1st Quarter, 2017
Edited by Julian Wolf
NCSF Annual Coalition Partner Meeting
DSM Revision Project 30-year Timeline
Pick up one of our new postcards!
Incident Reporting & Response
Celebrating 20 Years of Progress!
Celebrating 20 Years of Successful Advocacy with NCSF!
Consent Month 2017
Guest Blog by Desmond Ravenstone
Representing on FetLife
NCSF thanks Kinky Kollege for hosting our Annual Coalition Partner meeting this year on Friday, March 31, 2017 in Chicago. We also want to give Leather SINS a huge Thank You! for donating $15,000 to NCSF at their opening ceremony, as well as donating transportation and hotel for NCSF presenters who put on the sexual freedom track for Kinky Kollege.
NCSF celebrated our 20th Anniversary at a Birthday Reception on Saturday evening, kicking off a year of birthday parties to celebrate NCSF’s accomplishments. $1,231 was raised through a raffle of a Dark Odyssey-for-2 package including airfare and hotel stay, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood and Consent Rocks. Thank You to Dark Odyssey for supporting NCSF’s work! There was also a successful Duck Rescue sale and donations were given at the NCSF table that totaled $361.
NCSF’s Annual Meeting was attended by 13 representatives of NCSF’s Coalition Partners, along with the Board and Staff members of NCSF. Participants were also able to attend via video conferencing.
Coalition Partners in attendance:
Center for Positive Sexuality
Poly Dallas Millennium
Sugar ‘N Spice
The Mark – CPI
NCSF Board members were elected at the Annual Meeting, and the current Board consists of:
Kevin Carlson, Chairperson
Susan Wright, Vice-Chairperson
Keira Harris, Secretary
L.V. (Sassy) Reese, Treasurer C4
Jim Fleckenstein, Treasurer C3
Jackie (Bebe) Harris
Several board members and volunteers gathered for snacks in the NCSF hospitality suite.
Since the American Psychiatric Association depathologized the consensual paraphilias (sexual sadism, sexual masochism, transvestic fetishism and fetishism) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), there has been a seismic shift in the removal of child custody from parents who engage in BDSM, fetishes and cross-dressing.
One way the decline in discrimination can be tracked is through the requests for assistance made to the NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response (IRR) program. In 2008, NCSF’s publicity about the DSM Revision campaign led to a 56% increase in child custody cases, with 125 kinky parents reporting the results of their custody trial or requesting assistance from NCSF.
Three years after the DSM-5 was published in 2013, NCSF received requests from only 7 kinky parents in 2016. NCSF was also consulted by 7 non-monogamous parents who were discriminated against because of their adult consensual sexual behavior.
The institutionalized discrimination against kinky parents within the family court system contributed to the stigmatization of an entire subculture. Many parents were forced to hide their sexual preferences and refrain from accessing sex education or interacting online or in person with other people who were kinky because of the risk of loss of child custody.
Unfortunately, this stigma is still affecting kink people, as seen in the most recent NCSF survey (2015) where only 10% of the over 800 respondents stated that they are completely out and everyone in their life knows about their involvement in BDSM.
NCSF will continue to pursue changes in future DSM revisions with the goal of removing the consensual paraphilias completely from the APA’s diagnostic manual.
See the 30-Year Timeline of the DSM Revision project to find out more!
Pick up one of our new postcards!
Interested in having a table at your event?
NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response provides informational resources about kink and non-monogamy along with referrals to kink aware professionals. If you engage in BDSM, fetishes or non-monogamy practices, and you are being persecuted or discriminated against because of it, please contact NCSF. If you need help removing kink or non-monogamy as a barrier to public services, please contact NCSF. If your group or business needs help with outreach to local officials, please contact NCSF.
In 2016, 109 requests for help were received. That is almost half the number of requests received during the previous two years: 198 requests received in 2015 and 184 requests received in 2014. NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help, however we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest.
Here is a breakdown of the cases the IRR team dealt with in 2016:
32 people requested informational resources and referrals to kink aware professionals involved criminal issues, down from 72 requests in 2015:
16 requests from people complaining about a kink-related assault/sexual assault or harassment who needed assistance in connecting with kink-aware victim services and/or resources to educate law enforcement and prosecutors.
13 people needed a defense attorney or expert witness due to sexual assault/assault charges or restraining order involving BDSM – 1 was a military case.
1 person needed an attorney to defend against fraud charges
1 person was facing charges for posting photos without permission to FetLife
1 person needed an attorney to help keep a restraining order in place.
24 groups requested informational resources and referrals to kink aware professionals involving organizational matters. This is half the number of requests in 2015 (50) and is the same number of requests as in 2014.
16 groups needed information on dealing with consent violations and preparing to deal with consent violations.
6 groups were attacked this year by social conservatives and through outing. 2 involved the media and 1 event was raided by law enforcement.
