Sep 192012
 

The National Coalition on Sexual Freedom is running a survey on consent in BDSM, and they plan on closing it in two weeks. I think this is a worthy cause towards gathering data on an important issue.

I have some quibbles with the design of the survey, as some of the questions about personal rights extend well beyond the realms of BDSM. For example, one involves how much you believe a person can consent to being killed, which is far more likely to come up in the context of debilitating illness than anything resembling BDSM.

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Jul 292012
 

While the fifteen-minutes of this story have apparently passed, I want to bring up an editorial post on Canadian alternative news site Rabble.ca about the RCMP case: Private fantasy, public reality: The RCMP, BDSM and violence against women, by Meghan Murphy.

How could a man who so clearly enjoys degrading women fairly assess a case that is explicitly about violence against women, about dehumanizing women, and that played out as it did (in that the disappearances of women from the Downtown Eastside were ignored by the police for years) because the women who were going missing were viewed as worthless?

Continue reading »

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Jun 042012
 

Salon.com has a post on what the role of Fetlife should be in preventing or controlling abuse in the Scene.

Earlier this year, I reported on recent attempts to raise awareness about what some say is widespread abuse within the BDSM community and a tendency to either ignore it or cover it up. As I said at the time, “We’re talking about real abuse here, not the ‘consensual non-consent’ that the scene is built around.” That means safe words being maligned or ignored, and boundaries being crossed. In the months since, the conversation has only gotten louder; and following the social networking site’s removal of posts that identify alleged abusers — most often by their Fetlife moniker only — a petition was started to remove a clause from the site’s Terms of Use requiring users to pledge to not “make criminal accusations against another member in a public forum.” Currently, the proposal has 864 “spanks” (the site’s equivalent of “yes” votes).

Continue reading »

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Mar 022012
 

Betty Page holding whip in magazine advertisment

Vintage Sleaze has a fun tidbit of kink history. Sam Menning, an actor who also worked as a photographer, took fetish pics, including the great Betty Page.

Menning eventually became the “house” photographer of sorts for Gargoyle, a distributor of 4 x 5 nude photos with a fetish bent. Mind you, they were 1950′s photos of a fetish bent…which meant play-acting with rather dim and confused models being asked to look tough…dramatic to this day, but little more than lingerie ads with the models in black. Not MY cup of tea, but someone’s.

Meanwhile, Senator Estes Kefauver was gunning for porn publisher Samuel Roth, particularly for the fetish/kink pictures Kefauver thought were published by Roth.

It turns out that Kefauver and his puritan goons had confused Sam Menning, photographer for Gargoyle Sales Corp, with Samuel Roth, publisher of Gargoyle Books. This mistake wasn’t revealed until Kefauver had Roth on the stand testifying.

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May 172011
 

Bountiful BC is a community of about 1000 people near Creston BC, home to a Mormon splinter group that practices polygyny, one man with multiple wives. The shortage of women has driven the age of marriage and child birth down to the early teens, and there’s been reports of young women being moved across the border to similar communities in the US. There are also problems stemming from a lack of places for younger men in this community.

The BC Attorney General hasn’t been able to prosecute the community’s leaders, because of claims of religious freedom and the difficulty of getting people in a tight-knit community to come forward and testify. The AG has turned to an old, rarely used law, Section 293 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes any form of polygamy or any kind of conjugal union with more than one person. It hasn’t been used in decades, when it was used against First Nations.

Right now, the BC Supreme Court is conducing a reference to determine the constitutionality of S.293. Critics say that the law is overly broad and vague, and intrudes on people’s personal lives, and could apply to people who practise polyamory or even live together as roommates. Supporters say the law can be “read down” to apply only to cases where exploitation is clear.

Apart from the many kinky people who are also poly, this case is relevant to kinky people in general.

Continue reading »

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Mar 272011
 

Apparently, you can get arrested for writing slash in China.

