts and crafts to create clothespin zippers which we used on each other at the play party afterward.
- Mob First Aid Class / CPR Certification and MEDIC! Play Party in October: A kink-friendly EMT certified attendees at this two-day training and we all dressed up in medical costumes for the Saturday night play party.
- Princess Kali (www.kinkacademy.com) Flogging Workshop and Flog-Oh!-Matic Mob Play Party this month: After Princess Kali ran this hands-on workshop, we all were eager to try out our new skills on each other at the play party -- after thorough negotiations, of course!
Last night, working with Princess Kali and Miss Savannah Sly (who both donated their time and filming equipment and expertise on behalf of Kink Academy) and NCSF's own wonderful Vivienne, I helped organize a filming of a very fun and campy NCSF infomercial with local volunteer actors. I won't give anything away before it all gets edited and is ready to be shared WITH THE WORLD, but there was spandex, a snowman wrapped in a baby blanket, and a lot of laughing involved.
This coming May, I am co-producing a brand-new queer-focused kink conference -- Queer PlayCon (http://fetlife.com/events/33367), an educational and social weekend for queers and their allies, 21+. We are planning two mini NCSF fundraisers at Queer PlayCon and all profits after our expenses and presenter fees will be going to NCSF.
A lot of my play-focused fundraising events have been held in private venues because Boston (all of Massachusetts, really) does not have a public dungeon space. Something like percussion play between consenting adults is not legal here. Queer PlayCon will be held in a Hartford, Connecticut playspace where consenting adults can indeed legally spank, cane, and flog each other. Boston would love to have a legal play space, too, which is one reason I believe in supporting NCSF's good work, 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.
I hope I get to see a lot of my fellow CP reps for a fun and interesting hop from Freedom Trail to Sexual Freedom in Boston in March 2011!
CP Rep for Mob New England and the New England Leather Alliance
Interview with a CP
Adventures in Sexuality (AIS)
By: Julian Wolf
Barak and Sheba are the founders and owners of Adventures in Sexuality (AIS). When asked about their role in AIS, the first thing they wrote was, "While we founded it, hold the paper on the LLC, and continue to guide and organize AIS - we don't really think of AIS as our 'property.' It really belongs to the Central Ohio community and the members." We asked them a handful of other questions, which they were gracious enough to share the answers with us.
What type of relationship does Adventures in Sexuality have with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom?
"Adventures In Sexuality (AIS) is a Coalition Partner of the NCSF. We have been involved since Sheba went to a Media Relations class at a major DC event 3-4 years ago. Currently, AIS has a good and open relationship with the NCSF, including personal contact via phone, e-mail and mutual support at events and beyond."
What type of a presence does NCSF have at your large events?
AIS has requested an NCSF presence at the events, including Winter Wickedness and COPE, since Jan 09. The NCSF has regularly attended with staff members, literature, and a table in the vending area. Also, they have provided some keynote remarks and been open and available to the Event Participants.
How has NCSF supported AIS events?
"Aside from being a legal resource, the NCSF began advising AIS 4 years ago. We initially contacted Susan to review and brief us on our website. She was very quick to get back with us, and pointed out some legal pitfalls immediately. Furthermore, she indicated some legal aspects to consider when we run events, meetings, and the like. We have since adopted many of those suggestions, and integrated the processes she shared to decrease our liability.
At AIS Events, the NCSF has sent representatives have staffed a resource and informational booth. At Winter Wickedness 2009, the NCSF stepped directly into the fray. We were under a significant multi-directional assault by the radical right. The NCSF advised us , assisted by launching a National Ad Campaign, and handled the media."
How did you decide on "Adventures in Sexuality" as the name of your organization?
We wanted a name for the organization that encompassed everything we had enjoyed within our creative sexual experiences. We weren't "Leather" per se, and we weren't just kinky. Our history included spiritual, energetic, sexual and ecstatic practices. As we brainstormed about it, we discovered that our paradigm was one of an ongoing journey - hence - our "Adventures In Sexuality."
What are the goals of AIS?
"Originally, it was just to have fun. It has evolved significantly over the past 5-6 years. One of our shorter term goals is to assist in building a kink community that is "on par" with the larger cities, New York, DC, San Francisco, etc... Although our organizational goals (and our personal resolve) were re-forged with the WW09 conflict with the radical right. Our ongoing goals - are contained in the Mission Statement:
AIS in an ever growing and evolving Web and Real Time group dedicated to the goal of assuring a healthy and accepting space for sexual freedom.
AIS is committed to providing a space for fun, unity, awareness and social interaction between all individuals involved in open relationships & BDSM alternative lifestyles.
