I had firmly resolved when I started this blog that the one thing I wouldn’t talk about would be my sexuality. Other than to express support, I avoid the subject on social media. I’m a private person, and I grew up during a time when homosexuality was not only vilified by the church, but it was also criminalized by law, and labelled a disease by the medical community. At no point was there an “up side” to being publicly gay. So I didn’t discuss it. I support the gay movement politically then and now. For the most part, I remain in the background, those that know me in real life know I’m gay, but I’m not my own parade about it. It’s none of any ones business, frankly. I’m much more open and vocal about my apostasy than my sexual preferences.
So, why am I bringing it up now? I certainly have nothing to gain by it. Twitter is both a great joy and a frustration at the same time. I read the following:
I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it caught me off guard anyway. The new normal isn’t solidarity among atheists or humanists, or people of common ideological interest, it’s grab the brass ring even if you have to stand on someone’s neck to reach it. It is my deepest disappointment with “movement” atheism to date, that personal integrity should take a back seat to ambition. I responded, and was either muted/blocked or ignored. Granted I did sound animated, but I remained civil throughout my writing. The author was very selective about who they answered, mostly to those who agreed with their position.
I’ve said in recent posts that I don’t agree with the social justice warrior approach of a pox on all the houses, so I’m not going to identify who this person is. I am going to disagree with the statement and explain why I do.
I was born this way. I can no more change my preferences any more than I can wish away my gender. In a real sense, the die has been cast. I’m a product of my genetic history, and so conform to family norms in all respects. Hair and eye color, weight, height, intelligence, and so on, dominant and recessive genes all make who I am today. So within that narrow biological parameter I didn’t have to “work” to be gay. It came along with all the other stuff I had no say in by virtue of being born.
I did have to work along with many others to be viewed as a normal human being deserving of dignity and respect. If you were a “fag” in the 40’s through the 70’s you might very likely be involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Treatments included drugs, electroshock therapy and lobotomies. You might spend a lifetime there. If you were swishy or effeminate you very likely were brutally beaten, sometimes daily. If you were caught having “sodomy” you went to jail. The scale of abuse only escalated for those who had to endure a sentence for being a homosexual. Many including a friend who was heterosexual but acted “Brucey” were killed. My friend was thrown off a bridge to his death. Being “disowned” by family for being a pervert was routine. Getting a job as a homo would be out of the question. A good day would be listening to the snickers and sneers of the righteously heterosexual. Then there’s the litany of disorders from being in the closet. Fear. Depression. Loneliness. Anger. Frustration. It’s exhausting. It feels very much like work.
Every brave man or woman who has come out over the years in spite of the very substantial risk to their safety and well being has served to knock another brick out of the wall that separates us. Every gay activist who worked tirelessly without pay or gratitude to advance the cause for equality should be endlessly thanked for the sacrifices they made. If for some reason they feel proud of the social progress they made then they deserve to feel that way.
I’m fucking well proud I’m gay.
If that means you have to adjust your thinking about how I use the word in a sentence, then deal with it. And if you look to call equality for all humans in this way:
then I question your empathy as a human being and your honesty as a spokesperson for atheism.