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Displaying items by tag: Incident Response

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)’s Incident Response (IR) Program uses three primary criteria for taking a case:

  1. The issue must openly, directly, and specifically relate to BDSM, swing or poly activities between consenting adults; in other words, the problems you face must relate to or be caused from your involvement in BDSM, swing or poly without question.
  2. The issue must be one whose outcome or precedent could affect not just the individual filing the complaint, but potentially a significant number of people with the same, or similar, problem.
  3. The incident needs to have a reasonable chance of a successful resolution: usually indicating that the individual filling has not also been found guilty of a crime other than behaviors currently considered illegal relating to BDSM, swing or poly. 
 
If you meet the above criteria file a INCIDENT RESPONSE (click hear).
You may also file a report by calling (410)539-4824
 
If otherwise, you may make a general contact with the NCSF by clicking hear
 
Published in Uncategorized

To better allow the NCSF to work with you, please choose from the list below and you will be directed to the correct page.

 
MAKE A KINK AWARE PROFESSIONAL LISTING
 
 
 
  
Published in Uncategorized

In 2009, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is 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's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 482 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2009. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.

NCSF received 482 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 337 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts.

It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.

  • 11% were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
  • 36% were regarding criminal complaint issues
  • 3% were regarding employment discrimination
  • 27.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
  • 17.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
  • 1% were classed as non-employment discrimination
  • 3% were related to swing community issues
  • .5% were regarding online obscenity issues
  • 3.5% were classed as “other”

 

Of the inquires:

  • 95.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues
  • 3% by swing
  • 1% by poly
  • 0.5% by other

2009 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 46 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 14 district attorneys and prosecutors related to SM issues. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities about the differences between SM and abuse. Our Consent Counts project hopes to address some of these issues. There is a great need for educational within our own communities regarding consent  and a great need for change in laws related to consensual adult sexual expression.

The implementation of KAP under NCSF’s administration resulted in fewer requests for referrals because we were able to refer the request to our site. As we improve the KAP administration, and resource, the number of requests for referrals that need to be handled by a person will drop since we’ll be able to refer people to the KAP database. The new administration tools for KAP in our website overhaul will also make the use of this tool much more efficient for both user and professional. In addition, NCSF has implemented new criteria for incident response. The document outlining the changes is included in the packet.

We continue to receive a number of requests for assistance from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who want information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for non-profit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues. We also continue to receive requests for assistance involving parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent.  We have developed new workshops / FAQs for parents dealing with custody/divorce and child protective services.

NCSF’s implementation of SaleForce will help us manage our Incident Response requests in a significantly more professional and consistent way. It will provide for direct access by someone needing help through a new customer service portal and it will allow NCSF staff/volunteers to track and log all calls and action on any given request.

NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can submit a request for assistance online or find a Kink Aware Professional (KAP) on our website as well at www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund raiser and donate to NCSF!

NCSF Publishes Important Information for Your Mental Health; NCSF and the Foundation are proud to announce two new and valuable publications: A Guide to Choosing a Kink-Aware Therapist, and the Therapists Guide to Polyamory.

The BDSM Survey is up. Take a look!

If you are seeking a Kink Aware Professional (KAP).
Our KAP program allows professionals who are friendly to BDSM, swing, and poly individuals to list themselves as "kink friendly." It serves as a resource for people to self-refer for help from theraputic, legal and other professionals who will not prejudge based on the consensual adult activities of our constituents. We've recently added documents for "How to Choose a Kink Aware Therapist" in long and short form as well as a booklet geared for those in the theraputic community that focuses on poly issues. 

If you are seeking assistance or our Incident Response Program
Criteria for acceptance include consideration of whether a significant issue relevant to NCSF's primary constituencies is at stake, what  impact can be realized for our constituents as a whole if NCSF gets involved, and whether existing resources allow for a case to be handled effectively.

Published in Tabs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

 

 

Marching Forward: NCSF proactively advocates for sexual freedom

 

November 19, 2008 - NCSF is proud to be the only group in the country with a national mission committed to changing the political, legal and social environment for those involved with the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. The new board of NCSF was voted in at the annual Coalition Partner meeting held in Atlanta in September: Leigha Fleming is the new Chairwoman of NCSF, and new board members Laura

Carlson (Secretary), Klawdya Rothschild, Tim Murray, and Ron Zimmerman have joined existing board members Vivienne Kramer (Treasurer), Jim Duvall, Jim Fleckenstein, and Howie Zusel.

