For immediate release: March 6, 2009
For more details: www.sexies.org.
Read anything in your local (or national) paper that reported on sex in a surprisingly informed, non-hysterical way? The Sex-Positive Journalism Awards want to know about it. Last's year's winners were selected from over 100 entries submitted by both writers and readers, and they covered subjects from sex in nursing homes, prostitution, and sex in Iran to Kink.com and panics over Internet sex. The winning articles were published in a dozen states in all corners of the United States (and one Canadian province), and represent a range of genres, from news to advice columns.
What they all have in common, however, is that they succeed in embodying the Sex-Positive Journalism Award's criteria (www.sexies.org/criteria.html) for responsible sex journalism far better than the vast majority of their counterparts, helping to improve the quality of dialogue around sex and create a more well-informed reading public.
But there's a long way to go. "Mainstream journalists are generally hopeless at covering sexuality. It's not entirely their fault, but it would be great if this award managed to offer both support to journalists who'd like to do a better job, as well as some needed legitimacy for the subject matter," wrote About.com's Sexuality Guide Cory Silverberg when the awards were first announced. "The media's frequent failure to apply balanced journalistic standards to sex-related topics affects real people's lives," adds Carol Queen, PhD, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture.
The winners of the 2009 Sexies will be chosen by an outstanding panel of judges, who have expertise in both journalism and sex-positive advocacy: Dan Savage, author of the popular sex-advice column "Savage Love"; Carol Queen, PhD, writer, speaker, educator, and activist with a doctorate in sexology; Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH a research scientist and associate director for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and sex columnist; and award-winning journalists Doug Henwood, Liza Featherstone, Amanda Robb, and Kai Wright. (See full bios at www.sexies.org/judges.html).
The Sexies will be given for articles in four categories: news, feature, opinion, and regular column, plus "unsexy" (the most egregious violation of the Sexies' criteria). Articles must have been published in 2008 (2009 articles can be submitted now for next year though) in an edited print or online publication in the U.S or Canada (personal blogs do not quality). Submissions are due by March 31, 2009. Both writers and readers can submit articles for consideration. For full guidelines see www.sexies.org/criteria.html. To make entries please use our entry form at www.sexies.org/submit.php
The Sexies' board is composed of journalists Miriam Axel-Lute and Doug Henwood, The National Coalition
for Sexual Freedom, The Center for Sex and Culture, and the Coalition for Positive Sexuality. We are sponsored by Babeland, UltraVirgo Creative and the David Weinbaum Memorial Foundation. We are seeking additional corporate sponsors and individual donations to support our mission. Donations can be made at www.sexies.org/support.html
The Sex-Positive Journalism Awards Criteria
We are seeking pieces of journalism that:
* touch on sexbsexual practice, health, or behavior--in some manner (stories just about sexual orientation do not qualify)
* are intended for a general audience
* meet high overall standards of reporting, fact-checking, and writing
and do at least one of the following:
* show evidence of fairness in seeking sex-positive sources to respond to sex-negative ones
* ask hard questions about the motivation and background of sources who rely on sex-negative soundbites
* avoid biased or sensationalistic language
* cover newsworthy topics, events, or issues that might tend to be swept under the rug because of controversial sexual content
* report accurately, respectfully and with nuance on sex research results
* contain fair, accurate, and non-sensational portrayals of sexual subcultures
* keep a clear separation between sex crimes, such as sexual assault or pedophilia, and things that merely make people uncomfortable, such as consensual kink, teen sexuality or gay priests; and help readers who may not be familiar with the issues make the distinction
* specifically challenge sex-negative assumptions or practices in society at large or in a specific community
* educate the public as to the diversity of sexual behavior without sensationalizing
* celebrate sexuality as a positive force in human lives
We are not looking for racy or sensationalistic stories. The awards will be something any traditional journalist should be proud to hang on his or her wallba testament to journalistic standards of fairness and accuracy about a charged and controversial subject.
Vicki Gonzalez TABU Social Club1115 N. Rolling Rd.Catonsville, Md. 21228
Such was the case with TABU Social Club and NCSF. Widely recognized as the fastest growing "Lifestyle" club in the country, (boasting over 9000 member couples and single females), thanks in no small part to the guidance and assistance of NCSF, TABU is thriving. TABU Social Club, now a proud "Coalition Partner" of NCSF, with the assistance of Nina, owner of the "Power Exchange" (www.powerxchangebynina.com) in Baltimore, as well as many other volunteers, will be putting on a fundraiser on Friday April 3rd, 2009 with 100% of the proceeds being donated to furthering the mission of NCSF. There will be music, dancing, light snack foods, door prizes, silent & live auctions for various goods and services and best of all Live Demonstrations to give you a small taste of some of the various "Lifestyles" that NCSF works tirelessly to support. This event is open to those 21 and over who practice forms of alternative sexual expression and to those who support our right to do so. The cost for the event is $20 per person with 100% of the proceeds being donated to NCSF. This is a BYOB event, so should you choose to drink alcohol, you must bring it yourself. We are also actively seeking volunteers to assist with various aspects of the event. As simple as setup and breakdown to providing demonstrations in an area that you have some expertise to being a roving ambassador to all who attend, we can use your help. Further, we are seeking donations of goods and services to be used as door prizes as well as live and silent auction items. For more information regarding this event or to register please visit http://tabulife.com/ncsf_2009.html If you would like to volunteer your time or donate any goods or services please contact Vicki Gonzalez (
March 10, 2009 - The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a proud member of the Stop the Arrests Coalition. Spokesperson Susan Wright has participated in organizing meetings and spoke out at the Sheridan Square Rally on February 21st, 2009, against the false arrests of gay men and professional Dominatrices for prostitution.