2 groups needed assistance with organization and zoning issues.
17 people requested informational resources and referrals to kink aware professionals regarding child custody or divorce. There was only 1 divorce case, and that involved polyamory. There were 16 child custody requests (down from 26 in 2015 and 37 in 2014):
7 involved parents who practiced polyamory
7 involved parents who do BDSM (with two involving photos taken from FetLife)
2 requests involved adoption into a poly household
17 professionals requested information about kink or polyamory to better serve their clients or present workshops for their professional group. These requests came from researchers, professors, clinical therapists, sex therapists, nurse practitioners, psychologists, lawyers and victim advocacy agencies.
There were 19 other requests for informational resources and/or referrals to Kink Aware Professionals:
8 people reported school or job discrimination because they are kinky or polyamorous
4 people were threatened with outing to work or family involving FetLife photos
3 people requested assistance in defending or pursuing civil defamation lawsuits
2 Pro-Dommes requested resources on setting up their business legally
2 people requested assistance with unwanted media exposure
If you need NCSF’s help because of discrimination or to remove kink as a barrier to service, please contact our Incident Reporting & Response today! Email email@example.com
Please join now or donate to support NCSF’s direct services!
Over the next year, NCSF will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary around the country.
Join us! Please ask your group or event to hold a Birthday Party for NCSF to help support our programs and projects that are challenging discrimination against consenting adults.
These are a just a few of NCSF’s accomplishments to celebrate:
Provided Incident Response assistance to thousands of people regarding child custody, job discrimination, criminal prosecutions, consent violations, venue licensing and enforcement issues
Gave over 1,000 media interviews to change media representations of BDSM and other non-traditional sex practices, and trained over 100 people and groups on how to talk to the media
Developed educational programs and resources for law enforcement, attorneys, therapists, medical personnel, anti-domestic violence advocates, universities, authors and our communities
Worked with the American Psychiatric Association to help change the DSM-5 criteria so that consensual BDSM is no longer categorized as a mental illness
Developed the Consent Counts Campaign to decriminalize consensual BDSM and is working with the American Law Institute on the Model Penal Code on Sexual Assault.
Filed Amicus Briefs in important legal cases so that consent is a defense
Maintained a Kink Aware Professional’s resource database
Please help support NCSF! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help in producing and promoting your event.
$15,000 was donated to the NCSF Foundation on April 1st by Coalition Partner Leather SINS at their annual Kinky Kollege Spring Break conference. NCSF held the Annual Coalition Partner Meeting the Friday before Kinky Kollege and Board Members and Staff presented a sexual freedom track for the attendees. Thank you to the attendees of Kink Kollege and the members and Board of Leather SINS for enabling NCSF to do more than ever in the coming year!
The attendees at Dark Odyssey Winterfire donated over $8,000 for NCSF in February. NCSF especially wants to thank the DC Sub Club and DC Dommes who sponsored a special reception as part of the fundraising activities, and a generous donor matched all of the funds raised at that reception.
NCSF thanks Judy Guerin and Dick Cunningham for donating $6,352 to the NCSF Foundation in the first quarter of 2017.
NCSF thanks Frederic Harwood for donating $777 to the NCSF Foundation in February.
Coalition Partner AIS brought NCSF staff members to Winter Wickedness to exhibit (Duck Rescue!) and present on consent. NCSF thanks AIS and Winter Wickedness attendees for donating $697 as their annual Coalition Partner donation.
D/s Minnesota donated $205 as their annual Coalition Partner donation in March.
NCSF thanks FetLife for donating $200 to NCSF and for encouraging FetLife members to donate and join NCSF.
LA-Noble donated $180 as their annual Coalition Partner donation in March that was raised at their Mardi Gras Masquerade.
BESS donated $114 as their annual Coalition Partner donation in February.
NCSF thanks Peggy Kleinplatz for donating $100 to the NCSF Foundation in March.
The Knights of Leather, an NCSF Coalition Partner, donated $100 as their annual donation in December, 2016.
Kinky Salon New Orleans donated $120 to in March following a Consent Discussion that NCSF gave to their group.
And last but definitely not least, NCSF thanks each one of the donors who requested to remain anonymous. Since NCSF is an all-volunteer organization, every penny is dedicated to fighting for sexual freedom.
Consent Month is September! Please schedule a workshop on
consent, a party with a consent theme, or a fundraiser for NCSF
raise awareness about Consent Month.
NCSF can send you Got Consent! Bracelets for your event along with materials on consent.
Let us know the date and we’ll put it on our calendar on ConsentMonth.com
Take photos and enter our Consent Photo Contest! See the winner from Consent Month 2015.
National Consent Month is proudly brought to you by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and the Arizona Power Exchange.
Thank you for supporting Consent Month!