AIS works toward creating a more unified Ohio kink community by opening communication with Ohio Leather Groups, assisting with joint events, and promoting cross group attendance and fellowship among groups.
AIS stands by the precepts of SSC (safe, sane and consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) practices of fetish and alternative forms of sexual expression.
Furthermore, AIS aims to promote a safe environment for members and non-members to gather and interact in a relaxed setting. We intend to promote honesty, openness, happiness, goodwill, friendship and acceptance within Ohio, and Nationally; with a focus on persons involved in Leather, Fetish, BDSM or Sexual Alternative Lifestyle regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference."
How has founding and owning AIS affected your lives?
"It has really been a fascinating journey for both of us. We started AIS because we felt there was so much more to discover and we wanted to bring it here. In our time organizing AIS, we have really come to a new depth of communication. It has become an ongoing process of clarifying many of our needs, wants and desires. We have discovered and tested our boundaries, and learned more about using our voices. We have opened up a new facet of our sexual and energetic selves and continue to grow as a couple.
While it is a bit of work, AIS allows us to work together to co-create events, parties, meetings, and import fantastic experiences for ourselves, our friends, and for the Central Ohio community. Being part of a family, a community, here in Columbus has reinforced our desire to give back, and help protect what we all are building."
You can find out more about AIS at www.adventuresinsexuality.org. Barak and Sheba are on Fetlife (as Barak, brat_sheba and BarakNSheba) and have their own website at www.panpolybdsm.com. "We are just very excited that the community continues to support, encourage and share this journey with us. We are really looking forward to seeing what comes next!"
NCSF's DSM Revision Project is Successful in 2010
By: Susan Wright
NCSF Media Relations
One of the ways we can see the positive affect of NCSF's DSM Revision Project is in the outcome of child custody cases. NCSF's Incident Response program helps almost 500 people a year: 132 people asked for help with child custody/divorce cases in 2009, while 154 people asked for help with the same in 2008. NCSF provides expert referrals, educates lawyers and social service professionals, and supplies the research and information that can convince family court judges to allow kinky parents to keep custody of their kids.
Five years ago, NCSF's success rate was approximately 20% when it came to refuting the false contention that a parent is unfit because they're involved in BDSM, swinging or polyamory. Today, that success rate has risen to 50%.
A large part of this success is due to NCSF's efforts to change the tone of the conversation in media and politics. In 2010, NCSF staff were successful in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to depathologize Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Fetishism and cross-dressing. Since then, family court judges have cited the proposed revisions for the DSM-V (that have not even been published yet) as the reason for dismissing challenges to child custody due to a parent's alternative sexuality.
In the years ahead, with your support, NCSF will continue to make strides to achieve equality for all consenting adults no matter who they love or how they have sex.
Why should you support the NCSF?
By: Julian Wolf
Wordsmith, Educator, Performer
For years the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has had my support. I heard about the Coalition years ago at an event where Glenda Rider was selling the first run of clear bumper stickers- and I've been hooked ever sense. There are many reasons that I support the NCSF with my time and money. Our goals are similar. Which goals? Well, Let's go right to the 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."
Politically- I am ready to see some changes. While it is a lot easier to come out of whatever closet you'd like to come out of these days than say, two or three decades go, there are still some laws out there that make having a good time between consenting adults illegal in some areas. Sometimes those laws aren't enforced, but sometimes they are. The first step to changing these laws is to have advocacy. We need people- and specifically people in politics and the lawmakers themselves- to be aware of the fact that there are people out there who care-very deeply- about the fact that there are laws in place that could/are affecting what we do in our private time that should not.
Legally- I am one of the people that has been discriminated against due to being out as kinky and poly. I feel that having an organization that will fight for us when we are those unfortunate times is vital. Many individuals, events, families and organizations have been helped by the Coalition, and I for one want them there to help again in the future.
Social Environments- Many of us dream of a world where discrimination against different love styles and adults consensually interacting with other adults is a thing of the past. I know I am not the only one. I for one am sick and tired of having to give a BDSM and Polyamory introductory course to every medical practitioner that I ever visit. While I love teaching those classes, during an appointment while we should be focusing on my health isn't the most opportune time. I didn't stay with my last therapist because after a year, they were so fascinated with the intricate details of my lifestyle that we rarely focused on the reasons that I was actually going to therapy. Changing our social environment to a more aware and hopefully more accepting will make everything from those professional appointments to dates where there is more than two people at the table easier on staff and us.
"The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities."
As someone who is deeply involved in the sex-positive community, knowing that there is someone out there working to advocate for me and my family of choice makes it easier for me to have fun. Having the card outlining how to handle the situation if a law officer shows up at the door next to my door- particularly at play parties has been a comfort not only in my private life but at the parties and events that I've organized over the years.
