Beyond the “Atheist Movement”

Happy Halloween!

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately here. Money’s tight, so I’m focusing more on paying freelance writing gigs. But I do want to mention something that’s been on my mind lately.

Today’s episode of The Thinking Atheist podcast is about whether or not the “atheist movement” is dying. I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, but because I’m part of the Outrage Brigade, I’m gonna tell everybody what I think without hearing what others have to say first.

(Just kidding, Seth.)

But seriously, the pessimist in me thinks the movement is on its last legs. From Elevatorgate to MythCon, it seems like the whole scene’s been on a gradual decline. Maybe it was always like that, but it’s only nowadays that everyone’s showing their true colors. Either way, sometimes I wonder if all the alarmist “The Atheist Movement is Dead, and the Alt-Right Killed It” articles were right all along.

On the other hand, the optimist in me thinks the movement is stronger than ever. In the wake of MythCon, several prominent atheists have spoken out against Sargon of Akkad’s hateful rhetoric, including David Silverman, who promised not to invite any shitlords at next year’s American Atheist con. So maybe we’re finally getting serious about trolls and shitlords? Who knows.

Then there’s the realist in me that, I think, has the perfect middle ground: to go beyond the atheist movement.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not divorcing myself from the atheist movement. Through blogging and podcasting, I’ve met so many amazing activists like Callie Wright, Marissa McCool, Sincere Kirabo, Jessica Xiao, and others that I don’t just consider to be my friends, but also my family. I’ve also met a lot of amazing fans that message me to thank me for doing what I do. In fact, a few months ago a young transman reached out to me and Callie during a crisis. I wouldn’t have been able to be there for him without being part of the atheist podcast community, so I can’t leave now.

What I mean is doing activism outside of the atheist community as well as inside it.  Fighting religious dogma in our society is still important to me, but so is fighting racism, sexism, and anti-queer bigotry. I can only do so much within the atheist movement silo, which is why I write for social justice websites like Ravishly and The Establishment. I want to build a bridge between secularism and social justice.

Which is why I’ve already made a New Year’s Resolution: to extend my activism. I hope to do a workshop with members of the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance about secular humanism at next year’s Creating Change conference (hopefully we’ll hear back from them tomorrow), and I want to schedule talks in my hometown about LGBTQ rights. I’m also pitching workshop ideas to a few atheist conferences about LGBTQ rights and social justice, and getting more of my feminist freelance writer friends on my Bi Any Means podcast.

Basically at this point in my life, it’s no longer about rubbing shoulders with the big names in the atheist movement. Sure, it’s nice to hug Hemant Mehta and smoke cigarettes with Yvette d’Entremont at PASTAHcon, and have Lucien Greaves tell me he loved my “WTF is Genderqueer?” talk from this year’s AHA conference, but that’s not my top priority. What means the most to me is when someone emails me thanking me for my recent article about gender dysphoria and non-binary people, or when someone reaches out to me to talk about trying to figure out their gender identity, or somebody saying, “Thanks for explaining this whole transgender stuff in a way I can understand.” That, to me, makes the most impact, not brownie points from the big names.

Plus, in the age of Trump, the last thing I need is to be part of a self-congratulating circle-jerk while people are scared about losing their jobs, their homes, and even their very lives. While I’m forever grateful for the platform the atheist community has given me, now it’s time for me to do something good with it.

So here’s the going beyond the atheist movement and getting shit done in 2018!

This Week’s Splice Today Articles

Because I need the money, I’m gonna try writing for Splice Today twice a week. Here are this week’s articles:

“All I Can Control Is Myself.” In this one, I use Sartre’s “No Exit” as a springboard to talk about how I deal with assholes.

“The Troubling Rise of the LGBTQ Right.” This one goes over the sudden rise of right-winged LGBTQ people in the wake of the election.

Enjoy!

And, of course, you can support me financially by becoming a Patreon supporter of my podcasts.

Bi Any Means Podcast #121: Growing Up Intersex with John Schindler

 

My guest for today is John Schindler. They are an intersex activist based in New York who is the co-chair of Intersex Friends and Families. Together with their co-chair Cynthia, they do talks at various organizations about what it means to be intersex, and today John tells us their story for Intersex Awareness Day.

