Godless Perverts Is Now a Non-Profit Organization!


Godless Perverts, the organization that promotes a positive, progressive view of sex without religion, is delighted to announce that we have officially incorporated as a non-profit. In February 2017, we were granted status as a California non-profit under the name GP Events and Media: shortly after, we received Federal 501(c)3 status through fiscal sponsorship by the Center for Sex and Culture. Donations to Godless Perverts are now tax-deductible!

“Being a non-profit gives us the ability to expand in ways that would have been impossible,” says president and co-founder Greta Christina. “I’m proud of our years as a scrappy little group doing meetups and occasional performance events, but we are clearly outgrowing that structure. We can do real fundraising now that donations are tax-deductible, and being officially incorporated will make it easier to take on bigger projects and do coalition work with other organizations.” And vice-president and co-founder Chris Hall says, “The last five years have brought a lot of unexpected changes. Not the least of which is the current political climate. Having a formal structure and nonprofit status makes us much more well-equipped to organize for whatever’s coming, and to stand up for our communities.”

All four presenters at ACT UP workshop hosted by Godless Perverts on Jan 9, 2017. Left to right: Ingrid Nelson, Rebecca Hensler, Crystal Mason, and Laura Thomas.
All four presenters at ACT UP workshop hosted by Godless Perverts on Jan 9, 2017. Left to right: Ingrid Nelson, Rebecca Hensler, Crystal Mason, and Laura Thomas.

Godless Perverts has been in operation for just under five years. We had our first Godless Perverts event in April 2012, a panel discussion about being atheists in the queer, kinky, and alt-sex communities. Since then, we’ve grown from that one-shot panel discussion to a thriving community hosting social meetups, performances, discussion groups, educational events, book clubs, political protests, and an annual holiday party to raise funds for St. James Infirmary, the health clinic for sex workers.

Our board of directors includes Bridgett Crutchfield, Heina Dadabhoy, Victor Harris, Juba Kalamka, Miri Mogilevsky, and Donna Shrout (not pictured), with Greta Christina serving as President and Chris Hall serving as Vice-President and Treasurer. “I like being on the Godless Perverts board,” says Juba Kalamka, “because its mission intersects with my other activist contexts. I appreciate being able to bring all of myself to the conversation and being able to encourage that for others.”

Bridgett Crutchfield
Heina Dadabhoy
Heina Dadabhoy
Victor Harris
Victor Harris

Juba Kalamka
Juba Kalamka
Miri Mogilevsky
Miri Mogilevsky

Greta Christina
Greta Christina
Chris Hall
Chris Hall

Our plans and hopes for the future include more involvement in political activism and political education; editing a Godless Perverts anthology; getting a logo and creating swag; movie nights; coalition work with other social change organizations; tabling and other appearances at conferences; reviving our East Bay meetups; creating a Godless Perverts podcast; hosting a fraudulent psychic fair (one of Greta’s dreams since we began); and just doing more of the great things we’re already doing.

Donations to Godless Perverts (more accurately, GP Events and Media), now tax-deductible, will go to fund current and future projects, as well as general overhead such as web hosting. You can make a one-time donation in any amount, or set up an automatic donation of five dollars a month. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 1220, Berkeley, CA 94701. (Checks must be written to GP Events and Media, with “and” spelled out.)

Many thanks everyone who has helped us get this far, whether by donating money, attending our events, spreading the word about us, or giving us moral support when we needed you most. We couldn’t have done the last five years without you — and we’re excited to work on the next five years with all of you!

Godless Perverts Is Now a Non-Profit Organization!

Greta Speaking in Grand Rapids and Detroit (Farmington Hills), Feb. 22 and 24!

CFI and Birmingham Temple logos

Hi, all! I’m speaking in Michigan in February — in Grand Rapids on Feb. 22, and in Farmington Hills (a suburb of Detroit) on Feb. 24. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you soon!

