October 11, 2008

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Gay rights demonstration at the Democratic Nat...Image via WikipediaThanks to Homosecular Gaytheist for reminding me that today is National Coming Out Day. I wrote recently about the importance of remembering Matthew Shepard when we are confronted with the hatred and bigotry toward members of the GLBT community, much of which seems to be religiously motivated. Today is a good day to continue reflecting on the toxic effects of such bigoted attitudes as I do what I can to support GLBT individuals in coming out.

How can we extend our support? We can start by recognizing that gay rights, much like atheist equality, is a Civil Rights issue. The religious idiocy against which we rally fuels intolerance of the gay community just like it does in the case of atheists. Advancing the cause of gay rights represents both the protection of Civil Rights and the erosion of religiously-based bias.

In addition, we can provide GLBT individuals with a safe haven in the sense that we can provide a nonjudgmental ear and support for what they are going through. We atheists are particularly well qualified to understand what it is like to be hated by a large segment of the population. Our experience should allow us to connect easily and convey effective empathy. We can provide the sort of reception we would like for our own coming out process.

I'd also like to applaud the state of Connecticut. Their Supreme Court just legalized gay marriage.

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