NCSF Statement on Professional Dominatrices in New York
February 11, 2009 NCSF has been contacted by over a dozen concerned members of the BDSM community in New York about the arrests of dozens of professional Dominatrices in Manhattan that started in early 2008.
The pro-Domme community in New York City, which has been a vibrant part of the BDSM community for decades, has been ravaged by these prosecutions for prostitution and for promoting prostitution, resulting in the closure of a number of pro-Domme houses.
NCSF contacted the Manhattan DA's office in order to clarify what sort of "for-pay" BDSM activities are considered legal in New York State. On February 5th, Susan Wright, along with outside counsel, met with ADA Leroy Frazer and Lisa Friel, head of the Sex Crimes Unit, to get their legal opinion.
Pro-Dommes have traditionally considered their BDSM-for-pay to be legal. One case decided by a local misdemeanor court, People v. Georgia A., 163 Misc.2d 634 (Crim. Ct. Kings Co. 1994), supports this position, holding that "sado-masochistic acts such as domination, foot licking, spanking and submission" are not "sexual conduct" prohibited by the prostitution statute. However, that decision is not binding even on other misdemeanor courts, and Ms. Friel described it as "not worth the paper it was written on." Also, as stated in Georgia A.: "The term sexual conduct is not defined in the statute but has since been described in various cases. That conduct includes acts of masturbation, homosexuality, sexual intercourse, or physical contact of the person's clothed or unclothed genitals, buttocks or a woman's breast. ( People v Block, 71 Misc 2d 714 .)"
According to ADA Frazer, their office does not make prosecution of pro-Dommes a priority. However, according to their interpretation of the law, any form of "payment in exchange for touching in an intimate place either over clothing or nude" would constitute prostitution. This includes any touching of the genitals, anus, and breasts.
Under Georgia A, certain BDSM activities such as humiliation, role-play, foot worship, D/s, service activities, and bondage were found to be exempt from the prostitution statute, as long as no other sexual activities were involved. Ms. Friel opined Georgia A is based on a misunderstanding of the scope of the prostitution statute and that "sexual conduct" should be defined as what is arousing to the participants, not what is arousing to the outside "vanilla" observer.
Therefore, activities such as flogging, CBT or genitoture, spanking, body worship and nipple torture, in addition to more overtly sexual activities, would fall within the Manhattan DA's understanding of prostitution when they are done for pay and either party is aroused by them.
NCSF opposes the prosecution of pro-dominants under prostitution laws. Consenting adults engaging in safe, sane, consensual SM, fetishes, and cross-dressing services do not pose legitimate health or safety issues for local communities. What these adults agree to do in private is no one else's business.
NCSF is currently exploring ways to cooperate with other sex-positive activist groups in New York City to protest these arrests, as well as the alleged entrapment and arrests of gay men for prostitution. If you have been arrested for prostitution for doing BDSM activities, or if you would like more information, please contact:
November 16, 2008 - This week, members of the BDSM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities joined protests in cities all over California against the recent passage of Proposition 8 which outlaws same-sex marriage. In addition, dozens of NCSF board members, staff, volunteers and Coalition Partner representatives attended protests staged nationwide on November 15th by Join the Impact.
"NCSF has close ties and relationships with LGBT organizations and has always supported equal rights for everyone," says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. "We support gay marriage not only on behalf of our own LGBT members in our communities, but also because marriage is a fundamental right that shouldn't be denied to anyone. These protests are an important way to show the world that we stand up for those rights."
NCSF supports the freedom of consenting adults to discover and to practice the intimate relationship structure that best meets their emotional and human needs. We champion the basic human right to do so free of governmental, societal or institutional coercion or favoritism.
A joint Project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF
The NCSF Media Committee reviews, edits, and refines the documents that NCSF distributes. The media committee is chaired by Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF, and consists of Levi Halberstadt, Keith Richie, Lisa Vandever, Lolita Wolf, and Howie Z.
Over the past year, Susan gave five media trainings including one for the board of a national event, and one at the annual CP meeting for CP reps and Atlanta community members. Four groups requested her services as spoksperson for their event, and she reviewed their Web sites for media "triggers".
In total, Susan received 85 requests in all via email and phone calls. These numbers are about the same as last year's, except for a drop in the number of inquiries:
30 Incident Response Requests
33 Interviews Among others, Susan gave interviews to reporters with the following publications: Bay Area Reporter, Star Ledger, ABC News, WABC Radio, Globe & Mail, Portfolio Magazine, 1010 Wins, and The Colbert Report. A few examples:
Interview with Jeff Bercovici of Portfolio Magazine regarding the NY Post's sensationalized coverage of the Canadian man who went into a coma at the Nutcracker in New York.
