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OnlyFans reverses its decision to ban sexually explicit content

LGBTQ performers part of backlash against restricting porn

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LONDON, UK – The London-based website known as OnlyFans, which has at least 130 million users and more than 2 million people who create and sell content on the site, including sexually explicit performances, announced on Wednesday that it has reversed a decision made less than two weeks earlier to ban sexually explicit content on its site beginning in October.

The reversal came after a groundswell of opposition to the proposed ban surfaced from its performers and customers, many of whom are members of the LGBTQ community who, like their straight counterparts, used the site to generate income over the past year and a half during the COVID pandemic.

OnlyFans stated at the time it announced on Aug. 19 its earlier plan to ban sexually explicit content that it did so in response to concerns raised by banks and credit card companies that in recent years have threatened to stop processing payments to adult websites.

“Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard,” OnlyFans said in a statement released on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change,” the statement says. “OnlyFans stands for inclusion, and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”

When asked by CNN whether OnlyFans’ use of the word “suspension” to halt its planned ban on sexually explicit content means that it could reinstate the ban at a later date if credit card companies continue to raise objections, OnlyFans replied by stating, “The proposed October 1, 2021, changes are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurance that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”

An official with the Free Speech Coalition, which serves as an adult industry trade association, told the Blade a policy by OnlyFans to ban sexually explicit content from its site would have an especially harsh impact on the most vulnerable groups, including LGBTQ people, that rely on the site and other similar sites to earn a living through sex work.

Mike Stabile, the Los Angeles-based Free Speech Coalition’s director of public affairs, said sites like OnlyFans have enabled sex workers to generate a substantial income by performing from their homes rather than working on the streets, in providing content to “fans” or customers who pay them directly to view their performances.

“These platforms have enabled them not just to survive but build equity and thrive,” Stabile said.

In an Aug. 19 statement, Free Speech Coalition said OnlyFans and other sites providing adult content have been targeted over the past two years by conservative religious groups and churches that the coalition says have falsely attempted to link adult websites to sex trafficking of children.

Stabile told the Blade that adult sites have longstanding safeguards in place that prevent sex traffickers from placing content on their sites. He said during the past two years in which the controversial federal law passed by Congress to hold adult sites liable for sex trafficking, known as SESTA-FOSTA, has been in effect, the law has rarely been used to prosecute sex traffickers and has yet to be used to shut down any of the sites used by consenting adults.

He noted that prior to the time SESTA-FOSTA took effect, prosecutors used existing statutes to shut down Backpage, an adult site widely used by sex workers to interact with customers on grounds that the site allegedly allowed sex traffickers to use the site.

Around that same time, Craigslist on its own removed all “personal” classified ads from its site, saying it could not risk being held liable for allegations of sex traffickers using its personal ads under the SESTA-FOSTA law, even though Craigslist prohibited its site from being used for sex trafficking or any nonconsensual practices.

While no credible evidence has emerged that adult sites are in any way allowing sex traffickers to use those sites, Free Speech Coalition has said conservative religious groups that oppose all sex work and want to ban all pornography on the Internet have begun to put pressure on banks and credit card companies to stop servicing the adult sites.

Stabile points out that studies have shown that far more sex traffickers have succeeded in slipping through safeguards to prevent them from posting on sites with Facebook and Twitter than with the adult sites. No online platforms can be 100 percent effective in preventing a few traffickers from getting on their sites, Stabile said, but the anti-trafficking groups hold the adult sites to a greater degree of blame than mainline sites like Facebook.

The adult sites have stated repeatedly they will cooperate with law enforcement officials to identity and help prosecute sex traffickers who target underage people.

“Banks and credit card companies are risk-averse institutions, easily scared by potential bad publicity,” Free Speech Coalition says in its Aug. 19 statement. “Religious groups know this and have made no secret of targeting them in their quest to eliminate sex workers altogether,” the statement says.

“In doing so, companies like Mastercard have become enablers of these anti-porn, anti-LGBTQ, misogynist groups,” the statement continues. “Companies like Mastercard are now accomplices in the disenfranchisement of millions of sex workers, complicit in pushing workers away from independence into potentially more dangerous and exploitative conditions.”

A Mastercard spokesperson told CNN earlier this week that it was not involved in OnlyFans’ initial decision to ban or restrict sexually explicit content from its site.

