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In 2006, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression.

NCSF's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 500 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2006. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.

NCSF received 521 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 289 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts. It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.

  • 13% were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
  • 6% were regarding criminal complaint issues
  • 7% were regarding employment discrimination
  • 13.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
  • 5.5% were in reference to child protective services’ complaints
  • 14.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
  • 9% were classed as non-employment discrimination
  • 8% were related to swing community issues
  • 8% were regarding online obscenity issues
  • 10.5% were regarding zoning issues
  • 5% were classed as “other”

Of the inquires:

  • 73.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues
  • 15% by swing
  • 7% by poly
  • 4.5% by other

 

2006 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 30 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 10 district attorneys and prosecutors related to SM issues. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities about the differences between SM and abuse.

Employment related discrimination is increasing as well.

The implementation of KAP under NCSF’s administration resulted in fewer requests for referrals because we were able to refer the request to our site. As we improve the KAP administration, and resource, the number of requests for referrals that need to be handled by a person will drop since we’ll be able to refer people to the KAP database. The new administration tools for KAP in our website overhaul will also make the use of this tool much more efficient for both user and professional.

We continue to receive a number of requests for assistance from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who want information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for non-profit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues.

We also continue to receive requests for assistance involving parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent.

2006 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of the end of July 2007, more than 346 distinct requests for assistance have been processed.

NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can submit a request for assistance online or find a Kink Aware Professional (KAP) on our website as well at www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

Donations made to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Inc are not deductible for charitable tax purposes.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707

phone: 410-539-4824

Leigha Fleming, Interim Executive Director

By Lou Briquant

Whether you're a swinging couple, a quiet practitioner of SM, Gay/Les couple or single, or a member of a polyamorous relationship, there are people in this world who are looking out for your interests and your freedom to be who you are. Leigha Fleming is the Interim Executive Director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a volunteer post that is a lot of hard work with intangible but fulfilling rewards.

Ms. Fleming got involved in the NCSF over the past few years. She tells us that she is currently doing any of several related jobs within the organization. "I most enjoy managing NCSF's Constituency Services, which include our Incident Response Program and our Legal Education Outreach Program. The most important qualities for any volunteer, regardless of position, is dependability. You have to do what you say you're going to do. You have to follow through and be accountable. We have to listen to what our constituents want and need from us, and we have to have confidence and to believe in our mission and vision."

Fleming never planned to be an activist or advocate. She was very involved in the SM-leather-fetish community and, as her participation grew, her awareness of discrimination and challenges faced by those involved in alternative lifestyles grew as well. "I've always had very strong opinions regarding governmental interference in private lives of adults. As I saw friends lose custody of their children, and SM groups getting hassled by the police, I began to get angry. Anger is a great motivator for change!"

Fleming happened to hear about the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) about five years ago, when her educational SM group began doing outreach to the local police. An NCSF staffer heard about the successful meetings, and contacted her. NCSF was just beginning its its Legal Education Outreach Program

(LEOP), so she got involved at that time. She believed, and still does, that the NCSF will make a difference.

Holding down a fulltime job, in addition to the necessary duties, is taxing and extremely time-consuming. She spends three or four hours a day on average, dealing with NCSF-related issues. The most difficult aspect of the volunteer work, outside of the time, is making sure everything is coordinated and follow-up is properly done.

The struggle continues, against with anti-privacy/anti-First Amendment forces that want to curtail the ability of our communities to meet, attend events, and become educated. "We had numerous confrontations with religious extremist organizations like the Concerned Women for America last year," Leigha said. "Their attempts to shut down our events continue. Fortunately, we local communities are beginning to utilize NCSF as a resource for dealing with media inquiries and for working with their local law enforcement."

"Our lawsuit against the federal government over the Communications and Decency Act continues. The court recently refused to dismiss our case against the government and so that is moving forward. We have a dozen or more "incidents" pending involving child custody and divorce and we're currently involved in a criminal case involving SM."

NCSF is in a growth phase right now. It's in the process of transitioning from a grassroots-model organization operated by consensus, to a professionally run national non-profit organization. Fleming, speaking on the changes, says, "They're making that transition very effectively. I expect to add more workshops to our Legal Education Outreach Program and, with the help of its new director Robyn Friedman, recruit more qualified volunteers to train. We also will be expanding and strengthening our ability to respond to both individual and group incidents. In addition, we'll be improving the internal structure of the organization and positioning ourselves to be a viable entity for many years to come. We will be filling our Executive Direction postion with a paid employee soon."

When asked what obstacles is the NCSF able to overcome in the near term, Leigha responded, "Like many non-profit organizations, we've been hit very hard by the downturn in the economy. We need to place NCSF on secure financial footing. We also need to put in place a system that can track and manage all the wonderful folks who volunteer for NCSF. In addition, we need to recruit and train qualified volunteers for our LEOP and Incident Response programs."

