Skip to content

NCSF and YOU! Workshop Handout

July 1, 2009

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 by a small group led by Susan Wright under the auspices of the New York SM Activists. The goal was to fight for sexual freedom and privacy rights for all adults who engage in safe, sane and consensual behavior.

The first five organizations who joined reflected our desire to be a nationwide organization: the National Leather Association— International, Gay Male S/M Activists, The Eulenspiegel Society, Black Rose and Society of Janus. Today, NCSF has 62 Coalition Partners who elect the board that runs NCSF, and establish our goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses who serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners and also support NCSF by holding an annual fundraiser. NCSF also has 70 Supporting Members – groups, businesses and individuals that publicly support NCSF.

Over the years, NCSF has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights: the Free Speech

Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists (AASECT), Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.

NCSF has 6 active programs and projects currently changing the world for kinky people:

1. Media Outreach

2. Incident Response

3. Kink Aware Professionals

4. DSM Project

5. Education Outreach Project

6. BDSM Survey

1. Media Outreach

As an advocacy organization, one of NCSF’s strategies has been to educate the media about issues facing the SM‐Leather‐Fetish, swing and polyamory communities. You can help by signing up for NCSF’s media updates list media@ncsfreedom.org. This weekly email will alert you to stories about alternative sexual expression in the news, and will give you contact information so that you can respond to an editor to let them know if you liked or disliked an article and why. We also give you tips on how to write a letter. Even if your letter is not printed, these letters influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.

NCSF’s Media Outreach Program has developed a package of materials that provide information about NCSF and the communities we represent. This program provides education and training to groups and individuals on how to effectively interact with the media. This includes training for spokespeople and website review to remove inflammatory language.

The latest big media incident was Winter Wickedness, when NCSF staff intervened with both the media and InterContinental Hotels to keep the corporate office from canceling the event’s contract, in part by organizing a successful call‐in campaign.

The religious extremist group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, along with a local religious radio station in the Columbus, Ohio, area ran a smear campaign against this pansexual BDSM event. Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality called the event “a freakish sadomasochistic perversion‐fest” and urges people to call the hotel’s corporate headquarters to pressure them into canceling “for the sake of decency and public health.” (www.aftah.org) Bob Burney, a religious extremist Talk Radio DJ, devoted an entire segment of his show slamming Winter Wickedness and attempting to link the event with non‐consensual and criminal activities. He urged his listeners to call and mount a campaign against the hotel.

(Tuesday, Part 3 starting at 10 min 42sec: http://www.home.wrfd.com/WRFDInsiderPage.htm)

Winter Wickedness was very grateful for NCSF’s help, stating: Although what it is that we do (WIITWD) is legal, safe, sane and consensual and had been given the go ahead by the local and state authorities; the radical right’s sensationalism, grassroots efforts and pointed innuendos implying inappropriate behavior, can create enough fear to jeopardize a venue. The NCSF has proven to us, beyond any doubt, that they are willing and able to

fight back the bias and discriminatory efforts against us. The NCSF is a valuable asset to the Kink, Leather, GLBT and Alt Sex lifestyles. Adventures In Sexuality (AIS) is proud to be an NCSF Coalition Partner and will continue to bring the NCSF to all our events.

Also, Folsom Street Fair 2007‐8 (NCSF’s Susan Wright continues to be the Media Spokesperson) Demetri Moshoyannis, Executive Director of Folsom Street Events says: “For over a year now, Folsom Street Events has been under attack by anti‐gay and religious right groups from across the country. The attacks have been relentless. They have threatened our major sponsorships, picketed our events, called upon public officials to denounce us, and rallied their troops against our community. As a small organization with only two staff members, we do not have the capacity to stand up and respond to these continuing assaults.”

“We contacted the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to access the Incident Response program. Within hours, we spoke with a highly trained and knowledgeable media and PR consultant for support. In addition to her moral support, we received a meticulous training for our Board of Directors and staff, preparing us to better manage these attacks. Also, the program consultant was able to field all media inquiries ‐ and serve as a positive voice for our community ‐ during our events, so that we could focus on our production duties. We can’t thank NCSF enough for their good work and for being there when we needed them.”

2. Incident Response

In 2008, 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 2008. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects. NCSF received 489 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 317 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

27% were regarding criminal complaint issues

4% were regarding employment discrimination

31.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues

15.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues

1% were classed as non‐employment discrimination

5% were related to swing community issues

2.5% were regarding online obscenity issues

2.5% were classed as “other”

Of the inquires, 85.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues, 9% by swing, 5% by poly, 0.5% by other. 2008 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 27 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 11 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.

2009 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of the end of May 2009, more than 114 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.

3. Kink Aware Professionals List

One of our big tools is the Kink Aware Professionals list, a service offered by NCSF dedicated to providing the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality. This saves kinky people time and money so they don’t have to educate about BDSM and poly while dealing with their problems. Hundreds of people use the KAP list to find a qualified professional. NCSF is actively recruiting more professionals for this list.

4. DSM Project

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) is the definitive resource on the Diagnostic Criteria for all mental disorders. Statements currently within the DSM Paraphilias criteria are contradicted by scientific evidence, therefore NCSF must conclude that the interpretation of the Paraphilias criteria has been politically – not scientifically – based. This politically motivated interpretation subjects BDSM practitioners, fetishists and cross‐dressers to bias, discrimination and social sanctions without any scientific basis. We call on the American Psychiatric Association to remove or drastically restructure the Paraphilias section in the DSM.