“It’s a decision they came to themselves,” spokesperson Seth Eisen told CNN.

But Free Speech Coalition and other adult industry advocates point to a Mastercard policy announced in April that requires adult sites to put in place strict safeguards to prevent “illegal content” from being uploaded on their sites. Stabile noted that the new policy comes shortly after Mastercard and other credit card companies stopped servicing Pornhub, the largest of the adult sites after allegations surfaced that sex traffickers were using that site.

These developments have had a chilling effect on the adult sites and sex workers who rely on them to support themselves financially, adult industry advocates have said.

Cyndee Clay, executive director of the D.C. sex worker advocacy group HIPS, which provides support for local gay and trans sex workers, said the OnlyFans decision to ban sexually explicit content from its site, if left in place, would have an especially harmful impact on D.C. sex workers.

“The OnlyFans announcement comes as yet another devastating blow to sex workers’ ability to work and care for themselves and their families in an industry already full of stress and hardship during the pandemic,” Clay told the Blade before OnlyFans reversed its decision.

“Under the threat of SESTA/FOSTA and when platforms like Backpage went down, HIPS saw a 100 percent increase in street-based sex work, because folks turned back to the streets to survive when safer, more autonomous online options were taken away,” Clay said. “We haven’t outlawed all house cleaning services because of a few documented instances of forced domestic trafficking,” she said.

Clay, like officials with the Free Speech Coalition, pointed out that OnlyFans, which launched its site in 2016, became a multimillion-dollar operation through the income it generated by sex workers and their online customers who used the site far more than any other “fans” or content creators.

When it announced its decision to ban or restrict sexually explicit content from its site, OnlyFans said the decision was based in part on concerns raised by banks and credit card companies as well as on its efforts to secure funding from investors who are reluctant to be associated with companies that provide sexually explicit material.

“In order to ensure long-term sustainability of the platform, we must evolve our content guidelines,” OnlyFans said in a statement last week.

“Sites like OnlyFans provided a safer online option for many sex workers during the pandemic,” said HIPS director Clay before OnlyFans reversed its earlier decision. “OnlyFans was a harm reduction alternative for sex workers who were trying to be safe by avoiding personal contact, working in clubs, or working the streets,” she said. “It’s immoral that we are now punishing sex workers for these efforts by taking away this platform.”

Matt Lownik, an OnlyFans performer who lives in London, contacted the Blade to express his concern about the OnlyFans initial decision to ban sexually explicit content before the company reversed the policy change.

Lownik said he currently has 144,000 followers on OnlyFans, one of its rival sites called JustForFans, and on a Twitter account.

“There are performers all across the world who use OnlyFans, and a huge number across the U.S.,” he said. “I’ve met several performers who live in or near D.C., but I would say the majority that I’ve met are from New York or Los Angeles,” he told the Blade.

He said the fees that performers charge for their subscribers vary widely, but most charge approximately $10 to $15 per month, with many performers having dozens or hundreds of subscribers. He said OnlyFans takes a cut of 20 percent of its performers’ earnings.

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Tom Daley: Bad Dad Jokes!

Terrible jokes, but I love them! Not sure if Lance does…

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Los Angeles Blade Screenshot via YouTube

LONDON – British Olympian and gold medalist diver Tom Daley along with his husband D. Lance Black pass along some really terrible ‘Dad’ jokes.

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SPLC listed hate group launches homophobic attack on Hilton Hotels Ad

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community

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Graphic courtesy of Hilton Worldwide

TUPELO, Ms. – In a petition and donation solicitation mass emailing this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremist group, One Million Moms railed against the McLean, Virginia- based Hilton Worldwide for an LGBTQ+ affirming advert.

Monica Cole, the group’s executive director which GLAAD has labeled ‘One Meddling Mom,’ called out the global hospitality giant for an advert originally run in the beginning of December that showed a couple of gay parents, checking into their hotel room with their sleeping kid using the Hilton mobile app.

Cole decried the advert saying; “Hilton’s current commercial “Make an Entrance with the Hilton App” attempts to normalize sin by featuring two men together with a young boy. The two dads are shown walking through the hotel lobby and to their room while one dad carries the sleeping toddler.”

She then continued her objection writing; “Promoting same sex relationships has nothing to do with marketing their company. Yet Hilton wants to make it clear where they stand on this controversial topic, instead of remaining neutral in the culture war. One Million Moms continues to stand up for biblical truth, which is very clear in Romans 1:26-27 about this particular type of sexual perversion.

