CAAN condemns BBFC irresponsibility over 50 Shades

The British Board of Film Classification was today condemned as irresponsible, ill-informed and hypocritical for apparently endorsing the use of cable ties as a relatively harmless form of bdsm play. Experienced practitioners hit back, claiming cable ties were inherently dangerous and expressing disbelief that the BBFC, which has recently justified censoring bdsm film content on grounds of potential harm, should have been so permissive in respect of a running joke about cable ties in 50 Shades of Grey, on general release since Friday.

Today, Dennis Queen, co-convenor of Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) wrote to the BBFC setting out these concerns in detail, and offering to provide the BBFC with advice on safe bdsm practices for the future.

She explained: “I am extremely worried to hear that we’re seeing a notable increase in emergencies due to ideas from 50 shades of Grey being tried out.

“The BBFC view of what is safe is irresponsible and ill-informed. Apparently they consider ‘soft’ what many of us who are experienced in consensual bdsm would call dangerous and abusive. At the same time, it bans material which it sees as more serious, but which is actually safer. We urgently need to challenge this problem before someone is killed.

“We need people to know cable ties can be dangerous, and people are getting hurt. if you care for your partner, please don’t use cable ties, or anything else which can tighten and injure them. Never tie anyone up in something you can’t instantly get them out of in an emergency, and keep safety scissors handy.

“We also cannot emphasise enough that the basis of the relationship in this story is abusive and anyone who attempts to stalk you, or control your life in the way this particular movie explores, should be avoided. We reiterate Women’s Aid’s call to get help now if you are in a relationship like this.

“There is a thriving BDSM community in this country, so if you fantasise about power games, talk to us for more information about how to play more safely and plan your fun, consensually, as equals.”

Commenting on their classification, the BBFC said: “FIFTY SHADES OF GREY only features activities at the milder end of the BDSM spectrum and contains nothing that is likely to present any novel ideas or potential dangers to adults. As such there was nothing to stop the film being classified 18.”

In respect of their decision to do nothing in respect of the promotion of cable ties, they added: “the BBFC considers such matters in their overall context, include the amount of detail or otherwise in any depiction or reference: in the context of this particular work we did not consider it either justified or proportionate to make an intervention at the adult level.”

When asked what advice they had taken on the matter from experienced bdsm practitioners, they explained that they have long-standing contact with BDSM practitioners – though it is not known what advice, if any, was given in this instance.

Charlotte Rose, who recently organised a protest outside parliament at the extension of BBFC classification to online material, said: “The BBFC approach on this issue is both dangerous and hypocritical.

“The film promotes cable ties for bondage play, while simultaneously failing to give the viewer any education into the very real dangers involved. Yet in discussion of recent legislation giving to ATVOD greater powers to ban dvd’s not passed for viewing by the BBFC, their excuse for much of their censorship activity is that it is necessary in order to protect individuals from potential harm.”

Note to editors:
1. Further protests, in Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton have been planned following the original parliamentary protest in December 2014. The next protest will take place in Manchester on 1 March.
2. CAAN is seriously concerned about the impression given by 50 Shades of Grey that use of cable ties in bdsm is a safe or sensible activity. We would be more than happy to provide additional material, including the provision of articles and interviews, to underline the danger and to provide insight into safer bdsm practice
3. For further information on this release or matters contained in it, as well as a full copy of the letter sent to the BBFC by CAAN, please contact CAAN via

This post is hosted as a favour to Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) while their main site is being reworked.

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“If one child can be saved”: the censorship lobby finally loses the plot…

Yesterday was not a good day for the pro-censorship lobby. Still, there were moments and there were moments.

The moment when they finally lost the plot entirely and descended from any semblance of coherent argument into abject nonsense came on Channel 4 News last night, in a head to head between anti-censorship campaigner Pandora Blake and columnist and Christian, formerly associated with the Gay Cure organisation, True Freedom Trust, Anne Atkins.

The moment came at a point when it became clear that Atkins was not having the best of the argument. After protesting vigorously that she was being denied her say, she reached for the ultimate deterrent, in the eyes of the anti-porn lobby. Yep: Ms Atkins detonated the C-bomb! Continue reading

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Barbie squirts…

OK…nobody…just NOBODY…mention this to the BBFC or there’ll be hell to pay!

Image sourced from It is an amended version of the text on a real boxed version of Barbie, including a puppy (awww!) and a seahorse water squirter, originally stating "Barbie really squirts water"

Barbie lowers herself….