Last weekend, I flew out of town to attend a conference where the annual meeting of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom was being held, having been invited to co-present on sex workers’ rights for the Coalition’s leaders. I took just a small backpack crammed with clothes, papers, and other items. The room was paid for by another NCSF activist, who was staying in a suite with their partner. As is my usual practice, I kept the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the entire time, as well as leaving the TV on, because I’m one of these folks who is more comfortable with an unmade bed than having others go through my things.
Believe it or not, I might have been tagged by a hotel employee as a possible sex trafficker.
“Huh!? What did you do wrong?” Well, according to a checklist provided to hotel employees by the Department of Homeland Security, I displayed at least three “general indicators” of human trafficking:
-Few or no personal items when checking in.
-The same person reserving multiple rooms.
-“Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly.
Oh, and the fellow activist who paid for my hotel room? They hosted get-togethers in their suite throughout the weekend, inviting conference attendees to learn more about NCSF – another red flag: “Constant flow of men into a room at all hours.”
Now, to be fair, these are just four out of some four dozen indicators, some of which are clear warning signs of coercion or abuse. But the four I mentioned, and several more, are so vague or subjective that, when read out of context, could lead to invasions of privacy and false accusations.
Here are some others:
Individuals avoid eye contact and interaction with others – Whoever came up with this probably never knew that this is not uncommon for people on the autism spectrum, or who rank high on the introversion scale.
Individuals appear to be with a significantly older “boyfriend” or in the company of older males –
How old is “significantly older”? Does this mean May-December relationships are now automatically suspect? What about a young woman accompanied by an older relative?
Evidence of pornography – Uh huh. Remember, we’re talking hotels here. Many of which have adult pay-per-view. Some have newsstands that sell Hustler and Penthouse. Or maybe the government has bought into the idea that nude photos in a magazine is some sort of “gateway drug” …
Extended stay with few or no personal possessions – Because airlines never lose people’s luggage. Right?
Provocative clothing and shoes – Excuse me, but has anyone noticed the trend in many high schools to declare virtually any female student’s attire short of a prairie dress as “provocative”?
Excessive amounts of sex paraphernalia in rooms (condoms, lubricant, lotion, etc.) – Okay, I’m sure some readers are wondering why I put this here. Set aside the vagueness of “excessive” for a moment. This particular “indicator” gives no mention of context. My recent trip was an example.
The conference in question was for members of the BDSM community. So, yes, folks are going to bring all sorts of erotic accoutrements (and that’s not even touching on the various merchants and sex educators setting up booths there). And given that BDSM, swinger and polyamory conferences try to be discreet, just imagine a hotel worker not being informed of their presence and seeing a room filled with … get the picture?
Room paid for with cash or pre-loaded credit card – Because people with credit problems who are thus unable to get “real” credit cards never need to stay at a hotel, hm?
Minor taking on adult roles or behaving older than actual age (paying bills, requesting services) – Seems like a legit concern, right? Well, have you ever encountered a family where the parents are recent immigrants, and the kids have a higher proficiency in English? I have. The kids not only translate for their parents, they learn out of necessity how to deal with all sorts of situations, including how to handle money.
Room rented has fewer beds than patrons – Because college kids don’t trying to save money by cramming four people into a room with two beds. Or a family displaced by fire, or eviction. Yeah, those never happen.
Car in parking lot regularly parked backward, so the license plate is not visible – Yeah, absolutely no one has a car with a front license plate. And except for evil traffickers, everyone parks front first, right?
Patron claims to be an adult although appearance suggests he/she is a minor – Ask anyone who works at a bar if they’ve had to card an adult who looked younger than they are. Yup, it happens. Happened to me when I was thirty-five. And about half a dozen other people I know.
This is not to say that people who engage in trafficking and other nefarious activities don’t do these things. They do – and so do lots of other people. If a survey showed that a majority of traffickers spoke two or more languages, it doesn’t mean that being able to speak another language indicates that someone is a trafficker. It’s also typical of anti-trafficking rhetoric that these assumptions are rooted in biases about gender, race, class, and immigration status. Imagine a hotel employee, with superficial “trafficking awareness” training, reporting a guest – perhaps even you – on the basis of such hasty generalizations.
Human rights abuses should not be fought by the abuse of other rights. If we are to bring criminals to justice, or help victims find relief, then let’s make sure we are well-prepared to do it right, rather than run roughshod over innocent people.
For more check out our blog:
NCSF Media Updates are a sampling of recent stories printed in US newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant mention of BDSM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics. These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate or anywhere in between.
Here’s a sample of three of our recent featured stories:
50 Shades of Denver’s BDSM Scene from MetMedia
Sex Postive Community Center Gets Fair Hearing from Plan Philly
A Cultural Movement for Polyamory from NPR
NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers with a comprehensive look at what media outlets are writing about these topics and to urge everyone to make comments that dispute stereotypes about alternative sexuality. NCSF permits and encourages readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.
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