The DSM‐IV‐TR definition of a mental disorder is that it is “…a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom… Neither deviant behavior (e.g. political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders…” (p. xxxi)

Yet the Paraphilias section categorizes distress and dysfunction according to certain sexual behaviors, not psychological syndromes or patterns. Behavior itself is not evidence of psychopathology; compulsive hand washing may be a symptom of obsessive‐compulsive disorder, but it is not a hand‐washing disorder.

A distinction must be made between the cause and the effect. There is no data to support the Paraphilias as the cause of the distress and dysfunction in individuals. In addition, discrimination and societal pressure cause significant distress for a great number of people, in which the societal stigma is the cause rather than the sexual behavior itself.

There are no clear guidelines in the DSM that distinguish a Paraphilia from “healthy” sexuality. Can paraphiliacs be distinguished from those with “healthy” sexuality, except by differences in their sexual behavior? If yes, how? Can someone prefer those exact same behaviors without meeting the diagnostic criteria? Yes, according to the DSM itself (p. 568). So why not just define the abnormal preference instead of the behavior? Diagnostic criteria that pathologize everyone and do not distinguish pathology from normal variants are useless as diagnostic tools.

To find out more, read the NCSF & The Foundation for NCSF’s “White Paper on the DSM Revision”

http://ncsfreedom.org/index.php?option=com_keyword&id=305

Sign the “DSM Revision Petition” http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/DSMrevisionpetition

(you can make your signature anonymous on this secure petition site so it doesn’t appear on the Internet)

To get updates on the progress of the DSM Revision Project you can visit the DSM Revision Blogspot.

http://dsmrevision.blogspot.com

5. Education Outreach Project

Early in 2000, NCSF launched its Education Outreach Program (EOP). This program is designed to educate law enforcement officials about our communities, and educate members of our community regarding 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 assembled and trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver the educational presentations developed by the NCSF‐EOP. New presentations are always being developed by the EOP team. There are currently 10 presentations offered now:

SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues

It is important that SM‐Leather‐Fetish groups understand the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement authorities, as well as the numerous legalities that can affect group functions. Once this is accomplished, groups can dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.

The Alleged Domestic Violence Call

It is important for SM‐Leather‐Fetish practitioners to understand law enforcement and the numerous legal issues that can affect us ‐ specifically the response to an alleged domestic violence call. Once this is accomplished, you can constructively interact with law enforcement officers if the need arises. This presentation will focus on two aspects: (1)constructively dealing with officers, and (2) avoiding legal trouble. This workshop does not deal with the “cycle of abuse” or actual domestic violence; instead it is about consensual SM being misinterpreted as domestic violence by law enforcement.

Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses

Zoning and permit issues are commonly used by local governments to attack the businesses or parties of SM and swing groups. It is much more difficult for police, prosecutors and courts to prosecute crimes” such as indecent exposure, lewd conduct, etc. Therefore zoning and permit violations are used to either move or shut down SM or swing activities because these administrative issues appear to be unambiguous and non‐discriminatory. It is important for our communities to have an understanding of these administrative issues in order to safely organize and maintain SM, fetish, and swing events. Zoning and permits vary greatly depending on jurisdiction, so this discussion identifies and addresses the common issues in an overview fashion and suggests how to address the particulars.

Approaching Your Local Authorities

The purpose of this presentation is to help groups educate law enforcement, prosecutors, and other authorities about SMLeather‐Fetish or swing practices. NCSF’s goal in presenting this material is to encourage local groups to develop a positive relationship with their local authorities. The content and delivery method of the outreach presentation are designed on a caseby‐case basis. We suggest that local groups work together when presenting this information to officials.

Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues

It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as well as the numerous legalities that can effect group functions. Once this is accomplished, your group can dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.

Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community

This presentation assists those who practice alternative sexual expression in understanding more about the legal issues involving their relationships. People who are involved in dedicated relationships outside of the traditional “heterosexual marriage‐ with‐children” often acquire property and incur liabilities together. Yet many fail to realize that these relationships will eventually end; either from separation, or as a result of death or disability. This presentation addresses some of the issues and problems that might be encountered, and gives guidance on how to prepare for them.

Traveling With Toys

While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has changed the procedures used to achieve security, as well as changing the allowable items to be carried with the traveler.

Security measures have been heightened as never before ‐ to the point of creating a legal risk to individuals who practice alternative sexual expression for traveling with items that are commonplace for us. This presentation will address these issues and provide tips for traveling with toys.

Protecting Yourself Legally

Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy, discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex‐partners, and others may pose threats to these concepts.

Many times their motivation comes from ignorance, but new motivations like custody of children, and revenge are also becoming commonplace. This presentation provides tips for protecting yourself legally for various circumstances.

Protecting Your Event

There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets, swing events and club run0s. In light of recent attacks by religious and political extremists, here are some suggested guidelines for protecting your event and attendees.