Fleming is responsible for the day to day oversight of NCSF's budget and finances. She says they have done a remarkable job of eliminating debt over the last six months, as well as having reduced their expenses. Fundraising Coordinator Glenda Rider does what Fleming calls "a magnificent job" of soliciting on behalf of NCSF. "We're working daily on implementing processes that increase our structural integrity."

As for problems up ahead, Fleming believes, "Our greatest external challenges in the near future come from those groups who want to restrict or eliminate the right of consenting adults to freely assemble and learn from one another. Another significant challenge rests in getting the word out about NCSF, and what we do for our own communities."

When asked what she thought of the relative amount of lifestyle freedom in the United States vis-à-vis other nations, Ms. Fleming has mixed feelings. "In some respects the US is freer. Even other first-world countries place restrictions on the practice of religion, press, etc... However, I would argue that the US is signifcantly less free when than other first-world countries when it comes to attitudes about sexuality and alternative sexual practices. In addition, the US has made a dangerous shift since 9/11. Laws allowing the federal government to invade the privacy of Americans in the pursuit of perceived terrorism have a chilling effect on us all."

"The NCSF's lawsuit against the federal government regarding the Communications & Decency Act is a significant challenge to the notion that someone in small-town USA has the right and ability to govern what a person in New York City creates online. In addition, we are actively working to dispel antiquated beliefs about alternative lifestyles, both in and out of our own communities."

Fleming has met with groups spanning the spectrum of consenting adults' lifestyles. "I've learned a number of things: First, I've learned we have a lot in common. Swingers, poly folks, and those in the SM-leather-fetish communities all face the same kind of discrimination. We all have the same challenges with our clubs, with educating others. Second, I've learned how much we tend to segment ourselves from one another. When we first included swingers and poly folks in our mission statement, I was so surprised to hear people say, "But we're not like them!" The SMers professed disdain for the swingers. The poly folks didn't think they had anything in common with the SM people, and so forth."

Fleming feels that our greatest challenge is uniting across our lifestyle lines, without engaging in fragmentation that could weaken or even destroy the advances now being made. Working together can help ensure safety and freedom for everyone.

**NCSF thanks Leigha for all her hard work and continuing support of our coalition.

Published in Interviews

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The 15 Association (San Francisco, CA)

Adam & Gillian's Sensual Whips & Toys

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Barclay Kenyon, MFT

BDSM-Education

TheBDSMEventsPage.com

Blow Buddies

Bold Type Press Inc. (Austin, TX)

CM Hurt, Inc (Los Angeles, CA)

Central Iowa Power Exchange (Des Moines, IA) 

Charlottesville Underground Fetish Fellowship - (Charlottesville, VA)

CineKink

CLAW (Cleveland, OH)

Club H - SwingStock (Minneapolis, MN)

CollarMe.com

Coming Together

The Conservatory PDX (Portland, OR)

CyberSec Media

The Dallas Eagle (Dallas, TX)

Dark Innovations (Pulaski, TN)

DarkLight (Woodbury. MN)

David Steinberg (New York, NY)

Desert Dominion, Inc. (Tucson, AZ)

DeTails Toys

D. L. King Erotica

Dragontailz (Charlotte, NC)

Elana Laugan

Enclave (Denver, CO)

Fantasies in Leather (Atlanta, GA)

Fascinations (Chandler, AZ)

Fet Clinic (Atlanta, GA)

Folsom Street Events (San Francisco, CA)

Friction (Nashville, TN)

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Happy Tails

Helga Bluestone

Insititute for Personal Growth (NJ)

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Jonathan Krall 

Joyce George

JT's Stockroom

Kansas City Boys of Leather (Kansas City,MO)

Keira Harbison

Kevin Tompkins

Keys Munch (Key West, FL)

Kink Academy (Boston, MA)

KinkyTax.com

La Chateau Exotique

Laine Campbell

Larry "Lordlnyc" Nelson (Jamaica, NY)

Laura Antoniou (New York, NY)

Lawrence Nelson

Leather Bob (Washington DC)

Leather by Danny

The Leather Man (New York, NY)

Leather Passions

Leather Thorn (Princeton, KY)

Leatherwerks (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Long Island Leather N Roses (Long Island, NY)

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Marcus Teaches

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Murray Schechter (New York, NY)

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Micki & David Norwood

Naked Accounting (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Neil Cannon, Ph.D. (Denver, CO)

Nick Zuko

Photo Play Photography

Pierce Ink (San Jose, CA)

Purple Passion (New York, NY)

Rainbow Rope

Rapture Leather (Detroit, MI)

Ravishment Network (RavNet)

Rochester Kink Society (Rochester, NY)