 

NCSF has directly helped tens of thousands of practitioners, businesses and groups since its founding in 1997. NCSF's newest project is the DSM Revision Project: Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis! The DSM Revision Petition is gathering signatures from individuals and organizations calling on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to adhere to empirical research when revising the diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Susan Wright is working directly with the DSM revision committee to ensure that healthy BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers are not misdiagnosed under the DSM criteria.

 

 

Incident Response
NCSF
's Incident Response team is directed by Leigha Fleming ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Over 600 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contact NCSF for help every year because of persecution or discrimination. This year NCSF assisted both Folsom Street Fair with media relations, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change conference when they were attacked for presenting Guy Baldwin with a "Leather Leadership Award". This continues our practice of fighting religious political extremists and performing outreach to local communities and authorities.

 

 

Media Outreach Project
NCSF
's Media Outreach Program provides sound bites, media statements and proven tactics for anyone speaking to the media about sexual freedom issues. Spokesperson Susan Wright ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) regularly gives media trainings and conducts over 60 interviews every year, influencing the coverage of alternative sexuality in the mainstream media. The NCSF Media Updates feature articles about BDSM, swinging and polyamory, and provides contact information to write letters to the editor in order to influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.

 

 

Kink Aware Professionals (KAP)
NCSF's Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) free referral list was started by Race Bannon who gave NCSF custody of the list in 2006. James Huesmann ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) is currently the director for the KAP program. Please request NCSF's KAP brochure for your members. NCSF actively recruits psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals nationwide for this list, ensuring that community members can access professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality.

 

 

Legal Committee
NCSF
's Legal Advocacy team is led by John ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), with pro bono lawyers researching current laws and creating Amicus Briefs to submit to courts in cases involving obscenity prosecutions, "consent is not a defense to assault", and right to freedom of assembly. NCSF's Communications Decency Act lawsuit with Barbara Nitke made history by challenging the Miller standard of obscenity as it applies to the Internet.

 

 

Education Outreach Program
The Education Outreach Program (EOP) is run under the Institute for 21st Century Relationships by The Foundation of
NCSF. ITCR supports the freedom of consenting adults to discover and to practice the intimate relationship structure that best meets their emotional and human needs. The EOP educates law enforcement officials, and our constituents about 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 trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver 10 educational presentations from "Traveling With Toys" to "How to Protect Your Event."

 

 

Networking
For over a decade,
NCSF has formed valuable alliances with other advocacy organizations to work on projects that defend sexual freedom rights: Free Speech Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others. Susan Wright is on the Advocacy Committee of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

 

NCSF is a member of the organizing committee for the Sex Positive Journalism Awards, along with journalist Miriam Axel-Lute and activists from The Center for Sex & Culture. The first award ceremony for the Sexies was held in New York City on October 4, 2008 (www.sexies.org). NCSF also participates in

 

Consent Counts, a group formed at Creating Change 2007 to take on the work of decriminalizing Leather/kink/fetish/BDSM consensual adult behavior (www.consentcounts.org).

 

Membership
Currently NCSF has 56 Coalition Partners who elect the board and establish the yearly goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses that serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners. NCSF also has nearly 100 Supporting Members - groups and businesses who actively support NCSF - totaling tens of thousands of members. You can also become an individual member for $25, which goes directly to supporting NCSF programs and projects.

 

 

Donate!
Aside from part-time Office Manager Levi Halberstadt ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), the staff of
NCSF consists of dozens of volunteers around the country. Every dollar that is donated to NCSF and ITCR goes to directly serving the alt sex communities. All donations to ITCR-NCSF are tax deductible.

 

In the past decade, alternative sexual expression has become much more visible to the general public, bringing about an increasing number of attacks. The success of this fight depends on your support. You can become an individual member of NCSF, volunteer to join the NCSF staff, make a donation to NCSF, initiate or help out at a fund-raiser for NCSF, and encourage your group to become a Coalition Partner of NCSF. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!

 

Check out these exciting projects on the NCSF website at: www.ncsfreedom.org

 

A joint Project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF

Published in Press Releases

In 2006, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is 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's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 500 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2006. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.

NCSF received 521 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 289 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts. It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.

  • 13% were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
  • 6% were regarding criminal complaint issues
  • 7% were regarding employment discrimination
  • 13.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
  • 5.5% were in reference to child protective services’ complaints
  • 14.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
  • 9% were classed as non-employment discrimination
  • 8% were related to swing community issues
  • 8% were regarding online obscenity issues
  • 10.5% were regarding zoning issues
  • 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

 

2006 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 30 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 10 district attorneys and prosecutors related to SM issues. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities about the differences between SM and abuse.

