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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Top Stories This Week

1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. Criminalization of HIV;
3. The continuing fight to overturn FOSTA;
4. Clinics in anti-abortion states;
5. Trans kids’ victory in Texas;
6. LGBTQ+ sex ed facts; and
7. Tess’ take on censorship in schools. 

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Sexual Freedom Week 

We just finished celebrating Sexual Freedom Week here at Woodhull! We hosted programs about Bisexual Visibility, Sexual Freedom, and sexual freedom in the Gilded Age. Missed the live programs? Do not worry. We’ve posted recordings of all of our programming on our YouTube page. You can watch all of our programs here. Thanks to those who joined us for the celebration!

(Photo: Bi Visibility Program group call. From top left to bottom right: Greg Ward, Mandy Salley, LaSonia King and Dr. Mimi Hoang)


EARN It Petition 

Last Tuesday, we launched our petition about the EARN IT Act. The EARN IT Act aims to limit our online freedoms and increase surveillance online. This legislation would be bad news for a free and open internet. You can read more about the negative consequences of the EARN IT Act here. Join us in telling Congress that you oppose censorship online by signing our petition.


HMH Foundation Awards 

Woodhull Board Members and staff attended the HMH Foundation First Amendment Awards on September 15th. The HMH Awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendments rights for all Americans. Among the honorees, was Author Amy Sohn, who we featured in one of our Sexual Freedom Week programs. Woodhull applauds all the nominees and looks forward to continuing our work on preventing censorship of sexual expression.

(Group photo: From left to right: Woodhull Board Member Ben Benavides, Woodhull COO Mandy Salley, Woodhull CEO Ricci Levy and Woodhull Board Member Ted Bernhardt)

(Woodhull CEO, Ricci Levy and Will Creeley, Legal Director of FIRE)

(Christie Hefner, Chairman of the HMH First Amendment Awards & Woodhull CEO Ricci Levy) 



Pressure Mounts Against HIV Criminalization as Prosecutions Continue (Source) 

Adam M. Rhodes focuses on recent efforts to change HIV laws: “In the past five years, states such as Georgia, California, and Virginia have reformed their laws to lessen punishments while still maintaining avenues for prosecution in some cases. HIV activists say these changes don’t go far enough and are in broad agreement in their support for fully repealing the laws. They also note that because many states also use general criminal laws to prosecute HIV-related crimes, reform efforts specifically targeting HIV criminal statutes may not be sufficient.”
Read more.


(Olivia Mortimer, Getty Images)

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.


(Shutterstock: Unsplash: Rewire News Group illustration)


Clinics in Anti-Abortion States Struggle to Stay Open (Rewire News Group) 

Garnet Henderson covers clinics in anti-abortion states: “Less than three months into this post-Roe world, each week brings news of more abortion clinics shutting down and moving away from the states that have banned or are expected to ban abortion. [...] But some independent clinics in states that have banned or are expected to ban abortion are fighting to stay open in an attempt to ensure that the end of legal abortion doesn’t mean the end of access to contraception, obstetric and gynecological care, and miscarriage management, especially in rural and other underserved areas.” Read more.


(Cristina Moliner:iStock:Getty Images Plus)

Trans Kids Finally Scored a Victory in Texas (Mother Jones) 

Samantha Michaels highlights trans kids’ victory in Texas: “A district court judge in Texas put a pause on the governor’s witch hunts by issuing a temporary injunction that prohibits child welfare officials from investigating any parents who are members of the group PFLAG, a national LGBTQ organization that sued to try to stop the investigations.” Read more.


 (LGBTQ+ Sex Ed : Mark Harris)

9 LGBTQ+ Sex Ed Facts All Queer Teens Should Know (them.) 

Quispe López shares LGBTQ+ sex ed facts targeted at queer teens. On masturbating, López writes: “Understanding sex often begins by understanding what makes your own body feel good. Often, this takes place way before you add another person to the equation. Dr. Evan Goldstein, founder of the gay men’s sexual health practice Bespoke Surgical, tells Them that masturbation can be an important tool for figuring out what you like and what you don’t, all without the added pressure of having another person in the room.” Read more.


(Kai Schwabe:Getty Images)


Tess’ Take: Censorship in Schools (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog) 

Tess Joseph writes about censorship in schools: “In the last year, educational gag ordersdefined by PEN America as “state legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities”—have increased by 250 percent. PEN America notes that those bills are also increasingly punitive, including hefty fines, loss of state funding for educational institutions, and for teachers, termination of employment or even criminal charges.” 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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