Holliday's ex-husband is suing to modify the custody agreement they settled on for their ten-year-old child. They'd been splitting custody half-and-half since their 2003 divorce. ..
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a Baltimore-based group that advocates on behalf of alternative sexuality. The NCSF's Susan Wright says that the group advises people with alternative preferences when they run across legal challenges based on their identities. They've been aware of Holliday's case for some time now.
The group tracks instances of people seeking their help and advocacy. Over the past few years, Wright says, NCSF logs about 500 such incidents each year, about a third of those concerning divorce and custody issues.
In about half of those, she says, the kinky parent is able to retain custody. "As of about five years ago, it was 80/20," in favor of the non-kinky parent, Wright says. She touts the coalition's outreach, better research and efforts to take kinky sexual behaviors out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatric bible that codifies what behaviors should be considered pathological -- and which shouldn't.
"Once you've had child custody challenged, the best way to respond is to gather materials to educate the family court about what the lifestyle is -- that it doesn't involve children, but involves consenting adults and negotiation," says Wright. "We try to take out the element of a person's sexual behavior."
The group also maintains a database of "kink-aware professionals:" lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists and others who are already familiar with BDSM practices and as such won't need to be educated on exactly what their clients are up to, or why. They can provide attorneys with findings in peer-reviewed journals that make clear that consenting adults being rough with one another in the bedroom make just as capable parents as adults who do it missionary-style with the lights off.
The allegations in the indictment were shocking: A young woman had been held captive for years as the sex slave of a Missouri couple. She had been locked in a cage and subjected to electrical shocks. Parts of her body had been nailed to wooden planks. When announcing charges last month, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips called the case one of "the most horrific ever prosecuted in this district."
Authorities said the woman was a mentally deficient runaway who was recruited by an older man at the age of 16 to live in his trailer. The situation came to light in early 2009, after the woman, then 23, landed in a hospital following what prosecutors said was a torture session.
But as more details have emerged, more questions have arisen about the accuser, including her involvement in violent sex practices, her posing for a pornographic magazine and her work as a strip-club dancer. Supporters of the defendant are speaking out, too, saying many of the acts described in the indictment are practiced every day between consenting adults.
Ed Bagley, 43, faces 11 federal charges, including conspiracy, sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and forced labor trafficking. Four other men also are charged with various crimes.
A graphic 21-page federal indictment describes medieval-like sexual devices being used on the woman at Bagley's mobile home about six miles outside Lebanon, in southwest Missouri. Accusations of waterboarding, suffocation and beatings are mentioned throughout.
Bagley's wife, Marilyn, said she and her husband knew the girl because she had dated their son. That relationship had ended, Bagley's wife said, but the girl wanted to come live with the couple when relations with her adoptive parents soured. She said the girl moved in when she was 17, not 16, and never had sex with her husband until after she turned 18.
"She was not a runaway," Marilyn Bagley said. "We picked her up from her adopted dad and stepmom. They were right there and everything."
Marilyn Bagley said prosecutors have told her she also will be charged if she doesn't agree to testify against her husband. But she said she will not take the stand against him because she believes the two did nothing wrong.
Prosecutors said Ed Bagley posted videos and other images on the Internet showing the young woman engaged in sexual activities. He allegedly described her as his sex slave and advertised that she would perform sex acts and submit to torture for other people during encounters online or in person.
Bagley is accused of taking payments of cash, cigarettes, computer hard drives, even meat, to let other men come to his home and torture her.
Bagley and other defendants are also charged with transporting the woman to California in 2006 and 2007 for prostitution. She appeared on the cover of the July 2007 issue of Taboo, a publication owned by Larry Flynt's Hustler Magazine Group, and was the subject of a story and multipage photo spread inside.
Prosecutors said Ed Bagley also forced the girl to work as an exotic dancer and threatened to punish her if she was not a top earner at the clubs where she stripped.
But another dancer at the same Missouri strip club said the woman seemed to enjoy the attention she got when she danced, often showing off the issue of Taboo magazine that featured her on the cover.
"This girl was spoiled," said Katie Smothers, who said she spent time at Bagley's trailer when she needed a place to stay but never participated in bondage activities.