Employment related discrimination is increasing as well.

The implementation of KAP under NCSF’s administration resulted in fewer requests for referrals because we were able to refer the request to our site. As we improve the KAP administration, and resource, the number of requests for referrals that need to be handled by a person will drop since we’ll be able to refer people to the KAP database. The new administration tools for KAP in our website overhaul will also make the use of this tool much more efficient for both user and professional.

We continue to receive a number of requests for assistance from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who want information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for non-profit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues.

We also continue to receive requests for assistance involving parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent.

2006 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of the end of July 2007, more than 346 distinct requests for assistance have been processed.

NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can submit a request for assistance online or find a Kink Aware Professional (KAP) on our website as well at www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

Donations made to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Inc are not deductible for charitable tax purposes.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707

phone: 410-539-4824

Leigha Fleming, Interim Executive Director

By Lou Briquant

Whether you're a swinging couple, a quiet practitioner of SM, Gay/Les couple or single, or a member of a polyamorous relationship, there are people in this world who are looking out for your interests and your freedom to be who you are. Leigha Fleming is the Interim Executive Director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a volunteer post that is a lot of hard work with intangible but fulfilling rewards.

Ms. Fleming got involved in the NCSF over the past few years. She tells us that she is currently doing any of several related jobs within the organization. "I most enjoy managing NCSF's Constituency Services, which include our Incident Response Program and our Legal Education Outreach Program. The most important qualities for any volunteer, regardless of position, is dependability. You have to do what you say you're going to do. You have to follow through and be accountable. We have to listen to what our constituents want and need from us, and we have to have confidence and to believe in our mission and vision."

Fleming never planned to be an activist or advocate. She was very involved in the SM-leather-fetish community and, as her participation grew, her awareness of discrimination and challenges faced by those involved in alternative lifestyles grew as well. "I've always had very strong opinions regarding governmental interference in private lives of adults. As I saw friends lose custody of their children, and SM groups getting hassled by the police, I began to get angry. Anger is a great motivator for change!"

Fleming happened to hear about the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) about five years ago, when her educational SM group began doing outreach to the local police. An NCSF staffer heard about the successful meetings, and contacted her. NCSF was just beginning its its Legal Education Outreach Program

(LEOP), so she got involved at that time. She believed, and still does, that the NCSF will make a difference.

Holding down a fulltime job, in addition to the necessary duties, is taxing and extremely time-consuming. She spends three or four hours a day on average, dealing with NCSF-related issues. The most difficult aspect of the volunteer work, outside of the time, is making sure everything is coordinated and follow-up is properly done.

The struggle continues, against with anti-privacy/anti-First Amendment forces that want to curtail the ability of our communities to meet, attend events, and become educated. "We had numerous confrontations with religious extremist organizations like the Concerned Women for America last year," Leigha said. "Their attempts to shut down our events continue. Fortunately, we local communities are beginning to utilize NCSF as a resource for dealing with media inquiries and for working with their local law enforcement."

"Our lawsuit against the federal government over the Communications and Decency Act continues. The court recently refused to dismiss our case against the government and so that is moving forward. We have a dozen or more "incidents" pending involving child custody and divorce and we're currently involved in a criminal case involving SM."

NCSF is in a growth phase right now. It's in the process of transitioning from a grassroots-model organization operated by consensus, to a professionally run national non-profit organization. Fleming, speaking on the changes, says, "They're making that transition very effectively. I expect to add more workshops to our Legal Education Outreach Program and, with the help of its new director Robyn Friedman, recruit more qualified volunteers to train. We also will be expanding and strengthening our ability to respond to both individual and group incidents. In addition, we'll be improving the internal structure of the organization and positioning ourselves to be a viable entity for many years to come. We will be filling our Executive Direction postion with a paid employee soon."

When asked what obstacles is the NCSF able to overcome in the near term, Leigha responded, "Like many non-profit organizations, we've been hit very hard by the downturn in the economy. We need to place NCSF on secure financial footing. We also need to put in place a system that can track and manage all the wonderful folks who volunteer for NCSF. In addition, we need to recruit and train qualified volunteers for our LEOP and Incident Response programs."

