Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

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Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Sun May 17, 2009 10:18 am

One of the most significant strategies the gay community employed throughout the 1970s was to simply announce publicly that they were gay. It became harder and harder for non-gays to ostracize or demonize gays when it became apparent that gays lived net door, worked in their offices, or were relatives.

I think the most powerful thing we can do as atheists and agnostics is to come out of the closet and tell everyone that we are atheists. I propose we share our coming out stories here for moral support.

I only recently came out because of the fear of how family and friends would receive me, I don't really have a story to tell yet as I think it is taking some time for my friends and family to decide how to respond. I'll post more on my story when there is one to report.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby ET, the Extra Terrestrial on Sun May 17, 2009 7:54 pm

I'm 51. Told my dad I didn't buy the churchy stuff when I was around 15. He was bummed out, but didn't freak or anything. Some coworkers have been put off by it, but nothing extreme. My brother and his wife are pretty churchy, and will try to gently churchify me on occasion, but they have pretty much figured out that it ain't gonna happen. Not very interesting, I'm afraid.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
("Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.")
-- Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
-- Philip K Dick

OK, now let's look at four dimensions on the blackboard.
-- Dr. Joy

English isn't much of a language for swearing. When I studied Ancient Greek I was delighted to discover a single word - Rhaphanidosthai - which translates roughly as "Be thou thrust up the fundament with a radish for adultery."
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Tue May 19, 2009 9:55 pm

ET,

Thanks for sharing. I would say that my story is similar. My wife outed me to my brother. My brother is pretty churchy so he told my Mom. My Mom ended up calling me to lay a guilt trip on me about how my children would be raised. Coworkers look at me out of the corner of their eyes. I'm somewhat of a curiosity to them, but I can tell there is a bit of distrust and fear there as well.

All in all noone freaked out. But it was still difficult. And it continues to be difficult.

That's what this thread is all about. Supporting each other and encouraging others through that support to come out.

Well done.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby ET, the Extra Terrestrial on Tue May 19, 2009 10:24 pm

I feel like it could be difficult if I let it, but I refuse to feel any guilt or remorse for the conclusions I came to, or the decisions I based on them. If my brother wants to believe in the tooth fairy or elves in the garden or any damn thing he wants, it's 100% fine with me and he knows it. He also knows that I expect the same treatment back. His wife is a bit less receptive, but not to the point of discomfort, and certainly not enough to make me reluctant to visit them.
My old boss from five years ago was a horse of a different color, though. I carpooled with her for three and a half years because I didn't have a choice (this was in the "holy crap are we ever broke" period). She is a big time biblethumper Catholic, with the ashes on the face and the little cross made from the palm sunday palms on the rear view mirror and the cross-eyed fish on the bumper and the whole shootin' match. We had some interesting discussions, I always treated her respectfully and never dissed her beliefs, but I made it clear that I had no room in my universe for her belief system. She had a hard time understanding how I could be atheistic/agnostic and not be a nasty evil person. This was when I was hot and heavy into the animal rescue thing, plus trying to support Mrs. T in her battle with mentalpause, and a few other things that tend to make strong men weep. I'm pretty sure she was expecting me to go postal on her. I'd like to think I helped her realize that not all non-Catholics are baby eaters, but who knows. I learned a lot from the talks we had on the rides to and from work. I was amazed how she was able to use her faith to override logic and reason. She did it consciously and wilfully. "Oh, this goes directly against my faith, so it must be wrong". Gay marriage was a biggie. WTF does she care what some people she will never meet do behind closed doors? It's none of her stinkin business what they do, whether they're hetero or homo. Some people just can't keep their opinions to themselves.

Sorry for rambling there, I'm starting to get tired... :sleep:
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
("Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.")
-- Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
-- Philip K Dick

OK, now let's look at four dimensions on the blackboard.
-- Dr. Joy

English isn't much of a language for swearing. When I studied Ancient Greek I was delighted to discover a single word - Rhaphanidosthai - which translates roughly as "Be thou thrust up the fundament with a radish for adultery."
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby FaithfulPirate42 on Fri May 22, 2009 3:00 am

I'm openly atheist. I don't really remember when I came to that conclusion, or what brought me there, but I never hid it, and never suffered for it. My family brought me up to be accepting of everyone, no matter their type of genitals, skin color, or nationality. They never explicitly said anything about religious affiliation or sexual preference, but I took that to be part of the message. As such, they don't really have much to say about my atheism, nor do I have much to say about their religion (as slight as it is- we haven't gone to church in about a decade, aside from seeing my aunt give sermons on easter and x-mas). I don't know that anyone in my extended family knows that I'm an atheist, but I don't really care too much. If they ask, I will not hesitate to inform them of my beliefs, but it's certainly not something I feel compelled to bring up around them. They are also a rather accepting and open-minded bunch, and I always have much more important and entertaining topics of discussion with them. I do try to have discussions with other religious people though, to let them know atheists are not a pack of angry, rabid monsters, and that we can in fact lead healthy, normal lives without god. I also like to think I'm helping to open a door for them, so they can choose the world they want to live in for themselves, whichever it happens to be.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Mon May 25, 2009 7:41 pm

At ET and FaithfulPirate:

Thanks for contributing. Both interesting comments. We all have one thing in common. I too am surprised that those of religious faith always think that we atheists are "evil". I agree with you both that one of the best things that we can do is to get out there and make ourselves known.