Police in central China have arrested 32 young women, including a 17-year-old, who allegedly wrote gay fiction for a pornographic site.

According to the Shanghai Daily, police said the site provided nearly 80,000 gay stories to a database of 600,000 registered members.

Most writers said they were paid less than 100 yuan (US$15.23) for each short fiction and some hadn’t received money yet. One writer, Long Juan, said she took the job out of “curiosity” because gay novels were quite popular online.

I assume this was some kind of pay-to-download business. Were there any men involved in this operation, or was it a by-women, for-women operation? Thus is “gay” an apt description, or is more like slash or yaoi?

From PinkPaper.com, via Rachel Kramer Bussel

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Jan 112011
 

Pandora Blake’s LJ has a list of cases of people prosecuted over the UK’s new “extreme pornography” law.

This suggests that our fears about the consequences of the extreme porn legislation are being borne out. It’s no longer about protecting the people involved in making the images, but about policing our fantasies. Never mind that no causal connection can be demonstrated between viewing pornography and sexual violent crime (in fact it’s arguable that access to pornography helps prevent violent crime by giving people with socially ‘unacceptable’ desires an outlet for their fantasies), nor that it is perfectly possible to create ethical images of violent acts using consenting actors. Under this way of thinking, even illustrations and cartoons are too dangerous. This isn’t about regulating the porn industry, it’s about personal taste masquerading as morality. The prosecution in this case explicitly uses the Victorian concept of the “decency of society” as an excuse for censorship.

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Dec 082010
 

The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit has made a decision about the Glenn Marcus case:

For the reasons set forth below, we affirm Marcus’s forced labor conviction and vacate his sex trafficking conviction. The case is remanded to the district court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Most of the decision involves various legal points that I only vaguely follow (the closest I’ve ever had to legal training is watching lots of Law & Order reruns), but I noted that the court says on several occasions that Marcus’ relationship with Jodi “became nonconsensual”, meaning that it was consensual at some point. This means that the court is judging the Marcus-Jodi relationship in terms of the consent or lack thereof between them, rather than looking at the particular activities they performed.

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Mar 192010
 

Via Clarisse Thorn’s blog, the murder (manslaughter, according to the courts) of Steven Morris by his submissive’s estranged husband, John R. Moore III.

Thorn’s analysis of this case suggests that this is a variation of the gay panic defense, which would explain why Moore got manslaughter instead of homicide. Thus, when the media and the general public look at this tragic affair, they look for a person with whom to identify. Morris? Nope, he’s an adulterer and a BDSM dominant; doesn’t make a good victim, and he’s dead besides. Laurie, Moore’s wife and Morris’ lover? Nope, she’s an adulterer and a BDSM who met Morris via collarme.com; must be either crazy or a slut, and therefore not a good victim either. That leaves Moore, even though he shot a guy, violating his wife’s protection order in the process. He’ll have to do for the audience’s sympathy. There’s a marked failure of empathy in the coverage, without any quotes from Laurie Morris, who’s been through a horrible experience even before the shooting. (Presumably there’s a reason she had protection order against her husband.)

As a side note, I notice that Moore is a Blackwater defense contractor who had spent time in Afghanistan. This dovetails with the news item that David Grisham, the leader of the Texan Christian organization Repent Amarillo, is an armed security guard at Pantex, a company that works with nuclear material disposals and high explosives. Grisham’s organization drove the Route 66 swinger club (with some BDSM elements) out of business, by noting down license plates in an adjacent parking lot to the club and notifying family members and employers.

These are the men we should fear: not the Islamic terrorist, not the big black guy on the street. Fear the middle class white guy with the military-industrial complex job who keeps his gun and his Bible in the same bedside drawer, who loses it when his control over the world begins to crumble, when anything disrupts his view of how the family should be. Both Moore and Grisham reacted violently to perceived threats against the family and sexual normality. There’s only going to be more of that in the future: more visible gays, poly people, kinky people, trans people. How will men like Moore and Grisham react?

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