Interview with Carly Weeks of Globe & Mail regarding the incident itself.
Interview with writer in Brisbane Australia regarding the proliferation of BDSM groups at universities.
Interview with David Shoetz of ABC News about Hunt Club of Brevard swingers, and an accidental bondage death case.
Interview with Lisa Rose of the Star Ledger regarding Floating World's "Torture and Interrogation" workshop featuring techniques used at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
Interview with Curtis Sliwa on WABC Radio about the Star Ledger article.
X-Biz reporters continue to contact NCSF about a variety of issues, helping to feature BDSM and swing issues in adult entertainment coverage.
Several interviews were also given to Judy Dutton who is writing a book for Random House.
30 Incident Response Requests The biggest media incident of the year involved the wide-spread national media attacks on Folsom Street Fair orchestrated by religious political extremist groups who denounced Miller for sponsoring the Fair. NCSF broadcast an Action Alert to help. Miller remains a sponsor of the fair.
On a more local level, recently the BerkMontNews ran an article quoting the borough president who outed and denounced the private Kissabal parties for swingers at the American House Hotel (these parties don't include any sexual activities). Susan was quoted in the BerkMontNews follow-up article questioning the validity of an elected official trying to stop adults from meeting together at a bar. The mayor stated that the town needed to attract business, not run it off. The borough president resigned the next week amid the controversy. The Kissabal parties continue on as planned. A few other examples:
Community Boardmember Goldman attacked the NY Leather Weekend, claiming the NY Leather Weekend streetfair doesn't belong in the West Village.
A man lost his church music job because he was photographed with a man on a leash at the Gay Pride Parade.
A nonprofit BDSM club was seeking media help while obtaining an adult entertainment license.
A club needed help writing letters to local officials regarding city health code and sex regulations.
The Cherry Pit, a swing club in Duncanville, Texas, that is now operating as a not-for-profit in a residential neighborhood consulted with both Susan and Legal Director John.
Guy Baldwin was attacked by religious political extremist groups when he was given a leather leadership award by NGLTF's Creating Change.
A hotel tried to break a contract with a fetish conference. With NCSF's help, the event went off as planned.
In three separate incidents caused by dangerous insiders, community members who feared being outed to the media requested help.
21 Inquiries Reuters Insight Community Experts contacted Susan to join as a sexuality expert, and after submitting her credentials and application, Reuters is now referring her as an expert. The Hawaii Health Department requested statistics of BDSM practitioners. Plus there was an inquiry about how to go about removing Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, and Fetishism from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual IV-TR.
NCSF Actions Alerts Two Action Alerts were broadcast over the past year: NCSF urged community members to write to the Task Force and thank them for recognizing Guy Baldwin with their Leather Leadership Award at Creating Change. NCSF also called for letters of support for Folsom Street Fair to be sent to Miller Brewing thanking them for being a sponsor of the Fair. Miller remains a sponsor of the Fair for this year.
A total of eight press releases were also broadcast over the past year which included much more detailed information about what NCSF does for the community:
NCSF 10th Anniversary Historical Retrospective: The Coalition Partner Perspective
Coalition Partners Celebrate a Year of Success at NCSF's Annual Meeting
NCSF Welcomes New Executive Director
NCSF's Education Outreach Program (EOP) welcomes a new Coordinator
Nominate ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF for ALT.com's Charity Giveaway!
NCSF 10th Anniversary pins now for sale!
Volunteer for NCSF!
Stand Up and Be Counted! Participate in the Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities
NCSF is here to help you - the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with the media because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our Web site on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our media hotline at 917-848-6544.
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!
In 2004, 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 740 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2004. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects such as the CUFFs group incident. Cuffs, a nonprofit SM club at Iowa State University, was called before disciplinary council in March, with their SM demonstrations cited as assault. The media coverage was nationwide. NCSF sent out two press releases on the rights of college students to have access to free expression and educational forums on SM during this incident.
2004 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and legal issues. Individuals, businesses and groups consulted with NCSF on: the legality and definition of obscene materials, guidelines for posting sexually frank information on websites, the law regarding private parties, allegations of false rape, alleged domestic violence, and dealing with law enforcement.
