Sexual Freedom in the News- January 16th, 2019

Our bi-weekly newsletter is back in 2019! Every other Wednesday, we aggregate seven articles central to Woodhull’s mission and work.

This week, the newsletter covers the following topics:

  • Kamala Harris’s track record on LGBTQ and sex work issues;
  • The CES revoked an award to a sex-tech company;
  • The trans midwife who is working to change the birth industry;
  • Cyntoia Brown, R Kelly and barriers to justice for black female survivors
  • The points where disability and LGBTQ rights intersect;
  • Who is celebrated for queering perceptions of gender;
  • Denying medical care to patients based on gender identity.

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Will 2020 Hopeful Kamala Harris Address Past Hostility to Sex Workers? (Out Magazine)

Kamala Harris is expected to make an announcement ‘soon’ regarding a possible 2020 presidential campaign. While Harris is known for co-sponsoring the Equality Act, she does not have a very consistent track record when it comes to some of the most marginalized communities. Author Harron Walker questions what Harris’s run may mean for LGBTQ folx and sex workers. Walker writes, “…Harris also used the office of the Attorney General to block two different incarcerated trans women from accessing the life-saving surgeries they’d been prescribed by their doctors. Harris is also one of the architects of litigation and policy that have pushed already marginalized sex workers even further into the margins, where their disproportionately high rates of sexual violence are only like to go up.” Read more.

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CES revokes award from female-founded sex tech company (Tech Crunch)

Sex tech is nothing new to the Consumer Electronics Show. However, the organization behind the event, the Consumer Technology Association, has come under fire for revoking an award from sexual health tech company, Lora DiCarlo. CTA claims that the product in question, which provides G-Spot and clitoral stimulation, was removed because it doesn’t fit a current product category. Author Megan Rose Dickey looks at CES’s previous inclusion of sex tech at their show and questions their current decision to exclude Lora Dicarlo. In an interview, the company’s CEO, Lora Haddock argues, “This double standard makes it clear that women’s sexuality is not worthy of innovation. By excluding female-focused Sex Tech, CES and CTA are essentially saying that women’s sexuality and sexual health is not worthy of innovation.” Read more.

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Meet the Trans Midwife Changing the World’s “Most Gendered Profession” (The Stranger)

Midwifery has existed for just about as long as people have been giving birth, and through the years, the industry has largely remained a mainly historically female-dominated profession. Journalist Nathalie Graham introduces Simon Adriane Ellis, a trans midwife working to help trans men and non-binary people manage pregnancies and give birth. Ellis tells Graham, “‘It’s been hard personally going through this path to become a midwife. It continues to be hard to be a midwife and it’s hard on my trans and non-binary patients…It’s maybe the most gendered profession ever.’’’ Read more.

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Cyntoia Brown, R Kelly and the refusal to recognize black female victims (USA Today)

In recent weeks, sex work and sexual violence advocates have applauded the commuting of Cyntoia Brown’s sentence, following her conviction for shooting the man who forced her into prostitution at age 16. Advocates also noted that Brown’s commutation came amid another national spotlight on violence against women of color following the release of the docu-series “Surviving R Kelly.” Tonya Lovelace, CEO of Women of Color Network, Inc. tells USA Today’s Carla Kelly, “‘It’s all the same thread of truly not caring about the welfare of black and brown girls…I think it’s all based in the concept of misogynoir, a particular kind of racism and sexism that black women and girls experience, based on the idea that we can’t be victimized.’” Read more.

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Where Disability Justice and LGBTQ Rights Intersect (The Advocate)

Communities on the margins have often led the charge to fight for increased rights. Disability activists have lined the halls of Congress to demand protection for the Affordable Care Act, putting their lives and bodies on the line. Jacob Anderson-Minshall explores the movement  working at the intersection of disability and LGBTQ rights to create communal justice. Activist Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha “believes now is the perfect time for abled-bodied activists to see how their concerns overlap with those of the disabled. ‘Crips and trans people already know what it means to fight a system you need to interact with to survive, that’s designed to shut you out and kill you.’” Read more.

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Why Do We Only Love Genderbending When White Twinks Do It? (Out Magazine)

Celebrities like Raviv Ullman, Ezra Miller, Jaden Smith, and Nico Tortorella have been applauded for their gender-bending looks and fashion. But as Tre’Vell Anderson explores in their piece for Out, these celebs are just the latest to play with more femme presentation in the ‘age of the twink’,  questioning which bodies we are celebrating for playing with gender. Anderson writes, “There is a politic of desire at play when certain bodies and experiences are centered and others aren’t. Meaning, it’s only those who are deemed attractive and sexy and fuckable that are given the headline or allowed to walk the runway, or to simply live.” Read more.

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1 in 5 Non-Binary People Denied Medical Treatment Based on Their Identity  (Daily Beast)

As gender roles evolve, the visibility of trans and non-binary people has increased, yet many in the medical field struggle with accommodating and navigating trans-specific barriers to healthcare. Samantha Allen investigates these barriers to receiving adequate medical care, and talks with experts who are working to provide necessary solutions. Researchers affiliated with Boston’s Fenway Institute and the Human Rights Campaign argue, “‘As an underserved population at disproportionate risk for discrimination, victimization, and suicidal ideation, non-binary people are especially in need of health care clinicians who affirm their gender identities.’” Read more.

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