In this issue
Join us in St. Paul Minnesota this spring! We are pulling out all the stops for a fabulous annual meeting for the NCSF. The annual meeting is an opportunity for our Coalition Partners to send their representatives and help set NCSF policy, review and approve the budget and elect the board. There is no better way to get involved with the NCSF, and our have the voice of your organization represented. This important meeting is a great opportunity to really sink your teeth into the work NCSF is doing and that our CP groups are supporting and directing! NCSF has limited scholarships available to help facilitate the attendence of active Coalition Partner representatives to the meeting.
Other than some very exciting work, what awaits you in Minnesota? Good food (meat eaters - you want to try the Packer Stacker) and most meals under $10 each at the hotel restaurant and bar.
Have you heard of Minnesota Hospitality? Come experience it! Anyone flying in will be driven from the airport to the hotel, saving guests from an expensive cab ride. Minnesotan's are a friendly bunch, aiming to make your stay comfortable. There will be a private hospitality room on-site with above average snack/sandwich items for individuals on a really tight budget and those who need specialty stuff. (Gluten Free diet? Let us know!)
Bring your long johns if your worried about the cold, but it's been an unusually warm year so far, it might even be swimsuit weather by March! Come prepared for lots of possibilities.
Here's the hotel information, book your room now! To book, please call the hotel directly and give our Group Code: "NCSF GROUP" to qualify for the generous rate of only $89 a night. (If you don't let them know, you will not receive the discount.)
Minnesota Stocks Debentures & Bonds has been working hard to make this a meeting to remember. Join us!
The national (and international) news is buzzing with stories relating to sexual freedom.
A story of particular note includes Canada's recent court case regarding polygamy laws. There are dozens more that might peak your interest including; a variety ofcelebrity scandals, a recent obscenity trial, and some stories close to our hearts such as the announcement of our newest board member Race Bannon and our new volunteer coordinator.
Curious about what's going on in the world and what the NCSF pays particular attention to? You can check out our Blog anytime you'd like, it's always live at the NCSF website. We also send out regular Media Updates right to your inbox, to help you stay on top of things.Here's a link (or find it below) if you haven't already signed up.
Sharing is caring! You can forward our newsletters, media updates and press releases to your friends by clicking the link at the bottom of our mailings. Keep in the know with the NCSF.
As you may know, there was some drama this year surrounding the Spanksgiving event in St. Louis. Spanksgiving is not an unusual type of event. It covers BDSM education and socializing and generally provides a place for people to come and get together as a part of the BDSM community. This is not unlike any number of events held nationwide every year. Such events are one of the main ways in which those of us in the BDSM world catch up with our friends and learn from each other. The problems that Spanksgiving experienced were not chance. There was a specific group of people in local government who chose to try to stop this immoral "sex convention". NCSF was there to help stop these conservatives from ruining the event.
Back in March 2011, Tommy (last name withheld for confidentiality reasons) one of the employees at the host hotel broke his confidentiality agreement during the Beat Me in St. Louis event also run by STL3. He tweeted about the convention categorizing it as disgusting and nasty. He also called his uncle, well-known "upstanding member of the community" Gil Klein, one of three aldermen (local government officials) who had jurisdiction over Fairview Heights, the area where the event is located. The hotel subsequently fired Tommy for breaking their confidentiality agreement.
Gil Klein, the city alderman, attempted to get into the Beat Me in St. Louis convention to see what was going on but could not. He used the presence of the convention to create negative ads about the Mayor "allowing" there to be a local sex convention. In the time between that Beat Me in St. Louis and Spanksgiving 2011, two of the three local aldermen were voted out of office. The one remaining alderman who had not been up for election was Sandy Baldwin. Sandy Baldwin made it clear that she believed that Spanksgiving should pay a fee and be required to get a permit for their event because of the type or organization it is, even though the legislation in question was not used to require permits for other local events. She notes that both Girl Scouts and STL3 are non-profits, but she states, "I think there's a difference between a Girl Scout cookie and a sexual toy paraphernalia" She specifically chose to single out this event because of her biases.
On the Wednesday before Spanksgiving 2011, the local government informed the organizer of Spanksgiving, Jsin, that they would be charging the vendors a special fee and requiring a permit. Now, there have been many similar events with vendors held at the same hotel, which had not had to pay this same fee to local government, and had not been required to get these kind of permits. When Jsin did finally go into the office to meet with them about completing the permit it was clear that nobody had ever issued this kind of permit before and it took more than one draft.
In the meantime, the media got involved. A scathing commentary on the CBS website talked about how the Spanksgiving organizers had not followed through with the correct procedures and were unlawfully going forward with their event.
Here is where NCSF stepped in. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom worked with the event organizers to make sure that all of the media attention was handled well. Susan Wright held interviews with the media and explained to them the injustices that were taking place in this case. Jsin reports that NCSF was there with him along the way to help him know what questions to ask and what to do to make sure the issues got resolved. Jsin was clear to all of the government officials involved that he was only trying to do what was required to get the permit and comply with all local and state laws. As a result he was able to get the permits and hold the event with no fines or other legal problems.
Now this is by no means the only event that has had this kind of problem. Conservatives all over the country would love to put a stop to "sex expos" like Spanksgiving. They think that BDSM is "against God's plan" and all other sorts of nonsense. They would like us to keep our activities well underground. This not only tears apart the BDSM community by isolating us from each other, but also prevents people from learning the basics of BDSM including learning about safety and consent. All of this just shows how important it is that we have NCSF there to help us advocate for ourselves in this kind of situation. Without the NCSF and the groups that support it, our community would have no way to work together to fight off these kinds of attacks.
