Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter

Wednesday July 25th, 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, an update from us: after filing a federal lawsuit challenging the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), Woodhull has joined other plaintiffs before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in a motion for preliminary injunction. To read a summary of Woodhull’s brief to support said preliminary injunction, published by XBIZ, click here.

Now back to the newsletter! This week, the newsletter covers the following topics:

  • A sex worker’s response to the FOSTA-SESTA package-bill;
  • The July 11 vote that allows taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to prohibit LGTBQ+ families from adopting a child by way of religious objection;
  • A portrait of a migrant child’s days in a detention center;
  • Reproductive justice and the choice to parent;
  • Healthcare barriers faced by LGBTQ+ people living in the United States;​
  • A frank discussion on the ableist and neurotypical presumptions of mainstream polyamory discourse;
  • Expanding mainstream conceptualizations of consent beyond legal definitions.

(ingrid mouth)

Offline Shadows: How Sex Workers Become Marginalized Victims of Morality-Based Legislation (Autostraddle)

In response to the FOSTA package-bill (yes, the very legislation against which Woodhull has filed a federal lawsuit), Chloe shares her pain and outrage. Chloe writes, “People who aren’t in the industry often label my own job as dangerous and exploitative. I’m a stripper, and in the world of sex work, dancing is considered relatively cushy. I have the privilege of it being (mostly) legal, I have bouncers in the building who can handle unruly customers, and if someone threatens me, there are cameras and people everywhere. In order to stay open and legal, sex acts are heavily discouraged by strip club owners and can result in the termination of dancer contracts. However, for some full-service sex workers, strip clubs are now the only place besides the streets to safely meet clients.” Read more.



Republicans vote to make it legal nationwide to ban gays & lesbians from adopting (LGBTQ Nation)

On July 11, 2018, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that allows taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to prohibit LGTBQ+ families from adopting a child by way of religious objection. In an interview with Sarah Toce, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta says, “Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against qualified potential parents.” Read more.


(Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

Cleaning Toilets, Following Rules: A Migrant Child’s Days in Detention (The New York Times)

The separation of migrant families caused by Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy has yet to come to an end. The family reunification process has proved to be extremely slow, and parents/guardians and their children remain in separate detention centers. Dan Barry, Miriam Jordan, Annie Correal, and Manny Fernandez write, “[M]ore than 2,800 children—some of them separated from their parents, some of them classified at the border as “unaccompanied minors”—remain in [detention centers], where the environments range from impersonally austere to nearly bucolic, save for the fact that the children are formidably discouraged from leaving and their parents or guardians are nowhere in sight.” Read more.




When Our Rights Are Under Attack, We Must Fight to Preserve All Choices—Including the Choice to Parent (Rewire.News)

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation, Natasha Vianna wants to refocus advocates’ discussion on the future of reproductive rights. Vianna writes, “The resignation of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has caused many advocates to worry about what this could mean for the future of reproductive rights. Tweets and articles have advised stocking up on emergency contraception, obtaining intrauterine devices, and supporting abortion in the event of Roe v. Wade‘s overturn. Unfortunately, the responses to this moment of fear have largely focused on preventing and avoiding pregnancy at all costs. What happens to people who cannot access birth control or abortions? After they become pregnant and parents, do we forget about them? When we face these kinds of attacks, we must also talk about which supports, resources, and rights will need to be safeguarded for parents and their children—particularly those who already experience multiple forms of oppression.” Read more.


(Nina Robinson/The Verbatim Industry/Getty Images)

US: LGBT People Face Healthcare Barriers (Human Rights Watch)

On July 23, 2018, Human Rights Watch, a fellow plaintiff in Woodhull’s lawsuit against FOSTA, released a 34-page report that details the many obstacles LGBTQ+ people face in obtaining healthcare. In a brief article summarizing said report, Human Rights Watch writes, “The Trump administration is considering regulatory changes that would worsen barriers many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States face in obtaining health care [...] The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should reconsider those changes, which would leave LGBT people more vulnerable to discrimination. The 34-page report, “‘You Don’t Want Second Best’: Anti-LGBT Discrimination in US Health Care,” documents some of the obstacles that LGBT people face when seeking mental and physical healthcare services. Many LGBT people are unable to find services in their area, encounter discrimination or refusals of service in healthcare settings, or delay or forego care because of concerns of mistreatment.” Read more. (A first-hand account of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and bigotry found here. Take action here.)


(Getty Images)

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Polyamory Is More Difficult When You’re Disabled (Everyday Feminism)

As a self-described disabled and non-monogamous person, Katie Tastrom critiques the ableist and neurotypical presumptions of mainstream polyamory discourse. Tastrom writes, “Mainstream polyamory discourse generally presumes abledness and neurotypicality. There are no guidelines for how to navigate having severely limited energy and multiple partners, or how anxiety may affect jealousy and fear, or the difficulty of getting new partners up to speed on your access needs. What people in these communities need to know is that disability can complicate and enhance polyamory in many unique ways. It’s fascinating to figure out what can work best at any given time.” Read more.




Getting ‘Consent’ for Sex Is Too Low a Bar (The New York Times)

Recognizing that consent has long been discussed within an overwhelmingly legal framework, Lisa Damour wants to expand conceptualizations of consent beyond legality, beginning with a simple question: “What if we advised young people to check for nothing less than enthusiastic agreement from their sexual partners?” Damour writes, “When adults talk to young people about sex, the standard speech includes the warning that they must obtain consent before stepping up intimacy to the next level. Here’s the problem: guidance that centers on the term “consent” suggests that a legal standard for permissible sexual interactions is also a decent or desirable one. Which it isn’t.” Read more.


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