DATE: Wednesday, February 22, 2017
TIME: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
LOCATION: Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI
TOPIC: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
SUMMARY: So you don’t believe in God. Now what? The way we deal with life can change dramatically when we stop believing in gods, souls, and afterlives. When we leave religion — or if we never had it in the first place — where do we go? How do we deal with love and sex, pleasure and death, reality and making stuff up? How do we decide on our values, and how do we live them?
COST: Free (suggested donation $5)
HOSTS: CFI Michigan
EVENT URL: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/w-lecture-022217/
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/events/1301724013184454/
MEETUP: https://www.meetup.com/cfi-mi/events/237368909/

DATE: Friday, February 24
TIME: 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
LOCATION: Birmingham Temple/Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, 28611 W 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI
TOPIC: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free (donations appreciated)
HOSTS: Birmingham Temple/Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, and CFI Michigan
EVENT URL: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/se-lecture-022417/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/170895550064620/
MEETUP: https://www.meetup.com/cfi-mi/events/237196590/

Greta Speaking in Grand Rapids and Detroit (Farmington Hills), Feb. 22 and 24!

Resistance, and Being a “Sore Loser”

Ohm — a unit of resistance.

I keep seeing arguments against the massive uprising in protest of the DT regime, on the grounds that DT won the election and we should accept it gracefully and not be sore losers. Weirdly, I don’t just see this from Republicans: I see it from some Democrats as well. So here’s what I want to ask:

Are you arguing the the citizens of a democratic country should not press our elected officials to do what we want? That we should not, as the First Amendment says, peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances?

Are you arguing that once a president is elected, citizens should let him do whatever he wants with no opposition, regardless of whether it’s grossly immoral and indeed illegal?

Are you saying that we should sit back and do nothing while incompetence, raging bigotry, xenophobia, kleptocracy, and contempt for the constitution all become entrenched in law and policy?

Are you arguing that we should ignore the gross irregularities in this election — the widespread and systemic voter disenfranchisement, the interference from a hostile foreign government, the absurd electoral system that allows someone to become president when they lost by three million votes — and accept the results of this election as if they were normal and legitimate?

Are you arguing that the problem with contemporary US politics is that citizens are too engaged, and that our political engagement should involve voting and nothing else?

And are you arguing that people who recognize the warning signs of fascism — who are listening to the historians who study fascism when they say that yes, this is what the rise of fascism looks like — should sit back and let fascism rise, for fear of looking like poor losers?

We are not the ones dividing the country. The people who want to kick out immigrants even if they’re here legally, who want to let poor people die for lack of health care, who want to decimate public education, who want to permit open discrimination against LGBT people, who are tolerating and even encouraging the massive increase in bigoted hate crimes — they are the ones dividing this country. Are you arguing that we should be in unity with bigoted, hateful, kleptocratic fascists?

What’s happening now is exactly how democracy should be functioning. What you’re advocating is a four-year dictatorship.

Resistance, and Being a “Sore Loser”

8 Great Reasons to Take Some Pleasure in Activism

Silhouette of protesters under banner

There’s a nasty strain of dourness in leftist politics. All too often, we run into the idea that activism is only valuable if it’s solemn, focused entirely on the harsh realities of the present or the grim possibilities of the future. This attitude was encapsulated perfectly in a Washington Post column by Petula Dvorak, opposing the pink pussyhats in the Women’s March after inauguration day. “This is serious stuff,” Dvorak said. She argued that the Women’s March was about serious issues of suffering and danger, so the imagery shouldn’t be playful or fun. “The Women’s March needs grit,” she said, “not gimmicks.” (Note: Many trans women and women of color found the pussyhats exclusionary, and there are good arguments against them. Dvorak’s column isn’t one of them.)

Dvorak’s attitude is common. And it needs to be loaded into a cannon and shot into the sun. Pleasure, fun and joy are enormously valuable in activism. Pleasure isn’t a requirement for everyone, of course: different people pursue activism in different ways, and that’s a good thing. But of the many tools in our collective toolbox, pleasure is one of the most powerful. Here are eight reasons why.


Thus begins my latest piece for AlterNet, 8 Great Reasons to Take Some Pleasure in Activism. To read more, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

8 Great Reasons to Take Some Pleasure in Activism

Milo Yiannopoulos, and What Free Speech Does and Does Not Mean

white male hand grabbing microphone

I don’t believe we have to discuss this again. But apparently we do.

The right to free speech does not give someone the right to other people’s platforms and microphones. You can respect someone’s right to free speech, and not give them your own space and audience.

