Sexual Outlaws or Intentional Families?

(También en español) We are really looking forward to hearing from Family Law Attorney Diana Adams this weekend at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance’s Sexual Freedom Summit (Silver Spring, MD, September 21-23). Her workshop, “21st Century Families: Cultural and Legal Shifts toward Family Freedoms,” will chart the decline of heterosexual monogamous nuclear families, once in the majority, to today’s new structures and expanding options that are meeting the needs of modern society, and growing steadily in popularity, more apparent in the media than ever before.

Families of all description, co-parenting groups of more than 2, non-marital families, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) parents and families, grandparents raising grandkids, polyamorous families, and kink families have all turned to Diana to validate their alternative or “intentional” family by helping them obtain the legal, civil, and social benefits everyone deserves.

In talking to Diana earlier this week, it quickly became apparent that her devotion to her work is deeply rooted in the spiritual journey she began as a child, a search for social justice beginning in her conservative Christian family and church that unfortunately didn’t offer her answers to her probing questions about the guilt and shame built into practically every facet of life. Once becoming a youth minister to help her church be welcoming to LGBT congregants, Diana has carried this passion forward into her work today: helping to enfranchise intentional families within the broader society and legal system. From her website, Feminist Outlaw, or representing Open Love NY, to her work as a legal activist, sex educator, and practicing attorney, Diana has become a sought-after lecturer and media spokesperson, and, for sure, a hero to many of us.

“Any family that is systematically excluded from mainstream life, and unfairly denied legal and social benefits that traditional families take for granted, deserves a legal advocate,” Diana submits. She is perhaps more well suited to this task than some, since Diana is herself a member of a polyamorous family and household.

Diana, who is a member of Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance’s Board of Directors, will be on hand all weekend to answer your questions. I am hoping to take away some of the themes and messages of this work, the key issues at stake, and how grassroots activists can organize to support this diverse community. “Anyone in an intentional family,” Diana said reflecting on the people she has worked with, “has common ground with every other economic and social justice advocate. We need to build allies to defend our right to create families of our choosing.”

When asked recently if she had a special message to all sexual freedom activists worldwide, Diana said, “Remember that a threat to the sexual freedom rights of any individual is a threat to us all,” pointing out the urgency and relevancy of our task. Diana says we are doing the right thing if we are concentrating on organizing the sexual freedom movement by engaging every type of activist that shares common ground with us, such as those fighting for women’s rights, including reproductive rights, and LGBT rights. “Wherever the sovereignty of our own bodies is under assault, we need to be there for each other, draw strength from each other, and work together for a better world. The rightwing is fiercely organized to wage war on sex, and we need to be organized to defend our rights to pleasure and relationship.”

The Sexual Freedom Summit takes place annually in honor of radical suffragette and sexual freedom pioneer Victoria Woodhull (b. September 23, 1838), and attracts hundreds of sexual freedom scholars, educators, and activists for presentations, workshops, social events, and awards (the “Vicki”) honoring those that have made a difference.

If you want to find out more about the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance and their views on sexual health education and other key issues of sexual freedom, such as sex work and reproductive justice, you can visit their website. Also, you can still register to attend Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit (September 21-23), where Alison Gardner and Dan Massey, VenusPlusX’s founders who work closely throughout the year with Woodhull as members of its Advisory Council, will also be presenting their workshop session, “Sacred Sexuality and Erotic Communion, the Human Experience.”