"She would take customers to show them her magazine, and she had a bucket of photos at the bar. She bragged about it."
Susan Dill, Bagley's Kansas City-based attorney, told reporters recently that the indictment tells only one side of the story. She said the defense will present evidence that the woman practiced BDSM — bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism — by choice.
Dill declined to go into detail, and attorneys for the other defendants turned down requests for comment.
The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City also declined repeated requests to comment, saying the indictment speaks for itself.
Marilyn Bagley, who for years shared a bed with her husband and the woman, told The Associated Press the woman often left the Bagleys' home to go into the community.
She believes the woman's family coerced her to go to police after she was taken to a hospital suffering from cardiac arrest, which Bagley claims she suffered while getting ready for work — not during a torture session.
"She started seizing, and when she was done, she stopped breathing. Ed gave her CPR. I was on the phone to 911. We were freaking out. We didn't know what to do," she said.
Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco-based psychologist who sees patients who practice BDSM, said that many of the acts listed in the indictment can be part of consensual activities. But others might indicate Bagley was an abuser, such as allegations that he shot animals the woman cared about to prove he could kill her and that he refused to stop immediately when the woman used a "safe word."
"Consensual BDSM does not involve holding minors hostage against their will or causing physical or mental harm," Kolmes said in an e-mail to the AP. "That is a criminal behavior."
Susan Wright, spokeswoman for the Baltimore-based National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, said some of the things Bagley is accused of are clearly abuse, if true.
"Certainly in abusive relationships, sometimes it's hard to parse out what people do voluntarily and what things they are coerced to do," said Wright, who helped write a sadomasochism vs. abuse policy statement in the late 1990s that has been adopted by national BDSM groups.
At times, it all becomes "tangled up," she said. "And at that point, I don't think any consent you give is legitimate consent."
Riverfront Times Kendra Holliday is a total slut. Go right ahead and say it — she does. She's not hiding from it anymore.
In some ways, she's always been honest about it. She's unflinchingly blogged every detail of her sex life for years — she's a bisexual, polyamorous, joyously partnered divorced mother, living and writing and fucking (and yeah, it's a lot of fucking) in St. Louis. Her blog, www.thebeautifulkind.com, details all of it. It has made her into a celebrity of sorts. It has cost her a job. She's called it her second partner.
But she's been hiding in plain sight, going to great pains to conceal her name, face and identity on the blog — even as she exhorts her readers to "be open and honest." The blog has become a safe space for sex-positive readers in St. Louis and all over the world to come together. It's created a virtual community, and Holliday and some of her kinky friends want to take that momentum and push the Midwest forward into greater sexual freedom and openness.
And it's hard to do that when you're hiding. So Holliday is coming out. ... The situation is definitely complicated. Susan Wright of the Baltimore-based National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a nonprofit that helps protect the rights of people with alternative sexual interests, applauds Holliday's decision to out herself.
"When people knew people who were gay and were able to think of them as their friends and family, they could think of them outside the stereotype," she says. "We need to get the help of the bulk of Americans who really don't care about other peoples' sex lives, so we can fight against the people who want to legislate morality." But Wright, along with others, can see the point in staying hidden.
"I would use as a caveat: If you are a parent of a child under eighteen, don't come out," Wright says. "You could have a great relationship with your ex — once you go public, they could get blowback from people in their lives and try to get custody. I would discourage it, but I admire it and support her wholeheartedly."
