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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Top Stories This Week

1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. Trans students in higher education;
3. Sex and the metaverse;
4. A Texas school district banning mention of “gender fluidity”;
5. The need for paid family leave;
6. What abortion actually looks like; and
7. Tess’ take on strippers’ labor organizing. 

Dark Blue banner with white font, stating

Woodhull Board Member Ben Benavides participated in a peaceful counter protest at a Drag Queen Story Hour hosted by Loyalty Bookstore in Silver Spring, MD. On July 16th, angry protesters prevented many children from entering the building for Drag Queen Story Hour. The Community rallied and peaceful protestors outnumbered the disruptive protesters 10-1 for the next story hour. This is just one example of what our community can do when we come together. Thanks for participating, Ben!

Coming soon - Sexual Freedom Week! We, at Woodhull, will be hosting a week of virtual programming and fun events from September 19th-23rd, in honor of Sexual Freedom Week! Stay tuned to our social media channels and emails for more information!

Did you miss our
Sexual Freedom Summit wrap-up?
CLICK HERE to check it out!


(Olivia Mortimer:Getty Images)

“It’s really crushing”: Trans students in higher education face misgendering, isolation and debt (The 19th) 

Orion Rummler writes about trans students’ struggles in higher education: “College didn’t work out for Jude Ruelas. The pressure of being trans in his program and his chosen profession — choir education — was daunting. So was the inherent stress of navigating their own transition. Ruelas ultimately decided they were not in the right mental space to handle it, and left their B.A. program at the University of Utah in May 2019. It was the right decision, they said. It was also a decision that left them in a worse position to repay $23,000 in student loans for a degree that they didn’t finish, and still aren’t sure they can afford to complete.” Read more.


 (Vince Ibay)

No Sex for You (The Baffler) 

Lyta Gold ponders sex and the metaverse: “Depicting real human beings in a virtual world means depicting all of them, including the naughty bits. This creates a problem if your virtual world is, unlike the holographic bubble environments of Star Trek, a mandatory part of the workplace. The metaverse is intended to replace the entirety of life, both work and leisure: Zuckerberg claims that we’ll soon be living full-time in his dream world, which looks a lot like an office park except flatter and faker. And when you’re at work, you have to play by HR’s rules. You can’t just lay your dick out on the table (unless you’re the boss, of course). But unless you can lay your dick on the table, at least at some point, then the metaverse isn’t a real alternate reality: it isn’t a fantasy, or an escape. It’s only a grinning, floating, candy-colored hell.” Read more.


(Getty Images)


A Texas School District Banned Any Mention of “Gender Fluidity” (them.) 

Matthew Rodriguez focuses on censorship in Texas: “The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, a school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, voted on Monday evening to ban the teaching or promotion of ‘gender fluidity’ in school, as well as so-called ‘critical race theory.’ The proposal also stipulates that teachers may opt not to use a student’s pronouns if they do not match their gender assigned at birth. Members of the GCISD Board of Trustees, the district’s school board, voted 4-3 in favor of the group of policies, which also make it easier to ban books in school libraries, limit which bathrooms students are able to use, and for a directive that some local people have dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Trans’ policy, the Dallas Morning News reports.” Read more.


 (Austen Risolvato:Envato:Rewire News Group illustration)

Black Women Will Face the Brunt of Abortion Bans. The Solution Is Universal Healthcare. (In These Times) 

Princella Talley writes about abortion bans and universal healthcare: “Contrary to popular anti-abortion beliefs, equality does not begin in the womb. The United States is one of the worst developed countries for children living in poverty in the world, and systematic inequality creates a layer of multigenerational poverty uniquely experienced by Black families well before children are born. Experts agree that funding mechanisms set in place by a universal healthcare system would make higher-quality care possible. In the United States, universal healthcare could begin to dismantle health-based racism by encouraging the funding of anti-racist initiatives that allow Black women to receive the same higher-quality care and equal access to reproductive education as white women.” Read more.


(The Abortion Project)

What Abortion Actually Looks Like: Two doulas set out to demystify the process by documenting their clients’ experiences. (The Cut) 

Two doulas share what abortion actually looks like with Megan Paetzhold. Heather says: “In 2019, shortly after Sarah and I met at a training event, I got unexpectedly pregnant. My partner and I knew right away that we wanted to have an abortion. Even though I was training as a full-spectrum doula, I wasn’t prepared for my abortion. It would have helped me so much to actually see what people actually go through. I was hit with how similar having an abortion is to giving birth to a live baby. I felt like I was having contractions just like I did giving birth. I had my abortion in a hotel room with Sarah and another friend, who was also a doula. Sarah took pictures with her cell phone, which was really powerful to me, because as a birth photographer, I know how amazing it is to have images of those experiences in your life to not only process, but to share your story.” Read more.


(Star Garden Topless Dive Bar Facebook page)


Tess’ Take: Stripper Strike (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog) 

Tess Joseph writes about dancers’ labor organizing: “Five months ago, dancers at the Star Garden strip club in North Hollywood, CA, went on strike. The impetus for the strike was on-site security’s refusal to make a customer who had recorded a video of a dancer without her consent comply with the no-phones policy. Like security, management failed to keep the dancers safe, allegedly firing a dancer who complained about the incident. Dancers presented a petition to the club’s owners. They demanded, above all else, safety at their workplace.” Read more.


Donate to an Abortion Fund 

Find your local abortion fund.

Split a donation between 90 funds across the country. 

Donate to keep independent abortion clinics open. 

Support undocumented folks seeking abortions. 

Finance a helpline and legal defense fund to cover bail and attorney fees for people criminalized for their miscarriages or abortions.


 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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