Rope Fashions

Roy Kay

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Seattle girls of Leather (Seattle, WA)

SeriousBondage.com

Sex Coach Nikki (Las Vegas, NV)

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Shibaricon (Chicago, IL)

SouthEast LeatherFest - SELF (Atlanta, GA)

Southern California Leather Gathering - SCLG (CA)

South Plains LeatherFest - SPLF (Dallas, TX)

Spanky's Toys (Huntsville, AL)

SwingerPanties (FL)

The Crucible (Washington DC)

TNGC - The Next Generation of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Tom Geller

Vibrator.com

VIP Mental Health and Life Coaching, PLLC (Phoenix, AZ)

Webcam Reports (Mansfield OH)

Wealthy BDSM Dating

 

Published in Supporting Members

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 Adobe.com.

 NCSF Half Page "Did You Know?" Ad   

Published in Publicity Materials

 

Donate to NCSF - NCSF relies 100% on its funding through voluntary donations.

View our operating budget and Donate Now

 

Publicize NCSF

Download one of NCSF's ads or banners, for use on your website or in printed publications.

 

Join NCSF - Become a member now 

 

Volunteer for NCSF

Donate one of your most important assets - your time! View NCSF Volunteer positions.

Published in Uncategorized

Individuals from the SM-Leather-Fetish community available for interview

 

Liz Highleyman

Journalist
Medical Writer

415-305-0821
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cecilia Tan

Publisher (Circlet Press),
Author

Boston, MA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(617) 864-0492

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Bill Henkin

Board Certified Sex Therapist,
Clinical Sexologist, MFCC

San Francisco, CA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(415) 923-1150

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

John Warren

Author,
Diversified Services

Boston, MA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(617) 787-7426

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Janet Hardy

Publisher (Greenery Press),
Author

San Francisco, CA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
(510) 652-2596

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Jay Wiseman

Author

San Francisco, CA
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(510) 652-2596

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Trevor Jacques

Publisher (WholeSM),
Author, Researcher

Toronto, Canada
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(416) 962-1040

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Susan Wright

Policy Director of NCSF,
Author

New York, NY
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(917) 848-6544

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Mistress Lalique

Professional Dominatrix,
Community Organizer

Centerville, MA
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508- 420 - 9045

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

Published in Interviews

PURPOSE:

  1. Gather demographic data on the SM-Leather-Fetish communities.

  2. Gain an understanding of the affect of social stigma on SM and fetish practitioners.

SURVEY INSTRUMENT - Paper and electronic distribution (see below)

PERIOD - April 1998 to February 1999

RESULTS:

  1. Useful demographic data on the SM-Leather-Fetish communities

  2. Sense of the magnitude of the problems arising from the stigma against SM

  3. Clear justification for a more professional survey

GENDER 

ORIENTATION

Men  51%  Heterosexual  40%
Women  46% Homosexual  22%
Transgender  1% Bisexual  36%
Intersexual  2% No Response   4%
EMPLOYMENT AGE  INCOME
Student 8% 18-22 3% Under $ 10K 7%
Part time 5%  23-29 15% $10-24K 17%
Full time 62% 30-44 49% $25-49K 37%
Self employed 22% 45-64 31% Over $50K 39%
Unemployed 1% Over 65 2%    
Retired 2%        

COMMUNITY ISSUES:

1. Have you ever experienced violence or harassment because of your alternative sexual practices?

36%   YES

If yes, what happened? (multiple responses allowed)

Verbal harassment  87%

Physical assault 

25%
Stalked  19%

Property vandalized 

19%
Blackmail  17%
Sexual harassment  13%

Rape 

10%
Other  7%

2. Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your alternative sexual practices?

30%   YES

If yes, what happened? (multiple responses allowed)

Persecution 40%

Loss of job or contract 

25%
Loss of promotion  17%
Loss of custody of child  3%

Refused membership 

11%
Unjustified arrest  5%
Other  36%

3. Did you press charges?

96%   NO

4. Do you freely tell others of your interest in alternative sexual expression?

72%   NO

If you're not out, why not?

Fear of disapproval  67%
Fear of repercussions  57%
Fear of persecution  34%
Fear of loss of child custody  13%
Other  16%

RESULTS

Only 28% of those surveyed were "out", while the vast majority don't tell other people about their sexual preferences. Some reported that "it's no one else's business," but many cited fear of job loss or child custody, or harming family relations. One respondent reported, "A formerly trusted confidant outed me to my family. As I am the primary care giver for my mother (Alzheimer's) my siblings feared that I would expose our mother to "dangerous characters". They considered making other arrangements for Mom's care and made me promise not to 'practice" my sexual preferences in our home."