You don’t have to invite someone to speak on your campus. You don’t have to interview them in your newspaper or magazine, on your TV show or podcast. You don’t have to let them comment in your blog or Facebook page or YouTube channel. You don’t have to give them a book deal. People are not entitled to these things, and in fact most people don’t get most of them. I haven’t been invited to speak at the University of California, and this doesn’t obstruct my free speech. I can speak in other places.

When you give your platform and your microphone to hateful, bigoted, dangerous fascists known for ugly harassment, it gives them legitimacy. It makes their ideas seem mainstream. It doesn’t necessarily say that you agree with them, but it says you think their ideas are worth considering and are a subject for reasonable debate.

Milo Yiannopoulos is part of a highly dangerous movement, a movement that has been empowered and emboldened by the 2016 presidential election. If successful, this movement will result in a rise in bigoted and xenophobic hatred, a massive upsurge in violent hate crimes, a loss of basic civil rights, severe restrictions on science and education — and yes, the suppression of free speech, for individuals as well as media organizations. Some of these things are already happening; others are already beginning to happen. Do you really want to give this movement your platform, your microphone, and your audience?

History has its eyes on us. In twenty years, fifty years, a hundred years, we will be judged by how we responded to this crisis. Do you want to be one of the people who helped the Nazis reach more people?

In the past, when people have argued that they’re entitled to other people’s platforms (such as commenting on blogs or Facebook pages), I’ve often illustrated the absurdity of this by asking, “Would you let people spew openly hateful racism on your platform? Would you let people advocate genocide on your platform? Would you let Nazis use your platform?” It is highly distressing to learn that for many people, including people I’ve considered colleagues and allies and even friends, the answer is Yes.

Milo Yiannopoulos, and What Free Speech Does and Does Not Mean

Calling Your Elected Officials: Breaking it Down and Making it Easier

Photo by miggslives, via Wikimedia Commons

I know that for some people, calling their representatives can be a daunting task. So here are a few tips for breaking it down and making it easier.

1) Today, if you haven’t done so already, look up your representatives’ phone numbers, and put them in your phone. Once they’re in your phone, calling is much easier. Start with your Senators and Congressperson. If you have the energy, then do your governor, state senators and representative, mayor, and city councilor or whatever they call that in your city. (If that’s overwhelming for one day, do your national reps today, your state reps tomorrow, and your local reps the next day.)

That’s it for today. You don’t have to make any phone calls today if you don’t have the energy. Just look up the numbers and put them in your phone.

2) Remember that when you call, you don’t have to give a speech on the issue, and you won’t be grilled on it. All you have to say is your name, zip code, and what you want them to do. If you like, you can give a short explanation of why you want them to do the thing, but you don’t have to. Continue reading “Calling Your Elected Officials: Breaking it Down and Making it Easier”

Calling Your Elected Officials: Breaking it Down and Making it Easier

Compassion and Abstraction

abstract photo

Abstraction gets a bad rep. It’s often seen as cold, calculating, divorced from emotion. But I’ve found the exact opposite. Abstraction is crucial to my ability to have compassion. Abstraction helps me step back from my own experience, and look at it in a bigger picture — a picture that includes other people.

Here’s an example. We’ve all seen progressives who are very skilled at critiquing oppression that affects them — and utterly clueless about ways they oppress others. We’ve all seen, for instance, white feminists go after men who derail conversations about sexism, focus the conversations on themselves and their hurt feelings, chide women for being uncivil and harsh, demand to be educated on demand about Feminism 101, argue arrogantly instead of listening, accuse feminists of being divisive, and pull out the “not all men” card. Then, in conversations with black women about racism in the feminist movement, those same white feminists will turn around and do the exact same things: derail, make it about them, argue instead of listening, say black feminists are being divisive, etc.

Abstraction helps me not do that. Continue reading “Compassion and Abstraction”

Compassion and Abstraction

Help The Orbit Fight Dr. Richard Carrier’s SLAPP Suit

quiet hand over mouth

Please support the crowdfunder, Defense Against Carrier SLAPP Suit!

