Monday, July 2, 2012

Captain Obvious: On Gays and Atheists (Or GAYtheists)

I wasn't sure if this should be under the banner of Captain Obvious, or one of my other loosely structured banners. What the whole post is about, is the extremely odd place I hold in today's America, that of the gay atheist. Or Gay-theist if you will. Which is awkward, because it reads like a theist who is gay. But I'm an atheist who is gay. Which makes me ready to call myself a gatheist, which isn't right either. I therefore coin the phrase, GAYtheist, and hope that people can suss out the meaning, without a literal Latin interpretation, mmmkay? Mmmkay.

My understanding of my personal sexuality (Kinsey-six gay) and my personal religion (none: strong agnostic/atheist) was on a parallel track, and has its. . .I want to say Genesis, but really I think crux is better. . .at about 14 years of age. I knew I was different at a very, very early age. I knew that the term "sissy" was bad, and had the internal realization that it simultaneously applied to me, and that I needed to do all I could to hide that fact. This is at four to five years old, you understand. No frills, no lace, no ruffles, no dollies. And truth be told--other than the Easy Bake Oven and other such gadgets--I was cool with that. I liked trucks and Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets.
Jimminy Cricket seems oddly appropriate here.

But, I also wanted a boyfriend in kindergarten. I was strangely intrigued by a kid named Jay, who in kindergarten, got confused about propriety, and came out of the in-classroom restroom with his butt showing. I wanted my one-year younger brother's classmate Rhett to notice me (in second grade!). When playing with my brother and my same-aged friend as a threesome, I was the "housewife." While I didn't identify or want to be a female, I was different. This shit dates back to the beginning.

Complicating matters for me, was the fact that I and my siblings had an interloper in our midst, a family member who inappropriately insinuated their self. One of the things that is problematic about sexual molestation for the survivors is that people lay a whole psychological profile upon them. For future reference, lay off of them. The fact that a person has been molested is not a reflection upon their identity.

What do I mean by that? Only that my siblings are heterosexual. I'm homosexual, no ifs-ands-or-buts. and it has zero, and I mean zero to do with what happened back at the 12-14 age range. In fact, that shit made it tougher to come out, because I knew that once I was public, some people would draw those conclusions. My realization at fourteen that I was gay was a culmination of facts in evidence from my earliest recollections. The unwanted attentions of a relative were a confirmation of that, not the instigator of it.

Anyway, all of this came to light at almost the exact same time that I was sussing out my opinions on religion. We'd been raised nominally Christian, with Easter, Christmas and the rest, but only lightly. There was a little church, Mom read to us from Golden Book-style kid's bibles. But it wasn't drilled into us. The emphasis on God and Jesus was about the same as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. When the latter three were revealed to be frauds, God and Jesus were left defenseless. They were never disavowed, but the writing was on the wall.

Due to an afore-mentioned best friend/not-so-secret crush, I was attending confirmation classes in a teenaged Sunday school at a local Lutheran church. The church was warm and welcoming, the fellowship strong and the donuts yummy. But ultimately, I had to back out. I was learning Freshman Earth Science simultaneously, and it quite simply cancelled out the church stuff I was learning. At the age of 15, I was internally a gay atheist. It would be many, many years before I shared that fact with anybody.

So, the point of this post is to point out some obvious facts about The Gay Thing and The Religion Thing as it pertains to atheists. And in no particular order, they are:

- Don't trust Christians to tell you what an atheist is, or believes.
- Don't trust a homophobe to tell you what a gay person is, or believes.
- Gay people do not "recruit." Heterosexual parents make plenty of gay people unassisted. There  is no need to "recruit."
- Molestation doesn't "make" a person gay, though it can complicate the process of discovery. The simple fact is, far too many kids are molested. The outcome is never pretty, but it doesn't cause "conversion."
- Atheists do not belligerently reject a god they believe in. They quite simply don't believe in the first place.
-  Similarly, atheists don't "hate" God or religion. They simply don't believe in it.
- Gays and atheists do not--broadly speaking--have monolitic beliefs. They're individuals. They're like people, that way.
 - There is no unified "gay agenda." In fact, the super-right-wing's idea of a gay agenda is far more developed than any real gay agenda.
- The "gay lifestyle" is a term with its roots in 1970s personal ads in "legitimate" newspapers. they needed a euphemism,  and that is what we've been saddled with.
- "Ex-gay" people were either never gay to begin with, are bisexuals suppressing their "gay" sides, or gay people in denial. Period. I've met too many "ex-ex-gays" to believe otherwise.  

I don't claim to have all the answers. But I can say--as a gay atheist--that I'm not unhappy with my life or my decisions. I believe this is the life you get, and there are no others. I believe there is no "higher authority," or "higher purpose." I think we're on this plane, and we're in this world. We must live life to its fullest, because it's the only life we've got. And we should live life respecting all others' lives and rights and freedoms as we respect our own.