One Million Moms must remain diligent. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community and has earned excellent scores on the Human Rights campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for several years as an affirming and safe working environment for LGBTQ+ employees.

Jeremy Hooper, the founder of Good As You a popular LGBTQ+ rights website known for both its strong opposition research and its irreverent tone and a veteran commentator as well as strategist focused on LGBTQ rights wrote:

In the decade that I have been aware of One Million Moms, she [ Cole ] is quite literally the only staff member I have ever heard anyone name. She is the one and only person who appears on their petitions, as well as the one and only person who speaks for them to the media. She is the mom. Her. Solo. One person, supposedly representing one million.”

OMM is pretty capable when it comes to getting ink. It’s typically dismissive, if not outright derisive, press. Most often the anti-LGBTQ campaign to which it is attached goes absolutely nowhere and the company under attack continues right along serving its entire customer base rather than cutting out the share that AFA/OMM believes to be anti-godly mistakes. Still, Monica Cole and her minuscule operation that masquerades as “millions” does get people talking.” Hooper added.

Cole finishes off her attack on Hilton writing:

“Hilton attempting to redefine the family crosses a line Hilton should have never crossed. There is concern about the way this advertisement is pushing the LGBTQ agenda, but an even greater concern is that the commercial is airing when children are likely to be watching television. To make matters worse, this advertisement has aired during family viewing time such as football games and primetime.

TAKE ACTION! If you agree that this ad is inappropriate, sign our petition urging Hilton to pull its “Two Gay Dads” commercial immediately. And please share this with your friends and family,” she urges the emailing’s recipients.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the 45-year-old American Family Association, (AFA), as a hate and extremist group, which Cole’s One Million Moms group is a part of for its lies and harmful propaganda about LGBTQ+ people.

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Hilton – Make an Entrance with the Hilton App (2021)

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Facebook group offers some LGBTQ+ people a stand-in family

Blevins says he was blessed with affirming parents said the overwhelming response his TikTok received inspired him to start the group

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LA Blade file photo

EASTERN TENNESSEE – The Facebook group TikTok Stand In Families is helping LGBTQ+ people with unaccepting families by giving them love, comfort and family – even if it’s just for one day. 

USA Today reports that the group, which has nearly 30,000 queer people and allies, started with a TikTok video that showed a stranger offering to stand with same-sex couples whose parents didn’t support them. 

“There’s parents that want to be there for you on your big day, and we’ll be your biggest fans,” Daniel Blevins said in the video.

@the_zombie_dan

#gay #lgbtq #alphabetmafia #samesexwedding

♬ original sound – Zombie Dan

Blevins, the group’s co-founder who says he was blessed with affirming parents, told the newspaper that the overwhelming response his TikTok received inspired him to start the group with his friend Rae Otto. 

“For me, it’s kind of a way of giving them what I had,” said Blevins, an Eastern Tennessee dad. 

According to the newspaper, it fills a void for LGBTQ+ people with unaccepting families and “sends a message: You are enough, and you are not alone.”

The two choose to keep the group private, especially for those who are not out. According to USA Today, they also moderate posts to ensure that their group is a safe place.  

Bec Mueffelmann – a Durham, North Carolina, resident who uses they/them pronouns – was scrolling through their “For You” page one day when they saw Blevins’ video. 

“This group provides a point of connection online, if they just need somebody to listen like in a private message, but it also does a good job of connecting people physically,” Mueffelmann, 32, told the paper. 

Mueffelmann is married and lives with members of their “chosen family,” but is no longer in contact with their biological family, according to the newspaper. 

“My parents, particularly, were not making much of an effort with my pronouns,” they said. “So I got to a place of realizing I needed a break to evaluate and to tell them what was up and give myself some space to heal.”

Mueffelmann and their husband joined the Facebook group in October, a few weeks shy of their birthday, after connecting with another member, Sarah Beth Craven, who would later tell the group that this Thanksgiving would be her first without her family.

Otto, the group’s other founder, told the newspaper, “I’m not an emotional person, but for me, it’s been emotional.”

“I’ve even found family through the group myself,” she added. “I went out to Atlanta this year to go visit somebody who I consider my chosen mother and spent the week with her … and Dan, he’s my chosen brother. I consider him blood.”

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