Doing SM Related Legal Research

The law is interpreted ‐ sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not. For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults is legal, there are those that have a differing opinion and will intentionally interpret the law in an unfavorable way. Therefore, it is extremely important for the SM‐Leather‐Fetish communities to have an understanding of the laws that may affect us. Knowing relevant laws will greatly assist our communities in safely organizing and maintaining SM‐Leather‐Fetish activities and functions. This presentation attempts to help those doing research navigate the sometimes complex waters that we find ourselves in legally.

6. BDSM Survey

Susan Wright conducted the Violence & Discrimination Survey of Sexual Minorities in cooperation with NCSF. The results will be released soon. There were also over 500 comments made on the survey that will be posted on the NCSF website.

Where appropriate, the data will be compared to NCSF’s 1998 Violence & Discrimination Survey Against Sexual Minorities which collected over 1,000 responses to similar questions during the course of a year. The 1998 survey did not cover business or event‐related experiences of harassment, nor did it ask about Internet experiences. The 2008 survey also included more questions about sexual activity and identity.

The 2008 survey saw a total of 3,058 responses collected. Of those, 2,412 respondents resided in the United States (83.4%). Of the remaining 480 respondents, a total of over 42 other countries were represented.

Table 3, Gender

2008 1998

Woman 51% 46%

Man 45% 51%

Transgender 5% 1%

Intersexed 1% 2%

Table 4, Sexual Orientation

2008 1998

Heterosexual 41% 40%

Bisexual 35% 36%

Gay/Lesbian 22% 22%

Intersexed 7% 4%

In 1998, the survey asked: “Are you completely ‘out’ about your involvement in sexual minority practices?” 62% stated they were not “completely out.” That is statistically almost the same as the 59.5 and 59.7% of respondents in the current survey who said they weren’t out to work and/or family.

A total of 1,146 (37.5%) respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM‐leather‐fetish‐related business. Of the respondents who reported some form of persecution, 476 (41.5%) identified as male, 615 (53.7%) identified as female, 9(.8%) identified as intersexed and 78 (6.8%) identified as transgendered. (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.)

Of the 1,146 respondents who indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence, 380 (33.2%) identified as heterosexual, 440 (38.4%) identified as bisexual and 292 (25.5%) identified as gay or lesbian. Another 97 (8.5%) indicated that they identified in some other way from heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian.

(Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than %100.)

The sexual orientation of respondents who were discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence is compared in Table 6.1 to the total percentage of respondents who identified their orientation. It is interesting to note that Gay/lesbian, Bisexual and Other respondents have slightly higher rates of persecution than their average percentage of total

respondents, while Heterosexuals are less likely to be discriminated against.

Table 6.1

Total % 2008 respondents % persecuted

Gay/lesbian 22% 25.5%

Bisexual 35% 38.4%

Heterosexual 41% 33.2%

Other 7% 8.5%

total 105% 105.6%

Volunteer and Donate

NCSF has lots of helpful information on the website: http://www.ncsfreedom.org. Go there and see all the work we’re doing with media outreach, incident response, and proactive initiatives on sexual issues.

Please support NCSF. The staff is all volunteers except for our Office Manager. There are many ways to volunteer to help NCSF.

You do not have to be “out” to help. Tell others about NCSF or distribute our literature. Initiate or help out at a fund‐raiser with NCSF as a beneficiary. Check out the rest of this website and you’ll find everything from Calls to Action to our Incident Response program. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!