That's pretty simple. It doesn't require God. It doesn't require anything but reason and logic. And this post is terribly inadequate to its task. As a gay atheist I will cop to the fact that I can't speak for all of us, and implore the reader to understand that no one can. No single individual should be allowed to speak for an entire group.


  1. Well done.
    Spoken like a free man.

  2. How would you feel if/when some government starts to tax your behavior, punishing your activity?

    How would you feel if/when some government says your activities are regulated and controlled?

    Can we agree that "statists are bad"?
    And that 'liberty' is the proper course for a free people?

    Or do you politically support 'statism' and oppose the Liberty minded Tea Partiers?

    ...are you sincere on one topic, and a hypocrit regarding all others...?

  3. Tax my behavior? What behavior? Punish my activity? What activity?

    As usual, Sofa, I find you inscrutible. What analogy are you trying to draw here? What behavior and/or activity do you think you are being taxed and/or punished for, unjustly?

    I don't know what the term "statist" means exactly, except that people like Mark Levin use it interchangeably with "Maoist/Marxist/Socialist/Communist."

    And I don't think the tea partiers are particularly "liberty-minded." I think they're a rebranding of the run-of-the-mill religious right. They certainly don't want liberty for gay people.

    1. Some wannabe tyrants in robes ruled that all behavior can be taxed. And non-behavior. That the role of government is to change behavior and redistribute wealth through taxation. Crazy.

      Do you support those who would have people from the government controlling what citizens do in their private lives?

  4. TEA = Taxed Enough Already.
    It's about Liberty, not gays.
    You have a phobia that blinds you on that.

    And you avoided answering: Are you for Liberty, or a Large all controlling Government?

  5. Statist = Those who enable a large central state that controls your life, liberty, and property.

    [fyi- You and Mark Levin and friends are late to use this term. It has been around for many years; you're only now aware of it.]

  6. by "religious right"... do you mean the founders who established these unalienable rights of life, liberty, and property- the ones that led america to be among the most liberal in recognizing gay rights. And you're against that?
    Your history is as confused as your reasoning on this.

    Media boogey men combined with unfamiliarity with the rest of the world and the rest of historical times, imho.

    Liberty is your friend.
    To be opposed to Liberty is irrational.

  7. "They certainly don't want liberty for gay people."

    Yet, they claim to want liberty for all, and freedom from government control of our personal lives.

    They are over the top in declaring that they want liberty. So who has been telling you it's something else (maybe somebody that doesn't want liberty to flourish)?

    Have you actually looked at what they say for themselves, or only relied on disinformation from others?

  8. We quite simply have different ideas of what constitutes "liberty," or "tyranny." I have no problem with a strong, central government, with reasonable checks and balances. I have no problem paying taxes as a citizen, if I'm going to be availing myself of the commons. I have no problem with people challenging individual laws or taxes, examining government programs or institutions. That's totally cool. If there's a specific tax, or government program you see as unjust or unworthy, or an infringement of your "liberty," work to change it.

  9. So you're ok letting others define what's legal in every facet of your personal life? Awesome.

    So when Stalin killed the gays, that was ok, because he was the government, right?
    It would be ok here in the US too, right?

    It just depends on who gets to define what 'rational' is, right?

    I think government becomes a tyranny when it steps beyond the enumerated powers and gets into all aspects of our lives. I don't care what they decide- I strongly disagree that they get to decide anything in that realm, ever.

    I hope you get what you want: A strongman constantly telling you what you may and may not do. You deserve it.

  10. "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”
    -Samuel Adams

  11. And again, sofa, you have taken the conversation completely away from anything I was talking about. And I still don't know what you're on about. If there are things about our government that you think are wrong and/or bad, work to change them. Don't blame ME for them!

  12. Are you picking on me, because I'm a gay atheist, and as an outsider, I should "know better" or something? Because otherwise, I'm just a run-of-the-mill, law abiding citizen. I pay my taxes, I go to my job, I do some part-time work, I watch TV, I exercise, and my hobby is this here blog thingy. I opine on the topics that interest or concern me. What is it about ME, that makes you blame ME for your perceived ills of society?

    And finally, a direct question (and I've tried to get this out of you before): are you aware that your political philosophy--which you still haven't really put a name to--would seem to be rare? Are you aware that the rest of this country is kind of divided into groups in our political parade, with their own banners, drummers and floats. . .and that you, Sofa, are marching alone. . .in a different direction. . .to a beat nobody else seems to hear?

  13. Sofa, do you consider yourself a sovereign citizen? Is THAT your ideology?


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