Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter

Wednesday July 11th, 2018


The 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 sexual violence, 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.  

Every other Wednesday, our bi-weekly newsletter aggregates seven articles central to Woodhull’s mission and work.

But first, some important news from us: Woodhull has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). Electronic Frontier Foundation, part of our legal team, has provided a summary of the case as well as a blog post that further explains the extremely harmful implications of FOSTA. Additionally, multiple news sites, including Rolling Stone, have published articles discussing the lawsuit and Woodhull’s fight for sex workers’ rights.

Now onto the newsletter! This week, the newsletter covers the following topics:

  • A trio of articles about the future of the Supreme Court, published prior to President Trump’s selection of Brett Michael Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee, including:
    • What abortion access would look like without Roe v. Wade;
    • Recent changes in the Supreme Court and their implications for LGBTQ+ rights;
    • Anti-choice pregnancy centers and their threats to healthcare access.  
  • A Brazilian asylum seeker’s fight to be reunited with her nine-year-old son;
  • A sex researcher’s fight for sex workers’ rights, including access to mental health care;
  • An interview with Tarana Burke, the #MeToo movement’s founder, about her perspectives on the movement’s transformation;
  • A new study that (unsurprisingly) reports that people in non-monogamous/polyamorous relationships experience equal levels of satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships.

(Larissa Puro/USC Institute for Global Health)

What Abortion Access Looks Like Without Roe: A State-by-State Breakdown (Ms. Magazine Blog)

In response to Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation, Hope Lenamon writes, “The victories of the last decades could now be in imminent danger. Trump’s judicial shortlist comes directly from the Federalist Society, an organization of so-called originalists who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended almost three entire centuries ago. Trump has already promised that repealing one major victory from the Court—its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade—is a priority as he moves to fill the vacancy. If Trump succeeds, access to safe and legal abortion could disappear overnight for women in over half of the 50 states.” Read more.




With Justice Kennedy Gone, LGBTQ+ People Must Fight Harder Than Ever (them.)

Shannon Minter and Jennifer Levi write, “During his 30 year tenure on the Court, Justice Kennedy was the swing vote in nearly every pro-LGBTQ+ decision. He authored the Court’s 1996 decision striking an anti-gay ballot initiative in Colorado, its 2003 decision striking down state sodomy laws, its 2013 decision striking down the federal law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages, and its 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples must be permitted to marry in every state. If not for Justice Kennedy’s votes in these cases, some states would still criminalize same-sex intimacy. Without Kennedy, some state constitutions would bar the enactment of anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. And some states would exclude same-sex couples from the freedom to marry and likely restrict their parental rights as well.” Read more.




US Supreme Court Chips Away at Women’s Right to Information (Human Rights Watch)

In response to the the US Supreme Court’s decision in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, Amanda Klasing writes that the court “elevates the freedom of speech of people working in anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, which some advocates call fake women’s health clinics because they often lure women in under false pretenses that medical services are provided, over the right to information of the women seeking services there. [...] Chipping away at women’s access to information is a direct attack on their access to healthcare, and the right to make informed autonomous decisions about their lives and their bodies.” Read more. (Additional resource from Rewire to explain nationwide effects found here.)


(Image from article’s video)

Separated at the border: ‘My son wants to know when I'll get him’ (Al Jazeera)

Simon Tate and Gabriel Elizondo interview a Brazilian asylum seeker, who shares the story of her fight to be reunited with her nine-year-old son. Tate and Elizondo write, “It has been more than five weeks since a mother, known as “WR” in a lawsuit against the US government, has seen her nine-year-old son. The pair left their home in Brazil in May, hoping to escape years of abuse and threats by WR’s husband who is involved in drug trafficking. WR wanted to start a new life in the United States where she already has family, but she entered the country in the middle of right-wing President Donald Trump's crackdown on asylum seekers and migrants.” Read more.


(Victoria Hartmann)

Sex Workers Deserve Mental Health Care, Too (HuffPost)

Catharine Smith interviews Victoria Hartmann, a clinical sexologist and the director of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, about her work, how to be an ally to the sex worker community, and the necessity to combat the stigmas around sex work and mental health. Smith writes, “Sex work is a difficult job. Many in the field have few (if any) workplace rights, and there’s a high risk of abuse and violence. Anywhere from 45 to 75 percent of sex workers around the world experience workplace violence in their lifetime, according to a 2014 review. Plus, intense stigma around the profession can both negatively affect mental health and dissuade people from seeking treatment. Yet sex workers―a term that describes a plethora of jobs related to sex and eroticism, from adult film stars and strippers to people who work at brothels or on the street―rarely feature in discussions about mental health.” Read more.


(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Is #MeToo Too Big? (The Atlantic)

Megan Garber interviews Tarana Burke, the #MeToo movement’s founder, about her perspectives on the movement’s transformation. Garber writes, “On October 15, 2017, shortly after The New York Times and the New Yorker published their initial investigations into the allegations of monstrous behavior by Harvey Weinstein, the actor Alyssa Milano sent out a tweet: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted,” she wrote, “write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The suggestion, which currently has more than 67,000 replies and sparked many, many more, instantly expanded the movement that was founded by the activist and community organizer Tarana Burke more than a decade ago. And the expansion, in turn, subjected #MeToo to the familiar physics of American political entropy. The movement Burke had created—a movement that had been, from the beginning, about the survivors of sexual violence, particularly girls and women of color from low-wealth communities—soon stretched, in its new purview, far beyond sexual harassment and assault.” Read more.


(Andrew Zaeh/Bustle)

People In Open Relationships Are Just As Happy As Monogamous People, Study Finds (Bustle)

Claire Lampen writes, “Here's a piece of vindicating news that may strike some of you as extremely obvious: People in ethically non-monogamous relationships report as high a level of satisfaction as people in monogamous ones, according to a new study.” Read more.


Follow Us


© 2018 The Woodhull Freedom Foundation All rights reserved

Manage Subscription