Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Top Stories This Week
1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. Education censorship;
3. Advocates making colleges safer;
4. Decriminalizing sex work in South Africa;
5. Criminalizing trans care for adults;
6. Fat sex; and
7. Guest Blog Post by Woodhull Ambassador Mark Kernes.
Wednesday, January 11, 2023 was a big day for Woodhull as we returned to court for the latest hearing in our lawsuit against the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). It was exciting to hear the case argued before the three judge panel of the DC Circuit Court, and to hear their reactions to the arguments presented by Bob Corn-Revere on behalf of our amazing legal team. No ruling yet, of course, but it’s another step forward on this journey we began in 2018.
A full audio recording of the program can be found here. The hearing was also covered by Politico, and you can read their article here. A photo of our superstar legal team & Woodhull staff is below. We want to thank our partners in this fight, Davis Wright Tremaine, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Walters Law Group & Stanford Cyber Policy Center.
While our lawyers were battling it out in the courtroom, our friends at HIPS & The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center were listening along at a listening party in Washington, DC. Afterwards, they hosted a conversation with a stellar panel of amazing local sex worker organizers and Emma Llanso, Director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology. The panel addressed the harms that FOSTA has caused for sex workers. You can watch a recording of that panel here. ASL is provided.
Announcing our first program of 2023: Free Speech and Expression in 2023: What Can We Expect
The First Amendment is supposed to protect the speech of Americans from government interference, and has long been upheld as the cornerstone of our democracy. However, recent history has shown us that free speech is under attack in America. From rampant book bans to legislation that seeks to censor internet expression, the First Amendment is under attack in America. Join First Amendment experts and anti-Censorship advocates for a conversation about the free speech challenges we see on the horizon in 2023. Register here for this free program! ASL will be provided.
The US is inspiring education censorship elsewhere (Al Jazeera)
Nadine Farid Johnson writes about the pervasiveness of education censorship: “While demands to ban books in schools in the US are not new, over the last year and a half, book banning has erupted into a national movement. Coordinated and highly organised activist groups have transformed school board meetings into political battlegrounds, threatening educators and undermining students’ freedom to learn. These efforts to censor books are an affront to the core principles of free expression and open inquiry that US democracy swears by. But equally worrying is the fact that this pattern of attacks on public education in the US appears to be inspiring similar efforts in other countries, even though such censorship campaigns haven’t had as much success there yet.” Read more.
Meet the Advocates Making Colleges Safer After the Trump Era (Rewire News Group)
Finley Muratova highlights advocates dedicated to making colleges safer: “Despite being out of office for more than two years, DeVos’ legacy has hung like a storm cloud over the heads of Title IX advocates and survivors alike. SafeBAE, a peer-to-peer sexual violence prevention nonprofit, spent the last two years issuing comments to the education department criticizing the Trump-era rules. This was strategic: The department had a policy of reading every single submission prior to enforcing any new rule. [...] Lillian Frame, a SafeBAE board member, said: ‘They would have to wait a little bit longer to read through them all, and it meant winning one more day and ‘one more day’ meant one more day of survivors having those rights.’” Read more.
South African Leadership Makes Moves to Decriminalize Sex Work (Human Rights Watch)
Skye Wheeler writes about decriminalizing sex work in South Africa: “The South African government has finally moved to decriminalize sex work as part of its efforts to combat increased reports of abuse against women, including gender based violence against sex workers. The step by South Africa’s cabinet to publish and seek public comment on a bill that would end criminalization of sex work brings achievement of a decades-long goal of South African sex worker rights groups like SWEAT, Sisonke, and the Asijiki coalition into view.” Read more.
A New Oklahoma Bill Will Attempt to Criminalize Trans Care for Adults (them.)
Samantha Riedel covers a new bill that attempts to criminalize trans care for adults: “SB 129, a new bill introduced by Oklahoma state senator David Bullard on Wednesday, would prohibit medical professionals in the state from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under 26 years old. The bill also prohibits providers or hospitals who provide such care from receiving government funding, and allows individuals to pursue legal action up to 40 years after receiving gender-affirming care — a clause designed to encourage people who regret transitioning, like new right-wing darling Chloe Cole, to go after doctors who Republicans like Bullard claim are ‘mutilating’ other kids.” Read more.
Fat Sex: Best Positions, Props, Preparation and Other Tips (Teen Vogue)
Elle Chase shares tips for great fat sex: “How do fat people have sex? Just like everyone else, of course! Fat sex, skinny sex, or any sex in between, a sexual journey is all about what feels right, no matter what size you are. When you’re ready to hop in bed with a consenting partner (or if you’re looking for a self-love session) we want you to feel prepared and confident.” Read more.
Guest Blog Post by Woodhull Ambassador (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog)
Mark Kernes writes about the war on sex: “Have you ever wondered why so many people are so afraid of sex and almost anything even remotely sexual? (If you’re reading a Woodhull blog, you probably have.) After all, sex is enjoyable if done properly (that is, the way both (all?) partners agree it should be done), but American society, not to mention various societies around the world, have placed some truly insane restrictions on sexual acts.”
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.
The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is a non-profit organization recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Our federal identification number is 11-3681116.
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