Once again, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) will be a beneficiary of both Leather Pride Night (LPN) auction and Folsom Street East (FSE) street fair in New York City during Leather Pride Weekend in June. NCSF staff members will be present to proudly represent NCSF at both of these outstanding community events:
The 27th annual Leather Pride Night Auction will take place on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 at Splash! from 6-10 PM. Leather Pride Night is sponsored by nine NYC S&M-leather- fetish organizations: Imperial Court of New York, Iron Guard BC, Lesbian Sex Mafia, MAsT Metro NY, MetroBearsNY, New York boys of Leather, Pariah's MC, The Eulenspiegel Society, ONYX New York and many other committed individuals. For more info: www.leatherpridenight.org
On Sunday, June 20th, Folsom Street East will be running an SM-leather-fetish block party on West 28th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) in front of M2 and the Eagle NYC Bar from 2-8pm. Over 10,000 leathermen and women cap off Leather Pride Weekend with the largest outdoor festival of its kind on the East Coast. Visit the NCSF table to find out more about NCSF projects and programs. For more info about the Fair: www.folsomstreeteast.org
This year, NCSF's Spokesperson and Founder Susan Wright will be awarded FSE's Sexual Freedom Award during the street fair. In addition to establishing the group in 1997, Susan was also instrumental in reforming the National Organization for Women's anti-SM policy in 1999, and created the SM vs. Abuse policy statement through the Leather Leadership Conference in 1997-98. Susan is a member of the organizing committees for Smarter Sex NYC, the Sex Positive Journalism Awards, and the advocacy committee for the American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. She has also published over 25 books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Come see NCSF at both Leather Pride Night and Folsom Street East! NCSF is very grateful to the NYC BDSM-leather-fetish community for raising a significant amount of our budget every year to further our advocacy and education goals.
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.
NCSF Condemns the Atlanta Police Department's Raid on the Eagle
September 15, 2009 - On September 10th, the Atlanta Eagle was raided by local police who used excessive force and voiced anti-gay slurs while handcuffing 62 patrons and 8 employees, forcing them to lie face-down on the floor for over an hour. The strong use of force included the presence of the "Red Dog unit" which typically deals with crimes such as gang violence.
"It's a clear violation of the civil rights of those who were detained without cause," says Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson. "Instead of making an arrest at the time of the alleged offense, the Atlanta vice squad spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer's money to raid the gay leather bar and persecute Atlanta citizens."
NCSF demands a full probe into the alleged misconduct and the allocation of resources by the Atlanta police department. NCSF also joins state and local representatives in urging anyone present the night of the arrests to step forward and file a formal complaint. Please contact NCSF for additional assistance to ensure that this matter is investigated in an open process.
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances the equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual and relationship expression. NCSF advances the rights and advocates for consenting adults in the SM-Leather-Fetish, swing, and polyamory communities. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach in conjunction with our partner organizations to directly benefit these communities.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
www.ncsfreedom.org www.twitter.com/ncsf http://ncsf.wordpress.com
Will Rockwell - $pread Magazine,
Audacia Ray - Sex Work Awareness (SWA),
Susan Blake - Prostitutes of New York (PONY),
Michael Bottoms - Sex Workers Outreach Project - New York City (SWOP-NYC),
With Craigslist’s recent announcement that its Erotic Services category will be discontinued within the week, hundreds of thousands of erotic service providers will become more vulnerable to dangerous predators. Eliminating erotic listings as Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others propose will only drive us further underground.
Policing the masseuses, phone workers, pro-dominants, and escorts using Craigslist fails to protect those of us who are coerced into the sex industry. Preventing the use of Craigslist advertisements also eliminates the advantage of screening clients online, which makes for a safer work experience by filtering out potentially dangerous individuals. Furthermore, keeping us offline hinders police investigations of violent crime. In the Boston murder of Julissa Brisman, it was online tracking that enabled the police to identify the suspect. One has to wonder: are the Attorneys General examining the evidence or simply enforcing their moral values?
“Removing the erotic services category from Craigslist does not help prevent violence against escorts and other sex workers. It only pushes me and people like me out of the places where advertising is available,” said Jessica Bloom, a sex worker from Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK). In the face of increasing criminalization, we insist upon respect. As mothers, daughters, brothers, and members of your community, we claim that sex work is real work, work that we are entitled to conduct in safety. As such, we must be accorded the human right of full protection under the law.
**EDIT** an addendum. I just typed this up in response to a Facebook friend asking what he could do to help. Here are some suggestions:
You can totally help, mostly by speaking up and jumping into the fray!
Legislation about consensual adult sex work (not trafficking, coercion, or child prostitution) mostly happens on the state level - since you’re in NY, you can find your assembly person here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ - write to him or her and tell them how you feel about the risks created and perpetuated by continued criminalizing of sex work and cracking down on advertising
Write letters to the editor of newspapers that publish misguided pieces about how the elimination of craigslist erotic services will “help” women
Comment on blog posts and online articles (if you’ve got the stomach for it!)
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.