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NCSF Annual Meeting

on Thursday, 27 December 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Come to Portland for NCSF’s Annual Meeting of our Coalition Partners in 2019!

March 2nd & 3rd
9 AM – 5 PM on Saturday and 9:30 AM - Noon on Sunday
@ Ramada Portland Airport, 6221 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97220

To make a room reservation, call 503-255-6511
Ask for the "corporate rate" for $64 per night

The meeting will be available via video conferencing. Please RSVP to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the details if you’d like to participate online.

The year-end reports on NCSF programs, the budget and financials, and our goals for the year are discussed and approved by Coalition Partner representatives. Along with the Board Members, NCSF Advocates and Staff, the meeting is open to all members of NCSF and its member organizations.

The Board Members are also elected at the Annual Meeting. If you would like to run for the NCSF Board, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to submit a bio or get more information. NCSF has a working board with each Board Member taking responsibility for a project or program for NCSF.

NCSF will be going to events throughout the weekend in Portland, so please contact us to find out more.

Standing banner photo small

Action Alert!

on Friday, 21 December 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

The 'End Banking for Human Traffickers Act' will possibly restrict banking for anyone engaged in sex work, similar to the effects of FOSTA/SESTA on websites.
 
There is an active campaign to fight this bill.
 
If you want your legislators to listen, send a fax, email or phone call. This site will send a fax or letter for you:
 

 

First Congress Took Sex Workers’ Websites. Now It’s Coming for Their Bank Accounts.
Lawmakers’ latest attempt to fight human trafficking could end up hurting voluntary sex workers.

Huffington Post

“What a lot of organizers are worried about is how these broad anti-trafficking initiatives are often applied in a targeted manner that hurts more vulnerable people rather than helps them,” Liara Roux, a sex worker and producer of independent adult media, told HuffPost. “If this bill is passed in a climate where sex work is so stigmatized that no distinction is made between a trafficked individual and someone who is just trying to survive, you’re just as likely to see vulnerable people’s bank accounts closed as actual traffickers caught.”

Below is a Sample letter you can send to your Senators through Tribunus:

Like FOSTA/SESTA, this bill will have virtually No effect on stopping sex trafficking. But it will have a very real effect on people who engage in consensual, in some places completely legal, sex work. Even law enforcement has voiced their negative stance regarding these types of laws which do nothing to actually prevent sex trafficking.

This morality-based effort bears little weight against the experience of persons who have been trafficked. Why don't you ask the sex worker outreach programs what they actually need to help people who want to escape non-consensual sex work? Or the investigators who fight these criminals? Or the sex workers who are being harmed by these laws? They will tell you that conflating sex work with sex trafficking is not the way to help people who are sex trafficked.

End of the Year Giving - Support NCSF!

on Tuesday, 18 December 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Happy Holidays! Thank you to everyone who donated and supported NCSF this year. Your donations have helped NCSF assist almost 300 people, groups and businesses, as requests for dealing with discrimination and persecution have nearly tripled this year compared to 2016.

Your donations also help NCSF educate professionals about kink and nonmonogamy, and maintain our free Kink Aware Professionals database.

Please donate to the Institute for 21st Century Relationships (the NCSF Foundation) and receive a tax deduction letter - https://nationalcoalitionforsexualfreedom.wildapricot.org/Donate

And thank you to everyone who held a Facebook fundraiser for NCSF this year! This is a custom link for you to create and share your own Facebook fundraiser for NCSF - https://www.facebook.com/fund/NCSFreedom/

NCSF is a coalition of over 130 groups and businesses, along with dozens of professionals and dedicated activists working together for change. Every penny you donate goes directly to our advocacy efforts!

We know there are many worthy causes, but we hope you'll consider supporting NCSF, as we fight for the rights of kinky and nonmonogamous people and their communities.

National Polyamory Day

on Friday, 23 November 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

November 23rd is National Polyamory Day. On that day in 2011, BC’s Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s so called “anti-polygamy law” does not apply to unformalized polyamorous households – clarifying that polyamory, as it is typically practiced in Canada, is legal and not a criminal act.

Prior to November, 23, 2011, it was questionable if polyamory was legal in Canada.

If you agree that people who are polyamorous are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and governmental accommodation that others have, please circulate this image to others on your blogs, in email, and on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Thank you from the CPAA (Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association).

#polyamoryday

 18 11 23

February 28 is Metamour Day!

on Friday, 09 November 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

It’s time to add a new holiday to your calendar! February 28 will henceforth be known as Metamour Day.

 

This holiday is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours.

 

As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.

 

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.

 

Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day in February!

NCSF Thanks! – 3rd Quarter Donation Report

on Tuesday, 09 October 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Thank you to Russell J. Stambaugh, a Board Member of NCSF, for donating $4,000 to the NCSF Foundation to help support NCSF’s educational outreach with AASECT and the APA.