The largest category of incidents involved parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases, as well as an increased number of employment related incidents. 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.
Group incidents decreased in 2004, with only a few requests from local groups to assist with hotels and media to help resolve their issues. This may be due to the fact that religious political extremist groups appear to have been busy in 2004 opposing gay marriage. NCSF received one call in January from a Michigan newspaper asking about gay marriage in regards to how it would affect the legality of polygamy (the answer - not at all).
In March, NCSF sent out an Action Alert about the Georgia House of Representatives banning genital piercings for women. The bill outlined punishments for female genital mutilation, making it punishable by two to 20 years in prison. However a last-minute "Heath Amendment" to the bill made no exception for adult women who gave consent for their own genital piercings. The bill was blocked in the Senate because of this amendment, and was reintroduced in Jan 2005, allowing adults to receive genital piercings but not minors under 18.
A number of complaints continued to come in regarding Paypal and E-bay about their discriminatory practices. Paypal continues to close accounts without warning for allegedly violating their policy against selling adult/pornographic items. When Paypal closed down the website of The Baronness who sells rubber clothing, Lisa Napoli, Senior Reporter for NPR’s Marketplace covered the story, with Susan Wright giving an interview on behalf of NCSF.
In October, NCSF contacted New York City Councilwoman Lopez regarding the alleged Quadracci incident. Councilwoman Lopez sent a letter to the District Attorney requesting that he investigate "an illegal SM club" in Mr. Quadracci's apartment. This incident was featured heavily in the NY Post and Daily News. Councilwoman Lopez stated to NCSF, "I believe in privacy rights for consenting adults," and that as long as "it's a private individual doing private things in their own home," then she has no problem with it. The legal case was eventually dropped against Mr. Quadracci.
Job discrimination continues to be a problem for individuals. NCSF helped more than a dozen people draft and file formal complaints with their employers regarding employment discrimination claims.
Altogether, NCSF staff members gave over 65 interviews with the media in 2004. Media Spokesperson Susan Wright gave 34 interviews throughout the year. A number of interviews were inquiries about the NCSF-Nitke CDA lawsuit, primarily with adult news media outlets like YNot, X-Biz and TheAdultWebmaster.com. Mainstream coverage of the case increased in the fall as the oral arguments commenced. Barbara Greenfield with Time Out NY interviewed Barbara and Susan for a feature to coincide with trial.
NCSF worked extensively with Time Magazine on an article by John Cloud about the SM community. Time published a thoughtful, positive article for the SM community in January 2004. In October, Primetime Live, ABC News Magazine, aired their survey on "American Sex Lives," by Holly Gordon. Susan was interviewed for this episode, and the coverage of alternative sexual expression was positive. Susan also gave interviews for two documentaries about SM.
Swing Spokesperson Sue Gould gave over 30 interviews about swinging and the Lifestyle in 2004. One of the bigger swing interviews for 2004 was with Detail's Magazine, explaining the importance of NCSF's work with the swing community. NCSF also released a statement supporting privacy rights when Jack Ryan, a Republican running for the Senate, was outed and vilified for attending swing clubs with his wife, actress Jeri Ryan. The reporting of the details in their divorce papers was highly sensationalistic and soon thereafter Ryan abandoned his bid for a Senate seat.
NCSF provided six media trainings for groups and events this year. Susan was also asked to look at over a dozen websites to give advice on what content would draw media and/or law enforcement attention. Susan also assisted one of NCSF's Coalition Partners in dealing with a local reporter who wanted to join their group and e-mail list.
NCSF On the Front Lines
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 visit our website on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our office at 410-539-4824. If you have a media-related incident, you can call 917-848-6544. To find a lawyer, psychotherapist or doctor who is kink friendly, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/kap
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!
In 2003, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) once 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 38 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.
Leigha Fleming directs NCSF's Incident Response team. In total during 2003, NCSF responded to more than 500 cases, with more than 1,300 contacts between NCSF and individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses that requested assistance. Some incidents required only one or two phone calls, but many evolved into much larger projects such as the attacks by religious political groups against SM conferences.
In 42% of the incidents, NCSF assisted individuals. The largest category of incidents involved 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.
We also helped families dealing with child protective services because of their alternative lifestyle interests.
NCSF saw a sharp rise in the number of requests for help from individuals experiencing employment discrimination because of their involvement in alternative lifestyles in 2003. Individuals also consulted with NCSF on a variety of other issues, including: the legality of obscene materials, guidelines for posting sexually frank information on websites, the law regarding private parties, criminal cases, dealing with law enforcement and dealing with personal media exposure.