There is good news from a meeting on March 6th with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pledging to curb the stings against gay men (see articles below). NCSF is continuing to press for a cessation of arrests of professional Dominatrices, and has written to Commissioner Kelly to ask for a meeting about the NYPD's change in policy after 14 years of legal operation, which has resulted in a number of arrests of Dominatrices and owners of BDSM houses since Fall 2007.
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.
Members of the Stop the Arrests Coalition include: Queer Justice League, Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Sex Workers Outreach Project, Urban Justice League's Sex Worker Project, and FIERCE New York.
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.
History of the NCSF: Hard at Work to Defend Your Rights
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 by a small group led by Susan Wright under the auspices of the New York SM Activists. The goal was to fight for sexual freedom and privacy rights for all adults who engage in safe, sane and consensual behavior.
The first five organizations who joined reflected our desire to be a nationwide organization: the National Leather Association—International, Gay Male S/M Activists, The Eulenspiegel Society, Black Rose and Society of Janus. Today, NCSF has over 50 Coalition Partners who elect the board that runs NCSF, and establish our goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses who serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners and also support NCSF by holding an annual fundraiser. NCSF also has over 100 Supporting Members – groups and businesses that support NCSF.
Over the years, NCSF has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights: Free Speech Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.
Early Successes for NCSF
The 1998 Violence & Discrimination survey revealed the extent of discrimination and persecution that exists against the SM-leather-fetish communities. NCSF found that 36% of SM practitioners have been victims of harassment and that 30% have been victims of discrimination. This discrimination resulted in 24% losing a job or a contract, 17% losing a promotion and 3% losing custody of a child. This survey helped NCSF gear our energies towards issues that matter most to our constituents.
NCSF also lent assistance to the local communities in San Diego and Baltimore, to help to stop the selective enforcement of zoning and public indecency laws against the SM-Leather-Fetish communities. Next, NCSF assisted the local communities in Attleboro MA and Washington DC as those cities faced the same selective enforcement that had been attempted in Baltimore and San Diego. NCSF continues to work with State Attorney Generals and local District Attorneys to help educate these authorities about SM, swing and polyamory practices to prevent dangerous precidents from being set against adult consensual sexuality.
NCSF and the Media
As an advocacy organization, one of NCSF's strategies has been to educate the media about issues facing the SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory communities. You can help by signing up for NCSF's media updates list
. This weekly email will alert you to stories about alternative sexual expression in the news, and will give you contact information so that you can respond to an editor to let them know if you liked or disliked an article and why. We also give you tips on how to write a letter. Even if your letter is not printed, these letters influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.
NCSF's Media Outreach Program has developed a package of materials that provide information about NCSF and the communities we represent. This program provides education and training to groups and individuals on how to effectively interact with the media.
One example of NCSF's advocacy efforts took place in the Attleboro MA coverage in July, 2000. In the first media reports regarding the Attleboro arrests, the incident was characterized as a "sex club" raid. Within 48 hours, a coordinated effort led by NCSF and the local community to educate the media resulted in a major change in the characterization of the arrests. The tone of the coverage went from defending the actions of the law enforcement officers to questioning their judgment and several reporters raised legitimate questions about possible civil rights violations.
From February to May 2002, five SM conventions were targeted by Concerned Women for America, American Family Association, and the American Decency Association. NCSF worked with each event to counter sensationalized attacks in the media as well as resisting action by local authorities who attempted to shut down some of these SM conferences. The attacks took place in the midwest against My Vicious Valentine and International Mr. Leather in Chicago, Bound by Desire in Michigan, Tribal Fire in Oklahoma, and Beat Me in St. Louis in Missouri.
NCSF's Incident Response Program: Helping you...
In 2006, over distinct inquiries were made between NCSF and individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses who requested assistance. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but many evolved into much larger projects.
14.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
13.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
13% were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
10.5% were regarding zoning issues
9% were classed as non-employment discrimination
8% were related to swing community issues
8% were regarding online obscenity issues
7% were regarding employment discrimination
6% were regarding criminal complaint issues
5.5% were in reference to child protective services’ complaints
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.
Early in 2000, NCSF launched its Education Outreach Program (EOP). This program is designed to educate law enforcement officials about our communities, and educate members of our community regarding the risks of selective enforcement and how to minimize the risk of becoming a target. NCSF has published a number of pieces of literature for this program and has assembled and trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver the educational presentations developed by the NCSF-EOP. New presentations are always being developed by the EOP team.
We Need You!
In the past decade, alternative sexual expression has become much more visible to the general public. As we continue to move into the streets of mainstream America, we face an increasing number of attacks against our right to freedom of sexual expression. While the battles that NCSF has waged have been successful, our resources are depleted. NCSF will continue to defend against these attacks, but the success of that fight depends on your support. You can provide that support by becoming an individual member of NCSF, volunteering to join the NCSF staff, making a donation to NCSF, or encouraging your group to become a Coalition Partner of NCSF.
There are many ways to volunteer to help NCSF. You do not have to be "out" to help. Tell others about NCSF or distribute our literature. Initiate or help out at a fund-raiser with NCSF as a beneficiary. Check out the rest of this website and you'll find everything from Calls to Action to our Incident Response program. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!