banner-728x90

July 31, 2012

IconQueer sex criminalised again? Fisting pornography comes under fire from the ‘extreme porn’ laws

 

via http://parksdunlap.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/why-consent-needs-to-be-more-than-sexy/

 

This week, fisting is back in the news, with a man on trial under the recent extreme pornography laws for receiving an email containing images of fisting.

The defendant, barrister Simon Walsh, has been charged with the possession of extreme pornographic images, under section 63 of the recent Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. The Act defines ‘extreme’ as “grossly offensive,disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character”, and elaborates with: showing “an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals”. The prosecution’s case now rests on being able to prove that fisting (which is legal to perform) is an activity that is likely to result in serious injury.

Since being charged, the defendant has lost both his professional and political positions: if convicted, he faces three years in prison and inclusion on the sex offenders’ register. No pornography has been found on his work or home computers – this is all because he received an email. Some commenters have also linked the defendant’s charges to his previous job as a barrister, where he prosecuted corrupt police officers.

Fisting is an activity more likely to be performed by queer people, and this latest case seems to tie in to a general trend of queer sex being seen as ‘dirtier’ and more extreme. The non-negotiated facial shots, dubious consent and terrifyingly long fingernails common to mainstream porn are under no question here – instead, it is a legal act that is included in most resources on sexuality, recognised by practitioners as requiring great care, and even discussed in new mainstream novel 50 Shades Of Grey that is under question here.

Earlier this year, pornographer Michael Peacock was charged, under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959, with distributing films classed as obscene: they depicted male-on-male fisting, and the prosecution mentioned they would not have distinguished legally between anal and vaginal fisting. He was found innocent, in what was seen as a landmark case for sexual freedoms, though the 1959 law has not yet been dropped. The introduction of the 2008 Act received a great deal of criticism from BDSM activists, who pointed out the vague-ness of the guidelines and the breaches of privacy they could entail. It was also a significant development in the law in shifting responsibility from the producers and distributors for ‘extreme pornography’ to the consumers.

This is a trial that could determine the future of sexual freedoms in the UK – it can be followed live on Twitter using #porntrial.

2 Responses to Queer sex criminalised again? Fisting pornography comes under fire from the ‘extreme porn’ laws

  1. JonFuller says:

    What is needed is a legal challenge to the extreme porn legislation. There is simply no way that people can determine what is and is not legal to possess. For example the CPS is refusing to tell people whether fetish wear (gas masks) could be deemed to be life threatening and whether certain types of body piercing – e.g. a Prince Albert, constitutes “serious injury”. If the CPS doesn’t like what it sees, you could end up with 3 years inside and on the sex offenders register. People can assist with a legal challenge by contacting CAAN (www.caan.org.uk).

  2. Nicola Clubb says:

    Very open to interpretation that. what is ‘grossly offensive,disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character’.

    Some sex acts can be covered by that and it is between consenting adults.

Ludi Valentine

Video

Shit straight girls say to lesbians

The lesbian version of the ‘shit girls say…’ meme that’s been doing the rounds.

April 17, 2012