In 2003, NCSF also opposed zoning and other local regulatory measures against those who practice some form of alternative sexual expression. NCSF assisted the swing communities in Illinois and North Carolina by working with them to fight back against punitive zoning restrictions. In addition, we extended our outreach to the polyamory community in 2003 by working with individuals impacted by discrimination against their relationship style.
Opposition to SM events based on religious concerns continued in 2003. The host hotel for My Vicious Valentine (February 14-16) received calls from Concerned Women for America at the end of January. The CWA attack against My Vicious Valentine fizzled out, in large part due to the extensive education about SM events that NCSF did for local authorities in 2002. Only one reporter called NCSF from the hotline number posted on MVV's website.
The Tribal Fire conference (April 4-6) in Oklahoma was again targeted by religious groups who took out ads in the local papers denouncing SM practices and threatening to picket the event. Tribal Fire's organizers met with the police detective and the hotel to ensure the event would go on as planned. However four Mennonites held a prayer vigil in the hotel lobby for 72 hours. NCSF staff members attended Tribal Fire and spoke out about the importance of standing up for our rights.
When Concerned Women for America attacked International Mr. Leather (May 30-June 1) they quoted the Illinois State Health Department as saying there is a higher rate of STDs in homosexual men. CWA proclaimed that IML was therefore a danger to employees and guests at the host hotel. Susan Wright contacted the Illinois State Health Department, and the AIDS/Infectious Diseases department declared they would speak to any media outlet to debunk the CWA's absurd claims. IML was held as planned.
The Black Rose conference (November 11-14) was forced to move from Ocean City, Maryland, back to their former host hotel in New Carrollton, Maryland when two churches in Ocean City led a grass-roots movement to prevent the event from taking place in their rural resort town. There was a great deal of initial confusion regarding Black Rose's media response, and as a result, there were many misrepresentations and prejudicial and inaccurate descriptions included in the articles in the Maryland Coast Dispatch and the Daily Times of Salisbury which inflamed the situation. NCSF attempted to mediate the situation by providing accurate and unbiased information on SM/leather/fetish to the local media.
Fetish in the Fall (November 20-23) scheduled to take place in Kenner, Louisiana (part of metropolitan New Orleans) was moved after it was attacked by the Kenner police chief. Police Chief Nick Congemi urged hotel managers to decline any request to hold the event in any Kenner hotel. In his letter and press release to the media, Chief Congemi stated that "allowing the event to take place would seriously jeopardize the family atmosphere for which Kenner is noted." Congemi had already announced his run for mayor of Kenner (election held in March, 2004). For many years prior to this, Congemi had allowed his police officers to work as off-duty security for the adult swing conference in Kenner, N'awlins in November, produced by the same company that produced Fetish in the Fall. NCSF was called in immediately and was able to generate positive media coverage of this incident.
NCSF also opposed zoning and other local regulatory measures against those who practice some form of alternative sexual expression. NCSF assisted the swing communities in North Carolina and Illinois by holding open-forum discussions about how to affect zoning regulations and current litigation against lifestyle clubs. NCSF also worked with the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA) to lobby against the Washington DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control regulation 905, which has been used to prohibit SM play in local establishments with liquor licenses even when liquor isn't being sold or consumed. In response to an Action Alert created and distributed in conjunction with D.C. Sexual Minority Advocates (DCSMA), NCSF received over 130 cc'ed letters from community members stating they were concerned that this regulation will prevent SM community spaces from existing in Washington D.C.
The Labyrinth in Denver, a community SM space, was shut down by a restraining order because of zoning violations. The undercover investigation took many months. The Denver community organized an ad hoc group called COSMA (Colorado SM Advocates) to fight for their right to have an SM club. NCSF conducted multiple interviews with the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Lakewood Sentinel, Channel 7, ABC affiliate, and KHOW 630 AM radio during this incident.
NCSF gave 67 media interviews in 2003, with Susan Wright, Spokesperson, giving 49 interviews and Sue Gould, Swing Spokesperson, giving 18 interviews. Clubs and businesses regularly contact NCSF to receive media training for incidents or prior to holding an event.
NCSF began working with John Cloud, a reporter with Time Magazine in November 2003 on an article about the SM community, its history and practices. NCSF assisted in locating appropriate people in the SM community to be interviewed. Several SM conferences considered allowing the reporter into their event, but concerns over privacy prevented that. The positive article was published in January 2004.