Once I arrived in the hotel and dropped off my luggage in my room, I made it a point to introduce myself to the staff and volunteers. I eventually met Jsin face to face, and was pleased to find out the new developments were positive- they had secured the necessary permits and were moving ahead without any new problems. Throughout the weekend I stayed in touch, and enjoyed myself. Classes went well, and with every check in, I was reassured that not only had the work that Susan (Wright) and Jsin done this year been very effective, what they had learned at previous events and the history of work the NCSF had already done with the STL3 team was effective in making Spanksgiving a low-drama event. On Saturday, Jsin let me know that the police had already come and gone, and it was completely uneventful.
I never had to step in and handle anything as a member of the NCSF board, and the reason is this- the work had already been done. STL3 and the NCSF have been close partners for enough time that they knew what to do. They knew how to handle the authorities and Susan (and Jsin) had already handled the questions. The attendees of Spanksgiving were able to enjoy themselves without incident, and there were no protesters, no breach of confidence, no one being "outed" and we were all free to have a lovely time.
It is the work that the NCSF does every day that makes our community a safer, freer place to live. The big events get the most attention, but the teaching, training and knowledge that is shared every day is what makes the biggest difference. I am proud to report that my services as an official representative of the NCSF were not needed at Spanksgiving this year, and I want to thank everyone who consitsantly contributes to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for helping us make our world a safer, saner and significantly more fun place to live.
1) What is the mission of your group?
Since 1971, The Eulenspiegel Society (TES for short) has promoted sexual liberation for all adults, particularly those who enjoy consensual BDSM or whose sexuality embraces dominant/submissive fantasies and urges. A much fuller explanation of our purpose is our Creed, which can be found, among other places, online at http://www.tes.org/main/about.php
2) What inspired your participation with the NCSF?
TES goes way back with the NCSF, and the full story would take up more space than we have here. We were one of the founding member organizations; the term "Coalition Partner" had not yet been coined. TES members were already accustomed to working with other groups, albeit on a local level. Some of the more activist leatherfolk in NYC, accustomed to working together on Leather Pride Night, started meeting informally to share ideas about other projects. This became the New York SM Activists (NYSMA), the crucible from which emerged, among other projects, the initiatives which became Leather Leadership Conference and the NCSF.
NCSF's purpose, as originally expressed, defending sexual freedom and privacy rights for adults engaging in safe, sane and consensual behavior, was and is fully compatible with the purposes stated in the Eulenspiegel Creed, so when Susan Wright presented the idea of NCSF to us, we of course signed on.
The broadening of that mission over the years to take in the swing and poly communities has not changed our commitment; after all, some of our kinky leather folk are poly or into swinging as well.
3) What's your favorite way to do your NCSF fund raising?
In recent years we've raised funds for NCSF at our annual event, mainly at the Celebrity Auction, where we sell a scene, a lesson or simply time with those presenters who have chosen to go the extra mile and contribute that much more of themselves ... which is most of them, since they know it's for NCSF! At the last couple of events, we've also turned our Top/Bottom Auction and our Kinky Casino into fundraising opportunities as well. We have some very talented members who are good at, ahem, flogging NCSF to our attendees and persuading them to give just that little bit more.
The Eulenspiegel Society is the oldest BDSM support group in the United States. You can check out their calendar, browse their resources, and learn more about the group at www.tes.org. Learn more about their annual event, TES Fest, at www.tesfest.org. TES also continues to be one of the sponsoring organizations for Leather Pride Night NYC (leatherpridenight.org).
1) Do you have a history of activism and community involvement?
I've been involved in community activism since 1989, starting off in the women's rights ocmmunity, specifically working for greater Boston NOW. One of the first things I did was spend every Saturday morning, helping to create a human barrier to allow women who had appointments at clinics to go in safely and without ridicule or torment. After 6 years working on my feminism, I moved over to my true passion of Sm and applied what I had learned to the kinky community.
2) What specialties do you bring to the board?
I am a numbers person by nature, so I bring my love of finance and budgeting. But my two decades of organizing and becoming an adult has also brought out my skills in leadership, volunteer management and organizational development. I love working as a team to come up with the big picture then help implement the idea or project through its establishment.
3) What inspired you to become involved in NCSF? (What does the NCSF mission mean to you?)
In 2001 I had already been involved in my local community for about 6 years and I wanted to help on a national level. NCSF had been around for a bit but it didn't have the organizational structure or base of support it has now. I joined on what was then the Executive Committee and soon became Chair. About a year into my term, we re-aligned NCSF into a working Board executing and reporting to the Coalition Partners it's policy and strategic vision. I truly believe that in order to adjust this country's landscape of perception and discrimination, our community must take a multi-prong approach. Local groups must create awareness and educate locally and NCSF handles the umbrella role of national policy.
4) Anything else you'd like to add?
Discovering that one's passion is activism is truly amazing. Having the courage to specifically work on sexual freedom ... well there's a special place in the universe for all of us. I often say that even though I don't have kids, I still want the world to be a better place for them, in every way possible. Each and every one us and our future generations need to be able to express whatever sexuality we have without fear of persecution. What NCSF does, what each local community group does, what we all do and believe in our heart helps......every single day.