Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Humanism Has Done More For Queer People Than Religion

(Picture credit: LGBTQ Humanists)

Last week, Alex Gabriel wrote a piece called Jesus was not a queer ally. In it, he reminds readers that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, and, therefore, it does not automatically mean "Gay is okay." If you read the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says, "Ye have heard it said X, but I say unto Y," he doesn't mention anything about Leviticus 18:22. Perhaps if Jesus said, "Ye have heard it said, 'Stone the queers,' but I say unto you it's okay to be queer," then we wouldn't have a problem. But since Jesus never said that, homophobia is still permissible in most evangelical churches.
Gabriel concludes that queer spaces should remain secular:

It’s not an accident queer-affirming Christians have emerged as an organised force within the last century, with major figureheads like Desmond Tutu: they follow a long, slow period of secularisation in which Christianity’s social heft diminished (largely thanks, I must point out, to loudmouth atheists). Only secularisation allows genuine plurality, giving every point of view breathing space – the price of this, as the queer community must learn, is not placing God at the heart of public space. It’s a small one.

Shortly thereafter, Heina Dadabhoy echoed Gabriel's sentiments, and wrote about their own experiences being marginalized as an atheist in queer spaces:

It is bizarre, to say the least, to sit in a room filled with LGBT folks and hear nothing but praise for religion and disdain for criticism of religion. Any mention of the homophobia in Christianity or any other religion was treated as if it were taboo, or at least unnecessarily hostile. I found myself feeling an odd sense of longing for the openly-homophobic Muslim I had encountered on an interfaith panel I had done at a local high school. He at least acknowledged the anti-queerness in his faith rather than pretended it didn’t exist and wasn’t relevant to the discussion.

Shortly before I came out, I became an ally after reading Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality. When I eventually came out, all my Christian friends were very supportive, and I found a church that welcomed queer people. I thought there was no dichotomy between religion and being queer. Now, as a humanist, I see things differently. I still think it's possible to be either a queer person of faith or an ally of faith, but to be honest the acceptance of LGBTQ people has nothing to do with religion. In fact, I think humanism has done more for queer people than religion.

Humanism is, as Wikipedia defines it, "a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism)." When a new piece of information comes to light that contradicts previously-held beliefs and social norms, humanists rely on science and reason to test the information again and again to see if it holds any water. If it does, then humanists use this new information to help them better understand the nature of the world and humankind.

Religion, on the other hand, relies, for the most part, on dogma and doctrine. Religious leaders construct these doctrines based on scriptures written during a time when humankind had limited knowledge about how the world and humankind work. When a new piece of information comes to light that contradicts these socially constructed norms and doctrines, religious leaders tend to automatically dismiss it as blasphemy and heresy. For the most part, religions eventually accept new information, although most of the time it's not without kicking and screaming.  (In fact, it wasn't until 1992 that the Vatican officially pardoned Galileo.) Even then, there are certain branches of Christianity that still stick to bronze-age myths that have long since been debunked, like young-earth creationism.

Humanism, science, and reason have done more for queer rights than religion. That's not say that the secular world has always been a champion for queer rights, of course. After all, it wasn't until 1973 that both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Associate declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. But even that came after years and years of scientific research, so the secular world eventually figured it out. Now there is no debate among humanists about whether or not queer people should deserve equal rights. Religion, on the other hand, is about fifty miles behind, if not more.

Now I should point out that religion is getting better about LGBTQ rights. Indeed, according to the graph below from Pew Research Center, evangelicals are slowly starting to support marriage equality.


However, according to this graph, white evangelical protestants are still the least likely religious group (or at least the least likely Christian group) in American to support marriage equality, while those unaffiliated with any religion are still the main supporters. As the graph clearly shows, none of the religious groups numbers match the overwhelming support for marriage equality among the so-called "nones." Until the green, purple, brown, and orange lines overlap the blue line, humanism will remain the best option for LGBT rights.

Which is why I agree with both Gabriel and Dadabhoy; queer spaces should remain secular. No, I don't mean that queer people of faith aren't allowed, or that they should leave their religious identities at the door. Neither am I suggesting that queer allies of faith aren't real allies. When I say queer spaces should remain secular, I mean that queer spaces should remain religiously neutral. If your god loves queer people, that's fine with me. Just don't proselytize me when we really should be talking about queer liberation. I hate to break it to you, but some of us queer folks honestly want nothing to do with religion. It's not just because we've been burned by religion (although that's one of the major reasons); it's because there is no evidence that any kind of higher power.