In Indianapolis, a female professional dominant gave an interview with the local newspaper and Channel 6 News in May. This caused serious problems for her because she was located near a church-school and ran a home-based business (a D/s and role-play salon) with no business license or permits. The media and police received an anonymous tip about her illegal business operation. NCSF encouraged her to seek proper zoning, educated her about dealing with the media, and responded to media inquiries for her.
In March, NCSF was contacted by concerned community members about the Black Party's promo image, which showed a young man with a black eye and split lip. NCSF protested to the producers of the Black Party in NYC that this image doesn't portray SM but rather shows abuse. The NYC Anti-Violence Project, the National Coalition against Violence and other groups joined in this effort, writing to the producers protesting this image.
In one media incident, a nonprofit club in Muncie, Indiana, was threatened with closure along with a nearby strip bar until the media was educated about safe, sane and consensual SM. NCSF also gave media assistance to a swing club in Connecticut which was closed because of zoning issues.
Another media incident involved Nerve.com when they published a series of articles in June entitled "Letters from Leather Camp." The Nerve reporter infiltrated a private event, Leather Retreat. Leather Retreat didn't have a clause in their release form preventing reporters from writing for a commercial media outlet. Susan Wright negotiated with Michael Martin, Editor-in-Chief at Nerve.com, and sent out Nerve's statement and apology in NCSF's Media Update covering the articles. The comments section of Nerve.com was reinstated so SM community members could respond to the articles, and the articles themselves were purged of their most reprehensible comments.
Job discrimination continues to be a problem for individuals. NCSF helped more than a twenty people draft and file formal complaints with their employers regarding employment discrimination claims. One West Virginia woman lost her job because she belonged to a leather club. One Texas woman was sexually harassed by her supervisor when he found her website on the internet. She was initially terminated from her job when she complained about the harassment. NCSF worked with her and her husband to draft a formal grievance and helped her find a sympathetic attorney. She was rehired.
A number of discrimination complaints continue to be made regarding Paypal and E-bay regarding their policies for dealing with adult oriented vendors. Paypal and E-bay are deleting accounts that sell adult oriented merchandise. NCSF has contacted the parent company, E- bay, regarding their discriminatory practices. These companies continue their "no-adult content" policy in large part out of fears of prosecution for obscenity.
NCSF was contacted by individuals, attorneys and prosecutors on a variety of criminal cases, including: several cases of false rape, three different cases involving death of a participant, and two murder investigations. NCSF also made referrals to resources and the appropriate authorities in several domestic violence incidents. In three cases, NCSF was able to help the victim obtain protective orders and find appropriate counseling.
NCSF: On the Front Lines
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. If you are contacted by the media, please call NCSF immediately so we can assist in educating the reporter about SM, swing or polyamory.
And please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are a volunteer organization committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!
The NCSF Media Committee reviews, edits, and refines the documents that NCSF publicly distributes. The media committee consists of Susan Wright, Allena Gabosch, Anita Wagner, Lisa Vandever, Lolita Wolf, Howie Z., and Keith, who creates and distributes the NCSF Media Updates.
Susan Wright gave 57 interviews with most of the media outlets contacting NCSF, indicating that NCSF has much higher profile than before the CDA lawsuit. These interviews were given to the New York Times (multiple reporters), Chicago Tribune (multiple reporters), Baltimore Sun (multiple reporters), Boston Herald, Esquire, Daily News, Inside Edition, Montell Williams Show, Maxim, Hustler, Bitch Magazine, and Las Vegas City Life, among others.
Press Releases, Action Alerts and Entertainment Media Updates
NCSF broadcast a press release about the Supreme Court decision on Nitke & NCSF v. Gonzales in March, 2006, which was carried in full or part in dozens of media outlets around the country. Reporters continue to call regarding the case to be the most recent. Salon.com requested an interview with Susan and John Wirenius in mid-August regarding ongoing obscenity prosecutions.
NCSF broadcast a press release in October, 2005, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that his office intended to target "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" in pursuing new obscenity prosecutions. NCSF also sent out a press release in January, 2006, supporting Google when the U.S. Justice Department subpoenaed them to compel the Internet search engine to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries.
NCSF sent out an Action Alert in September, 2005, when an evangelical Christian group that targeted Southern Decadence, a world-famous LGBT event, stating "Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin."