"We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities."
I've been able to participate in trainings, workshops and several vital conversations at events across the country. In addition to those in person encounters, there is a wealth of information on the NCSF website, available to everyone who's curious. I've sent individuals and group leaders to the site as a reference on multiple occasions. The Kink Aware Professional Program is a valuable resource for people who are looking to support those professionals that support us. I've referred several professionals to that resource, and numerous people seeking those services. Additionally, they now offer guidance on how to chose practitioners, as well as "What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory", an essay that you can actually give to psychology professionals so you don't have to take time from your session to explain the basics. Invaluable.
How do I support the NCSF? I've been a member for some time, and I encourage the groups that I participate in to do the same. Coalition Partnership is an excellent option for organizations. I've run the fundraisers for the New Mexico Leather League and Rio Grande Leather and participated in a plethora of others. Stepping up to help with fundraisers is great way to support the cause as well as an opportunity for a lot of fun. We have had everything from raffles to top/bottom auctions to Mad Scrambles to raise money for NCSF- and it is been fun doing it. I have recruited several new people to join the cause due to these fundraisers!
Supporting the NCSF with my time is also something that I feel is important. They keep a list of volunteer opportunities available on their website, and I'd like to encourage you to check it out and see how you can help. Please always leave a financial contribution when you can, but also remember how valuable just a few minutes of your time can be to an organization.
Why do I support NCSF? In addition to supporting their mission statement wholeheartedly, I am also excited by projects such as "Consent Counts" and the DSM-V Revision Project. I strongly feel that supporting your local community is vital and it is something that I encourage everyone to do. I also know, from experience, that having support from a national source makes a very positive difference. The NCSF supports the events, organizations and personal connections that I participate in, and they have the professional expertise to do so very well. I support the NCSF because I feel that they support me and my families of choice. As a kinky, polyamorous, sadomasochist who chooses not to live life behind closed doors, I feel it is only right to help in the fight to protect those who are out, and those who chose to stay in.
Why should you support the NCSF?
Coalition Partners as of December 2010
Adventures in Sexuality (Columbus, OH) ? Arizona Power Exchange (Phoenix, AZ) ?Albany Power Exchange (APEX) (Albany, NY) ? Barone Photo Art (Perkasie, NY) ? Boise BDSM Society (Boise, Idaho)? Black BEAT Inc. (Baltimore, Maryland) ? Black Rose (Washington, DC) ? Brandon Longwood - (Maryland) ? Center for Sex Positive Culture (Seattle WA) ? Club X (San Diego, CA) ? SINZ Social Networking ? DFW PowerExchange (Dallas, TX) ? DLH Productions - (El Sobrante, California) ?Evergreen Leather Events (Kenmore, WA) ? Females Investigating Sexual Terrain (FIST) (Baltimore, MD) ? FetLife ? Fox Valley Coalition (Neenah, WI) ? Folsom Street East ? House of Decorum (Greenville, SC) ?Institue for Personal Growth (New Jersery) ? International Ms. Leather (IMsL) ? Knights of Leather (Minneapolis, MN) ? LA Noble (New Orleans, LA) ? Leather Scouts, (Albuquerque, NM) ? Leather SINS (Chicago, IL) ? Leigha Fleming (Denver, CO) ? Lesbian Sex Mafia (New York, NY) ? Lifestyle Alternatives Centre (Lake Worth, FL) ? The Mark by CPI : Tennessee ? Midwest Alternatives, (Lincoln, NE) ?Midwest Fantsay Adventures (Chicago, IL) ? Milwaukee Eastside Munch Group - Milwaukee, WI ? Minnesota Kinky Youth (St. Paul, MN) ? MN Rope - (Minneapolis, MN) ? Minnesota Stocks, Debentures, and Bonds (MSDB) (Minneapolis, MN) ?MOB New England ? New England Dungeon Society (New England) ? New England Leather Alliance (Boston, MA) ? New Mexico Leather League (Albuquerque, NM) ? OhioSMART (Cleveland, Ohio) ? Riverbound (Iowa/Illinois) ? Satyricon (Wisconsin) ? The Siege (Tennessee) ? smOdyssey, Inc. (San Jose, CA) ? Society of Janus (San Francisco, CA) ? South Florida Munch Group (Margate, FL) ? Southern Cross Munch Group ? Swingers Date Club (North Carolina)? TABU Social Club (Baltimore, MD) ? The Group in Fresno ? Threshold (Los Angles, CA) ? Touch of Leather (Lampasas, TX) ? Tulsa Dungeon Society (Tulsa, OK) ? The Eulenspiegel Society (New York, NY) ? Windy City Boys Troop (Chicago, IL)
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