Fleming is responsible for the day to day oversight of NCSF's budget and finances. She says they have done a remarkable job of eliminating debt over the last six months, as well as having reduced their expenses. Fundraising Coordinator Glenda Rider does what Fleming calls "a magnificent job" of soliciting on behalf of NCSF. "We're working daily on implementing processes that increase our structural integrity."

As for problems up ahead, Fleming believes, "Our greatest external challenges in the near future come from those groups who want to restrict or eliminate the right of consenting adults to freely assemble and learn from one another. Another significant challenge rests in getting the word out about NCSF, and what we do for our own communities."

When asked what she thought of the relative amount of lifestyle freedom in the United States vis-à-vis other nations, Ms. Fleming has mixed feelings. "In some respects the US is freer. Even other first-world countries place restrictions on the practice of religion, press, etc... However, I would argue that the US is signifcantly less free when than other first-world countries when it comes to attitudes about sexuality and alternative sexual practices. In addition, the US has made a dangerous shift since 9/11. Laws allowing the federal government to invade the privacy of Americans in the pursuit of perceived terrorism have a chilling effect on us all."

"The NCSF's lawsuit against the federal government regarding the Communications & Decency Act is a significant challenge to the notion that someone in small-town USA has the right and ability to govern what a person in New York City creates online. In addition, we are actively working to dispel antiquated beliefs about alternative lifestyles, both in and out of our own communities."

Fleming has met with groups spanning the spectrum of consenting adults' lifestyles. "I've learned a number of things: First, I've learned we have a lot in common. Swingers, poly folks, and those in the SM-leather-fetish communities all face the same kind of discrimination. We all have the same challenges with our clubs, with educating others. Second, I've learned how much we tend to segment ourselves from one another. When we first included swingers and poly folks in our mission statement, I was so surprised to hear people say, "But we're not like them!" The SMers professed disdain for the swingers. The poly folks didn't think they had anything in common with the SM people, and so forth."

Fleming feels that our greatest challenge is uniting across our lifestyle lines, without engaging in fragmentation that could weaken or even destroy the advances now being made. Working together can help ensure safety and freedom for everyone.

**NCSF thanks Leigha for all her hard work and continuing support of our coalition.

Published in Interviews

NCSF Supports Your Rights

In 2005, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is 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's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 700 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2005. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.
 
NCSF received 726 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 327 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts.
  • 31% were requests for referrals (criminal, divorce, custody, zoning, etc…)
  • 18% were requests for NCSF support regarding group/club/business formations
  • 15% were custody/divorce related
  • 9% were media driven/press related issues
  • 9% were employment discrimination
  • 7% were regarding harassment/domestic violence assistance
  • 7% were other/misc.
  • 4% were criminal in nature
Of the inquires NCSF received:
  • 58% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues
  • 22% by poly
  • 17% by swing
  • 3% by other

It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.

2005 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and employment issues. NCSF worked with more than 2 dozen attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities about the differences between SM and abuse.

Employment related discrimination is increasing as well.

The largest category of requests were for referrals. NCSF's addition of the KAP resource should in time lower the number of requests for referrals that need to be handled by a person since we’ll be able to refer people to the KAP database. It will be extremely helpful to us to be able to set up some kind of system or way to track the where/why/who of the users of the KAP database.

The next largest group of requests for assistance came from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who wanted information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for non-profit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues.
 
The next group of requests for assistance involved parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent.
 
2006 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of August 2006, more than 465 distinct requests for assistance have been processed.
 
NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our website on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our office at 410-539-4824. If you have a media-related incident, you can call 917-848-6544. To find a lawyer, psychotherapist, or doctor who is kink friendly, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/kap
 
Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

Overview: NCSF Supports Your Rights!

In 2002, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) once again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of 29 educational and social groups is 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's Incident Response team is directed by Leigha Fleming, who instituted new methods for tabulating responses in 2002. In total, nearly 600 contacts 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 such as the series of attacks by religious political extremists against SM conferences in the midwest.

In 41% of the incidents, NCSF assisted individuals. The largest category of incidents involved parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent. Individuals also consulted with NCSF on a variety of other issues, including: the legality of obscene materials, guidelines for posting sexually frank information on websites, the law regarding private parties, and dealing with personal media exposure.

In 2002, NCSF also opposed zoning and other local regulatory measures against those who practice some form of alternative sexual expression. NCSF assisted the swing communities in Florida and Phoenix by holding open-forum discussions about how to affect zoning regulations and current litigation against lifestyle clubs. NCSF also worked with the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA) to lobby against the Washington DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control regulation 905, which has been used to prohibit SM play in local establishments with liquor licenses even when liquor isn't being sold or consumed.