So, was Jesus a queer ally? Probably not, but humanism definitely is.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We Need To Keep Bi Spaces Safe


TW: Rape threats

I love my online bisexual community. I've met some amazing people, and learned so much. Whenever I go to my online bisexual community, I always feel validated. I no longer feel like a fake queer. If it wasn't for the awesome bisexuals I've met online, I'd probably still be in the closet.

Having said that, though, the bisexual community isn't always the safest space.

My friend recently wrote a blog post on Tumblr calling out misogyny among bisexual men. At best, she got the whole "not all men" crap, but at worst she received rape threats. All from bisexual men, too, I should add.

THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

People like me look towards the online bisexual community for support. We might not always disagree, but as long as things are stable, then I feel safe. Unfortunately, things aren't stable right now, and we need to fix this.

As bisexuals, we all face similar struggles. People think we’re either gay or straight. People think we reinforce the gender binary. People think we’re “slutty.” People think we’re queer allies and not actually queer. However, we are also very diverse community. Some of us are men, some are women, and some are non-binary. Some are white and some are of color. Some are cisgender and some are transgender. Some have disabilities and some don’t. Some are neurodivergent and some are neurotypical. While we all have similar struggles, we all have different struggles, too.

To keep the bisexual community a safe and supportive space, we need to listen to each other.

We need to stop interjecting our opinions about issues we know nothing about.

We need to stop talking over people.

We need to recognize our own privileges.

We need to recognize our own biases.

We need to remember that we can all be both oppressed and oppressors.

You think we can do that?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Seven Questions With Vlad Chituc


Vlad Chituc is the editor of the blog Nonprophet Status. He is also a Research Associate for the Center of Advance Hindsight. And today I get to interview him!

Tell me about your background. Were you raised religious? If so, what led you to Humanism?

I grew up in a very small town in rural upstate New York. My parents were immigrants from Romania and left the country during the really brutal Stalinist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu. They were both Eastern Orthodox Christians, but since the nearest church was more than an hour away, I only went once when my twin brother and I were baptized.

I became an atheist as a teenager after I realized that I didn't really believe in Christianity (which I learned about mostly through reading the Bible and watching Sunday morning religious shows when I was bored). I had a brief "something's got to be out there" phase and became an atheist after I realized that Douglas Adams, an author I really liked at the time, was one. It never really occurred to me that atheism was an option on the table, as silly as that sounds, but up to that point there weren't any other atheists in my small town (that I knew about, at least). At that point, I had a sort of dickish New Atheist phase, where I got banned from the Myspace religion forum and was really active on Reddit's atheism subreddit, to give a rough idea. I have since chilled out for a number of reasons.

I learned about Humanism right when I got to Yale, actually. There was an event where all the student groups were tabling to recruit the new freshman, and I met Conor Robinson (who is now doing great work with the Pathfinder's Project and the Humanist Service Corps). He had just started the Yale Humanist Society, and I was all over it. I eventually became the president of the group, and I'm delighted to see it mature and grow.

How did you become involved with Nonprophet Status?

I actually love telling this story, because it was right at the tail-end of my brief flirtation with New Atheism. I was at the CFI Student Leadership Conference in 2010, and Chris Stedman had just given a talk on a panel about interfaith engagement. This was sort of the hot-button issue that everyone in the atheist movement was fighting about before we started caring about feminism and social justice and all of that, and at the time I thought Chris was, while really smart and articulate and hip, just totally wrong about everything.

I got a chance to chat with Chris for a bit after his panel, and I was actually a huge asshole to him, which I think is the funniest thing in the world. We were talking about the French Burqa ban that was in the news at the time, and I was giving him a hard time about it and being really aggressive because I thought the ban was great, embarrassingly enough. For some reason, Chris was really patient and kind and we ended up staying in touch. I ended up chilling out a lot over the next few months, and Chris was actually living in New Haven for a short time, so I saw him around here and there and we got coffee once or twice. At some point, he asked me to write a guest post for NonProphet Status, and I did. Eventually, I just realized that I was totally on his team and it just kind of took off from there.

Now I'm really glad to call Chris a good friend of mine, because he totally could have just said "fuck off" to me when I was a little 20 year-old asshole, and he would have been totally justified in doing that. Instead, he showed me kindness and understanding. I try to keep that in mind when I disagree with someone, even though I'm usually less patient and more hotheaded than I'd like. I'm working on it, though.

