Godless Perverts is Not for Everyone: What Inclusivity Means to Us, and What It Doesn’t Mean

I Love Feminism, by Jay Morrison

This is a joint statement by Greta Christina and Chris Hall, originally posted on the Godless Perverts site.

Godless Perverts is not for everyone.

We mean that in the gentler, more informal sense of the term: Not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone is going to enjoy discussion groups, entertainments, or parties centered on godless views of sexuality. They may not enjoy our frank, explicit explorations of sex, including a wide variety of unconventional sexualities; they may not enjoy the views of religion that come up in our meetups and entertainments — some of which are harshly critical and mocking, others of which are sympathetic. That’s okay. We can’t be all things to all people, and we’re fine with that.

But we’re also not for everyone in the somewhat harsher sense of the term: We are not open to everybody. There are going to be times when we have to tell people they’re not welcome.

This is hard. Almost everyone has had painful experiences with being told, openly or otherwise, that they’re not welcome in a group. Almost all of us have had painful experiences being picked last for a team at school, or being treated like an outcast at a social event. The two of us certainly have. It’s a difficult thing to experience, and it’s not an experience we dole out lightly. (The Geek Social Fallacies can be very seductive, including Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil.) But the unfortunate reality is that if we want to create a welcoming space for people who support and value our mission, we will sometimes have to ask people to leave. [Read more…]

“A ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities”: Pandora Blake on the UK porn restrictions

There’s an excellent commentary on the UK restriction on porn content by English spanking performer, blogger, and producer Pandora Blake. It’s titled Online porn: the canary in the coalmine. (Note: the page includes some sexual imagery, including kinky imagery.) Some of the best quotes:

This is a ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities and small business owners. It predominantly targets the cottage industries of women, couples, queers and fetishists – people who are making enough to cover their costs or perhaps a little more, people who are making their own porn because the mainstream genres don’t cater to our needs.

We are self-employed performers, artists, producers, directors. We buy our camera equipment ourselves and edit our content ourselves. We create safe spaces for fellow kinksters to discover they are not alone. We propagate much-needed information about consensual kink practice, showing examples of safe play, negotiation, and healthy kinky relationships. Our films are homegrown, niche, playful, political and sexy, documenting our authentic sexualities where they are not catered to by the mainstream. We work alone or with our partners and like-minded kinky friends. We dare to be different, and to reach out to others who are like us. For this we are criminalised.

Pandora intends to defy this legislation — because she’s a badass.

I’ve had people sending me this information for the last few weeks, asking what I intend to do, and my answer has been the same every time. If you think that this legislation is going to send me running and hiding, you are mistaken. I have no intention of helping the bigots by self-censoring, and I’m certainly not going to pre-emptively shut up shop.

If you care about this, here’s what Pandora says you can to to help:

So what can you do? Well, you can tell your journalist friends about it and get them to write articles about how stupid and harmful this is. You can talk to your mates about it, post about it on social media, and raise the chances that the next time this comes to trial, the jury will think this legislation is a load of rubbish. You can donate to Backlash UK and join the Open Rights Group (of which I am a member), both of whom are campaigning on this issue. You can write to your MP. And you can support your local independent queer and fetish porn producers by buying their porn while you still can.

It’s been said (on the Obscenity Lawyer blog) that “pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die.” Pornography and other sexual expression is all too easy to censor, since many people aren’t willing to publicly say that they like it and think they should have a right to have it. And this is even more true for pornography catering to unconventional tastes: as hard as it is to write a letter to the editor saying, “Bring back my porn!”, it’s harder still to write one saying, “Bring back my kinky porn!” But we have to be willing to do this. If you can do this without destroying your life, please spread the word — even if you’re not in the UK. Let them know that the eyes of the world are on them — and we bloody well want our spanking porn.

The UK Bans Spanking, Female Ejaculation in Porn

Via Salon:

Porn produced in the United Kingdom quietly incurred some major restrictions on Monday, via an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act that bans a long list of sex acts from appearing in adult films. While the new restrictions do not affect porn produced outside the UK (and do not prevent people from watching such porn), they do require on-demand adult films to meet the same guidelines as adult films available on DVD in sex shops.

Via The Independent:

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board has banned the following acts from being depicted by British pornography producers:

Aggressive whipping
Penetration by any object “associated with violence”
Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)
Urolagnia (known as “water sports”)
Female ejaculation

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC [British Board of Film Censors] views as potentially “life-endangering”.

So. Some serious commentary, and some snarky commentary. [Read more…]

Peter Boghossian “Responds” About Gay Pride

So Peter Boghossian has responded to the criticism of his comment about gay pride, the one where he said on Twitter and Facebook:

I’ve never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn’t work for?

Well, okay. “Respond” is putting it strongly. Peter Boghossian has, airquotes, “responded” to the criticism of his comment about gay pride. On Twitter and Facebook, he’s said (among a few other similar things):

Questioning that one can be proud to be gay is a leftist blasphemy. #justbornthatway

and this:

I’m looking for an entirely new group of ideologues to enrage. What word should I disambiguate next?

