Tag Archives: homosexuality

Because I’m an atheist – a guest post for Crommunist

Originally posted here.  I love the Crommunist.  He writes a lot of interesting articles about the intersection of race and atheism.  Go check him out.

Because I am an atheist…

..I am no longer burdened with acquiescence to the moral superiority of an entity created by men from an era that loathed my gender, my orientation, and most of all, my autonomy. I can now understand my feelings for what they really are. They are not bogeymen or sinful desires of the flesh that seek to draw me away from anyone’s true purpose or plan for me. My feelings for women are no more or less supernatural than my friends’ feelings for the opposite sex. I am free to pursue relationships, love, and sex with whomever I wish so long as I treat them well. My heart and my bedroom are now happy, restful, pleasurable places instead of battlegrounds. I can now experience the kind of love and ecstasy my friends always have without guilt or fear of having disappointed my Father.

I have learned that I’m a better, more powerful person than I thought I was. Each accomplishment, talent, and triumph for which I previously felt unworthy and attributed to the graciousness of a higher power were in fact my own. When I have overcome poverty, depression, and severe anxiety, it wasn’t because a higher power finally saw fit to have mercy on me. It was because I fought valiantly and won. With my new confidence, I feel better equipped to handle the difficult situations such as the inevitable divorce and subsequent poverty that life has thrown at me since coming out. I don’t have to wonder whether a god will see fit to help me through this one or accept bad situations as my just desserts for straying from its path. I knew I would get through these things just like I got through everything else. And I have. I’m quite capable.

I can mourn. What a relief it is to mourn. I don’t have to fight against “selfish” sadness and find a way to be grateful for what I’ve been given. When my 19 month old nephew died slowly and painfully of leukemia, I struggled to accept the idea that this might have been a test of faith. I feared that if I failed, the same god who allowed what happened to my nephew would allow it to happen to my sons. I believed, and some of my relatives’ pastors stated, that if we could impress god, he surely would not allow it to happen again. In fact it was the cruelty and absurdity of this notion that finally brought me to the end of my faith. Now when people I love die, I can simply miss them. I can think of all of the beautiful ways they have touched my life and then I can let them go.

I no longer worry about the dead, or about my death. I concentrate on my life now, and because of this, it has become more beautiful and fulfilling. I can write my own destiny and make my own choices without fear of supernatural retribution. Sometimes, when I’m alone or scared, I feel more lonely or scared than I once did. I know I am truly alone and there is no warm, invisible hand to hold mine. It took some getting used to. But it is also comforting to know that the same hand was powerless all along, and that I no longer have to fear its letting go of mine when I fail to impress.

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Why Anderson Cooper couldn’t come out.

Today, Anderson Cooper came out of the closet to the surprise of absolutely nobody.  Many wondered why he hid it and of course the fact that he hid it has led to years of unabashed speculation as to whether this means he is proud of it or comfortable with himself and so forth.  Graceful as always, Anderson Cooper is nonplussed. He feeds the media gentle cookie cutter lines about privacy and bullied kids.  The meat of his justification for being in the closet lays hidden beneath these gentle layers, easily glossed over:

 For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.

I’ve always loved traveling.  I’ve been all over most of western Europe.  I’d love to see the whole world.  Sometimes people ask me why, if that’s the case, I haven’t been adventurous enough to go farther than white, safe, western Europe.  Well, I’m a gay woman.  And I have a trans partner.

While Anderson Cooper now seems content to relegate his talents to talk shows and whatever else on CNN, he made a name for himself covering the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, where it is illegal to participate in gay acts, and Niger, where there are no protections no matter what anyone decides to do to Anderson Cooper’s gay self.

Even though there is plenty of blue on the map, don’t let it lull you into a sense of safety for your LGBT bretheren.  St. Petersburg, a pleasant light blue, has outlawed pride parades and discussing homosexuality around children.  Australia, a tempting darker blue, still can’t seem to get rid of the gay panic defense, a legal loophole that classifies murder as self-defense when the murdered party is a gay person who has made an unwanted advance.

Anderson Cooper is an upper class white gay man from the Vanderbilt family who knows that people really don’t like to be reminded of how much it sucks to be in a marginalized class.  So he did the vast majority of his fans a gracious favor by wandering around closeted for his last decade and a half on television.  Then, when the world traveling was over, he came out quietly and sweetly, never one to go around reminding everyone that his job and life never would have gotten very far if he’d done it any differently.

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