Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Top Stories This Week
1. What’s happening at Woodhull;
2. An interview with the President of the American Library Association;
3. Banning sex workers from Airbnb;
4. Defending libraries from far-right censorship;
5. Honoring Daniel Davis Aston, a Club Q victim, by politicizing his death;
6. How “religious liberty” threatens HIV prevention and reproductive justice; and
7. Tess’ take on the Respect for Marriage Act.
Thank you to everyone who made an end of year donation to support our work fighting for the fundamental human right to sexual freedom. While we did not meet our goal, we are thankful to every of one of you who chose to make a donation to our cause.
Njoy has graciously agreed to donate the full $25,000 to us despite not meeting our goal. We are committed to continuing to fight for human rights and sexual freedom in 2023.
Stay tuned to our newsletter and social media channels for information on what we are up to.
Happy New Year! We hope that you all had a restful and happy holiday season! Woodhull is starting 2023 by heading back to court in our SESTA/FOSTA lawsuit, Woodhull v. The United States of America.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at HIPS & The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center to host a listening party for the hearing. This event is free and will also feature legal experts talking about FOSTA and a sex worker sharing their lived experience working under FOSTA. Stay tuned for more updates about the hearing. We hope to see you at the Eaton Center on January 11!
American Library Association President: Librarians Are Facing Harassment (Teen Vogue)
Mary Retta interviews American Library Association President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada about book bans: “The main consequence is that our students, our children, our patrons, and adults don’t have access to certain ideas, or to ideologies that will help them create more empathy and understanding for one another even if we don’t come from similar backgrounds. There are consequences for library workers as well, as we’re seeing mounting legislation against us. There is a bill in the state of Oklahoma that says a library worker can be fined merely for providing access to information on abortion. Librarians are being doxxed and many of them are facing harassment that they are too afraid to speak out about and report.” Read more.
Sex Workers Have Been Banned From Airbnb for Years. Will You Be Next? (The Nation)
Olivia Snow covers how sex workers have been banned from Airbnb: “Within the sex work community, Airbnb is notorious for its aggressive surveillance practices and draconian banning policies. Officially, the platform’s policies prohibit ‘in-call commercial sex work’ and ‘procuring sex work,’ as well as ‘commercial pornography’—but there’s nothing barring people who sell (or buy) sex from using the service to take a vacation. [...] That said, whorephobia—the systemic oppression of sex workers that is so ubiquitous its codification in something like a terms-of-service policy is redundant—is most acutely felt as the denial to sex workers of access to resources.” Read more.
Louisiana Communities Organize to Defend Libraries From Far Right Censorship (Truthout)
Emily Drabinski writes about communities organizing to defend libraries: “Lynette Mejia, a self-described ‘homeschool parent,’ has raised three children in the Lafayette Public Library System in Louisiana. Until early 2021, “I was the average person sitting around the table complaining about politics,” Mejia said. Then Mejia discovered something that troubled her: The Lafayette Board of Control, which governs the public library system in Lafayette, had been stacked with ‘extremely far right activist members’ who were laser-focused on dismantling library services for the broader community.” Read more.
Politicize Club Q. It’s What Daniel Davis Aston Would Have Wanted (them.)
Jude Ruth Hausen asks that we honor Daniel Davis Aston by politicizing his death: “On November 19, International Trans Day of Remembrance, a gunman entered Club Q and opened fire; Daniel was among the five victims of the shooting. While mainstream media sources have used cropped, low-resolution family photos to commemorate him, queer sources have spread the news of his death by using the photo of him with his freshly healed top surgery scars, his eyes closed, a hand laid on his abdomen reverently. It’s what he would want. The image expresses something that many of the well-intentioned news stories and tweets of sympathy miss: Daniel’s radical trans pride, his refusal to shrink himself, and his activist politics.”
How ‘Religious Liberty’ Threatens HIV Prevention and Reproductive Justice (Rewire News Group)
Thalia Charles explains how “religious liberty” threatens HIV prevention and reproductive justice: “Jonathan Mitchell, the architect of Texas SB 8, represents two Christian businesses that oppose the Affordable Care Act’s preventive services provision, which requires insurance providers to include PrEP in their health-care plans. The plaintiffs in Braidwood Management v. Becerra allege that ‘the PrEP mandate forces religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior,’ which they argue violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Read more.
Tess’ Take: The Respect for Marriage Act (Woodhull’s Sex & Politics Blog)
Tess Joseph shares her take on the Respect for Marriage Act: “The Act in part targets the loophole found in a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act which ‘allowed individual states to decide if they would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.’ Under the Act, all states are required to recognize marriages of interracial and LGBTQIA+ couples as legal. However, the Act does not codify the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision that granted LGBTQ+ couples the right to marry; should Obergefell be overruled, states aren’t required under the Act to preserve that right to marry.” Read more.
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.
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