Lisa Vandever created three Entertainment Media Updates in the last year. Regarding the Montel Williams Show entitled "Multiple Love: Polyamory" airing November 29, 2005, Lisa stated: "The episode did present a good and articulate range of people involved in various polyamorous relationships and a positive understanding of why someone might choose polyamory over monogamy." Regarding Big Love on HBO, Lisa stated: "As a "water cooler show," the series will warrant our continued notice for its ability to coalesce discussion around topics of great relevance to sexual freedom, providing opportunities to interject our experiences and viewpoints through letters to the editor, participation on message boards and even casual conversation. Regarding Dr. Phil's "Twisted Love" which aired on February 2, 2006, Lisa stated: "All in all, the show should be critiqued for its dismissive stance towards polyamory and encouraged to understand that many people are able to enjoy healthy and supportive polyamorous relationships."
The major media incident of the year involved the New Year's Eve Ball at the Orlando Crowne Plaza Hotel Airport on New Year's Eve, 2006. A number of false press reports were published nationally regarding the conduct of attendees. The producers of this lifestyle event along with Bob Hannaford of the International Lifestyle Association, alerted NCSF and we immediately broadcast a press release correcting the false and inflammatory statements made by "soccer parents." NCSF's press release killed the story and the soccer parents who had been scheduled for a Florida radio show cancelled their appearance and ceased to give interviews to reporters.
NCSF was subsequently informed by two event producers that their contracts with InterContinental hotels to host alternative sexual events had been placed on hold pending InterContinental's investigation of the Orlando Ball incident. NCSF sent a letter to Kevin Kowalski, President, InterContinental Hotel Group Brand, giving them the correct information and protesting their arbitrary hold on the contracts. In subsequent conversations, Stephanie Yudin, PR Manager for the Brand, confirmed that InterContinental found no wrong-doing by the producers or attendees of the Orlando New Year's Eve Ball. Yudin stated that as long as alternative sexual events follow local and state laws, and abide by InterContinental's morality clause which prohibits nudity and sexual activity in the public areas of the hotel, it's up to each hotel's discretion whether or not they host alternative lifestyle events.
Another media incident took place in April, 2006, involving Club Tabu (now an NCSF Coalition Partner). Club Tabu is a lifestyle club in Greater Baltimore county which was targeted by the president of a local neighborhood association. Susan gave a dozen media interviews with print, radio and television reporters emphasizing that Club Tabu had established their club legally and that adults have the right to gather in private. The media publicity died within a week and the club continues to operate normally.
Requests for Media Help from Constituents
Susan receives hundreds of emails from constituents who send news articles about alt sex issues, ask questions about dealing with the media, or comment on NCSF's Media Outreach Project, press releases, Media Updates and Action Alerts.
Susan worked with 26 people (more than double last year) giving them media assistance and in assessing group and event websites. Susan was also contacted by three other sexual advocacy groups for help with their media messaging and for training their spokespeople and board members.
For confidentiality reasons, NCSF can't give the names of the groups or individuals we've helped. Some individuals who were publicized in the media include: Miss Kitty, owner of Kokomo Kinksters; Georgia, a pro-Domme and author who appeared on the O-Reilly Factor; and another pro-Domme, Mistress Jezebel, who gave an interview to a NY Times reporter in July, 2006.
NCSF is here to help you – the SM, swing, and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with the media because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our Web site on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our media hotline at 917-848-6544.
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!
Please take a moment to support the Alternative Hedonistic Society, of Kansas City, MO (www.ahs-kc.org). Their AHS Obsessive Fetish Ball, which did not include nudity or sexual activities, was cancelled at the last moment by the Holiday Inn Olathe. A reporter from FOX News was tipped off and contacted the Holiday Inn. AHS was completely open about the nature of the event with both the police and the Holiday Inn prior to signing a contract, but the management responded to the reporter's inquiry by canceling the event. AHS is still trying to resolve this situation with the Holiday Inn Olathe and needs your help.
Please read NCSF's letter to the Holiday Inn Olathe, Kansas, then send the postcard attached below. Thank you for your help in fighting for our rights!
Steve Olson, President
Holiday Inn Olathe
Dear Mr. Olson,
We would like to express our serious concerns regarding your cancellation of the AHS Obsessive Fetish Ball one day before the event was to take place on August 13, 2004.
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a national organization 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 is primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM- leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face discrimination because of their sexual expression. NCSF directly represents tens of thousands of consenting adults across the US, and supports the millions of adults who do alternative sexual expression.