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Taming the beast: a new book on internet pron

Would you like to know:

Which bodily fluids Facebook allow you to view – and why you may view some fluids as cartoon but not as photo?

Where the Director of Public Prosecutions keeps his dirty postcard collection?

Which law was introduced to save us from “the horrors of sexual mutilation, multiple rape scenes, sheer blood lust and group lesbianism”?

How werewolves, vampires and zombies became persona non grata for the reading public?

Or would you just like to know why politicians always make a mess over internet porn? Continue reading

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For those not already aware of the fact, i am both supporter and one of the movers behind the Consenting Adult Action Network CAAN) – a movement based around the single simple proposition that if you’re an adult, then what you get up to in your bedroom is your own business, and mostly nothing to do with Government.

Over the last couple of years, CAAN has been more dormant than those of us who set it up would have liked – for all manner of messy personal reasons. That is no longer the case.

There is also a Twitter account which you are welcome to follow.

And if you want the latest bulletin, you can download it from here.

Oh…and if you would like to be added to our mailing list in order to receive the bulletin regularly in future, just drop us a line via

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Filter fail at O2

Ah well, just as i thought O2 had started to clean up their act as far as filtering, this episode, which, in a nutshell, illustrates just how difficult the addition of filters makes things.

Not – necessarily – because they get things wrong. But because the moment you start to filter, you need to put a whole support infrastructure around: and if you don’t get the latter right, chances are you are going to be making mistakes. Continue reading

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My Rex Harrison moment (with added porn filters)

Yes! Oh, yes! Oh, Yes!!! (Honest, we ARE talking “My Fair Lady” here, and not “When Harry met Sally”). But I do believe I’ve got it! By George, I’ve got it!

Finally, after putting the boot into the government again today on the abject muddy mess that is David Cameron’s input into the online porn debate, I can sort of see what they are on about: the outline of his great project. And once I’ve explained that, it will be time to unveil a project of my own. Continue reading

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Queer in Brighton: Life Stories, Histories and Differences (CFP)

Brighton & Sussex Sexualities Network Conference
18th September 2013, 10am-5.00pm

Co-Organisers: Brighton & Sussex Sexualities Network (BSSN), Queer in Brighton and Brighton Transformed

This conference seeks to work across activist/academic debates in order to develop understandings of LGBT and queer life stories, histories and differences in Brighton and beyond. It invites presentations, readings, workshops and other interventions that address questions such as:

– How is place important to queer politics and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans lives?
– What are queer life stories and queer his/her/hir-stories? How are these celebrated/contested?
– Who is left out of these stories?
– How can we tell our life stories and his/her/hir-stories?
– What does it mean to be/do/practice ‘queer’, ‘now’ and ‘then’?
– How do queer practices and understandings relate to embodied considerations,
such as those relating to health?
– What are the norms/canons of queer representation in Brighton and other Sussex heritage sites?
– Is a queer historiography needed to tell a queer history?
– What politics do these themes bring to the table?

These questions are deliberately broad in order to elicit a range of responses and you are invited to address the title of the conference in ways that exceed these inquiries. It is hoped that the questions spark discussions across sectors and artificial divides, including academic/activist, student/teacher, and other boundaries that can inhibit open dialogue and debate.

Please submit a proposal for contributions of around 200 words to by July 25th 2013.

Sessions will be organised to cross boundaries and sectors and presentation styles should be conscious of the varied audience.

As a conference that seeks to engage a range of communities the attendance fee is deliberately low, and all who attend will be charged. We have a limited number of volunteer roles, which will give individuals a free place at the conference.

Cost: £25 waged/£15 unwaged, concession. Cost includes coffee/tea and lunch.

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Call for Submissions for Transgender Studies Quarterly 2.1: Making Transgender Count

Transgender Studies Quarterly (TSQ)

This is a new journal, edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker to be published by Duke University Press. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ will be a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces. To learn more about the journal and see calls for papers for future special issues, visit

For information about subscriptions, visit

Call for Papers

As a relatively new social category, the very notion of a “transgender population” poses numerous intellectual, political, and technical challenges. Who gets to define what transgender is, or who is transgender? How are trans people counted-and by whom and for whom are they enumerated? Why is counting transgender members of a population seen as making that population’s government accountable to those individuals? What is at stake in “making transgender count”-and how might this process vary in different national, linguistic, or cultural contexts?

