Tristan Taormino interviews former NCSF Executive Director Judy Guerin. "Sex Activist Judy Guerin Talks Bush and BDSM" Reprinted with permission from On Our Backs Magazine By Tristan Taormino The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 as a national advocacy and lobbying organization that promotes tolerance of consenting adults to perform alternative sexual expression. NCSF's primary focus is the SM/leather/fetish community because it's such a large constituency that nobody else represents in Washington, DC. NCSF holds a seat on the National Policy Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force where it meets with about 55 other groups like the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, ACLU, and AFL-CIO to talk about national strategic issues related to policy. At 48, Judy Guerin, mother of three and longtime SM practitioner, was ready to retire. Instead, at the urging of community members, she took the job of executive director of NCSF, which plans to open its official office this spring in Washington, DC. Just before a March meeting of the National Policy Roundtable to discuss sex and politics and teaching GLBT leaders to be more comfortable addressing issues of sex, On Our Backs spoke to Guerin about sex activism and the bumpy road ahead under Bush and Ashcroft. On Our Backs: So how did you become executive director of NCSF? Isn't it an unpaid job? Judy Guerin: Yes, I'm doing it for free. NCSF really can't afford to have anyone in a paid position at this particular point in time. I've been involved in both the transgender and the SM/leather/fetish communities for a long period of time as an activist, and people knew that my children were getting ready to go off to college, and that I was getting ready to retire. They thought it would be a good opportunity to get me back involved in community organizing. On Our Backs: So this was your idea of retiring? Judy Guerin: Yes. On Our Backs: What do your kids think of your job defending kinky people? Judy Guerin: They actually are very supportive of it and think it's great. One of them is heterosexual, one is bisexual, and one is gay. I've raised my children to be very open-minded and diverse in their thinking. I've had interesting reactions from other people. A lot of people ask me, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a…
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…
Individuals from the SM-Leather-Fetish community available for interview Liz Highleyman Journalist Medical Writer 415-305-0821
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cecilia Tan Publisher (Circlet Press), Author Boston, MA
(617) 864-0492 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bill Henkin Board Certified Sex Therapist, Clinical Sexologist, MFCC San Francisco, CA
(415) 923-1150 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John Warren Author, Diversified Services Boston, MA
(617) 787-7426 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Janet Hardy Publisher (Greenery Press), Author San Francisco, CA
(510) 652-2596 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jay Wiseman Author San Francisco, CA
(510) 652-2596 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Trevor Jacques Publisher (WholeSM), Author, Researcher Toronto, Canada
(416) 962-1040 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Susan Wright Policy Director of NCSF, Author New York, NY
(917) 848-6544 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mistress Lalique Professional Dominatrix, Community Organizer Centerville, MA
508- 420 - 9045 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Developed Educational Programs and Outreach Materials
Built Alliances With Sexual Freedom Advocacy Groups
About Consent Counts
NCSF is leading a major national campaign—Consent Counts—to change the laws and police practices that our communities now endure, and to establish that consent is available as a defense in criminal BDSM prosecutions.
BDSM is prosecuted as assault in the U.S., even when it is consensual.
No state or appellate court has allowed consent as a defense to assault in BDSM cases.
Consent Counts is a nationwide project to decriminalize consensual BDSM.
Program Goals: Consent Counts is a nationwide project to decriminalize consensual BDSM through education, advocacy, legal actions and lobbying.