Conventions

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 these SM conferences. The attacks took place in the midwest: 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.

In April, Missouri State Senator John Loudon introduced a resolution to prohibit SM conferences from being held in that state. NCSF educated the Missouri State Attorney General about the educational benefits of SM conferences, and the state health department sent an observer who confirmed that all activities were safe, sane and consensual. Beat Me in St. Louis was held exactly as planned.

With two of these SM conferences, the host hotels canceled their contracts. However both conferences were able to re-locate to new host hotels. Cendant Corporation, the world's largest hotel franchiser with more than 6,400 hotels, bowed to pressure from religious political extremist groups and threatened its franchisees with reprisal if they booked "controversial" guests or groups that "national interest groups find offensive." NCSF conducted a successful media and write-in campaign that convinced Cendant Corporation to clarify its position, honoring the right of hotel franchisees to host the events of their choice.

Clubs

In 2002, there were several police raids against alternative sexual expression clubs, including a raid that resulted in the closure of Behind the Scenes, an SM club in Philadelphia, PA. In July, a raid against Club Zinc, a swing club in Atlanta, GA, resulted in the arrest of patrons who consulted with NCSF. Another lifestyle club in Connecticut was raided and closed in June because they were improperly located in a residential neighborhood. In Phoenix, AZ, NCSF worked with several swing clubs that continue to be threatened with closure because of overly-restrictive zoning laws.

Media Incidents

Spokesperson Susan Wright gave 81 interviews with the media in 2002 including print, radio and television interviews on national shows such as The O'Reilly Factor. Incidents such as the CWA attacks against SM conferences required extensive media contacts. In addition, the trial and conviction of serial killer John Robinson in Kansas City necessitated media work because Robinson met several of his victims in SM chat rooms. The witness who reported Robinson's theft of her toys to the police, resulting in Robinson's arrest, consulted with NCSF prior to her appearance in the trial.

The SM community rallied when Jack McGeorge's participation as a UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq was questioned by the Washington Post in a series of SM-negative articles. It was suggested that McGeorge should be dismissed from the UN weapons team because, among other things, McGeorge is a former Chairman of NCSF. Community members sent dozens of "Letters to the Editor" to the Washington Post, NY Daily News, CNN, and Fox News protesting the attacks against McGeorge, who received support from Hans Blix and remained on duty as a Weapons Inspector.

Clubs regularly contact NCSF to receive media training for incidents or events. In one media incident, a nonprofit club in Muncie, Indiana, was threatened with closure along with a nearby strip bar until the media was educated about safe, sane and consensual SM. NCSF also gave media assistance to a swing club in Connecticut which was closed because of zoning issues.

Discrimination

Job discrimination continues to be a problem for individuals. NCSF helped more than a dozen people draft and file formal complaints with their employers regarding employment discrimination claims. One Tennessee man lost his job because he belonged to a leather club. NCSF referred a Texas man to the EEOC because of racial discrimination. A California woman contacted NCSF when a job offer was withdrawn when her personal website was discovered. Another woman was dismissed from a private Catholic university because of her private sexual expression.

Discrimination complaints were also made about two Internet companies in 2002. In July, E-bay pulled all of its SM-related material for sale, while Match.com deleted a therapist's ad because it mentioned their poly therapy practice.

Criminal Cases

NCSF was contacted by individuals, attorneys and prosecutors on a variety of criminal cases, including: an exhibitionist arrested for public exposure, prostitution and obscenity charges against a pro-domme, and one individual cited for carrying SM toys in their car. NCSF also made referrals to resources and the appropriate authorities in several domestic violence incidents. In one case, a protective order was obtained.

In September, NCSF assisted in a behavioral forensic investigation concerning the alleged kidnapping of a Vancouver, Washington, man who was involved in master/slave relationship. NCSF worked with both prosecution and defense. The result was the dismissal of the unfounded charges of kidnapping and assault.

NCSF On the Front Lines

NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our website on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our office at 410-539-4824.

And please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are a grassroots, volunteer organization committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

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Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments 

How You Can Help

    • Work to change antiquated laws
    • Work to change the social climate about sexual issues
    • Promote acceptance of safe, sane, and consensual alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
    • Oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression
    • Fight for freedom of academic expression about sexual issues
    • Help communities and individuals facing the threat of prosecution or legal action
    • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
    • Learn more about NCSF