 

Thank you to Jaiya, Inc., an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $530 to the NCSF Foundation in July, $720 in August and $515 in September for a total of $1,765.

 

Thank you to Kink.com for becoming an NCSF Coalition Partner and to the employees of Kink.com for donating $750 as their 2018 fundraiser for NCSF.

 

NCSF Thanks James Dunyak, NCSF’s New England Advocate, for donating $200 in July, $200 in August and $200 in September for a total of $600.

 

NCSF thanks our Coalition Partner, Adventures in Sexuality, for raising $204 through a 50/50 raffle at COPE in July, along with another $259 raised at NCSF’s Coffee and Consent Bar at the event that was hosted by Jackie (NCSF Board Member) for a total of $463.

 

Thank you to the Black Knot Rope Group, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, for donating $420 in August that was raised from their Consent and Negotiation Night Raffle.

 

Thank you to Exodus to the Woods, an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $358 to NCSF that was raised at their annual camping event in the last week of August.

 

And thank you to the members of TES who donated $223 in cash donations at the table at TES Fest – your generosity is appreciated!

 

Thank you to FIRE (Florida Intense Rope Experience), an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $300 to the NCSF membership group in August which was raised by raffling off their last FIRE blanket at their conference.

 

Thank you for STL3 for donating $200 to NCSF in August as their annual Coalition Partner fundraiser.

 

Thank you to Long Island Leather n Roses, an NCSF Coalition Partner, for donating $165 as their annual Coalition Partner fundraiser that was raised by a raffle on behalf of NCSF in September.

 

NCSF Incident Reporting & Response – 3rd Quarter 2018 report

on Tuesday, 09 October 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Susan Wright

Director of IRR

NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received 62 reports & requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in July, August & September 2018. That is down from 76 in the 2nd Quarter, and 87 in the 1st Quarter 2018, but still a 50% higher report rate than the last two quarters of 2017.

NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However, we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest.

Here is a breakdown of the cases we dealt with in the 3rd Quarter of 2018:

Criminal

There were 22 requests for resources and information involving criminal legal matters – 20% less than in the 2nd Quarter: 

  • 11 of those requests came from people who reported an assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or were requests by prosecutors who needed education about consensual BDSM practices.
  • 11 people requested resources and referrals for attorneys to assist in defending themselves against accusations of assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment and threats of outing.

Groups

19 groups needed assistance compared to 27 groups in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 groups needed help dealing with consent incidents or were inquiring about presenters/organizers
  • 5 people were protesting being banned by a group
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in dealing with police – 1 was falsely reported to be involved in sex trafficking and 1 was misrepresented to the police
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in doing outreach to local civic and community organizations
  • 1 group needed assistance in creating a consent policy
  • 1 group was reported for outing
  • 1 group was dealing with incorporation

Child Custody

There were 11 requests for resources and referrals for family court attorneys, up from 8 in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 involved BDSM (3 with FetLife photos and 1 with photos on the cloud)
  • 2 involved both BDSM and polyamorous relationships
  • 1 involved sex work
  • 1 involved CPS

Civil

8 requests, compared to 3 requests in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 2 people needed help after being outed
  • 2 people needed help with civic and community organizations
  • 2 people were banned by businesses – one by PayPal and the other by AirBnB
  • 1 employment discrimination because of BDSM and poly against a Federal employee
  • 1 person needed help with photos that were posted without permission

Professional

2 people needed professional referrals – for a therapist and an attorney.

Guest Blog: What Therapists Need to Know About Consensual Non-monogamy

on Thursday, 27 September 2018. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.

Too many clients who are in consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships have to educate their therapists. Too many of them discontinue therapy because their therapist judged them, didn’t know enough about CNM to be helpful, or worse, makes actively stigmatizing comments such as “polyamory isn’t stable,” “women can’t do non-monogamy,” or “we can’t accept you to our therapy group as you’re non-monogamous — you wouldn’t fit in.” These are real quotes from a study about the experiences of CNM clients in therapy a couple of colleagues and I recently had accepted for publication in Journal for Clinical and Consulting Psychology.

We believe our results clearly highlight how we need to start taking the mental health needs of the CNM community seriously. For context, around 4–5% of people in the United States report that they are in CNM relationships, a comparable number to how many people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. More than one in five adults have also tried CNM at some point, which is not far off from how many people own a cat. We also know that interest and awareness of CNM, especially open relationships and polyamory, is on the rise, despite evidence of blatant stigma directed toward this population.

It is still rare, however, for mental and medical health professionals to receive training on how to effectively support people who are engaging in or exploring consensual non-monogamy. Given what we know about minority stress causing additional mental health burdens, I am concerned about the lack of support this community is receiving.

As co-chair of the American Psychological Association’s Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force, I’m calling for my colleagues to thoughtfully examine our assumptions around monogamy, pursue and promote education about relationship diversity, and approach this issue with the same level of respect and care that we do with other marginalized communities.