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Liberal Politics and Trans Rights — My Latest for Splice Today

Despite the fact Dudebro Classical Liberals have tarnished the word, I still consider myself a liberal. I believe in using free speech to criticize bad speech, a government that works for the people, and liberty and justice for all. I’m also transgender, so when I heard that Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay wrote an article for Areo Magazine called “An Argument for a Liberal and Rational Approach to Transgender Rights and Inclusion,” I had to read it.

I wasn’t expecting much at first, though. For starters, whenever cis straight people talk about a “rational approach” to LGBTQ rights, they end up sounding like the white moderates Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about. Also, Lindsay and I recently had an unproductive conversation on Twitter where I criticized him blaming Trump’s election exclusively on “social justice warriors,” and his response insinuated that I just shut up and go away. But I figured it’d be better if I read the article before criticizing them. It isn’t as bad as I thought, but still missed the mark.

The article begins with a false equivalence. “On the one hand,” Pluckrose and Lindsay write, “we have extreme social conservatives and gender critical radical feminists who claim that trans identity is a delusion and that the good of society depends on opposing it at every turn.” I agree; both social conservatives and TERFS (trans-exclusive radical feminists) perpetuate the deadly myth that trans women are really just men in drag that want to infiltrate women’s spaces in order to assault them (even though studies show trans women are more likely to be assaulted in public bathrooms than cis women). But then: “On the other, we have extreme trans activists who claim not only that trans people straightforwardly are the gender they experience themselves to be but that everyone else must be compelled to accept this, use corresponding language, and be fully inclusive of trans people in their choice of sexual partners.” I can understand objections to the last one, but what’s wrong with the first two? What’s so extreme about trans people wanting to been seen and accepted for who they are?

Click here to read the rest.

And in a strange turn of events, Helen Pluckrose loved the article!

Bi Any Means Podcast #118: Agnosticism, Disability, and Bisexuality with Denarii Monroe

My guest for today is Denarii Monroe. She’s a freelance writer, poet, speaker, and singer based in New York who has written for Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, Wear Your Voice, and Black Girl Dangerous, among other publications. She writes about bisexuality, race, disability, fatphobia, and how they all intersect. So today we’re going to get to know Denarii and her story.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #117: Life in a Pentecostal Cult with Devyn Lennex

My guest for today is my friend Devyn Lennex. They are 20-something non-binary person who grew up in an extremely conservative Pentecostal cult where they had to wear skirts and couldn’t go anywhere that served alcohol. At 17, they were in what was basically an arranged marriage, but got out at 19 and began their journey to self-discovery and self-agency. So today we’re going to hear Devyn’s story.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #114: Activist Theology with Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

My guest for today is Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, a radical trans queer Latinx public theologian. Here’s what their bio says: “Knowing intimately that the borderlands are a place of learning and growth, Robyn draws on their identity and heritage as a Transqueer Latinx in everything that they do. From doubt to divine and everywhere in between, their call as an activist-theologian demands the vision to disrupt hegemony and colonialist structures of multi-layered oppressions. As an anti-oppression, anti-racist, non-binary Trans*gressive Latinx, Robyn takes seriously their call as an activist theologian and ethicist to bridge together theories and practices that result in communities responding to pressing social concerns. Robyn sees this work as a life-orienting vocation, deeply committed to translating theory to action, and embedded in re-imagining our moral horizon to one which privileges a politics of radical difference.” Which is why Robyn’s joining me today to talk about everything they do!

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Bi Any Means Podcast #111: Feminism, Sexuality, and Humanism with Greta Christina

My guest for today is writer and activist Greta Christina. She’s the author of several books including “Why are You Atheists So Angry?”, “Coming Out Atheist,” “Comforting Thoughts about Death that Have Nothing to Do with God,” and “The Way of the Heathen.” She’s also a blogger who currently blogs at The Orbit. Today we’re going to talk about her writing, feminism, and humanist sexual ethics.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #30: Scaramucci, Will You Do the Fandago?

Today on the show, we’re discussing the latest on the dumpster fire that is the Trump presidency. We’re talking Spicer, Scaramucci, indoctrinating Boy Scouts, healthcare, and banning trans people from the military. Also, because it’s the Biskeptical Podcast, Morgan takes us through the strange story of former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and why it’s got enough drama for a Faulkner novel.

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