Chris Stedman did a piece on this question of homophobia in atheism at Religion News Service after that Twitter exchange I quoted.
Discussions around sexism among atheists have been gaining momentum for years, but it’s clear that sexism is still a problem in certain segments of movement atheism. I’ve seen manifestations of it, and I am far from alone. And regarding anti-LGBTQ attitudes: I’ve heard from atheists who say that I’m too “effeminate,” that my being gay makes atheists seem “like freaks,” or that my “obvious homosexuality” makes me an ineffectual voice for atheists.
To paraphrase Clay Shirky for the thousandth time: if the voice of authority is always male, people will think the voice of authority is supposed to be male – and not just male but MALE; hyper-male, exaggerated-male, stereotypical-male. Poofters and bitches need not apply.
Much of organized atheism has a frat house or locker room or comedy club atmosphere. That doesn’t help.
The bottom line is this: Atheism is not an inoculation against prejudice. Being an atheist does not prevent you from being influenced by the homophobia and misogyny that permeate our culture. It may seem like an obvious point but it’s important to remember, lest we operate under the false idea that atheists are somehow immune.
No, it’s not, and in fact it can be an encouragement to certain kinds of prejudice. It’s sad but it’s true.