Over 1998-1999, Russell B. met the future founders of the Center for Sex Positive Culture. At Beyond the Edge Cafe on January 8, 1999, it was his note passing with Michael Gilbert that gave rise to the idea.
In his years at the Center, Russell managed the organization's web site and wrote the first volunteer training manual, annual report and member newsletter. He arranged insurance, credit card billing, federal tax-exempt status, and accounts payable/receivable; wrote out minutes and bylaws; managed bookkeeping; secured local and state licenses; and filed the first federal tax return. During his time on the board of directors, he served in each position including board president.
But perhaps most importantly, he relentlessly argued for a broader vision: that the organization's unifying theme could be sex-positivity as a whole. Russell describes his time at the Center as, "frankly, the best time of my life".
Russell became active in Seattle's sex positive culture in the 1990s. In 1995 he founded the Society for Human Sexuality at the University of Washington.
Russell earned an engineering PhD from the University of Washington in 1998, and in 2008 enrolled in its law school. He is a licensed massage practitioner, and until beginning law school, held a day job in the computer industry. Russell has also hiked all the way around Mount Rainier and ridden a bicycle across the United States.
Jim Duvall is one of the initial founders of the Center for Sex Positive Culture. He served as president of the board of directors and founded the Seattle Erotic Art Festival.
As a sexuality activist, Jim has volunteered for many organizations over the years. He is a past president and board member of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
Jim began his career as an erotic photographer in the early days of the World Wide Web, taking pictures for phone sex workers. He shoots fine art nudes, often involving bondage and fetish themes. He began janesguide.com with his former partner Jane Duvall. He has also shot images for several other web endeavors, among them bondage.com. His art has been shown at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival and many other erotic art festivals around North America. He also shoots images for The Betty Pages, an LGBT magazine serving Whatcom and Skagit counties.
Jim also teaches on a variety of topics, from erotic photography to rope bondage, at events and for groups all over North America. His teaching style ranges from hands on technique classes, to demonstrations, to entire class hypnosis or guided meditation. He has taught at national events such as Shibaricon, Sinsations in Leather, Kinky Kollege and South Plains Leatherfest, as well as numerous local workshops in the Pacific Northwest.
Jim can be reached at jim AT jimduvall.com.
Allena Gabosch has served as Executive Director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture since its founding in 1999. She has been active in the sex positive movement practically from its beginning, and says she's "busy creating sex positive culture on a daily basis!"
Allena has been producing educational and social events for the sex positive community since 1990. She co-owned and ran Beyond the Edge Cafe in the mid-1990s, providing a modest space for parties and workshops, until they closed their doors in 1999. It was then that Jim Duvall approached her with the idea of the Center and asked her to be its Executive Director.
She is a frequent speaker on many sex positive subjects at colleges and conferences around the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on BDSM and polyamory. In addition, she is the Festival Producer for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival. She is a past board member of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. In the Spring of 2008, Allena was appointed to the Seattle Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission .
Allena is a bisexual, poly switch and considers herself extremely blessed as she has a rich and full poly life, with many amazing and loving people in her "polycule". In her less than mundane non-kinky life, she is active in Landmark Education, loves theater, good food, walking around Seattle and hopes to run for Seattle City Council in a few years.
Allena can be reached at director AT sexpositiveculture.org or on our Contact Form (select Executive Director.)
Michael Gilbert was the founding president of the Center for Sex Positive Culture. With Russell B., he conceived of the original idea for the organization - a community nonprofit rather than a private enterprise - and recruited the original leadership team.
Michael set and managed the leadership's agenda throughout the organization's formative months and years. He led the board of directors through the recruitment and hiring of Allena Gabosch, the implementation of a successful fundraising and bootstrapping startup period, and the lease and development of a suitable property.
Most importantly, Michael developed and secured leadership and community support for a grand vision: to make the Center not a small club for a few hundred friends, but rather a large scale agent of cultural transformation with thousands of members. The results of that vision are with us today.
Michael began advocating for sexual minorities in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s, he started safer sex education programs at conferences. In the early 1990s, he started and nurtured several community building and educational programs for sex positive culture. Over the years, Michael has spoken at scores of conferences and taught many workshops.
Michael is a social entrepreneur who has founded dozens of projects and organizations over the years, served on more than two score boards of directors, and consulted or trained thousands of different civil society organizations. He builds communities of practice around visions of social change and social service.
Michael can be reached at michael AT sexpositiveculture.org.
The initial founders of the Center for Sex Positive Culture approached Russell Harmon to sit in on early board meetings and help create a weekly dance event based on his involvement with the Seattle fetish club scene. Grind launched in May 2000, the Center's first weekday event. This Thursday night gothic/industrial dance party quickly became and remains the Center's most popular event.
Also in May 2000, Russell formally joined the board of directors, where he remained active until 2007. He served as president for a year, treasurer for a year, and also on numerous committees and special event teams. He continues to take an active role with Grind, helping DJ and run the event.
Russell has been involved in the Seattle leather scene since 1993. He is one of the meanies from Two Big Meanies, an altporn BDSM site focusing on fun, connected and kinetic play. He has also taught various BDSM and sexuality workshops since 1999.
Outside of his sex positive efforts, he works doing freelance sysadmin and web development, and plays with rock climbing, airsoft, bodybuilding and motorcycles.
Originally from Maine, Russell moved to Seattle in 1991 and settled in. He identifies as a bisexual switch, who loves learning and passing along his knowledge at every opportunity.
Russell can be reached at russell AT twobigmeanies.com.