Should I mention BDSM-law lobbying?

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Joined: Mon May 03, 2021 9:20 pm

Should I mention BDSM-law lobbying?

Post by SlavaSlava » Mon May 03, 2021 9:43 pm

I appreciate that this may be a bit out of left field, so apologies for the laughs:

I'm a foreign applicant and already hold an LL.B, but would like to get a JD to practice in the US (I hold US dual citizenship and wish to relocate). In my country of origin, I have been very involved in legal research & lobbying (including with major legal commissions, legislators, etc) on behalf of a sexual minority rights NGO to decriminalise safe and consensual BDSM (in conjunction with input from anti-domestic-violence coalitions and LGBT rights groups). I've written hundreds of pages on the topic, and have a personal interest in legislative reform (some of which has been achieved).

I appreciate that the general advice is to avoid mentioning drugs, gambling, and sex. Of course, I also acknowledge that this, in particular, is a rather taboo topic. Nonetheless, it is of personal importance to me, and I have made genuine legal/research contributions in the area. Thus, I'd like some advice. Do I:

(A) Completely disregard this facet of my life in applications;

(B) Briefly mention it on a CV without significant elaboration;

(C) Mention it in a personal statement or other written section, without disclosing any personal significance to me; or

(D) Mention it in a personal statement and explain why it is of importance to me whilst maintaining a professional tone.

Many thanks for the advice, and best wishes!


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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:31 pm

Re: Should I mention BDSM-law lobbying?

Post by gottagetouttahere » Tue May 04, 2021 2:40 pm

This seems like something that is best framed as an example of your leadership/competence/drive rather than a personal passion project. If you've done serious academic or similar writing on the topic, engaged in substantive lobbying (as opposed to just marching into an office or something), etc., then it seems like a good thing to mention. Synthesizing it with other examples of your advocacy abilities and drive seems like a particularly fruitful path.

In short, I think (C) makes the most sense if you must mention it, particularly if it was a full-time pursuit. A passing reference on a CV to "BDSM advocacy org" seems jarring to me, while a high-level reference to "advocacy for sexual minorities" or something like that is sanitized to the point of being ineffectual.

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