This issue of TSQ seeks to present a range of approaches to these challenges-everything from analyses that generate more effective and inclusive ways to measure and count gender identity and/or transgender persons, to critical perspectives on quantitative methodologies and the politics of what Ian Hacking has called “making up people.”

In many countries, large-scale national health surveys provide data that policy-makers rely on to monitor the health of the populations they oversee, and to make decisions about the allocation of resources to particular groups and regions-yet transgender people remain invisible in most of such data collection projects. The widespread deployment of gender as a binary category defined by the sex assigned at birth has made trans people invisible in government data collection.

Without the routine and standardized collection of information about transgender populations, some advocates contend, transgender people will not “count” when government agencies make decisions about the health, safety and public welfare of the population. But even as more agencies become more open to surveying transgender populations, experts and professionals are not yet of one mind as to what constitutes “best practices” for sampling methods that will accurately capture respondents’ gender identity/expression, and the diversity of transgender communities. In still other quarters, debates rage about the ethics of counting trans people in the first place.

TSQ invites proposals for scholarly essays that tackle transgender inclusion and/or gender identity/expression measurement and sampling methods in population studies, demography, epidemiology, and other social sciences. We also invite submissions that critically engage with the project of categorizing and counting “trans” populations.

Potential topics might include:

* best practices and strategies for transgender inclusion and sampling in quantitative research;

* critical reflections on past, current, and future data collection efforts;

* the potential effects of epidemiological research on health and other disparities in trans communities;

* who counts/gets counted and who does not: occlusions of disability, race, ethnicity, class, gender in quantitative research on trans communities;

* the tension between the contextually specific meaning of transgender identities and the generality and fixity that data collection requires of its constructs and social categories; *implications of linguistic, geographical, and cultural diversity in definitions of transgender and the limits of its applicability;

* critical engagements with of the biopolitics of enumerating the population.

Guest editors

The guest editors for this issue are Jody Herman (Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law), Emilia Lombardi (Baldwin Wallace University), Sari L. Reisner (Harvard School of Public Health), Ben Singer (Vanderbilt University), and Hale Thompson (University of Illinois at Chicago). Any questions should be sent to the guest editors at


Please send full length article submissions by December 31, 2013 to along with a brief bio including name, postal address, and any institutional affiliation. Illustrations, figures and tables should be included with the submission.

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Where are all the gay love songs?

OK: we all know there are songs out there that ARE gay, “really”. Works by k d lang and the Scissor Sisters spring to mind. But there is so much more that isn’t: that probably IS gay, because of who wrote it; or maybe was never meant to be taken as such, but has been taken up by the LGBT community because it says something that truly strikes a chord. “Defying Gravity”, regularly performed at Pride events, is one such.

That’s why Peterborough-based singer songwriter Jules Morgan is releasing two tracks this month in time for Valentine’s day. The first, “A love song” was released this weekend, and is unashamedly dedicated to Jo, with whom she has been together for nine years in total and civil spouse for four. The second – Lynton Road – is the first song she ever wrote, in 2005, and is due to be released officially for the first time on 14 February, throughout the course of Valentine’s Day.

Jules explained: “The official release date is 14 February. But the song is actually going to be released about a dozen times during the day, on local sites, as the dateline switches over from Wednesday night to Thursday morning.”

In doing this, Jules hopes that she will succeed in turning what is an essentially musical event into a political statement. She says: “I still remember what it was like coming out. Its never easy and for many young people, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it can be the loneliest time of their lives – made even more so by the fact that when they look around, nobody seems to be singing about what they are feeling.

“That’s why this is important. I’m not going to pretend that I’m up there with the superstars – but this is from the heart, in every sense of the word: and I hope that in some way, putting these songs out there will make a difference to someone.”

Jules plays her own works at open mike and local events in the East Midlands. She has previously played at Peterborough City Roots and battle of the bands for Peterborough, as well as live in London. She is hoping now to play a lot more, especially at festivals organised by and for the LGBT community.

Later in the year, she will be releasing a further song – “Out” – which focuses on coming out and the problems that gay people face in terms of being ostracised by their families.

The first of the songs above can be listened to now.

Jules may be contacted directly through

Oh…and here’s a tiny snippet of lyric from her first song:

…thank God for the Bill
That enabled us to
Enjoy the view
That a man and a woman
Take for granted these things
From this woman to this woman
It means everything

Contemporary? Or wot?


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