Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance was named in honor of Victoria Claflin Woodhull, an American suffragist born on September 23, 1838, who was described by Gilded Age newspapers as a leader of the American woman’s suffrage movement in the 19th century. She became a colorful and notorious symbol for women’s rights, free love, and spiritualism as she fought against corruption and for labor reforms. Her role as a representative of these movements was both powerful and controversial. Many of the reforms and ideals espoused by her for the common working class against the corrupt rich business elite were extremely controversial in her time though generations later many of those implemented are now taken for granted. Other ideas and reforms still remain controversial and debated today.
Victoria ran for President of the United States in the 1800s even though women were not allowed to vote or have any official voice in government. After the unsuccessful attempt at running for President, Victoria began various campaigns to support the right of every person to have fundamental human rights. Victoria believed that everyone had a right to have individual freedom in choosing partners, marrying, and freedom from government intrusion into US citizen’s lives. Most notably Victoria stated the following:
“The uses of government should be to foster, protect and promote the possession of equality. How does the condition of society reply to this standard for government? Is there anything that even approaches this equality in any various phase of life? I unhesitatingly answer, No! Look where we may…everything is made to turn on the rights of property, and nothing on the rights of humanity.”
“I am a free lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please.”
Victoria Woodhull died June 9, 1927 in England after her nation rejected her pleas for fundamental human rights for every citizen. Her work was almost lost to time until a group of committed and thoughtful citizens reignited Victoria’s fight. In 2003 Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance was founded by Mary Frances Berry, Melinda Chateauvert, Richard O. Cunningham, Judy Guerin-Cunningham and Ricci J. Levy to promote sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. They were joined early-on by founding board member Jeffrey Montgomery.