Happy Thanksgiving and National Coming Out Day!

Happy Thanksgiving and National Coming Out Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! 

I’m thankful for many things, but today I’m especially thankful for National Coming Out Day, which is also today. 

Coming out as LGBTQ, as an atheist, and/or as anything else seemed especially controversial within our circles is not easy. Many of us have lost friends and the respect of people we care about because of our openness and honesty, or worse. But hiding who we are to make others happier or more comfortable isn’t healthy, nor is it fair for people to ask it of us. 

We need to support people when they come out. Not supporting them means we are being silent and absent when they need us the most. 

Coming out takes a lot of courage and often they are rewarded with negativity and bullying, abuse and assault, or being disowned. Many have tragically been murdered after coming out. LGBTQ youth and adults make up a huge portion of the homeless population because in the U.S. it’s so common for them to be thrown out of their homes, or for them to be discriminated against in the housing and job markets. More than half of transgender people have faced attempted or successful physical violence just because of who they are. 

This is no joke; being LGBTQ, especially in the U.S., greatly increases a person’s chances of being treated violently and cruelly. And even if they don’t face violence, they face rampant discrimination and social injustices. Marriage equality has only addressed part of the problem. 

Let’s be supportive allies, friends, and loved ones. Let’s stop judging and assuming and open our hearts to people who are different than us. We need to see them as human beings, not enemy combatants in a culture war of our own making! Let our compassion lead our attitudes and actions, whether that compassion stems from religion or spirituality, humanism or feminism, or whatever. Love and acceptance is what’s important, not creeds or dogmas or labels or political affiliations. 

And above all we need to listen. We need to hear their real stories, not the ones we create in our heads for them as though we know their journey better than they do. 

Although my coming out experiences have been far from pleasant, I wouldn’t change it because being openly myself is far better than hiding to please others. I am me- you are you. We can live in peace if we try. 💕 

My Journey With Intimacy

Intimacy doesn’t come easily for me. Although I’ve come a long way from how I used to be, my natural inclination is to shut down my deeper emotions and to only let myself and others see so far into myself. It’s taken a lot of work to get to a place where I can recognize my issues regarding intimacy; effective introspection has taken me years to develop and it’s still a work in progress. 

Somewhere along the way I learned to disconnect sex from intimacy and love. I learned to make it primarily physical. Casual sex comes easily for me- I don’t have to open myself up very much to enjoy that kind of connection. I can have physical closeness with someone without risking a serious heartbreak, both on their end or mine. Not that there’s anything wrong with safe, consensual casual sex; I’ve had some wonderful encounters that I wouldn’t have done any differently, and I’m sure I’ll have more in the future in the right context, especially given my non-monogamous nature (look up polyamory or relationship anarchy if you aren’t familiar with mutually consensual non-monogamy). But casual sex isn’t a replacement for deep intimacy and love. 

One reason I fear getting too close is because I worry that I’ll break their heart. I have a deeply empathetic personality that can’t bear the thought of causing others severe pain. I’ve caused that kind of pain before, and it devastated me. I still bear those scars, and likely will for a very long time. The thought of being truly intimate with someone makes me apprehensive because I know from experience that love doesn’t always last forever, despite what our romanticized societal ideals may portray. Love can and does fade sometimes, and it’s not always fixable despite our best efforts. 

Every time I see memes that talk about “true love overcomes all”, “every relationship is fixable”, “back in my day we didn’t throw relationships away but we made it work” and so on, I cringe and feel society’s never-ending guilt trip for failing to accomplish that. I know I’m not a failure, but some days it feels like it when these narrow ideas of relationships and love are promoted as though they’re attainable for everyone. 

And like many others, I also occasionally harbour doubts that what I have to offer is something that other people will want. If only I were more like this, and less like that. If only I didn’t do this all the time, or forget to do that. If only, if only. But we can’t live our lives on “if only’s”; at some point we have to fix what can be fixed and learn to make the most of what we can’t change. We have to transform those “if only’s” into opportunities for positive self growth, instead of letting them make us feel unworthy of love. 