NCSF and You!
Workshop Training
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 by a small group led by Susan Wright under the auspices
of the New York SM Activists. The goal was to fight for sexual freedom and privacy rights for all adults who engage in safe, sane
and consensual behavior.
The first five organizations who joined reflected our desire to be a nationwide organization: the National Leather Association—
International, Gay Male S/M Activists, The Eulenspiegel Society, Black Rose and Society of Janus. Today, NCSF has 62 Coalition
Partners who elect the board that runs NCSF, and establish our goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners
are groups and businesses who serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners and also support NCSF by holding an annual
fundraiser. NCSF also has 70 Supporting Members – groups, businesses and individuals that publicly support NCSF.
Over the years, NCSF has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights: the Free Speech
Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists (AASECT), Society for the Scientific Study
of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.
NCSF has 6 active programs and projects currently changing the world for kinky people:
1. Media Outreach
As an advocacy organization, one of NCSF’s strategies has been to educate the media about issues facing the SM‐Leather‐Fetish,
swing and polyamory communities. You can help by signing up for NCSF’s media updates list media@ncsfreedom.org. This
weekly email will alert you to stories about alternative sexual expression in the news, and will give you contact information so
that you can respond to an editor to let them know if you liked or disliked an article and why. We also give you tips on how to
write a letter. Even if your letter is not printed, these letters influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.
NCSF’s Media Outreach Program has developed a package of materials that provide information about NCSF and the
communities we represent. This program provides education and training to groups and individuals on how to effectively
interact with the media. This includes training for spokespeople and website review to remove inflammatory language.
The latest big media incident was Winter Wickedness, when NCSF staff intervened with both the media and InterContinental
Hotels to keep the corporate office from canceling the event’s contract, in part by organizing a successful call‐in campaign.
The religious extremist group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, along with a local religious radio station in the
Columbus, Ohio, area ran a smear campaign against this pansexual BDSM event. Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About
Homosexuality called the event “a freakish sadomasochistic perversion‐fest” and urges people to call the hotel’s corporate
headquarters to pressure them into canceling “for the sake of decency and public health.” (www.aftah.org) Bob Burney, a
religious extremist Talk Radio DJ, devoted an entire segment of his show slamming Winter Wickedness and attempting to link
the event with non‐consensual and criminal activities. He urged his listeners to call and mount a campaign against the
hotel. (Tuesday, Part 3 starting at 10 min 42sec: http://www.home.wrfd.com/WRFDInsiderPage.htm)
Winter Wickedness was very grateful for NCSF’s help, stating:
Although what it is that we do (WIITWD) is legal, safe, sane and consensual and had been given the go ahead by the local and
state authorities; the radical right’s sensationalism, grassroots efforts and pointed innuendos implying inappropriate behavior,
can create enough fear to jeopardize a venue. The NCSF has proven to us, beyond any doubt, that they are willing and able to
fight back the bias and discriminatory efforts against us. The NCSF is a valuable asset to the Kink, Leather, GLBT and Alt Sex
lifestyles. Adventures In Sexuality (AIS) is proud to be an NCSF Coalition Partner and will continue to bring the NCSF to all our
events.
Also, Folsom Street Fair 2007‐8 (plus I’m going to be spokesperson for them again this year)
Demetri Moshoyannis, Executive Director of Folsom Street Events says:
“For over a year now, Folsom Street Events has been under attack by anti‐gay and religious right groups from across the
country. The attacks have been relentless. They have threatened our major sponsorships, picketed our events, called upon
public officials to denounce us, and rallied their troops against our community. As a small organization with only two staff
members, we do not have the capacity to stand up and respond to these continuing assaults.”
“We contacted the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to access the Incident Response program. Within hours, we spoke
with a highly trained and knowledgeable media and PR consultant for support. In addition to her moral support, we received a
meticulous training for our Board of Directors and staff, preparing us to better manage these attacks. Also, the program
consultant was able to field all media inquiries ‐ and serve as a positive voice for our community ‐ during our events, so that we
could focus on our production duties. We can’t thank NCSF enough for their good work and for being there when we needed
them.”
2. Incident Response
In 2008, 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 2008. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls,
but some evolved into much larger projects. NCSF received 489 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 317 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
27% were regarding criminal complaint issues
4% were regarding employment discrimination
31.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
15.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
1% were classed as non‐employment discrimination
5% were related to swing community issues
2.5% were regarding online obscenity issues
2.5% were classed as “other”
Of the inquires, 85.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues, 9% by swing, 5% by poly, 0.5% by other. 2008 saw an increased
number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 27
attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 11 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.
2009 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of the end of May 2009, more than 114 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 http://www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is
available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.
3. Kink Aware Professionals List
One of our big tools is the Kink Aware Professionals list, a service offered by NCSF dedicated to providing the community with
referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse
expressions of sexuality. This saves kinky people time and money so they don’t have to educate about BDSM and poly while
dealing with their problems. Hundreds of people use the KAP list to find a qualified professional. NCSF is actively recruiting more
professionals for this list.
4. DSM Project
The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) is the definitive resource on the Diagnostic Criteria for all mental disorders.
Statements currently within the DSM Paraphilias criteria are contradicted by scientific evidence, therefore NCSF must conclude
that the interpretation of the Paraphilias criteria has been politically – not scientifically – based. This politically motivated
interpretation subjects BDSM practitioners, fetishists and cross‐dressers to bias, discrimination and social sanctions without any
scientific basis. We call on the American Psychiatric Association to remove or drastically restructure the Paraphilias section in
the DSM.
The DSM‐IV‐TR definition of a mental disorder is that it is “…a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or
pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e.,
impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, death, pain,
disability, or an important loss of freedom… Neither deviant behavior (e.g. political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are
primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders…” (p. xxxi)
Yet the Paraphilias section categorizes distress and dysfunction according to certain sexual behaviors, not psychological
syndromes or patterns. Behavior itself is not evidence of psychopathology; compulsive hand washing may be a symptom of
obsessive‐compulsive disorder, but it is not a hand‐washing disorder.
A distinction must be made between the cause and the effect. There is no data to support the Paraphilias as the cause of the
distress and dysfunction in individuals. In addition, discrimination and societal pressure cause significant distress for a great
number of people, in which the societal stigma is the cause rather than the sexual behavior itself.
There are no clear guidelines in the DSM that distinguish a Paraphilia from “healthy” sexuality. Can paraphiliacs be distinguished
from those with “healthy” sexuality, except by differences in their sexual behavior? If yes, how? Can someone prefer those
exact same behaviors without meeting the diagnostic criteria? Yes, according to the DSM itself (p. 568). So why not just define
the abnormal preference instead of the behavior? Diagnostic criteria that pathologize everyone and do not distinguish
pathology from normal variants are useless as diagnostic tools.
To find out more, read the NCSF & The Foundation for NCSF’s “White Paper on the DSM Revision”
http://ncsfreedom.org/index.php?option=com_keyword&id=305
Sign the “DSM Revision Petition” http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/DSMrevisionpetition (you can make your signature
anonymous on this secure petition site so it doesn’t appear on the Internet)