I had an interesting experience with a boss a few years back who was unhappy with the way I approached my job. He said to me, "You know what your problem is; your a goddamn athiest." It was very eye opening and explained a lot of the problems we had communicating with each other. I had never realized up until that point that whenever I came and spoke with him that in the back of his mind was a little voice in a continuous loop saying "He's an atheist, He's an atheist, He's an atheist, ..."

I think it was very hard for him to reconcile ... well ... everything about me.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby Cardinal Fang on Tue May 26, 2009 1:22 pm

The Impaler wrote:At ET and FaithfulPirate:

Thanks for contributing. Both interesting comments. We all have one thing in common. I too am surprised that those of religious faith always think that we atheists are "evil". I agree with you both that one of the best things that we can do is to get out there and make ourselves known.

I had an interesting experience with a boss a few years back who was unhappy with the way I approached my job. He said to me, "You know what your problem is; your a goddamn athiest." It was very eye opening and explained a lot of the problems we had communicating with each other. I had never realized up until that point that whenever I came and spoke with him that in the back of his mind was a little voice in a continuous loop saying "He's an atheist, He's an atheist, He's an atheist, ..."

I think it was very hard for him to reconcile ... well ... everything about me.


My response to that would probably have been "and that's relevant why?", unless I was having a bad day then it might have been along the lines of "oh I'm sorry, I hadn't realised you were a bigot"

I'm kinda thankful that when you work in a lab, lack of belief is more common than having a faith, so it doesn't really come up.

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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Tue May 26, 2009 7:20 pm

At Cardinal Fang;

It is most relevant - if you accept the underlying premise of this thread, which is: Atheism will gain acceptance if we get more atheists out there for the religious to meet. Only then will they begin to accept us as a group. Getting people to come out requires support. Not everyone has the luxury of working in a lab as you do.

I work in a field that is predominantly populated by the religious. It's a lot harder for me to express my beliefs. I know I will have to put up with a lot. It's made worse by the fact that I move about every year and a half. I have to go through the same process over (and over, and over) again. Sometimes I decided it was not worth the effort.

If you don't need the support then I would suggest that this thread is not for you. Unless you are challenging the very premise upon which this thread is based.

r/
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby Cardinal Fang on Sat May 30, 2009 5:17 pm

Erm, just because I work in a lab, doesn't mean I don't support.

The fact is the issue is totally dependent on where you live and what you do. Here in the UK, it's almost considered distasteful to discuss religion or lack thereof in public. There isn't the same tension or discrimination regarding non-christians as there is in some areas of the US. Here, formally "coming out" as an atheist would be greeted with a "so what?" as no-one really cares. In areas where atheism is percieved with distrust, I kinda see the point of encouraging people to say they're atheist/ agnostic/ theist etc, so that the religious right see that not being christian doesn't make for bad person.

CF

(PS The "how is it relevant" comment was a suggested reply to someone saying that the problem is you being an atheist - maybe suggest that there is more to a person than their faith).
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:30 pm

Cardinal Fang;

Well said to all.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby lordpunkmonk on Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:06 pm

the thing is I didn't realize many atheists were hiding the fact that they are atheist.
but then again when I was still religious my mom bought me action figure jesus with super gliding action for my first communion.
I still have it.
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby The Impaler on Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:26 pm

@ Lordpunkmonk,

I too have the Jesus Action figure with super gliding action.

With respect to hiding atheism; I was openly atheistic in college, but that was a place where different viewpoints were tolerated. Shortly after graduation I joined the services where new/different ideas are not always tolerated. There is a certain expectation of what you should be. Additionally, many of the bases I have been stationed on are in deep south or bible belt regions. My neighbors all have expectations of me as well, just because of where I live.

It has become more difficult over the years to keep coming out (as I move from base to base).

I have experienced much prejudice and ostracism in the past.

r/
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby ET, the Extra Terrestrial on Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:47 pm

Super gliding action?? Keskafreakinsay?
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
("Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.")
-- Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
-- Philip K Dick

OK, now let's look at four dimensions on the blackboard.
-- Dr. Joy

English isn't much of a language for swearing. When I studied Ancient Greek I was delighted to discover a single word - Rhaphanidosthai - which translates roughly as "Be thou thrust up the fundament with a radish for adultery."
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby Scott the Pirate on Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:37 pm

Actually gay pride events are a great place to do some converting. I'm planning on sitting in with the Minnesota Atheists at their booth at the Duluth-Superior Pride Festival. I may bring my eye-patch and a cutlass!
Roy Hunter wrote:Then, when you've got to know them a bit and their defences are down, you go all Scott the Pirate on them...
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Re: Out of the Closets and Into the Streets

Postby Roy Hunter on Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:27 pm

I went to a gay shame event in Sweden. They're fed up with pride and acceptance and understanding: they want a bit of shame, blame and stigmatism.

It was FAAAAAABulous, by the way...
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