None of this means that I don’t desire or intend to pursue intimacy and love, because I do. Facing our fears and learning to heal the wounds of the past is a vital part of personal self growth. I greatly desire intimacy and love, despite my fear that I won’t know what to do with it if I find it. Coming to terms with my hesitations and fears is the first step in being able to have the kind of connections that I need and want. It’s also vital in becoming the kind of partner that can contribute to a healthy relationship.  

Writing about and sharing my journey with others has proven therapeutic many times before. Trying to break down what’s in my head to explain it to other people forces me to dig deeper within myself, and hearing about other people’s similar experiences in response often makes me feel less isolated. And I know from being on the other side that reading about someone else’s journey can be a catalyst for our own self-reflection. 

Would I Worship a God if it Did Exist?

For those who regularly read my blog, you know by now where I stand on evidence and religion. I used to believe in God, but no more. In order for me to ever believe in the existence of a deity again, there would have to be concrete, scientific evidence that proves its existence. Peer reviewed, according to the scientific method- the whole nine yards. This is how I know certain exotic animals exist- I have never seen them myself, but there is a smorgasbord of scientific evidence to show me that they do indeed exist. I don’t see why I should accept less than this when it comes to a deity’s existence, since the question of his existence is far more important than the existence of a rare frog or bird.

But what if that proof did exist, and it was undeniable that a God did exist? And what if this evidence also proved beyond any doubt that this God wanted worship? After all, the Bible says that even demons believe; believing that a god exists and worshiping it are two very different things. Would I give him the worship he (or she or it) seeks?

No. I don’t think I would. Why?

The character of a deity is important.

Why would someone want to be worshiped? To me, the desire to be openly adored and worshiped signifies a deep character problem. It signifies pride and ego that needs stoking, or a major insecurity problem that they are trying to overcome. It also makes me think of narcissism. To be blunt, I cannot think of a single positive reason for wanting to be worshiped.

Think about it. What kind of people do you respect the most? The people who do good things and then demand recognition for it, or the people who do good without any thought of reward or praise? Doesn’t the demand or desire for public praise kind of negate the good that the person does? It becomes a pride and status thing, rather than simply a good thing, when we do things for others in expectation of recognition or reward.

Desiring a “thank you” for a job well done is one thing; desiring worship is another thing altogether.

A good father or ruler does not demand or expect worship.

Many forms of religion view God as a father or mother. Christianity especially reveres God as a father figure. What kind of father wants to see his children prostrated on the ground in submission and humility, like servants or second-class people? What kind of father constantly needs the praise of his children and gets angry when they do not praise him in the way he wants? Not a very good one. We generally call this abuse or bad parenting, depending on the severity. It’s certainly not loving behavior that respects the autonomy and rights of others. And what about nations where ruler worship is required, such as North Korea? Don’t we usually see this kind of behavior from a ruler as extremely negative and unjust to their people?

Doing good deeds does not mean someone deserves worship.

Of course, thanking someone for a good deed is nice to do. But thanking someone is different from worshiping them. If a kind stranger helps me with my groceries, I will certainly say thank you. But I will not worship him or adore him unconditionally.

If God is real, and he created us and this world and is directly involved in our everyday lives, then he is responsible for both our joys and our pain. Why should I thank him for my joys without also holding him accountable for my pain? If a parent gives their child clothing but also knowingly allows a rapist to harm them, should we expect the child to adore their parents? Of course not! Of course, real parents are imperfect and not all-knowing and child molesting tragically happens without their knowledge or permission; but God isn’t supposed to have those limitations. If he knows all and can prevent any pain he chooses, what kind of twisted father would allow his child to be raped or their sibling murdered?

Besides, I didn’t ask to be created. It’s like a parent expecting their child to be eternally grateful for the labor that their mother went through as she gave birth. Yes, she did a great thing and it was very hard. No, it’s not fair to hold that over a child’s head in order to make them adore her. I have a friend whose mother used to always bring up her “18 hours of awful labor!” anytime she wanted to make my friend feel guilty for not appreciating her enough. That’s not love, that’s manipulation.

My freedom and self respect is important to me.

When someone has true freedom and self respect, they do not feel the need to bow before anyone else. Even if one person has more power than the other, true equality and freedom means that we still do not need to bow before them. When we live in a system where the powerful are revered and the powerless are expected to adore them, we live in injustice. I could not serve a deity who acted like this. 