In the view of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) your cancellation is based on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of this charitable, social event in which no nudity or sexual activities were scheduled to take place. The event organizers had ongoing discussions with the Olathe Police to ensure their complete compliance with city ordinances, and the organizers welcomed the police in walking through the event at any time.
In fact, it appears the sole reason your management canceled this contract was because a reporter from the socially conservative FOX News contacted you regarding the event. Perhaps you are not aware that religious political extremist groups regularly attack events held by the alternative sexuality communities. These groups often alert the media to pressure venues into refusing to hold adult events. This tactic is both discriminatory and reprehensible. NCSF expects businesses to abide by the terms of their lawful contracts and refuse to be manipulated in this manner.
Over 250 major events are produced by the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities every year in hotels and public venues. In many cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue are generated for the host venue and local community. Your proactive response to resolving this issue of discrimination will go far in ensuring that our constituents continue to do business with Holiday Inn.
Please write a letter to the Holiday Inn Olathe protesting their unfair cancellation of the AHS Obsessive Fetish Ball. E-mail is fine, but fax or snail mail is even better. A postcard you can cut and paste follows. For those who don't live or travel to KC, you can write to the InterContinental Hotels Group, the franchiser of all Holiday Inns and say you won't stay in ANY Holiday Inn until this is resolved.
The letters should be sent to:
Holiday Inn Olathe
General Manager - Wayne Heinz
101 W. 151st St.
Olathe KS 66061
Fax (913) 829 8165
Leisure Hotel Group (Corporate Owner of Holiday Inn Olathe)
President and CEO - Steve Olson
4501 College Blvd Suite 275
Leawood, Kansas 66211
InterContinental Hotels Group (Franchiser for all Holiday Inns)
3 Ravinia Drive, Suite 2900
Atlanta, Georgia 30346-2149
Dear Holiday Inn Olathe,
I am writing to protest your cancellation of the AHS Obsessive Fetish Ball in August, 2004. The organizers of the ball made sure they would comply with state and local laws, yet without justifiable reason, you prevented this event from taking place.
The fact that you breeched your contract with AHS one day prior to the event caused many problems for the organizers and the attendees, some of whom flew in from other states to participate in this charitable event. You should reimburse not only the producers for the lost revenue, but also the individuals who were unfairly denied access to this event at the last moment.
I will certainly not stay at your hotel in the future, nor will I recommend your hotel to visitors or business associates.
September 7, 2004 New York City The Communications Decency Act (CDA) trial date has been set for October 27-29, 2004, at the United States District Court in New York City. Plaintiffs Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom are contesting the remaining CDA provisions allowing "local community standards" to be used to define obscenity on the Internet. These provisions were not the subject of the 1997 Supreme Court challenge, ACLU vs. Ashcroft.
"The CDA allows one community to limit what the entire nation is allowed to discuss, to read or to view on the Internet," says John Wirenius, the attorney for the lawsuit. "That is unconstitutional because the First Amendment does not allow any one locality to impose its morality on the nation." For more information about the CDA lawsuit, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org.
Expert witnesses who will be called and cross-examined include Arthur C. Danto, A.D. Coleman, Jeffrey Douglas, Ben Laurie, Seth Finkelstein, Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, Charles Moser, Dov Hechtman, Leigha Fleming, and Susan Wright. Their testimony will cover the technological impossibility of complying with the CDA; the artistic and social importance of sexually explicit speech concerning alternative sexual practices; and the chilling affect the CDA has had on artists and writers within the communities served by NCSF.
Plaintiff Barbara Nitke (www.barbaranitke.com) will be making appearances in San Francisco in September for an exhibition of her work, slide show talks, book signings and benefits to raise funds for the CDA lawsuit expenses. Mark I. Chester and Dr. Carol Queen's Center for Sex and Culture are sponsoring "Sex, Art & Politics," the series of events on radical sex photography and artistic freedom to coincide with the Folsom Street Fair. For more information on these events, see the calendar below.
Barbara Nitke is president of the prestigious Camera Club of New York, on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, and author of a book of fine art photographs, Kiss of Fire (Kehrer Verlag 2003). National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.
