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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Top Stories This Week

1. Woodhull Freedom Foundation endorses reproductive and sexual freedom blueprint;
2. The Trump administration’s “mixed status” housing as another form of family separation
3. BDSM as a tonic for serious illness
4. How international Mr. Leather is changing kink culture
5. What fat acceptance is—and isn’t
6. The many barriers trans men face when seeking reproductive health care
7. Photographs of extreme suffering on the U.S./Mexico border

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This ‘Visionary’ Blueprint Would Transform Reproductive Health Care in the United States (Rewire.News)

On July 15, a coalition of 80 advocates released a policy blueprint for reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice. The blueprint has five core tenets: (1) ensuring sexual reproductive health care is accessible to all; (2) that health care does not have discriminatory barriers; (3) that research and innovation advances sexual health, rights, and justice; (4) that health, rights, justice, and wellness are available to all communities; and (5) that judges and executive officials advance these issues.  Ann Marie Benitez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health senior director for government affairs, said: “While the Congress right now may not be in a place to pass some of these ideas we need to position ourselves to be ready when that does happen, and this blueprint takes us there.” Read more. 

Woodhull Freedom Foundation is one of 80 advocates endorsing the blueprint. Learn more at #SFS19 with our reproductive and sexual freedom track, including “Hey sexual pleasure - can we be friends? Love, abortion access.” Whether you’re new to reproductive justice or an experienced activist, register for #SFS19 to find a workshop and join the conversation.


(HUD agents - Flickr)

The Trump Administration’s Proposed “Mixed Status” Housing Rule Is Another Form of Family Separation (ACLU) 

The Department of Housing and  Urban Development’s (HUD) has proposed a rule that will effectively ban “mixed-status” families—households comprised of people who are both eligible and ineligible for federal housing assistance—from living in public housing and Section 8 programs, forcing families to choose between living apart or being evicted. As Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski and Linda Morris write, the impacts could be devastating: “Involuntary displacement frequently leads to employment loss, loss of material possessions, and lasting health issues, including substance abuse. Moreover, evicted families, often headed by women of color, will struggle to find stable housing as they are rooted out by landlord screening policies that force these individuals to seek substandard housing elsewhere or risk homelessness.” Read more.


(BDSM whip and cuffs, Getty Images)

BDSM as a Tonic for Serious Illness (Scientific American) 

BDSM, as Elizabeth Wood contends, can provide “an unexpected tool kit for those faced with body-altering, life-changing, serious illnesses.” Wood continues, “Imagine the needle on the end of a hypodermic syringe. Is it a medical instrument or tool to be used in a BDSM scene? It depends on who’s holding it. In the hands of a doctor in a hospital, it might be used to administer medicine. In the hands of a skilled domme, it might be one of many inserted into the skin to make an elaborate pattern on the body of the submissive. BDSM encourages us to see objects in new ways and to discover new uses for them.” This matters because, as Wood writes, “Our ability to redefine objects and sensations can lead us to accept things...which we previously thought we couldn’t tolerate.” Read more.


(Jack Thompson, photo by James Factora)

How International Mr. Leather 2019 Is Changing Kink Culture From the Inside (them.) 

James Factora interviews Jack Thompson, a biracial, Black, HIV-positive, trans man who made history for winning the title at the 41st annual International Mr. Leather competition, one of the largest leather and fetish gatherings in the world. As their conversation illustrates, Thompson’s insights “provide a refreshing counter to many of the narratives and stereotypes about sexual subcultures: that they are inherently unsafe, unwelcoming, and rife with misogyny, racism, and various kinds of bigotry. Rather, leather spaces can be a source of affirmation, community and connection—and community leaders like Thompson are proof positive.” Read more.


(Fat Acceptance, photo by Alexandra Gavillet, Refinery29, Getty Images)

Here’s What Fat Acceptance Is—and Isn’t (YES! Magazine) 

Evette Dionne argues that fat-shaming is “stitched into the fabric of American culture,” a form of oppression that leads to discrimination by employers, medical providers, and legal professionals. In the face of this ostracization, Dionne declares, “There is nothing wrong with wanting to be affirmed by people who understand how crucial it is to love your body as it is. In fact, there’s an entire history of people who’ve done exactly that and fought for the dignity of fat people. You can learn that history and then carry on that legacy. In fact, the movement has been waiting for you all along.”
Read more.


(Trans Men Protest, photo by Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

For Trans Men Seeking Reproductive Health Care, ‘There Are Barriers Every Step of the Way’ (Rewire.News) 

Trans men face many obstacles while seeking reproductive health care, from medical providers with little understanding of trans issues to cis-centric understandings of who may become pregnant. In an interview with Tris Marone, Morgan Givens, a D.C.-based trans storyteller, said “It’s hard to erase something that wasn’t even included in the conversation in the first place [...] so much of transphobia and transmisogyny is focused on the genitalia of a person.” In this instance, Givens continues, trans peoples’ reproductive organs “suddenly don’t matter”; their health care and medical concerns are not taken seriously. Read more.


(Crime Scene snapshot, photo by Najeebah Al-Ghadban, Getty Images)

A Crime Scene at the Border (New York Times Magazine) 

Brutal images of trauma, violence, and death at the U.S/Mexico border elicit sympathy and outrage, but as Teju Cole posits, they may not elicit accountability. Cole writes, “The questions we need to ask now are more urgent and more discomfiting. What sort of person needs to see such photographs in order to know what they should already know? Who are we if we need to look at ever more brutal images in order to feel something? What will be brutal enough?” Read more.


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