In summary, I think that it’s very unlikely that I would serve a deity even if one was proven to exist. But until there is proof that one exists, it’s all hypothetical and does t really matter. I wrote this primarily because I’m often asked what it would take for me to be a Christian again.

When Christians Question Our Mental Capability to Change our Beliefs

I’ve noticed an interesting trend since my deconversion a few years ago: When we become Christians, we are commended for making a wise decision. Even if we were indoctrinated from an early age and were never shown alternative beliefs as viable options, people rarely question whether or not our decision to become a Christian was based on manipulation, coercion, social pressure, or whether it was used as a crutch during difficult times. However, when we stop believing and become atheists, the first thing some Christians do is question our mental capabilities and our ability to understand our decision.

Here are questions that atheists are regularly asked when they leave their religious faith and openly come out as a non-believer to their religious loved ones. If these same questions were asked of recently converted Christians, they would certainly (and understandably) be considered offensive.

  • “Did someone influence, manipulate, pressure, or coerce you to make that decision? Who in your life convinced you to believe that way?”
  • “Have you really thought it through?”
  • “What trauma or difficult life event caused you to believe this way?”

And then there are the equally offensive assumptions:

  • “You must be deceived by the devil. Your mind has been taken over by demonic influences.”
  • “It’s just a phase, you’ll come back when you’ve come to your senses.”
  • “You must never have been a Christian in the first place; you must have been mistaken about how sincere of a believer you actually were.”

Basically, if you choose to be a Christian, it’s automatically assumed that you’re mentally capable of making that decision without coercion or manipulation involved. If you choose to stop being a Christian, suddenly your mental capabilities, decision-making abilities, and the validity of your deconversion itself are called into question.

Smart, mentally capable people choose Christianity- mentally deficient, damaged, easily influenced people choose atheism. That’s the overwhelming message I received when I came out as an atheist. 

In the words of Adrian Black (see his blog here), another atheist I know who recently came out publicly and whose mental capability was immediately questioned right off the bat:

“Dismissing my decision as something I was coerced, tricked, or forced into is very much questioning my mental ability to decide for myself. It’s amazed me in the times I have been questioned about this how quickly people forget who they’re talking too. To think that I would flippantly justify or be misled on this of all things… If you are looking for the person who persuaded or coerced me, who broke the shackles of my belief, than look here. I am the one who challenged myself… as I always have.

The Bible Doesn’t Condemn LGBTQ Community- Unless You Want it to.

  First off, here are the verses that are commonly used to demean and demonize the LGBTQ community. This article explains why the anti-LGBTQ teachings of the modern church aren’t actually supported by these scriptures.


There is more than one viable interpretation of these few verses. Choosing to accept interpretations that greatly harm and demean the LGBTQ community is just that- a choice. The church once had to choose how they interpreted scriptures regarding slavery and the treatment of women too, and before that they had to choose how to treat unbelievers (think Crusades and Inquisition and Salem Witch Trials). This issue is no different. If my sexual orientation and atheism is a choice, then certainly how Christians choose to interpret these verses is a choice as well.

If in doubt, it’s always better to choose the side that causes less harm to others. After all, Jesus said that the greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. If we can know a tree by its fruit, then the fruit of these anti-gay teachings are rotten to the core. There’s nothing edible or beautiful about this fruit; all it brings is hurt, division, and turns people away from Christianity. Shouldn’t that be enough reason to reevaluate which interpretation you choose to accept?

Remember, your choice directly affects people like me, since we have to live in the society that you help create by teaching and promoting these ideas. If you’re wrong about which interpretation is correct, wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of compassion for the real people that are affected by your choice? Just a thought.

I want to clarify that I don’t hate people who believe it’s a sin, nor do I oppose their right to talk about their beliefs or live according to their conscience. In fact I have a lot of empathy for you, since I was there myself not long ago. I remember how hard it was to feel conflicted between empathy and what I thought scripture was saying. I remember the relief I felt when I no longer had to adhere to cruel and destructive ideas. I want you to know that you do have a choice, that Christians who say there’s only one possible interpretation are either misinformed or are being dishonest. 