Dr. Richard Carrier is suing us for reporting on his well-known allegations of misconduct. These allegations were widely reported on throughout the community, including by third-parties critical and sympathetic to him who are not themselves defendants.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. Continue reading “Help The Orbit Fight Dr. Richard Carrier’s SLAPP Suit”

Help The Orbit Fight Dr. Richard Carrier’s SLAPP Suit

January 20, 2017: Refusing My Consent, and Grieving the World

the word no

I do not consent to this.

It’s January 20, 2017. It’s inauguration day. And I do not accept it.

That’s an odd phrase: “I do not accept this.” It can mean denial, refusal to acknowledge reality. Or it can mean resistance. I’ve been doing a bit of both: I’ve been sinking into work and organizing, and I’ve been sinking into escapist distractions. I’ll probably keep doing both. I can’t work all the time, I’ll exhaust myself. And I can’t let myself think too much, or for too long, about the world we’re in now. Especially not when I’m alone. I need my escapes into other worlds: worlds where people mostly treat each other decently, worlds where wrongs are righted.

I think I’ve read too much science fiction. There’s a part of me that keeps looking for the key to the alternate reality. One of the most painful things about this election is how close it was. Just a few thousand votes in a handful of states, and it would have been different. The other reality seems so close to this one, and it seems radically wrong that we can’t reach it, that it doesn’t actually exist. It seems wrong that the other world could have been so close to our grasp, and yet be so radically different. The flawed country making itself gradually better, moving three steps forward and two steps back, building on the legacy and momentum of the last eight years… and the worst sides of this country, the dehumanizing racism, the leering disgust of women, the repugnance toward the body, the poisonous fear of the new, the contempt for knowledge, the naked greed, the selfishness masquerading as individuality, the hatred of the stranger masquerading as love of the country, all made flesh at once. So close.

And because the other world is so close — was so close — it makes certain kinds of pain hard to heal, and hard to bear. I know I need to move forward, not dwell, learn lessons and move on. But it’s hard to not feel rage, at people I once saw as part of my extended chosen family, people who should have known better but helped make this happen. And it’s hard to not feel guilt; to feel like I should have done more, better, sooner.

I feel somewhat bad, writing this today. I feel like I should be inspiring righteous anger, issuing clarion calls to action. I know I’ll do that, some of it anyway, in the months and years to come. I know that resistance is not futile. And I will resist. I have already begun to resist, and I’ll continue. But today, I’m deep in grief. I’m grieving the world we could have had. I’m grieving for the world we’re in now. And I am refusing my consent.

Do what you need to do today. Console each other; rage; retreat and regroup; distract yourself; spend all day poking the wound and taking its measure; cry; protest. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is a form of resistance.

Other work in a similar vein:
Depression in a Fascist Regime
The World We’re In Now (my talk at Skepticon 9)

January 20, 2017: Refusing My Consent, and Grieving the World

Scoundrels With Purpose: “Leverage” and Moist von Lipwig from “Discworld”

Cast of Leverage

(Content note: Mild spoilers for Leverage and some of the later Discworld books.)

I was talking with Benny Vimes the other day about the Discworld books. I’d written that my favorite character in the Terry Pratchett Discworld books is Moist von Lipwig: he asked why, and I realized that the reason is also a big part of why I’ve been so infatuated with the TV show Leverage:

I like stories about scoundrels with a purpose.

Scoundrels in fiction can be so much fun. If you’re ever had fantasies about outwitting people, or breaking the rules and getting away with it, stories about thieves and grifters and charlatans can be massively entertaining. They’re especially fun if the characters are really good at it: it’s another version of competence porn.

But when you start really thinking about scoundrels, and the effect they have on people, the stories stop being so fun. When you rob someone, con them, defraud them, it can screw up their lives pretty badly. The Discworld books about Moist von Lipwig explore this explicitly: especially the first one, Going Postal, where Moist begins to fall in love with Adora Belle, a.k.a. Spike, and realizes she’s one of the people whose life he ruined.

Hence, scoundrels with a purpose.

The most obvious examples are the many, many versions of the Robin Hood trope, stories about robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Continue reading “Scoundrels With Purpose: “Leverage” and Moist von Lipwig from “Discworld””

Scoundrels With Purpose: “Leverage” and Moist von Lipwig from “Discworld”