To get updates on the progress of the DSM Revision Project you can visit the DSM Revision Blogspot.
http://dsmrevision.blogspot.com
5. Education Outreach Project
Early in 2000, NCSF launched its Education Outreach Program (EOP). This program is designed to educate law enforcement
officials about our communities, and educate members of our community regarding 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
assembled and trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver the educational presentations developed by the
NCSF‐EOP. New presentations are always being developed by the EOP team. There are currently 10 presentations offered now:
SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
It is important that SM‐Leather‐Fetish groups understand the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement
authorities, as well as the numerous legalities that can affect group functions. Once this is accomplished, groups can dispel
myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on
three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.
The Alleged Domestic Violence Call
It is important for SM‐Leather‐Fetish practitioners to understand law enforcement and the numerous legal issues that can affect
us ‐ specifically the response to an alleged domestic violence call. Once this is accomplished, you can constructively interact with
law enforcement officers if the need arises. This presentation will focus on two aspects: (1) constructively dealing with officers,
and (2) avoiding legal trouble. This workshop does not deal with the “cycle of abuse” or actual domestic violence; instead it is
about consensual SM being misinterpreted as domestic violence by law enforcement.
Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses
Zoning and permit issues are commonly used by local governments to attack the businesses or parties of SM and swing groups.
It is much more difficult for police, prosecutors and courts to prosecute crimes” such as indecent exposure, lewd conduct, etc.
Therefore zoning and permit violations are used to either move or shut down SM or swing activities because these
administrative issues appear to be unambiguous and non‐discriminatory. It is important for our communities to have an
understanding of these administrative issues in order to safely organize and maintain SM, fetish, and swing events. Zoning and
permits vary greatly depending on jurisdiction, so this discussion identifies and addresses the common issues in an overview
fashion and suggests how to address the particulars.
Approaching Your Local Authorities
The purpose of this presentation is to help groups educate law enforcement, prosecutors, and other authorities about SMLeather‐
Fetish or swing practices. NCSF’s goal in presenting this material is to encourage local groups to develop a positive
relationship with their local authorities. The content and delivery method of the outreach presentation are designed on a caseby‐
case basis. We suggest that local groups work together when presenting this information to officials.
Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and
law enforcement, as well as the numerous legalities that can effect group functions. Once this is accomplished, your group can
dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will
focus on three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.
Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community
This presentation assists those who practice alternative sexual expression in understanding more about the legal issues
involving their relationships. People who are involved in dedicated relationships outside of the traditional “heterosexualmarriage‐
with‐children” often acquire property and incur liabilities together. Yet many fail to realize that these relationships will
eventually end; either from separation, or as a result of death or disability. This presentation addresses some of the issues and
problems that might be encountered, and gives guidance on how to prepare for them.
Traveling With Toys
While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has
changed the procedures used to achieve security, as well as changing the allowable items to be carried with the traveler.
Security measures have been heightened as never before ‐ to the point of creating a legal risk to individuals who practice
alternative sexual expression for traveling with items that are commonplace for us. This presentation will address these issues
and provide tips for traveling with toys.
Protecting Yourself Legally
Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy,
discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex‐partners, and others may pose threats to these concepts.
Many times their motivation comes from ignorance, but new motivations like custody of children, and revenge are also
becoming commonplace. This presentation provides tips for protecting yourself legally for various circumstances.
Protecting Your Event
There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and
social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets, swing events and club run0s. In light of recent
attacks by religious and political extremists, here are some suggested guidelines for protecting your event and attendees.
Doing SM Related Legal Research
The law is interpreted ‐ sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not. For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that
consensual SM activity between adults is legal, there are those that have a differing opinion and will intentionally interpret the
law in an unfavorable way. Therefore, it is extremely important for the SM‐Leather‐Fetish communities to have an
understanding of the laws that may affect us. Knowing relevant laws will greatly assist our communities in safely organizing and
maintaining SM‐Leather‐Fetish activities and functions. This presentation attempts to help those doing research navigate the
sometimes complex waters that we find ourselves in legally.
6. BDSM Survey
Susan Wright conducted the Violence & Discrimination Survey of Sexual Minorities in cooperation with NCSF. The results will be
released soon. There were also over 500 comments made on the survey that will be posted on the NCSF website.
Where appropriate, the data will be compared to NCSF’s 1998 Violence & Discrimination Survey Against Sexual Minorities which
collected over 1,000 responses to similar questions during the course of a year. The 1998 survey did not cover business or
event‐related experiences of harassment, nor did it ask about Internet experiences. The 2008 survey also included more
questions about sexual activity and identity.
The 2008 survey saw a total of 3,058 responses collected. Of those, 2,412 respondents resided in the United States (83.4%). Of
the remaining 480 respondents, a total of over 42 other countries were represented.
Table 3, Gender
2008 1998
Woman 51% 46%
Man 45% 51%
Transgender 5% 1%
Intersexed 1% 2%
Table 4, Sexual Orientation
2008 1998
Heterosexual 41% 40%
Bisexual 35% 36%
Gay/Lesbian 22% 22%
Intersexed 7% 4%
In 1998, the survey asked: “Are you completely ‘out’ about your involvement in sexual minority practices?” 62% stated they
were not “completely out.” That is statistically almost the same as the 59.5 and 59.7% of respondents in the current survey who
said they weren’t out to work and/or family.
A total of 1,146 (37.5%) respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of
harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM‐leather‐fetish‐related business.
Of the respondents who reported some form of persecution, 476 (41.5%) identified as male, 615 (53.7%) identified as female, 9
(.8%) identified as intersexed and 78 (6.8%) identified as transgendered. (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which
required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than
100%.)
Of the 1,146 respondents who indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of
harassment or violence, 380 (33.2%) identified as heterosexual, 440 (38.4%) identified as bisexual and 292 (25.5%) identified as
gay or lesbian. Another 97 (8.5%) indicated that they identified in some other way from heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian.
(Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as
they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than %100.)
The sexual orientation of respondents who were discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence
is compared in Table 6.1 to the total percentage of respondents who identified their orientation. It is interesting to note that
Gay/lesbian, Bisexual and Other respondents have slightly higher rates of persecution than their average percentage of total
respondents, while Heterosexuals are less likely to be discriminated against.
Table 6.1
Total % 2008 respondents % persecuted
Gay/lesbian 22% 25.5%
Bisexual 35% 38.4%
Heterosexual 41% 33.2%
Other 7% 8.5%
total 105% 105.6%
Volunteer and Donate
NCSF has lots of helpful information on the website: http://www.ncsfreedom.org. Go there and see all the work we’re doing with
media outreach, incident response, and proactive initiatives on sexual issues.
Please support NCSF. The staff is all volunteers except for our Office Manager. There are many ways to volunteer to help NCSF.
You do not have to be “out” to help. Tell others about NCSF or distribute our literature. Initiate or help out at a fund‐raiser with
NCSF as a beneficiary. Check out the rest of this website and you’ll find everything from Calls to Action to our Incident Response
program. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 by a small group led by Susan Wright under the auspices of the New York SM Activists. The goal was to fight for sexual freedom and privacy rights for all adults who engage in safe, sane and consensual behavior.

