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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Top Stories This Week

1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. The right to contraception;
Sex workers’ challenges while unionizing
4. Censorship in a Florida school district;
Abortion access and funding in U.S. territories;
6. Banning sexually explicit content in Arizona prisons; and
7. Tess’ take on denying trans youth gender-affirming care.

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We’ve chosen to take this long holiday weekend to consider what we’re thankful for in each of our lives and here at Woodhull. One thing we all agree about - we are grateful and thankful for those of you who support the work of Woodhull. In a year that has been fraught with challenges, with loss, with anxiety, with pandemics and with rollbacks of our rights, our work here at Woodhull is even more important. And the truth is, we could not do this work without your support.

We can be thankful and, at the same time, recognize the magnitude of the loss of lives at the most recent murders at Club Q in Colorado. We hug our friends and family even closer, recognizing that it could have been us or ours, and sharing the grief of those who mourn lives lost to violence every day of the year.

Thank you for reading this newsletter each week, coming to the Summit, attending our virtual programming and boosting our social media posts. We notice all of the support, and are enormously grateful to have you as a part of our Woodhull community. We hope that all of you are taking some time to spend with loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 

With Gratitude, 

Mandy & Ricci 


We are thrilled to welcome two new Board members to the Woodhull Board of Directors! Savannah Sly and JJ Gertler will be joining us. Both Savannah and JJ have served as Woodhull Ambassadors and dedicated supporters of our work for many years, and we are so excited to have them officially on board as Directors. Congratulations to them - and to us!


On November 10, Mandy & Ricci presented to students in Dr. Jennifer Pollitt’s Sexuality Education class at Temple University. We covered the human rights framework, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Censorship, Sexual Freedom and much more. We left feeling energized and inspired by the amazing questions and discussion with the students. We are happy to talk about all things Woodhull and sexual freedom to any classroom. Are you a professor looking for a guest speaker? Email Mandy Salley at Mandy@woodhullfoundation.org to schedule a lecture! 

Giving Tuesday is next week, November 29th! This year, we have all witnessed how easily our sexual freedom rights can be taken away. That is why we all must work together to make our elected officials affirm sexual freedom a fundamental human right!. I hope you will consider becoming a recurring donor so that we can continue to fight against those who seek to stifle our freedoms!


(Cage Rivera/Rewire News Group illustration)


Is the Right to Birth Control Next on the Chopping Block? (Rewire News Group)

Thalia Charles draws attention to the likelihood that the right to contraception is next on the judicialchopping block and looks at policy-oriented efforts to protect it: “After the Supreme Court threw abortion access into turmoil when it overturned Roe v. Wade in June and conservatives signaled that birth control is one of their next targets, the U.S. government took two important steps toward contraceptive equity. The Food and Drug Administration announced in July it will consider the birth control pill for over-the-counter (OTC) status. Granting OTC status would revolutionize contraceptive access for people who can become pregnant. In the same month, the House of Representatives voted to codify the right to birth control, but the Senate blocked it.” Read more.


(Photo by Giorgio Viera / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

Sex workers face unique challenges when trying to unionize (Prism)

Adrie Rose comments on the unique challenges sex workers face when trying to unionize: “Sex workers also often lack the legal and social protections afforded to workers in other industries. Without explicit legal or labor protections afforded by union support, sex workers are especially vulnerable to sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and other forms of abuse from law enforcement. As independent contractors, many dancers are also hesitant or unable to report clubs and management for labor violations like infrastructure failures or a culture of sexual harassment and violence.” Read more.


(Book Riot)

Why Read a Book When You Can Ban it Instead? Inside Florida’s Clay County School District (Book Riot) 

Kelly Jensen writes about censorship in Florida school districts: “Florida has been an epicenter of book bans over the last 18 months, particularly since Moms For Liberty, a right wing extremist group, was founded in Brevard County.  Beyond that, Florida has since introduced an array of new state legislation, including House Bill 1557 (aka the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law), which have created an environment ripe for censorship. School districts have implemented various measures in the hopes of being compliant. In some communities, that has involved books being banned or never showing up on shelves; in others, it has involved the development of stricter library policies concerning materials that can be in the collection and the opportunity for parents to choose whether or not their students have access to school libraries at all.” Read more.


(Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)


Abortion Access and Funding Have Always Been a Struggle in US Territories (Truthout) 

Cecille Joan Avila writes about abortion access and funding in U.S. territories: “For many in U.S. territories, getting an abortion hasn’t just depended on the procedure being legal. People have had to rely on community networks and whatever resources were available to get or pay for an abortion. The common factor is that in U.S. territories, they need to know the right people to ask for assistance, information, and resources, which is ultimately an unsustainable way to access a key component of reproductive health.” Read more.


(University of Texas at Austin)

Court Upholds Arizona Prison Ban on Sexual, Explicit Content (U.S. News & World Report) 

Associated Press writes about a decision to uphold a ban on sexual, explicit content in Arizona prisons: “[Arizona’s Department of Corrections] established an order in 2010 prohibiting prisoners from sending, receiving or possessing sexually explicit material or content seen as ‘detrimental’ to the safety and operation of prison facilities. [...]  Prison Legal News initially won a lawsuit in 2019 challenging the ban. While the 9th Circuit panel [in July 2022] ruled the censorship clearly did not cover mere mentions of sexual acts or sexual violence, including in academic contexts, it did apply if officials were keeping inmates from accessing content that would make prisons less safe” Read more.


(Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)


Tess’ Take: Denying Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog) 

Tess Joseph shares her take on denying trans youth gender-affirming care: “During the 2022 legislative session, at least 20 states have proposed bills that restrict healthcare for trans youth. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) proposed a terrifying set of rules in April 2022: ‘anyone under 18 should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.’ And now, those rules will now be drafted as law. [...] We at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation vehemently oppose this unthinkably cruel and harmful decision. DeSantis, the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, and all supporters of the rules are advocating for children to be denied life-saving healthcare. We firmly believe that trans youth deserve to access medical care that is compassionate, holistic, and affirming.” Read more.


 Woodhull Freedom Foundation is the only national human rights organization working full time to protect the fundamental human right to sexual freedom. Our work includes fighting censorship, eliminating discrimination based on gender or sexual identity, or family form, and protecting the right to engage in consensual sexual activity and expression. We do this through advocacy, education, and coalition building.   

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