The Fight to Speak About S3x
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — December 14, 2022 — Washington, DC
In July 1953, agents from the Los Angeles postal inspector stormed the offices of ONE Magazine, a new ‘homophile’ publication, seizing all copies of their August issue. Postmaster Otto Oleson claimed the cover story on “Homosexual Marriage” was obscene and illegal to mail. Even after a second issue was seized, major civil rights organizations declined the case. But with the help of a young pro bono lawyer, ONE took the Postal Service to the Supreme Court. In 1958, One, Inc v. Oleson established, for the first time, that information on sexuality is protected by the First Amendment.
This week, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act. While there’s much work still to be done, the passage of the law, nearly 70 years since the ONE seizure, is historic. But today’s critical victory would never have happened if we never gained the right to speak about sexuality.
That’s why it’s concerning that, even as Congress codifies the right to marry into law, we’re witnessing a rollback of our ability to speak about sex in education, healthcare and nearly every other aspect of our society. You likely know about Florida’s infamous Don’t Say Gay law, FOSTA-SESTA, the school book bans, the attacks on trans people, and the constant shadowbanning of sex work on social media. But nearly every week, a new bill is introduced to police sexual expression and identity.
The goal of this new censorship regime is to undermine the hard-fought rights we’ve gained since ONE and to overturn the successful court battles that followed. The rights of sex workers, the fight for reproductive justice and the very existence of LGBTQ+ community are dependent on our ability to communicate ideas about sex and sexuality — in schools, online, with our doctors. As we learned with Dobbs, we must be vigilant. And as we saw in Colorado Springs, and in countless other acts of hate and terror, this campaign to silence is a campaign of violence.
That’s why Woodhull is not only fighting censorship like FOSTA in court, we’re pushing a bigger conversation about sexuality. We’re fighting to recognize in the courts, in the schools, in the culture that sex and gender based rights are human rights. We’re helping small grassroots activists build a movement, and working with better-funded allies to stress the importance of protecting sexual communities — even when its uncomfortable. The battle over ONE shows us that sexual rights can not be an after thought, and we sure as hell won’t let them be a political sacrifice.
That’s why, at a time when we face greater threats to sexual expression than we have in decades, I’m asking you to join me in donating to Woodhull. We can’t do it without you — words that have never been more true!