It’s hard not to notice that Boghossian isn’t actually responding to the criticism. A lot of smart, thoughtful people have explained in some detail exactly why what he said was both mistaken and harmful (here’s my response), and his response is essentially, “Yeah, well, you’re poopyheads.”


Peter Boghossian, and What Gay Pride Actually Means

I’ve never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn’t work for?

-Peter Boghossian on Twitter and Facebook


You know, I really thought that in the atheist community, we were past this. I really thought that in the atheist community — despite some of the horrible racism, sexism, misogyny, anti-feminism, and ferocious opposition to social justice we’ve been seeing — we were overwhelmingly pro-LGBT. I really thought that, with the exception of a handful of nincompoops who we overwhelmingly disavowed, we understood the deep religious roots of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, and that we understood that fighting this bigotry was part and parcel of our fight against religious oppression. I really thought that no widely-read, widely-respected atheist author would be making ignorant jabs at LGBT people and LGBT culture, and posting snide, hostile, hurtful, “just asking questions” questions about us in public without actually bothering to ask any of us beforehand. Or rather, I really thought that no atheist author would do that and continue to be widely-read and widely-respected.

I guess I was wrong.

Okay. Fine. As a fully licensed and registered LGBT person, I will spell out to Peter Boghossian what, exactly, “gay pride” means. (Actually, to be precise, I will point out what “LGBT pride” means.)

LGBT pride does not mean being proud of having been born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

It means being proud of having survived. [Read more…]

Trans People, Pronouns, and Choosing Between Social Justice and the Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago_Manual_of_Style_15th_editionWhen it comes to the pronouns we use for transgender people, which is more important — treating marginalized people with basic respect, or following the Chicago Manual of Style?

I recently wrote a column for The Humanist magazine, Trans People and Basic Human Respect, in which I made the case (a case that should have been obvious but regretfully isn’t) for treating trans people with basic human respect, including accepting their own evaluation of their own genders, and using the names and pronouns they prefer.

Tom Flynn — executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, vice president for media at the Center for Inquiry, and editor of Free Inquiry magazine (for which I am a columnist) — has written a reply. He generally applauds the piece, and says that he mostly agrees with it. But when it comes to pronouns, and using the singular “they” for trans people who prefer it, that’s just a bridge too far. Flynn objects to anyone — trans, cis, anyone — using the singular “they,” on the grounds that “it unnecessarily degrades the clarity of our language in regards to number.” (Read Flynn’s piece for a more thorough explanation of his concerns.)

As you might guess, I strongly disagree. That’s putting it mildly. I disagree on grammatical grounds — and far more seriously, I disagree on social justice grounds. Flynn’s understanding of the linguistics behind the singular “they” is just flatly wrong — and his take on the social justice issue is distressingly retrograde. [Read more…]

Trans People and Basic Human Respect

There’s something that’s been puzzling me. I’ve been thinking about cisgender people who get upset about transgender people. (“Cisgender,” for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, is the opposite of “transgender”; it means someone whose gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth.) Some cis people object to the new vocabulary many trans people are advocating for or are simply making use of—changes in names, pronouns, and so on. Others object to the very existence of transgender people: they think gender is solely and entirely determined by the genitals we were born with, and that any other perception of it is just nonsense.

Here’s what’s puzzling me: Why do these people care?

Let’s assume, purely for the sake of disproving the assumption, that trans people are somehow mistaken—that they “really” are the gender they were assigned at birth based on their genitals, and it’s silly for them to think otherwise. I obviously don’t think that—I think it’s a horrible opinion, deeply offensive, and out of touch with well-documented reality. But assuming that this opinion is true will help me demonstrate just how wrong it is. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s true.

So what? How could it possibly affect you? What business is it of yours? If someone else is identifying with a gender that you personally think is “wrong,” how does it harm you in any way?


The Humanist magazine coverThus begins my latest Fierce Humanism column for The Humanist magazine, Trans People and Basic Human Respect. To read more, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

Godless Perverts Story Hour Saturday September 6! Plus Godless Perverts Social Club, Tuesday September 2!

Godless Perverts Banner

The next Godless Perverts Story Hour is happening Saturday, September 6!

It’s time again for the Godless Perverts Story Hour, the performance and entertainment branch of the Godless Perverts empire! Join us at the Center for Sex and Culture for an evening about how to have good sex without having any gods, goddesses, spirits, or their earthly representatives hanging over your shoulder and telling you that you’re doing it wrong. We’ll be bringing you depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities, as well as critical, mocking, and blasphemous views of sex and religion. The evening’s entertainment will have a range of voices — sexy and serious, passionate and funny, and all of the above — talking about how our sexualities can not only exist, but even thrive, without the supernatural.