I’m so tired of these few verses being misconstrued and misused to demonize and condemn loving couples and LGBTQ individuals, causing immense distress to the entire LGBTQ community (including me personally) and forcing many Christians to choose between their faith and their sexual orientation. The few verses that supposedly condemn loving same sex couples have been used to support the personal gain or prejudices of some, just as the verses about slavery and subjugation of women were also once used to support racism, slavery, and mistreatment of women. (Some Christians today continue to hold these racist and sexist ideas that they claim scriptural support for.) If the church was wrong in how they interpreted scripture on those issues, why not this one? Isn’t human interpretation of scripture prone to error?

When I was still a Christian, I was shocked when I dug deeper into this issue- the church that I had always trusted to tell me the truth hadn’t told me the whole story. The church had told me a single version of the story and then emphatically told me not to question their version, even though this teaching was causing immense harm to the LGBTQ community. I was literally told “there are some things we just don’t question.”

At the very least, articles like the one I linked to that show the opinions of other educated and passionate theologians should indicate that this is NOT a black and white issue like how it’s been portrayed by much of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist community. Like many other issues of scriptural interpretation (such as slavery and the role/treatment of women), there are historical, cultural, contextual, and linguistic factors that must be taken into account. I learned this in hermaneutics class in Bible college, but ironically this specific issue was exempt from that process. This process was liberally applied to slavery and other verses that were unpalatable to modern believers, but when it came to homosexuality, they refused to genuinely consider that context and correct translation might change the meaning. I was surprised and disheartened at the hypocrisy in how these different social issues were addressed by the church. I thought that we were supposed to seek the truth, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it might make us or how much we had to dig for it, but they didn’t seem to care about the truth. Their current beliefs were more important than seeking God’s heart.

I no longer personally believe in the authority of scripture, nor do I believe in a deity. However, this issue has always and will likely continue to affect me personally whether I wish it or not, so I’m well within my rights to comment on it. Here’s why I object to these anti-LGBTQ teachings, even when portrayed nicely, and why I talk about it so much:

1. Scripture is being used to berate and belittle the LGBTQ community, denying them legal equality and social dignity. (Myself included.)

2. It’s also being used to demonize and belittle Christians who dare to interpret these scriptures differently than their peers. (This happened to me when I was still a believer. I lost friends and the respect of my peers because I didn’t view these few verses the same way they did.)

3. LGBTQ Christians are being told or they feel that they must choose between their faith and the person they love, or the chance to ever fall in love and have a life companion (many denominations encourage or demand celibacy for LGBTQ Christians).

Even though I don’t believe in God or follow Christianity anymore, it saddens me that any Christian should feel pressured to choose between their sexual orientation and their faith, or that they should be bullied or looked down upon for believing that it’s not a sin when clearly there are viable alternative interpretations of those few verses.

There is obviously more than one viable option here, you do have a choice. So which interpretation will you choose to accept? One interpretation that causes immense harm to the LGBTQ community (including depression and suicide and bullying) and is driving people from Christianity in droves? Or, an interpretation that seems to line up much more with Jesus’ teachings of love and acceptance and better accounts for historical context and language interpretations?

If we can know a tree by its fruit, and the fruit of the current anti-LGBTQ teachings is hurting millions of people and is driving them away from Christianity, then shouldn’t the rotten fruit be thrown out and replaced with fruit that Jesus could be proud of? 


When Homophobic People are Shocked at Losing LGBTQ Friends

  I know it shouldn’t, but it still surprises me when openly homophobic people are shocked that their LGBTQ friends stop wanting to pursue an active friendship with them, especially after attempts to explain how hurtful it is have been ignored.

Just recently I terminated a Facebook connection with someone I had fairly recently re-added, someone from my conservative religious past. I’m pretty wary of adding people from my religious past these days because it so often backfires, but I’ve also reconnected with wonderful people from that era in my life, so I usually prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. 

They weren’t trying to be mean, they weren’t trying to insult me personally, and I’m sure they didn’t mean to make me to break out in tears when I saw their repeated homophobic posts. They just don’t understand. They aren’t LGBTQ and don’t understand how triggering it can be for us to see people who claim to love us posting belittling things about our sexual orientations, bemoaning us finally getting legal equality, making fun of our Pride symbols, etc. They just can’t relate and empathize enough to get it… And honestly I don’t have the patience or emotional energy anymore to try to make them understand when they’re clearly not ready. (I did try in this case before removing them, they didn’t know what to say so it went nowhere unfortunately.)

