Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Top Stories This Week
1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. Abortion and censorship;
3. America’s censored classrooms;
4. Our right to privacy;
5. Censorship legislation in Florida;
6. Anti-CRT efforts’ impact on teachers;
7. Why we must fight classroom censorship; and
8. Tess’ take on “Don’t Say Trans.”
On August 4, 2022, we gathered in Alexandria, VA for Woodhull’s Human Rights Commission: The Censorship of Sexual Freedom. We heard testimony from five people who have been directly impacted in different ways by censorship in their own lives. At the link to the Commissions above you’ll find not only their testimonies, you’ll find the report, “The Censorship of Sexual Freedom”, that outlines the various ways censorship impacts our lives and communities and reports on the status of current legislation. Our Commissioners were passionate and compelling and echoed the realty that sexual freedom is the “canary in the coal mine” and must be stopped now before even more harm is done.
A win for free speech in Virginia!
This past July, Woodhull joined FIRE in filing an Amicus Brief in a suite filed by a Virginia politician that sought to ban the sale of two books, Genderqueer and A Court of Mist and Fury. On August 30th, this suit was dismissed. This is a win for free speech, and we hope to see many more examples of this in the future. You can read about the case and our brief here.
Sexual Freedom Week is coming!
CLICK HERE to check it out!
Apply to the next Spokes Hub Cohort!
Applications are OPEN for the next Spokes Hub sex worker advocacy cohort! Deepen your authority on sex work related issues and receive monetary support for your public education work, post graduation. Spokes Hub is a virtual educational program aimed at supporting new advocates in developing their voice and authority on issues relating to sexual freedom. Participants are encouraged to deepen their understanding of complex issues through peer learning and research, and to expand their advocacy skills through writing and public speaking. Deadline to apply is 9/15! Apply here.
(Pictured above: Savannah Sly, Thot Scholar and Niki Gililland, Spokes Hub)
TAKE ACTION ON CENSORSHIP
Sign our petition to fight against the EARN IT Act!
The EARN IT Act, a bill being pushed by faith-based anti-porn and anti-sex work groups, makes online platforms and services liable for any potential abuse of their platform. Using the distribution of child sex abuse material (CSAM) as its cover, EARN IT strips away Section 230 protections, allowing no safe harbor for any site, even those that work aggressively and admirably to block and report potential bad actors.
Something about the win in VA
United Against Book Bans!
The American Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship teamed up to create #UnitedAgainstBookBans, a campaign to fight against book bans. You can find a comprehensive toolkit for challenging a book ban on their website.
Red, Wine & Blue Book Ban Busters
Check out this detailed map of book bans in the US and get involved in fighting against them!
Abortion Ruling Triggers New Censorship Concerns (XBIZ)
Lawrence Waters writes about abortion and censorhip: “The Supreme Court’s stunning ruling in the Dobbs case, overturning Roe and triggering numerous state-level abortion restrictions, has significant implications for Section 230 and online censorship. Here is how that ruling, and potential new laws and regulations that may come in its wake, could lead to the adult industry being caught in the crosshairs of a culture war. Those seeking abortions in the more restrictive states will likely turn to underground sources of information to access the newly criminalized procedures. Abortion pill providers, volunteers and online services will now be taking calculated risks to fill the void.” Read more.
America’s Censored Classrooms (PEN America)
Jeremy C. Young, Ph.D and Jonathan Friedman, Ph.D. share the key findings from their research into educational gag orders: “There is a legislative war on education in America. At the heart of this war are educational gag orders—state legislative attempts to restrict teaching, training, and learning in K–12 schools and higher education. These bills, which generally target discussions of race, gender, sexuality, and US history, began to appear during the 2021 legislative session and quickly spread to statehouses throughout the country. By the year’s end, 54 bills had been filed in 22 states, of which 12 became law. In 2022, these battles have intensified.” Read more.
Why Privacy is a Foundation of Many Constitutional Protections but Not Mentioned in the Constitution (Source)
Scott Skinner-Thompson delves into our right to privacy: “Almost all American adults, which include parents, medical patients, and people who are sexually active, regularly exercise their right to privacy, even if they do not know it. Privacy is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. But for half a century, the Supreme Court has recognized it as an outgrowth of protections for individual liberty. As I have studied in my research on constitutional privacy rights, this implied right to privacy is the source of many of the nation’s most cherished, contentious and commonly used rights – including the right to have an abortion.” Read more.
Florida Teachers Prepare for Censorship as Conservative Legislation Takes Effect (Truthout)
Alexandria Martinez highlights censorship legislation in Florida: “Teachers across Florida are preparing for increased censorship as the 2022-23 school year begins. Conservative legislation like ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and ‘Stop WOKE Act’ officially took effect over the summer, placing added pressure and parental surveillance on teachers while censoring conversations surrounding gender, sexuality, and race. The two bills, in addition to a suite of three other educational censorship laws, regulate whether and how educators may discuss certain subjects and ideas.”
Classroom censorship laws further burden exhausted teachers (Daily Trojan)
Ashley Nguyen comments on anti-critical race theory (CRT) measures’ impact on teachers: “A recent UCLA study found that at least 35% of all K-12 students in the United States have been impacted by anti-CRT efforts. These restrictions deter students from honest conversations about history and prevent them from learning about the backgrounds and perspectives of all communities represented in a classroom. These educational gag orders not only deny students access to a complete, accurate and inclusive teaching of history, but also stifle teachers’ autonomy in classrooms.” Read more.
Why We Must Fight Classroom Censorship (The Philadelphia Citizen)
Dlaine Maimon argues why we need to fight classroom censorship: “These are dangerous times for our democracy. Schools, universities, and libraries are under pressure — and sometimes under legal restraints — to ban books and limit classroom discussion. Kudos to teenagers in Texas, Missouri, Brooklyn, and York, PA, who have organized to fight censorship. The Texas kids started a banned book club and gathered in the public library to read books on the forbidden list. In Missouri, two students filed a lawsuit against their school district for removing eight books from school libraries. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Intellectual Freedom Teen Council conducts weekly Zoom meetings to coordinate national resistance to censorship in school books. Last fall, students in York, PA, successfully persuaded school administrators to reverse a ban on 300 books. These kids understand that the stakes are high. Where are the adults?” Read more.
Tess’ Take: “Don’t Say Trans” (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog)
Tess Joseph writes about “Don’t Say Trans”: “Like the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, ‘Don’t Say Trans’ will have devastating effects on students’ rights. Books will be easier to ban in school libraries, particularly literature about gender and race that might allow students comfort, exploration, and celebration of their identities. Students may not be able to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. Trans students aren’t allowed to play sports. Speech in classrooms will be stifled; students won’t have an opportunity to learn about gender and the world around them.” 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.
The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is a non-profit organization recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Our federal identification number is 11-3681116.
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