Unfortunately, staying in the closet doesn't protect people - only one-third of those who suffered violence or discrimination reported that they are "out". The other two-thirds were minding their own business and keeping their mouths shut when they were either harassed or discriminated against.

Discrimination cuts very deep, in places we may not even realize. One respondent wrote, "My doctor called my desire for body modification 'sick'. Medical doctors have with held information of safe piercing practices from me because they consider all piercing to be 'self destructive', 'sick' and dangerous."

Other people are haunted by a fear of losing their jobs. Many who have answered the survey are educated professionals, and they can't afford to jeopardize their income. One University professor wrote, "We are very careful about outside appearance because of the fact that we live in a predominantly student section of town, where in fact several of my students live within shouting distance."

We also received a response from an ordained minister who has been involved in SM for several years. "I shared with my former roommate from seminary details about my lifestyle & interest. She took it upon herself to "save" me & report me to my superiors. I was up on a years leave of absence & required to participate in therapy."

There are many responses from people about being "ostracized... for getting mail that included SM/Leather/Fetish publications," or "harassed and threatened with being fired," or "laid off."

Of the violence that occurs against SM practitioners, there is an appalling amount of sexual abuse being perpetuated because someone believed they "deserved it". Many survey responses reported incidents of: "Simply; I was beaten up due to the jerk thinking that since I was submissive, that also meant free game to beat up and rape."

Despite the fact that 36% of the respondents reported being harassed or attacked because of their diverse sexual practices, 96% never reported the crime. Some of the reasons given were: "Didn't think authorities would believe me." "Chalked it up to ignorance & prejudice. "Wouldn't have been taken seriously." "Who would believe me?" "A waste of time."

NCSF hopes with the results from this survey, law enforcement officials will have to listen to the facts about violence taking place against people because of their interest in alternative sexual practices. NCSF hopes that media professionals will realize there are serious repercussions when SM and fetishes are sensationalized.

SURVEY INSTRUMENT

  • 645 hard surveys returned

  • 372 computer surveys returned

  • 1,017 total returned surveys

Respondents were actively encouraged to fill out the survey whether or not they had experienced discrimination or violence. Most of the survey questions were geared toward gaining demographic information on the SM-Leather-Fetish communities.

The computer survey form was posted on the NCSF website. Hyperlinks were sent through NCSF and other e-mail newsletters, and the URL was posted on various internet sites, bulletin boards, and chat rooms.

5,000 surveys were printed and distributed at dozens of meetings and events, including the following major community events:

  • Leather Leadership Conference, NYC, April 1998
  • IML, Chicago, May 1998
  • Folsom Street East, NYC, June 1998
  • IMsL, August 1998
  • Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco, September 1998
  • Living in Leather, Texas, October 1998
  • BR 98, DC, October 1998

The Member Organizations of NCSF mailed an additional 4,600 surveys directly to each of their members:

Member Organization
Society of Janus  700
GMSMA  1,100
The Eulenspiegel Society  1,100
NLA-I  400
Black Rose  300

Total 

3,600

Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.

 

Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.

 

What is a lobby visit?

 

A lobby visit is a meeting where you tell your elected representative 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 or legislation.

You can 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.

 

Requesting Your Meeting

 

Make your request in writing and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler.

 

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 out your meeting keeping in mind that time is limited. Decide who will start the conversation, and which points each person will make

     

    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 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.

     

    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.

       

      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 e-mail 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.

       

      Links

       

      E the People
      Access to over 170,000 government officials in 9,800 towns and cities. Write a letter, start a petition, research election candidates and more!
       
      Project Vote Smart
      Biographical details and contact information for over 13,000 candidates and elected officials
       
      Write Your Representative
      From the U.S. House of Representatives website
       
      U.S. House of Representatives
      Full contact information for our Congressmen
       
      U.S. Senate
      Full contact information for our Senators
      Published in Activist Resources
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      Incident Reporting & Response: We're Making a Difference

      • Helps hundreds of people every year who need assistance because of their consensual BDSM, swinging, or polyamory interests and activities.
      • Connects individuals, groups, and events with resources that can help them including other NCSF programs like KAP, Media Outreach, and the Educational Outreach Program.
      GIVE Now - Help NCSF continue to provide support to those in need of assistance
      Help NCSF help you

      About Incident Reporting & Response

      The NCSF Incident Reporting &  Response (IRR) program provides assistance to individuals and groups within the alternative sexual expression communities who become victimized because of SM, leather, fetish, or swing practices.

      Program Goals:
      NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response
      was created to provide assistance to individuals and groups within the BDSM, swinging and poly communities who are experiencing discrimination or needs assistance because of their interests and activities.
      Contacts:

      Incident@ncsfreedom.org 
      Request For Assistance Form
      Emergency Number: (410) 539-4824

      JOIN Now - Help your community, become a member!
      Help your community - become a member!