The first five organizations who joined reflected our desire to be a nationwide organization: the National Leather Association— International, Gay Male S/M Activists, The Eulenspiegel Society, Black Rose and Society of Janus. Today, NCSF has 62 Coalition

Partners who elect the board that runs NCSF, and establish our goals at the annual Coalition Partner meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses who serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners and also support NCSF by holding an annual fundraiser. NCSF also has 70 Supporting Members – groups, businesses and individuals that publicly support NCSF.

Over the years, NCSF has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights: the Free Speech Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists (AASECT), Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.

NCSF has 6 active programs and projects currently changing the world for kinky people:

1. Media Outreach

As an advocacy organization, one of NCSF’s strategies has been to educate the media about issues facing the SM‐Leather‐Fetish, swing and polyamory communities. You can help by signing up for NCSF’s media updates list media@ncsfreedom.org. This weekly email will alert you to stories about alternative sexual expression in the news, and will give you contact information so that you can respond to an editor to let them know if you liked or disliked an article and why. We also give you tips on how to write a letter. Even if your letter is not printed, these letters influence how editorial decisions are made in the future.

NCSF’s Media Outreach Program has developed a package of materials that provide information about NCSF and the

communities we represent. This program provides education and training to groups and individuals on how to effectively interact with the media. This includes training for spokespeople and website review to remove inflammatory language.

The latest big media incident was Winter Wickedness, when NCSF staff intervened with both the media and InterContinental Hotels to keep the corporate office from canceling the event’s contract, in part by organizing a successful call‐in campaign. The religious extremist group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, along with a local religious radio station in the Columbus, Ohio, area ran a smear campaign against this pansexual BDSM event. Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About

Homosexuality called the event “a freakish sadomasochistic perversion‐fest” and urges people to call the hotel’s corporate headquarters to pressure them into canceling “for the sake of decency and public health.” (www.aftah.org) Bob Burney, a religious extremist Talk Radio DJ, devoted an entire segment of his show slamming Winter Wickedness and attempting to link

the event with non‐consensual and criminal activities. He urged his listeners to call and mount a campaign against the hotel. (Tuesday, Part 3 starting at 10 min 42sec: http://www.home.wrfd.com/WRFDInsiderPage.htm)

Winter Wickedness was very grateful for NCSF’s help, stating:

Although what it is that we do (WIITWD) is legal, safe, sane and consensual and had been given the go ahead by the local and state authorities; the radical right’s sensationalism, grassroots efforts and pointed innuendos implying inappropriate behavior, can create enough fear to jeopardize a venue. The NCSF has proven to us, beyond any doubt, that they are willing and able to fight back the bias and discriminatory efforts against us. The NCSF is a valuable asset to the Kink, Leather, GLBT and Alt Sex

lifestyles. Adventures In Sexuality (AIS) is proud to be an NCSF Coalition Partner and will continue to bring the NCSF to all our events.

Also, Folsom Street Fair 2007‐8 (which the NCSF’s Susan Wright continues to be their Media Spokesperson) Demetri Moshoyannis, Executive Director of Folsom Street Events says:

“For over a year now, Folsom Street Events has been under attack by anti‐gay and religious right groups from across the country. The attacks have been relentless. They have threatened our major sponsorships, picketed our events, called upon public officials to denounce us, and rallied their troops against our community. As a small organization with only two staff members, we do not have the capacity to stand up and respond to these continuing assaults.” “We contacted the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to access the Incident Response program. Within hours, we spoke with a highly trained and knowledgeable media and PR consultant for support. In addition to her moral support, we received a meticulous training for our Board of Directors and staff, preparing us to better manage these attacks. Also, the program

consultant was able to field all media inquiries ‐ and serve as a positive voice for our community ‐ during our events, so that we could focus on our production duties. We can’t thank NCSF enough for their good work and for being there when we needed them.”

