Interview with Susan Wright, Founder of a National Advocacy Organization for Kinksters
I'd been following Susan Wright, the founder of National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, for a while. I watched her interview on Huffington Post Live after a well-known Canadian radio personality used BDSM as a legal defense for abuse and got smacked down in court.
I had also been a member of NCSF for years. As a teacher, there was always a distinct possibility that if my private life met the ears and eyes of my administration, I would be fired. It wouldn't have mattered one bit that I was an award winning teacher with a mountain of statistical data to prove my students' success. Or that I couldn't walk down the hall without giving a dozen high-fives and waist-high hugs to my students. I didn't feel safe enough to come out as pansexual, or polyamorous, let alone as a lifestyle Kinkster deeply grounded in the local Kink community. I needed an organization that would stand behind me should I ever have to fight for my ability to provide a living for myself and my child.
I turned to NCSF for that shield against discrimination. I used the Kink-Aware Professionals list maintained on the site to locate attorneys and medical professionals to add to my armor. I studied consent laws, and legal cases concerning consensual sadomasochism like the People vs. Jovanovic, and the misuse of rape shield laws to discriminate against Kinksters. Over the years, partly out of geeked out curiosity, and partly to educate myself in case I was ever in danger of losing my livelihood because of my sexuality, I collected and studied hundreds of peer-reviewed articles from medical and legal journals. If anyone is able to look up my search history at the library at my university, they will surely find out I managed to Edward Snowden out the entire reference collection on sadomasochism.
When I was scheduled to interview Susan Wright, I was in New York filming protesters through rain soaked streets during the Black Lives Matter movement. I was on fire for social justice, and feeling at peace with my place as an Outsider on the inside track. But even with bravado in full bloom, I was nervous about speaking with Susan. I shouldn't have been. Susan is someone I would have mimosas with at Sunday brunch. It was thrilling to be able to ask her questions about who Kinksters are, the discrimination they face, and how legal and medical communities are becoming aware of Kink as a sexual orientation.
Her authority as an advocate for sexual freedom comes from living nearly 20 years as a writer, speaker, sex educator, and Kinkster. She has skin in the game. It's a skin she's clearly comfortable being in. Through her work, thousands of others are learning to be safe and comfortable in theirs.