For additional information, requests for interviews, and publishable press photos contact Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF 917.848.6544, or Barbara Nitke at
Calendar of September Events in San Francisco with Barbara Nitke:
Sat. Sept. 18th - 8pm-midnight "Opening Party for Sex, Art & Politics" Radical sex photography including Barbara Nitke's loving SM photographs, book signing, and entertainment. Suggested donation $5- 10+. Mark I. Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St./SF
Sun Sept. 19th - 2-4pm - "A Romantic View of SM" Barbara Nitke's slide show talk and discussion of the CDA lawsuit. $15 for the general public. $5 for members of Janus and reciprocal leather organizations.
Sun Sept. 19th - 7-10pm - House party benefit for the CDA lawsuit sponsored by Mark I. Chester, Dr. Carol Queen and NCSF at a private location. 100% of proceeds will benefit the CDA lawsuit. Space is limited so please call 415-255-1155 or
for an invite.
Tues, Sept. 21st - 8-10pm - Book signing by Barbara Nitke for her book of loving SM photographs, Kiss of Fire. Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia St., at 17th St./SF
Wed, Sept. 22nd - 7-10pm "Sex, Art & Politics Community Benefit" Co- sponsored by Mark I. Chester and the Center for Sex and Culture, with Charles Gatewood, Fakir Musafar, Phyllis Christopher, Michael Blue/Midori and Shilo McCabe. Suggested donation $10-$20+ with proceeds benefiting the CDA lawsuit. SF Citadel, 245 8th St/SF
Sat/Sun, Sept 25/26th-noon-6pm - Mark I. Chester will take a FREE digital portrait of anyone who visits his studio to see the radical sex photographs on display. Sun. 9/26, the show will be open during the Folsom St. Fair. Mark I Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St./SF
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom supports the rights of adults at Iowa State University to maintain their educational and social SM group, Cuffs. NCSF condemns any form of discrimination or persecution of consenting adults who engage in SM educational activities, and calls for Cuffs' organizational privileges to be reinstated and for the assault allegations to be dropped at the March 1st investigative hearing by Iowa State University.
University-approved SM groups serve an important function by providing necessary safe sex education for students. SM is recognized as a normal form of sexual expression and is practiced routinely by approximately 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. To serve these millions of people, there are over 500 educational and social SM groups in the U.S. alone teaching adults about safe, sane and consensual sexual expression.
SM is not assault. SM does not involve inflicting unwanted, offensive or fearful activities on an individual. People who engage in SM activities do so willingly and consensually and they can stop the activities at any time. This is similar to the behavior that is involved in many sporting activities such as Iowa State's Boxing Club or football team.
Regarding assault, Iowa State Criminal Code Section 708.1 states:
"Provided, that where the person doing any of the above enumerated acts, and such other person, are voluntary participants in a sport, social or other activity, not in itself criminal, and such act is a reasonably foreseeable incident of such sport or activity, and does not create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or breach of the peace, the act shall not be an assault."
Cuffs workshops are voluntary and by definition cannot be criminal. "Case law in Iowa does not explicitly define SM activities as crimes or assault; they're simply not offered any special protection under the law," states Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF. "The current controversy over Cuffs has arisen simply because SM involves sexual behavior."
NCSF’s Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place Friday evening, and Coalition Partners were able to participate via streaming video to give their input on the new Consent Statement. Go to www.ncsfreedom.org to see the Consent Statement and comment on it. “The Consent Statement…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom NCSF Survey on Consent The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) wants to hear from you! Please take our Consent Counts survey and tell us what you think about consent: www.ncsfreedom.org/survey.html As part of decriminalizing BDSM in the legal codes, we need to be able to articulate a clear definition of consent that the BDSM communities believe in. The results of this…
NCSF Launches the Next Chapter for Consent Counts February 27, 2012 The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) announces two new publications as part of its nationwide campaign, Consent Counts. The Consent Counts Project was launched by the BDSM-leather-fetish communities in 2006 to decriminalize consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. "For…
Our BDSM communities could be adversely impacted by a well-intentioned, but overly broad, piece of proposed criminal legislation that has been introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe in the California Senate. NCSF is asking all of you to sign and send to NCSF letters (a draft is attached below) that we can introduce if necessary at a hearing likely to be held in April, 2011. The purpose of the bill, SB…
In an indictment rendered by a Grand Jury in the Western District of Missouri on September 9, 2010, five Missouri men allegedly participated in torturing a mentally disabled woman online or in person over a multi-year period when the victim was between the ages of 16 and 24. Among the charges are: Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, Forced Labor Trafficking, Transportation for Sexual Activity, and Conspiracy. The allegations…
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.