The Batman of Obscenity

Myles Jackman, aka Obscenity Lawyer, is one of the most important people fighting for your rights as a consenting adult right now, whether you realise it or not.

“My fight is broadly against the forces which wish to constrain human sexuality,” said Jackman in a recent Guardian Long Read piece by Edward Docx. “I’ve always said that the BDSM community is about 20 years behind the LGBTQ community in terms of rights, recognition and visibility.”

Whatever your own sexual/lifestyle preferences or kinks, you may have heard about the “porn filter” – a misnomer, as it’s far more than just adult content being censored. You may also have heard about the CJIA of 2008, criminalising the possession of BDSM images involving consenting adults. As a sexual minority, those in the kink community have long been persecuted by the media, legal system and medical establishment.

Gradually, these things are changing, but it takes people like Myles Jackman to make that happen. Here is why he is now crowdfunding his work:

“1) To provide legal advice and representation for members of sexual minorities and to promote freedom of expression and privacy, for all consenting adults.

2) To campaign and advocate in public for the rights and recognition of the BDSM, LGBTQ, Adult Industry and Sex-Work communities.

3) To lobby, campaign and make legal challenges to the UK’s obscenity laws including the Obscene Publications Act and the Extreme Pornography laws.

4) To lobby, campaign and make legal challenges to the UK’s sex-work laws, working towards the goal of complete decriminalisation.

5) To spread this message of acceptance through mainstream and social media, through journalism, blogging, commenting and appearing in media outlets; as well as by providing free lectures to students, campaigns, organisations and individuals; and free legal advice clinics.”

The vast majority of his work is pro-bono. Support him at his Patreon page. It’s important for all of us, kinky or otherwise.

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Punk

Here are a few choice cutlets from a beautiful article at AnotherMag.com on punks, feminism and sexuality:

“…Punk was a time of Poly Styrene, The Slits, Palmolive, Siouxsie Sioux. It was a time during which women were reclaiming their identity and sexuality from that of the swinging sixties and, as Ari Up explains in Typical Girls?, “Punk really started with equality of girls. There’s a whole culture – the first looks of so-called punk, so many girls contributed to that. And of course Vivienne Westwood, there was a window for female expression in punk when it started.” Aggressively dismantling stereotypes around feminine docility, women in punk wore fishnets, bared their breasts and wrapped themselves in leather not to appeal to a patriarchal notion of sexuality but to reclaim it…

As Patti Smith once said, “As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag” – and deconstructing binary gender roles and liberating sartorial decisionmaking from them was a key part of punk’s aesthetic. Women were free to adopt traditionally masculine roles on stage, in their lives and within their wardrobes; men were free to apply as much lipstick as they pleased and everyone looked far cooler for it. Putting into practice the tenets that later became the foundations of third wave feminism, punk promoted anarchy within the gender spectrum – both sartorially and politically – and lay the groundwork for the revolutionary feminism to follow…

“Oh Bondage Up Yours!” screamed Poly Styrene – and, while punk promoted freedom from the bondage of capitalism, it embraced it within its wardrobe. Worn for a combination of shock value and as a parodic commentary on the masochism of consumer culture, it confronted both prudishness and political apathy and has remained an emblem reappropriated by anyone from Rihanna to Beyonce looking to assert an aesthetic cool…”

Full article and more pictures by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon here.

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Patients

Below is part of a long and interesting article from Quartz, which is well worth a read – “50 SHADES OF CARE, Why doctors need to pay more attention to their kinky patients,” by Christy Duan, Medical student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

‘…I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between a consensual, negotiated kink relationship and abuse. It’s abuse if there is no explicit consent, which includes situations where someone is afraid to impose limits because of potential consequences.

“If you’ve had no reason to familiarize yourself with kink…it can be very easy for healthcare providers to assume that they know what’s going on with a patient when they may have no idea,” Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco-based psychologist in private practice who works with kink-oriented clients, told Quartz. “Clinicians can do a great deal of harm if they’re misinformed.”

As mandatory reporters, healthcare providers are responsible for reporting injuries caused by specific weapons, such as guns and knives. They must also report suspected abuse of vulnerable patients, which can include children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. However, in the US laws differ from state to state, and can be difficult to interpret.

In my training, I learned that healthcare providers are not required to report suspected abuse between adults in most states. But many “doctors have no idea what the law is. They just know that they’re supposed to report violence,” Waldura said. “We have very little training in it. So what happens is a fear response.”

Despite conferring with lawyers and risk management about this issue, Waldura said that no one has a definitive answer.

Ham Mason, a queer submissive activist and person of color who has been practicing kink for 20 years, said that there also needs to be more awareness of diversity in the community.

“When you think about the face of BDSM, it’s usually either a gay man or straight people and usually the face is white,” she told Quartz. Because of this stereotype, healthcare providers may assume that people of color aren’t kinksters and think that disclosures of kink activity may be a “cover story” for abuse, Mason said. “It could be a matter of having your children taken away or not.”

Her concerns are not unfounded. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Incident Reporting and Response said it received 178 requests for legal assistance from kink-oriented clients in 2014. These requests involved 73 criminal, 33 child custody, and 15 discrimination issues.

In addition to becoming more kink aware, providers should “assume the potential for abuse exists in all patients” regardless of their social identity or sexual behavior, and screen appropriately, said Lewis.

Kolmes has worked with submissive/bottom clients who have been in abusive kinky relationships and struggle with whether it was the play or partner that was bad for them. Dominant/top clients also have concerns about crossing boundaries and being a good partner, Kolmes said. Despite these concerns, she doesn’t recommend avoiding kink altogether.

“We see a lot of clients who have been abused or sexually assaulted in the past. We don’t tell them to avoid love and romance and sexual relationships. We work with them on actually figuring out what their boundaries are, helping them stay present and not dissociate, and to learn how to have healthy, loving relationships,” Kolmes said. “Telling someone to avoid kink would be like telling a non-kinky person to avoid love and sex…’

Full article here.

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