Our performers this time include:

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders

Juba Kalamka

Juba Kalamka

Anthony O'Con

Anthony O’Con

Cinnamon Maxxine

Cinnamon Maxxine

Hew Wolff

Hew Wolff

Greta Christina

Greta Christina

Chris Hall

Chris Hall

Blogger and managing editor of io9, Charlie Jane Anders;
Poet and co-founder of homohop group Deep Dickollective Juba Kalamka;
Poet and activist Anthony O’Con;
Genderqueer burlesque artist Cinnamon Maxxine;
Jon Longhi, author of Wake Up and Smell the Beer, and The Rise and Fall of Third Leg;
Writer and all-around nerd, Hew Wolff;
Godless Perverts co-founders Chris Hall and Greta Christina.

It’ll be at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART), starting at 7:00 pm. $10-20 sliding scale; no one will be refused entry for lack of funds; benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture. Hope to see you there!

And we’re having a Godless Perverts Social Club on Tuesday, September 2! [Read more…]

LGBT Americans Are “Significantly Less Religious” – And There’s Almost No Gender Difference

So this is interesting.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, LGBT Americans are less religious than straight Americans. Like, a lot less. Here are the numbers:

gallup poll lgbt americans less religious

If you can’t see that image: 24% of LGBT Americans are highly religious; 29% are moderately religious; and a whopping 47% are not religious.

I’ll say that again: 47% of LGBT Americans are not religious.

Almost half.

Compare that to non LGBT Americans. 41% of non LGBT Americans are highly religious; 29% are moderately religious; and 30% are not religious.

So there’s two things I want to pull out of this data.

heresy makes for progress women in secularism logoOne is the gender breakdown. One of the most consistent patterns in these religiosity polls — for Americans, anyway — is the gender difference, with women consistently polling as more religious than men. (That shows up in this poll as well. Among male non-LGBT Americans, 36% are highly religious; 28% are moderately religious; and 35% are not religious. Among female non-LGBT Americans, 45% are highly religious; 30% are moderately religious; and 25% are not religious.) Many ideas have been floated about why this is, from “women have more pressure on us to be religious” and “religion is one of the few spheres where women have power and influence” to assorted evo-pysch explanations arguing that women are just born that way.

I hope this survey puts the last nail in the coffin of the evo-psych explanations. Because among LGBT Americans, there is almost no gender difference in how religious we are. Among male LGBT Americans, 25% are highly religious; 26% are moderately religious; and 49% are not religious. Among female LGBT Americans, 24% are highly religious; 31% are moderately religious; and 46% are not religious. That’s a tiny, tiny difference. Whatever the reasons are for the gender disparity in religiosity, it disappears among LGBT Americans. Unless you’re going to argue that queers are just born this way — that queer women’s brains are born radically different from straight women’s brains, in a way that somehow links sexual orientation and/or gender identity with religiosity — you now have to accept that whatever the reasons are for the gender disparity in religiosity, it’s not inborn.

The other thing I want to pull out of this data: Almost half of LGBT Americans are not religious. So LGBT organizations need to wake the fuck up.

LGBT organizations that present LGBT people as religious in an attempt to make us seem mainstream and nice — and that throw LGBT atheists under the bus — need to wake the fuck up. LGBT organizations that bend over backwards to court interfaith alliances, while ignoring alliance-building with atheist organizations and communities, need to wake the fuck up. Major LGBT conferences that have approximately 764,906 sessions about religion, with three sessions about atheism, need to wake the fuck up.

rainbow_atheist_scarlet_letterI don’t know how many of those non-religious LGBT Americans are self-identified atheists, and how many are non-believers under some other name (humanist, agnostic, non-believer, etc.), and how many are “spiritual but not religious,” and how many just don’t think of themselves as religious but don’t give that a name because they don’t consider the issue to be very important. I’d like to see that data. And I don’t know why exactly we would be so much less religious than straight people: David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement, where I saw this data in the first place, has a pretty good analysis, as does Gallup itself. But however that data breaks down, the bottom line is clear, and it’s important: LGBT Americans are much, much less religious than straight Americans. Almost half of LGBT Americans are not religious. So LGBT organizations need to wake the fuck up.

We’re here. We’re queer. We don’t believe in God.

Get used to it.

Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

LGBT Atheists — Creating Change is Seeking Workshop Proposals! UPDATED

creating change logo

Heads up, LGBT atheists!

Creating Change, the ginormous and mega-awesome LGBT conference, is soliciting workshop proposals (PDF) for 2015. Let’s submit ours! There’s lots of ways that atheism intersects with queerness, lots of particular issues for LGBT atheists, and lots of opportunities for alliance building between the two communities/ movement. Let’s get a good strong atheist presence at the con!

Creating Change will be in Denver, CO, February 4-8, 2015. The deadline to submit workshop proposals (PDF) is September 30, 2014. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: It’s been pointed out that conference registration for presenters is $225, plus you have to pay for your own travel. If that’s out of your range — I don’t know this for sure, but I would bet that some atheist organizations might be willing to help with funding for atheist presenters at an LGBT conference. Worth asking, anyway.