2. Incident Response

In 2008, 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 2008. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects. NCSF received 489 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 317 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

27% were regarding criminal complaint issues

4% were regarding employment discrimination

31.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues

15.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues

1% were classed as non‐employment discrimination

5% were related to swing community issues

2.5% were regarding online obscenity issues

2.5% were classed as “other”

Of the inquires, 85.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues, 9% by swing, 5% by poly, 0.5% by other. 2008 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 27 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 11 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 (Kink Aware Professionals) 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.

2009 incident response statistics are currently being compiled. As of the end of May 2009, more than 114 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 http://www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is

available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.

3. Kink Aware Professionals List

One of our big tools is the Kink Aware Professionals list, a service offered by NCSF dedicated to providing the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality. This saves kinky people time and money so they don’t have to educate about BDSM and poly while dealing with their problems. Hundreds of people use the KAP list to find a qualified professional. NCSF is actively recruiting more

professionals for this list.

4. DSM Project

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) is the definitive resource on the Diagnostic Criteria for all mental disorders. Statements currently within the DSM Paraphilias criteria are contradicted by scientific evidence, therefore NCSF must conclude that the interpretation of the Paraphilias criteria has been politically – not scientifically – based. This politically motivated interpretation subjects BDSM practitioners, fetishists and cross‐dressers to bias, discrimination and social sanctions without any

scientific basis. We call on the American Psychiatric Association to remove or drastically restructure the Paraphilias section in the DSM.

The DSM‐IV‐TR definition of a mental disorder is that it is “…a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, death, pain,disability, or an important loss of freedom… Neither deviant behavior (e.g. political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders…” (p. xxxi)

Yet the Paraphilias section categorizes distress and dysfunction according to certain sexual behaviors, not psychological syndromes or patterns. Behavior itself is not evidence of psychopathology; compulsive hand washing may be a symptom of obsessive‐compulsive disorder, but it is not a hand‐washing disorder.

A distinction must be made between the cause and the effect. There is no data to support the Paraphilias as the cause of the distress and dysfunction in individuals. In addition, discrimination and societal pressure cause significant distress for a great number of people, in which the societal stigma is the cause rather than the sexual behavior itself. There are no clear guidelines in the DSM that distinguish a Paraphilia from “healthy” sexuality. Can paraphiliacs be distinguished from those with “healthy” sexuality, except by differences in their sexual behavior? If yes, how? Can someone prefer those

exact same behaviors without meeting the diagnostic criteria? Yes, according to the DSM itself (p. 568). So why not just define the abnormal preference instead of the behavior? Diagnostic criteria that pathologize everyone and do not distinguish pathology from normal variants are useless as diagnostic tools.

To find out more, read the NCSF & The Foundation for NCSF’s “White Paper on the DSM Revision”

http://ncsfreedom.org/index.php?option=com_keyword&id=305

Sign the “DSM Revision Petition” http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/DSMrevisionpetition

(you can make your signature anonymous on this secure petition site so it doesn’t appear on the Internet)

To get updates on the progress of the DSM Revision Project you can visit the DSM Revision Blogspot.

http://dsmrevision.blogspot.com

5. Education Outreach Project

Early in 2000, NCSF launched its Education Outreach Program (EOP). This program is designed to educate law enforcement officials about our communities, and educate members of our community regarding 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 assembled and trained a team of individuals from across the country to deliver the educational presentations developed by the NCSF‐EOP. New presentations are always being developed by the EOP team. There are currently 10 presentations offered now:

SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues

It is important that SM‐Leather‐Fetish groups understand the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement authorities, as well as the numerous legalities that can affect group functions. Once this is accomplished, groups can dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.

The Alleged Domestic Violence Call

It is important for SM‐Leather‐Fetish practitioners to understand law enforcement and the numerous legal issues that can affect us ‐ specifically the response to an alleged domestic violence call. Once this is accomplished, you can constructively interact with

law enforcement officers if the need arises. This presentation will focus on two aspects: (1) constructively dealing with officers, and (2) avoiding legal trouble. This workshop does not deal with the “cycle of abuse” or actual domestic violence; instead it is about consensual SM being misinterpreted as domestic violence by law enforcement.

Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses

Zoning and permit issues are commonly used by local governments to attack the businesses or parties of SM and swing groups. It is much more difficult for police, prosecutors and courts to prosecute crimes” such as indecent exposure, lewd conduct, etc. Therefore zoning and permit violations are used to either move or shut down SM or swing activities because these administrative issues appear to be unambiguous and non‐discriminatory. It is important for our communities to have an

understanding of these administrative issues in order to safely organize and maintain SM, fetish, and swing events. Zoning and permits vary greatly depending on jurisdiction, so this discussion identifies and addresses the common issues in an overview fashion and suggests how to address the particulars.

Approaching Your Local Authorities

The purpose of this presentation is to help groups educate law enforcement, prosecutors, and other authorities about SMLeather‐

Fetish or swing practices. NCSF’s goal in presenting this material is to encourage local groups to develop a positive relationship with their local authorities. The content and delivery method of the outreach presentation are designed on a caseby‐case basis. We suggest that local groups work together when presenting this information to officials.

Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues

It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as well as the numerous legalities that can effect group functions. Once this is accomplished, your group can dispel myths, educate members, and constructively interact with law enforcement as the need arises. This presentation will focus on three aspects: (1) interacting with local law enforcement, (2) avoiding legal trouble, and (3) group considerations.

Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community

This presentation assists those who practice alternative sexual expression in understanding more about the legal issues involving their relationships. People who are involved in dedicated relationships outside of the traditional “heterosexual marriage‐ with‐children” often acquire property and incur liabilities together. Yet many fail to realize that these relationships will eventually end; either from separation, or as a result of death or disability. This presentation addresses some of the issues and problems that might be encountered, and gives guidance on how to prepare for them.

Traveling With Toys

While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has changed the procedures used to achieve security, as well as changing the allowable items to be carried with the traveler. Security measures have been heightened as never before ‐ to the point of creating a legal risk to individuals who practice alternative sexual expression for traveling with items that are commonplace for us. This presentation will address these issues

and provide tips for traveling with toys.

Protecting Yourself Legally

Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy,

discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex‐partners, and others may pose threats to these concepts. Many times their motivation comes from ignorance, but new motivations like custody of children, and revenge are also becoming commonplace. This presentation provides tips for protecting yourself legally for various circumstances.

Protecting Your Event

There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets, swing events and club run0s. In light of recent attacks by religious and political extremists, here are some suggested guidelines for protecting your event and attendees.

Doing SM Related Legal Research

The law is interpreted ‐ sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not. For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults is legal, there are those that have a differing opinion and will intentionally interpret the law in an unfavorable way. Therefore, it is extremely important for the SM‐Leather‐Fetish communities to have an understanding of the laws that may affect us. Knowing relevant laws will greatly assist our communities in safely organizing and maintaining SM‐Leather‐Fetish activities and functions. This presentation attempts to help those doing research navigate the sometimes complex waters that we find ourselves in legally.

6. BDSM Survey

Susan Wright conducted the Violence & Discrimination Survey of Sexual Minorities in cooperation with NCSF. The results will be released soon. There were also over 500 comments made on the survey that will be posted on the NCSF website. Where appropriate, the data will be compared to NCSF’s 1998 Violence & Discrimination Survey Against Sexual Minorities which collected over 1,000 responses to similar questions during the course of a year. The 1998 survey did not cover business or

event‐related experiences of harassment, nor did it ask about Internet experiences. The 2008 survey also included more questions about sexual activity and identity.

The 2008 survey saw a total of 3,058 responses collected. Of those, 2,412 respondents resided in the United States (83.4%). Of the remaining 480 respondents, a total of over 42 other countries were represented.

Table 3, Gender

2008 1998

Woman 51% 46%

Man 45% 51%

Transgender 5% 1%

Intersexed 1% 2%

Table 4, Sexual Orientation

2008 1998

Heterosexual 41% 40%

Bisexual 35% 36%

Gay/Lesbian 22% 22%

Intersexed 7% 4%

In 1998, the survey asked: “Are you completely ‘out’ about your involvement in sexual minority practices?” 62% stated they were not “completely out.” That is statistically almost the same as the 59.5 and 59.7% of respondents in the current survey who said they weren’t out to work and/or family.

A total of 1,146 (37.5%) respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against, had experienced some form of harassment or violence, or had some form of harassment or discrimination aimed at their BDSM‐leather‐fetish‐related business.

Of the respondents who reported some form of persecution, 476 (41.5%) identified as male, 615 (53.7%) identified as female, 9(.8%) identified as intersexed and 78 (6.8%) identified as transgendered. (Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than 100%.)

Of the 1,146 respondents who indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence, 380 (33.2%) identified as heterosexual, 440 (38.4%) identified as bisexual and 292 (25.5%) identified as gay or lesbian. Another 97 (8.5%) indicated that they identified in some other way from heterosexual, bisexual or gay/lesbian.

(Sexual orientation, like gender, was a question which required some answer, but allowed respondents to choose as many as they felt might apply, so the percentage totals more than %100.)

The sexual orientation of respondents who were discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence is compared in Table 6.1 to the total percentage of respondents who identified their orientation. It is interesting to note that

Gay/lesbian, Bisexual and Other respondents have slightly higher rates of persecution than their average percentage of total respondents, while Heterosexuals are less likely to be discriminated against.

Table 6.1

Total % 2008 respondents % persecuted

Gay/lesbian 22% 25.5%

Bisexual 35% 38.4%

Heterosexual 41% 33.2%

Other 7% 8.5%

total 105% 105.6%

Volunteer and Donate

NCSF has lots of helpful information on the website: http://www.ncsfreedom.org. Go there and see all the work we’re doing with media outreach, incident response, and proactive initiatives on sexual issues.

Please support NCSF. The staff is all volunteers except for our Office Manager. There are many ways to volunteer to help NCSF.

You do not have to be “out” to help. Tell others about NCSF or distribute our literature. Initiate or help out at a fund‐raiser with NCSF as a beneficiary. Check out the rest of this website and you’ll find everything from Calls to Action to our Incident Response program. Every step you take helps us further the sexual freedom movement!

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: