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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Top Stories This Week

1. Remembering Carmen Vázquez;
2. Honoring the life of Margo St James;
3. A new anti-trans Congressional bill;
4. Remembering the coup attempt;
5. Biden’s deportation moratorium;
6. Sex education and rape culture; and
7. Post-coronavirus food security.


Remembering Carmen Vázquez

We at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation are heartbroken to announce the death of Carmen Vázquez, long-time sexual freedom fighter, Vicki Sexual Freedom award winner, and co-chair of our Board of Directors. Carmen died on Wednesday, January 27th of COVID.

Carmen supported Woodhull from its founding. She brought with her a wealth of knowledge, a command of our issues and a network of advocates dedicated to the advancement of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. 

Woodhull would not be where it is today without her energy, effort, and dedication.

BLM Protest visual

Carmen’s work touched more lives than we can count. She started fighting for sexual freedom and social justice as a young adult, and never stopped. She was the founding Director of the Women’s Building in San Francisco, helped found the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center in San Francisco, and the LGBT Health & Human Services Network, a coalition of over 55 organizations and groups in New York advocating for LGBT Health and Human Services. Her work integrated a focus on racial and economic justice with her focus on sexual freedom and she took the human rights framework to heart.

Much will be said about Carmen in the coming months and years because of who she was and the work she did. The legions of people she mentored, our own Ricci Levy among them, will have their own memories and stories. For today, though, our grief is raw and it is impossible to imagine a world that doesn’t include Carmen Vázquez.

Carmen was part of our family and we will miss her every single day.

Children doing virtual schoolwork

(John O’Hara)

Remembering Margo St James, a Pioneering Sex Worker Organizer (Jacobin) 

Scott W. Stern honors the life of Margo St James, who blazed a trail for sex worker advocates: “On January 11, we lost an icon in the fight against police violence. That day, Margo St James, founder of COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) and a matriarch of the sex workers’ rights movement, died at the age of eighty-three. In the days since, she has been eulogized in a number of places, including in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post. These pieces have lauded her flamboyance, her passion, her unapologetically radical fight for the rights of those who sell sex. But few of these obituaries have dwelt at any length on the context for her activism.” Read more.

Text message visual

(Mandel Ngan:Getty Images)

Republicans Push Congressional Bill to Ban Trans Girls From School Sports (them.) 

Matt Baume brings our attention to a recently-introduced anti-trans Congressional bill: “A new bill introduced by House Rep. Greg Steube (R-Florida) on [January 21] would withhold funding from athletics organizations that allow trans students to participate in sex-segreated programs. The legislation, HR 426, is vaguely worded and doesn’t explain how schools are expected to identify trans students. It merely states that students’ ‘sex shall be recognized solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.’” Read more.

Limitless love art

(Jacquelyn Martin:AP Photo)

Are We Witnessing the Emergence of a New ‘Lost Cause’? (The Nation) 

Kali Holloway comments on how we as a nation might remember white supremacist coup attempt: “One way to decisively convey that treasonous white-supremacist insurrectionists are unwelcome in the US Capitol might be to remove all the statues that venerate treasonous white-supremacist insurrectionists from the US Capitol. For nearly a century, the building has been home to more than 10 bronze and marble sculptures and busts honoring leaders of the Confederacy, a nation founded by traitorous white secessionists so committed to white power and black enslavement that they launched a war that cost 600,000 lives. [...] If we are not vigilant, the treasonous white-supremacist insurrectionists who tried to overtake the government this time around will end up getting the same whitewashed treatment.” Read more.


(Leonard Ortiz:MediaNews Group:Orange County Register via Getty Images)


Biden Issued a Deportation Moratorium, but Immigration Advocates Raise Alarms About ICE Noncompliance (Teen Vogue) 

Lucy Diavolo writes about the deportation moratorium and the alarming potential for ICE noncompliance: “President Joe Biden has prioritized immigration policy in many of his early executive orders, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations. That block on most deportations just went into effect on January 22, but concerns that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may go forward with at least one deportation covered by the moratorium prompted an outburst of criticism over the weekend. Alongside Representative Richie Torres (D-NY), attorneys for Javier Castillo Maradiaga, a 27-year-old resident of the Bronx in New York City, raised alarms about whether ICE will defy the new president’s directive.” Read more.



What Do Abstinence-Only Sex Ed and Rape Culture Have in Common? (Rewire News Group) 

Steph Auteri describes how abstinence-only sex education perpetuates rape culture: “Abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education curricula—which, in recent years, have been rebranded as sexual risk avoidance (SRA) programs—emphasize that abstinence is the only way to remain safe, particularly from STIs. Though these programs do sometimes mention condoms and other forms of contraception, they often focus on the failure rates of these forms of protection. [...] But beyond that, programs that don’t include lessons on safer sex also generally don’t cover affirmative consent. Which means students never learn (until college, maybe) that even if you consent to sexual activity, you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time.” Read more.


(Tracy Renecker)

Coronavirus means school food is free across the U.S. What if it stayed that way? (The Hechinger Report) 

Levi Pulkkinen comments on the future of free, school-provided food: “Today, [...] nearly every school in the country can hand out meals for free, thanks to the emergency extension of a USDA school food program meant to provide no-cost meals to kids during the summer. The reprieve highlights an emergent truth: Schools feed America’s children. And the pandemic has forced schools toward providing free food to all students, long the dream of those fighting child hunger.” Read more.


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