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. 💕 

Arizona Anti-Gay Law Vetoed, Texas Drop Same-Sex Marriage Ban

1796523_884215064941281_556482460_nI’m very pleased that Arizona’s governor has shown some common sense and strength of character by vetoing the controversial “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed businesses and pretty much anyone to refuse to serve gay people if it “contradicted their religious beliefs”. All this, even though there has not been a SINGLE INSTANCE where this has been an issue in Arizona. I’m sure that businesses such as Apple, who said if the law passed they would not bring the 1,000 jobs into the state that they had planned on, certainly helped matters. Sometimes hitting the pocketbook is the only way to make things change… sad and messed up, but true.

While I’m glad it was vetoed, I am shocked that it got that far. Why are we even having to debate Jim Crow segregation laws- IN 2014?!?! And NOT just in Arizona- but in many southern states this type of bill has been introduced. It’s a calculated, organized attempt to reduce our gay brothers and sisters to a lower level of society- which is something that even most Christians don’t support. How can these people in good conscience decry the oppression of women in the Middle East but then oppress a group of people in their own country?

Interestingly, Texas is way ahead of Arizona when it comes to gay rights. A judge has struck down their ban on same-sex marriage. Considering how ultra-conservative Texas tends to be, this surprised me greatly- but in a very good way. Texans have a way of surprising you- sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst, but there’s always something interesting going in- whether it’s a law prohibiting tampons in court or the state threatening to leave the union for the hundredth time. 😉 (I have relatives in Texas, I love Texans dearly.)