The National Equality March hopes to see a shift in strategy to one that will secure full equality in all 50 states for LGBT Americans. Events will take place starting October 9th through the 12th. The National Equality March takes place on October 11th in Washington D.C., with staging starting at 10am. See you there!
Klawdya: What affect do you think Marriage Equality will have on issues that face NCSF’s constituents?
Susan: As more states embrace the right for all adults to marry the partner of their choice, the gay rights movement is accomplishing the goal of eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation. The next milestone is the right to openly be in the military. This is important for the sexual freedom movement-- we have always taken cues from the gay rights movement, we learn from their strategies and rely on their help when attacked- their progress ensures our own.
Sadly, traditional gay rights groups don't defend sexual freedom. Many decided to leave the issue of sex behind as they fought for equal rights. So we have our own un-trodden path to walk. If you have sex differently than the mainstream you are at risk – whether hetero, gay, bi or other. We are the next battlefield, we are already fighting the fight, whether we like it or not, NCSF will be largely on our own because no other organization is dedicated to protecting BDSM, swing and poly practitioners.
KR: Who do you think opposes us the most? Religious or Political groups?
SW: The sexual freedom movement continues to be attacked by religious political extremists and political conservatives. Politicians on both sides of the aisle make hay when a sexual scandal arises. Things that should be private – like extra-marital affairs – are actively used to discredit individual politicians, even parties. Find a politician who will stand up for sexual freedom, and I'll work on their next campaign. As far as I know, there isn't anyone out there.
But our real enemies are the religious political extremists. These people rely on stirring the pot to raise money and gain prestige for their groups. They seek out our events, sneak in to take photos, and compare us to pedophiles and predators – when in reality it is our constituents who are the victim of their tactics. They run boycotts on businesses that support our events, inciting sensationalized media against private events. Its a fight, but NCSF is discrediting these individuals and tiny organizations run by the handful of people who claim to represent the majority of America. As long as they continue to slander, we have to be vigilant.
KR: You recently stated that some of our biggest threats may be within our community, the “Dangerous Insiders”. Can you elaborate?
SW: Yes, one of our biggest threats is the dangerous insider. Sadly, our own don't realize the damage they do to our community as a whole when they publicly attack each other and our groups. I know some may have a legitimate gripe with an individual or group, and feel their problems haven’t been dealt with as they should. But when one of our own complains to the media or the authorities, they don’t address the real issue, instead they attack our entire community. The negative publicity outweighs any good they may feel would be accomplished.
One example was a member of a BDSM group who wasn't allowed to send a message to the entire group complaining about board practices. He filed in court for a membership list. It didn't matter whether or not he had a legitimate complaint – the members freaked because they would be outed if their information were released to this person. This would have meant lost jobs, child custody, and worse. One angry self-righteous person threatened an entire group until the court settled the issue and denied the list to this dangerous insider.
Another case, in NYC, was a woman who went to the District Attorney to video tapes her former master made of their scenes after he refused to give them to her. The DA raided his apartment and found her tapes and also tapes of other scenes, some which were extreme, and the DA decided to arrest and try him for assault even though it was clearly consensual. NCSF with local gay groups and an agreeable politician coordinated a huge effort to force the DA to back down. It would have been disaster if that big public trial determined, for example, that caning to blood was illegal! Good thing we had the organizational resources or else this incident (which few have heard about) would have been front page news for months and affected all BDSM activity in NY for decades. The sub was very upset by the chaos she carelessly created, so much so that she submitted a letter to the DA asking them to NOT pursue the case further.
KR: What can the community do to strengthen and arm ourselves?
SW: We are already defending ourselves successfully. We have to assess each incident, and seek ways to stop religious extremists in their tracks. We have to do the leg work to make sure that hotels and authorities understand our sexual practices, so we can have social spaces and educate our community. We have to be vigilant, on-call every moment, as NCSF is. The NCSF is "kinky insurance" – if the community doesn't help, we may not be there when you need us.
KR: What are the landmarks of hope we can claim and expect?
SW: The success of the gay rights movement indicates we are winning. Privacy rights are more respected than the old "moral majority" which tries to dictate what people can and can't do in their own homes. Americans seem to agree that adults should be able to do what they want as long as it doesn't harm anyone and is consensual. It's a fight every step but we are winning.
Please help NCSF continue our hard work by becoming a member and donating to support our efforts.
On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: "Transgressions" by Erastes and "False Colors" by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book "The Filly." There was buzz, What's going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be "adult" material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of "adult" literature out there that is still being ranked - Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.
Now in fairness I should point out that Amazon has also stopped ranking many books in the "erotica" categories as well which includes straight erotica. But that's a whole other battle that I'll leave to the erotica writers to take on.
Now I could probably convince the automatons at Amazon that The Filly is YA and therefore not "adult" in the least, and I could probably even convince them to reinstate my ranking. But if they are excluding books just on the basis of being "gay" then by all means exclude mine too because I don't want them just to reinstate the "nice" gay books, they need to reinstate all the gay books and if they are really going to try and exclude so-called "adult" material, then how come this has an Amazon ranking?