Results, Implications, and Calls to Action

In our study, Drs. John Sakaluk, Amy Moors, and I asked 249 people engaged in CNM about their experiences in therapy, making it the largest study to date on this topic. Significantly, the study was accepted at a top-tier, mainstream clinical journal, signaling that the field of psychology is starting to recognize the importance of addressing relationship diversity.

Monogamy is privileged. It is the unquestioned status quo, prompting many therapists to assume by default that their clients are monogamous, or even, for some, that their clients should be. The publication of this paper means that mainstream psychologists may read about and subsequently treat the needs of the consensual non-monogamy community with an elevated level of respect. The article also calls on mental health researchers and providers to examine our biases and take a nonjudgemental posture toward clients engaged in consensual non-monogamy — just as we would with LGBTQ clients.

We asked participants in structured and open formats what their therapist did (or did not do) that they found to be helpful and unhelpful, allowing us to generate broad and specific practice recommendations and calls to action.

Educating Therapists

One of the most prominent themes in our data was the importance of educating therapists about CNM. For example, our participants rated therapists as being more helpful when their therapists: (1) educated themselves about CNM issues; (2) held affirming, nonjudgmental attitudes toward CNM; (3) helped them feel good about being CNM; and (4) were open to discussing issues related to a client’s relationship structure. By contrast, CNM clients rated therapists as less helpful and were more likely to prematurely discontinue therapy when their therapist: (1) lacked or refused to gather information about CNM, (2) held judgmental, (3) pathologizing, and/or (4) dismissive attitudes toward CNM.

One-fifth of our participants also reported that their therapist lacked the basic knowledge of consensual non-monogamy issues necessary to be an effective therapist, and/or had to be constantly educated about CNM issues.

That is not to say all therapists were unaware of CNM. One-third of therapists in our study were described by CNM clients as quite knowledgeable of CNM communities and resources. We also asked in an open format what our participants’ therapists did that they found particularly unhelpful. One in five of those responding mentioned their therapist lacking or refusing to gather info about CNM.

It is important to note that our results may be inflated positively as nearly half of our participants reported intentionally seeking a therapist who was affirming toward CNM. Results were generally worse among those who did not search for a CNM-affirming therapist.

These results in conjunction with the size and stigma directed toward the CNM population has led me to conclude that educating therapists needs to be addressed at the highest levels of the mental health profession. It is time to include CNM in therapist training and continuing education programs, and I am calling on my colleagues to join me in advocating for this change.

Removing Barriers to Treatment

Being able to find a therapist who is educated and affirming of CNM is also a critical issue. CNM therapy clients who screened for a CNM-affirming therapist reported better treatment outcomes. They experienced more “exemplary” and fewer “inappropriate” therapy practices by their therapists, and they rated their therapists as being more helpful than those who did not search for a CNM-affirming therapist.

I am also requesting my colleagues advocate for CNM to be included as a search term on therapist locator websites (such as Psychology Today and APA Psychologist Locator) to help remove barriers to the CNM community accessing culturally competent care.

This is a step that I am pleased to announce that APA Psychologist Locator has agreed to take. We are currently in dialog with them about adding ‘Consensual Non-monogamy’ and ‘Kink/Diverse Sexualities’ as searchable categories, with the changes (hopefully) set to go live in November/December 2018. We hope Psychology Today and other therapist locators will follow suit. …

Resources & Getting Involved

One of our initiatives is to advocate for the eventual creation of practice guidelines, similar to those that were created by the American Psychological Association for working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual therapy clients as well as transgender and gender nonconforming therapy clients.

In an effort to progress toward practice guidelines, I developed empirically-informed benchmarks that can be used to assess practices at the institutional and individual levels. Dr. Michelle Vaughan also led the charge in creating informational brochures that people engaged in CNM can provide to their medical and mental health provider(s).

You can access the benchmarking tool, language for asking about relationship style on demographic forms, informational brochures, and join the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy mailing list by signing our petition to support relationship diversity in mental health, medical health, and the legal profession. Alternatively, you can receive these resources by simply joining the mailing list.

In addition to signing our petition and/or joining our mailing list, we would like to invite you apply to join our task force or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we will be posting updates. I will also be making updates on my Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin accounts.

These resources and this post can be shared freely with your network as well as your current medical and mental health providers.

Educating therapists, removing barriers to accessing treatment, asking about relationship status on demographic forms, setting benchmarks, and signing petitions will not eliminate the judgment and discrimination experienced by the CNM community — but we believe these are all important steps forward. With education and exposure we can challenge the mononormative assumptions promoting a one-size-fits all model of relating — in the same way we challenge assumptions about sexual orientation and gender diversity.

Just as monogamy is not right for everyone, neither is consensual non-monogamy. It’s not about what’s right for all, but what’s right sized for the individual.

 

Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., is a licensed counseling psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Co-chair of the American Psychological Association Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force. His private practice specializes in providing support to the CNM, kink, queer, and gender non-conforming communities.

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