I know I should probably have more patience in these situations, but it gets really old trying to make them see that people don’t feel loved when their orientations and rights are belittled and insulted and denied. I’m not mean in my responses to them, but I do tend to be pretty blunt and open about my reasons, and not everyone likes or understands that. 

Perhaps someday the religious Right won’t be so focused on berating LGBTQ people and atheists… Perhaps then it will be possible to be friends with some of the people that I’ve had to distance myself from for my emotional sanity’s sake. I don’t like ending or distancing friendships, but not doing so in certain cases has caused me much grief. I’ve learned a lot through these past few years… Sometimes people just need to go their separate ways, it’s healthier for everyone that way. 

I don’t hate any of the people that I’ve had to remove from my life. If anything it saddens me because I would have liked to enjoy their friendship. But I also need to respect myself, and I have the right to want to surround myself with people who don’t think and say such awful things about LGBTQ people like me. 


Kim Davis: It Was Never About Religious Freedom. 

Read about it here:


This situation with Kim Davis was never about her religious freedom. If it was, she wouldn’t have forbidden her deputy clerks to issue licenses. Instead, she ignored their personal convictions and ordered them to not fulfill the law either. Davis and her supporters have made it blatantly clear that their goal is not to protect her individual religious liberty, but to stop same sex marriages altogether at that office. It’s a gross abuse of her power as an elected official.

And the result of Davis’ insurrection? It’s far from harmless, unfortunately. Her clerks are being harassed and looked down upon if they dare to obey the Supreme Court and issue licenses (or God forbid follow their OWN religious beliefs), LGBTQ activists are receiving more threats and are fearful of engaging in public protests in that area, and this woman is STILL being held up as a hero when she’s really the villain.

I don’t care how many marriages she’s had, what her personal religious beliefs are, or what she does in her spare time. I’d be just as irate about her corruption if she was an atheist refusing to serve black people. If you ever hear of an atheist doing such a thing, I would oppose that person as well. The issue is not her personal beliefs, but her insisting on imposing those beliefs and opinions onto others in a manner that strips them of their legal rights and demeans them. The issue is her refusing to do her job but also refusing to resign, preventing another official who will do the whole job from being selected.

To be honest, despite her hurtful beliefs regarding LGBTQ people like me, I could have somewhat respected her if she’d voluntarily resigned. That’s a mark of a strong conscience, whether I agree with the beliefs or not, and that would not have oppressed anyone else.

She’s no martyr. She’s trying to use her government office to take away the legal rights of others, including her deputy clerks whose religious beliefs apparently don’t matter to Davis since she’s given them no choice. Her religious beliefs are the only ones that matter here, everyone else must bow to her wishes or she’ll throw a tantrum and purposefully go to jail to prove her point.

This situation needs to be talked about because it’s very dangerous. People like this sadly have a lot of support in the US, and the lies being spread in the media are causing increased harassment and hatred of the LGBTQ community. The Supreme Court is being compared to ISIS, irresponsible politicians are calling this a criminalization of Christianity, all of which just deepens the already deep cultural war over the legal rights of the LGBTQ community. And when you view your government as ISIS and LGBTQ people as militant bullies who are jailing Christians, why would these people refrain from taking the law into their own hands to push back against those who they so ironically view as their “oppressors”? Not much. Anything they do is “justified”. Hence all the threats and violence.

Yes, there are many other important issues in the world right now that also need attention. Davis is nothing compared to the refugee crisis, for example. But if we ignore religious oppression occurring in our midst, we will start losing our freedoms to these extremists just like Iran lost their freedoms to religious extremists. Have you seen photos of women there in the 70’s? They weren’t forced to wear Islamic coverings like they are today. Seriously, the Islamic revolution screwed up their country- and if we’re not careful that could one day happen here too. So we have to talk about situations like these, we have to challenge her martyr status that she doesn’t deserve, because otherwise our freedoms in the US will continue to be chipped away by religious extremists who don’t give a damn about what you believe.