Thank you for supporting the Spanner Trust this year. We've tried to meet up with as many of you as possible, with appearances at the Chesterfield Conclave, the Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend, Club Hades, the Hoist, Inferno, Just Rope, Kinkfest3, Kinklusive, the Lesbian and Gay Psychology section conference, the Libertarian Alliance conference, the London Alternative Market, the London Fetish Fair, Lovetrix, Skin Two Rubber Ball, SM Gays and South Central.
There is a list of clubs and businesses which have helped us at www.spannertrust.org/supporters.asp - it's difficult to single out anyone for a specific thank you without offending others, but we would like to thank HandJobs Media (www.handjobsmedia.com) for distributing thousands of our campaign leaflets at many more events than we were able to attend.
As well as meeting the community we have also been closely involved with Backlash (www.backlash-uk.org.uk), who are campaigning against the UK government's proposals to "criminalise possession of extreme pornography". We have been invited to the Home Office to discuss our concerns and with the financial support of Backlash secured a legal opinion from Matrix Chambers that the original proposals would contravene the Human Rights Act 1998.
Sadly, this year has seen a sharp increase in the number of people coming to the Trust for help because of police activity. We have provided free legal advice and referrals wherever possible.
We still remain committed to overturning the original Spanner trial ruling (R v Brown and Others) which makes it illegal to engage in consensual sexual activity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if it results in any injury greater than "transient or trifling". This ruling may also have made it illegal to be in charge of any buildings (e.g. clubs or guest houses) where such activity takes place and a member of the public may gain access. To do this we plan to bring an application to the UK High Court under the Human Rights Act. For this to happen we need two things: SM players in the UK willing to put their name to the application (although this could be done anonymously and through written submissions not an actual court appearance); and up to £250,000 - in case we are asked to pay for both our and the government's costs of the case. (If the claimants are eligible for legal aid then that would bring the costs down.)
Please continue to support the Trust, whether that's via fundraisers (www.spannertrust.org/donations/), as a volunteer or just spreading the word! Anyone can join the mailing list to receive regular updates from the Trust by sending an email to subscribe (at) spannertrust.org and read more about on work on our website: www.spannertrust.org
Thanks again for all your help.
We hope you have a happy holiday season and a healthy 2007.
Best wishes, John Pendal
Spanner Trust Chairman