The government’s recent crackdown on websites containing BD/SM content is affecting more and more websites. The most recent news shows that U.S. Law Code 18/Section 2257 has now hit the BD/SM/leather community online. On Dec. 19, in response to 2257, tribe.net sent a letter to all its members stating that any tribe.net member can now flag as “offensive” any photo, event listing, discussion thread, or just mere words in a person’s profile, and that the content pointed out would later be deleted. This may seem ridiculous, but tribe.net is only responding to the U.S. government crackdown on any website that contains sexually explicit content. To read the actual law, US Code 18 Section 2257 go to: caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/ts_search.pl?title=18&sec=2257.
This law was originally created to crack down on child pornography. But the recent change in the law has set the government upon consenting adults. It is clear that the rightwing fundamentalists in America had to pick a new target, and the leather and kinky folk are it.
“The far right has lost the war against gays and lesbians. The new ‘beat ‘em up and feel righteous’ target is the SM community—WE ARE the new gays,” said Steve Sampson in his recent address at the Together in Leather Conference in Charlotte NC. “With current legislation, the possibility of a witch hunt designed to hurt and destroy SM websites and activities is very real.”
“Master Steve is correct, and it’s already happened,” said Slave Girl Debbie, PR Director of Southwest Leather Conference Outreach Coordinator, L.A; Leather Coalition Founder, L.A.; and Females United in Kink Program Coordinator. “The government is arresting and prosecuting owners of websites whose content includes BD/SM related pictures, and in some cases, BD/SM related words only.” She said that the erotic fiction website, Red Rose Stories, is facing obscenity charges after federal agents raided the owner’s home on Oct. 3, taking computer equipment and diskettes that contained all of their files and site information. In response, several website owners have decided to close down.
For instance, Dominatrix Midori has removed her website, BeautyBound.com, citing fear of obscenity prosecution. The owner of three SM websites, known as Grandpa DeSade, removed his websites from the Internet. Suicidegirls.com announced they are self-censoring their materials over concerns about a possible obscenity crackdown. The popular insex.com has left America, is being run in another country, and has taken down all prior content.
Slave girl Debbie noted that an extension was made last month, delaying enforcement of 2257, that some gay male cruising sites allege are threatening the use of nude photos—a staple of their popularity. “And now, with tribe.net changing what content they will allow, 2257 has reached our community’s informational and educational resource sites,” she said. She also noted that throughout all this 2257 craziness, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) has remained hard at work on obscenity cases that are before the United States district courts, appeal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his speech, Master Sampson continued, “But we do have a voice and a choice. Our way of life is being threatened and we have to act now to protect it.”
“This fight takes money and the time to take action is now,” said Slave Girl. “Please, I urge each and every one of us who is into BD/SM, kink, fetishes and/or the leather lifestyle to take the time to join the NCSF, either as individuals or groups.” Individual membership is $25 and for groups and organizations it is $100. More details can be found on the NCSF’s website at www.ncsfreedom.org.
“I do not work for the NCSF,” she said. “I am just a kinky leather slave girl who is appalled and disgusted with our government’s right-wing, closed-minded, prudish attitude towards consensual alternative sexual lifestyles.” She added, “Right now the government is only coming after our websites. What’s next? The closure of our BD/SM and leather yahoo groups? Our dungeon spaces? Our leather bars? Please, don’t buy into the saying ‘that would never happen in America.’ If we don’t stand up now, we will be putting out the red carpet for history to repeat itself. And let’s not fool ourselves. Our toes are already on that carpet. First it was adult porn producers. Then BD/SM porn sites. Then online erotica sites. Then Pro-Domme sites. Then gay dating sites. Now our online communities. What’s next?”