Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter

Wednesday October 17th, 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. This week, the newsletter covers the following topics:

  • An update on the status of our lawsuit fighting FOSTA;
  • 20 years following his murder, Matthew Shepard will be buried at the National Cathedral;
  • The fight to protect transgender rights in Massachusetts;
  • How you can help save Roe v. Wade and protect reproductive rights;
  • 2018's 'Rainbow Wave' of LGBTQ people running for office;
  • The queer Latinx woman revolutionizing comic book superheroes;
  • ​A Q&A with author Sandra Gail Lambert on disability and queerness.
A stamp sitting above the word it had printed on paper. The stamp reads

BREAKING: Woodhull Freedom Foundation Appeals FOSTA Ruling (Woodhull Freedom Foundation)

On October 9th, 2018 the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and its fellow plaintiffs filed an appeal of the US District Court’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit against FOSTA. The appeal comes just two weeks following U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s dismissal of Wooldhull vs. The United States in which he found the plaintiffs were not sufficiently impacted by the law to have the standing required to bring a legal challenge. Lawrence G. Walter’s, one of Woodhull’s lawyers, said of the appeal, “We believe that the Plaintiffs demonstrated standing to mount a pre-enforcement constitutional challenge to FOSTA, under the standards applicable in First Amendment cases. We remain optimistic about achieving the desired results in this case.” Read the full press release here. (To learn more about the case against FOSTA, click here).

A black and white photo of Matthew Shepard. He is standing to he right of the photo with a wool sweater on. He has a shaggy blonde haircut and a soft smile

(Courtesy of the Matthew Shepard Foundation)

Matthew Shepard Will Be Buried Alongside Heads of State at Washington National Cathedral (them.)

October 12th marked 20 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard, whose death after a horrific hate crime sparked outrage across the US. While his death has inspired action and policy to prevent hate crimes, it has also stirred up protests from groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. Matthew's parents' fear that his grave would be disturbed or destroyed prevented them from being finding a final resting place until now. Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard commented, "'We've given much thought to Matt's final resting place, and we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice, as Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming. For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt's story with the world. It's reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world.'" Read more.

A green protest sign that reads

(Boston Globe/Getty Images)

Massachusetts Must Vote Yes on Ballot Question 3 to Protect Transgender Rights (Teen Vogue)

Nicole Talbot, a 17 year-old transgender girl from Massachusetts and spokesperson for Yes on 3, explains the ramifications of a new ballot measure in her home state. The referendum asks voters if they agree with current protections for transgender people from discrimination in public places. The current protections were initially passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2016.  While not even old enough to vote in the upcoming election herself, Talbot urges voters, "I encourage Massachusetts voters to get the facts. Transgender people are people just trying to live their lives. When voters see Question 3 through this lens, the answer is simple: Yes to uphold the current law. Yes to ensure transgender people have the same protections as everyone else. Yes to set the example of equality for the rest of the nation." Read more. (To learn more about the Yes on 3 campaign, click here.)

A group of anti-Kavanaugh protesters with their hands up walking in front of the Supreme Court. The hands in the middle have the word

(Getty Images)

Here's How You Can Still Help Save Roe V. Wade (Marie Claire)

Following Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, many people are questioning the future of reproductive rights, and exhausted advocates are looking at the long road ahead of them. In her article for Marie Claire, Cady Drell writes, "There's plenty of reason to believe that reproductive choice in danger now that Kavanaugh's installment on the court creates a conservative majority. And while many pro-choice activists may understandably be very tired, the fight isn't over. There are some very real things you can do to protect reproductive choice, but you have to start now. Like, right now." Read more to find out how YOU can get involved.

A group of LGBTQ political candidates, there are 8 in total.

(Image via Facebook)

With Over 600 LGBTQ People Running for Office, 2018's 'Rainbow Wave' Bigger Than Estimated (Into)

According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, approximately 606 queer and trans people will have run for office across the US in 2018. Of those 606, about 380 will appear on ballots during the November 6th general election. In what the New York Times has dubbed the "Rainbow Wave," LGBTQ candidates are not only showing up in larger numbers, but are running for higher offices than in previous election years. Nico Lang explores the increase in candidates writing, "Queer and trans people have widely cited Donald Trump's election to the presidency as motivating their bid for office. Since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, critics say his administration has worked to unilaterally roll back LGBTQ rights. The president has attempted to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military, rescinded protections for trans students, and allowed health care workers to cite moral objections to refuse care to LGBTQ patients." Read more.

Gabby Rivera, a latinx queer woman laughs towards the camera. She is wearing a red baseball cap backwards, black glasses, and a black graphic t-shirt

(Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

How Gabby Rivera Is Revolutionizing Pop-lit's Depiction Of The Comic-book Hero (Bates)

Following an appearance at Bates College, student Alex Collins dives into the impact that Gabby Rivera, a queer Latinx woman, has on what it means to be a hero. Rivera's talk, which focused on "Radical Creativity and Queer Latinx Joy" discussed her comic book hero, America Chavez, Marvel's first queer Latinx superhero. Drawing on experiences from her own life and culture, Rivera blends her stories with the idea of radical softness. Collins writes, "By writing about kindness, strength, family and love, Rivera embraced this softness of language, using it to create a world where people of different backgrounds speak to each other without hate. She uses softness to re-establish empathy and redefine what it means to be a hero." Read more.

A portrait of Sandra Gail Lambert sitting in a wheelchair. She has grey hair, is wearing dark glasses, and a red pashmina scarf

(Image courtesy University of Nebraska Press)

Q&A: Sandra Gail Lambert reflects on interplay of disability, queerness and the natural world in "A Certain Loneliness" (ArtsATL)

Author Sandra Gail Lambert sits down with ArtsATL to discuss her new memoir, A certain Loneliness which explores the intersections of disability, sexuality, and their relationship to the body. Lambert, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, reflects on how her disability plays into her lesbian-feminist activism, physical and academic pursuits. Interviewer Nina Burris begins her introduction of Lambert, "She writes with particular attention to the workings of the body, describing her daily life, travels and outdoor explorations as a person with a physical disability. Lambert's discussions of the body complement and inform her commentary on desire and sexuality. 'My sexual self is not dependent on an outside gaze,' Lambert writes. 'I get to inhabit my body as I please.'" Read more.


We're getting ready for #GivingTuesday on November 27th! Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for some exciting announcements.

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