One criticism I hear a lot about so-called "faitheists" like NPS and Chris Stedman is that they're not critical of religion enough. When do you think is it appropriate to call out harmful theology and false beliefs?

I think you mostly answer your question yourself: you call out harmful theology and false beliefs when they're harmful (and it's worth the effort). I think this all has to be done in a way that's mindful of basic human psychology and doesn't devolve into the tribalism and one-upsmanship that's unfortunately common in some atheist circles, particularly online.

That said, I think there's a distressingly common mischaracterization of our views which suggest that Chris Stedman or NPS or any "faitheist" is opposed to criticizing religious beliefs, institutions, or practices. Chris Stedman and Reza Aslan talked in a recent editorial about openly engaging with problems in religious communities, writing that there's "a great deal of work to do in the Muslim community concerning attitudes about and practices affecting LGBTQ people, ex-Muslims and women." Back in 2012, Chris also wrote in a beautiful essay (seriously read it) that "religious beliefs that cast aside an entire group of people—that write them off as inhuman—are not worthy of respect." I also have an essay published on Richard Dawkins's website—Richard Dawkins!—about exactly this topic. I know there's a very common perception that we'd never ever speak about anything religious with a tone that isn't completely reverent, but that's the type of thing you can only really believe if you haven't read anything we've written charitably (or at all). So if we don't criticize religion enough, it's because we disagree about how much is effective, or we disagree about what the targets of the criticism should be, or we disagree about whether there should be a climate where religious moderates police their own (as is often the case in interfaith circles).

To briefly sum up my views, though: punch up and be specific. First, we shouldn't be like Dawkins and argue that we should ridicule Catholics with contempt, but that doesn't mean we can't criticize Mother Theresa or how the Catholic Church's policy on sexual misconduct. Second, religion isn't a monolithic entity; it's a really broad and varied and messy phenomenon. That's why it really doesn't make sense to say something like "Islam is homophobic" or "Islam is violent" or "Islam is barbaric," because of something written in the Quran. This is partly because Islam is bigger than the Quran (and I don't just mean the Hadiths) and partly because Islam isn't one thing. ISIS is barbaric. Conservative Islam is homophobic. Certain passages of the Quran are sexist (or have prevalent sexist interpretations). Those criticisms are all I think necessary and fair. I just don't see how you can justifiable make sweeping statements about a religion practiced by more than a billion and a half people.

It's not just careful and correct to frame your criticisms that way, but it's also way more pragmatic. We know that criticisms that attack core components of your identity are going to be tuned out, and it's just going to make people cling more strongly to their beliefs. A Christian is going to be turned off if you go around shouting about how homophobic Christianity is, because "Christian" is core to their identity. But if you talk about how Leviticus 18:22 is homophobic, not only are you right, but the Christian you're talking to might agree! Whether Leviticus is homophobic is way less personal and touchy than whether Christianity full stop is homophobic. So now you have a dialogue and you're making progress and you have a chance to actually change someone's mind.

To back up a bit, though, I personally don't like applying the term "faitheist" to broadly capture the pluralistic views that Chris and I share (I've been tossing around "chillwave atheist" and I'm secretly hoping it will stick). Let me actually go a bit further: anyone using "faitheist" in a pejorative way is an asshole. It's a term Jerry Coyne popularized in a contest to find one word to snidely and concisely dismiss atheists he disagreed with (along with other charming runners-up like "credophile"). Chris decided to re-appropriate it, using it to title his book and column at Religion News Service, and I have a few good friends who have re-appropriated it as well. But like any pejorative that someone turns around and reclaims, it's extremely disrespectful and shitty to continue using it as an insult. For all I've seen written about how atheists like me or Chris are "atheist-bashers" who "hate atheists" or otherwise "throw atheists under the bus" (all things I've heard!), we're not the ones sitting around like middle school bullies coming up with names to call people we don't like.

How do social justice and Humanism intersect for you?

I'm just going to be honest and say they don't, really. I have moral values which attract me to Humanism, and it's largely those moral values that attract me to social justice issues. That said, it's extremely important to have communities that reflect your values, and Humanism provides an avenue for that. Based on the time of day and when I last ate, I have different views on whether or not it'd be better to gather around those specific values or something broad like Humanism, instead. But I think both have their uses. I think this is definitely a case where religion does something better than we do, since it combines a framework of values and a group of people devoted to helping you live out those values. I think we're still working on that, and Humanism is a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.

You also write about how Humanism and veganism intersect. Tell us a little about that.

My views on this are actually pretty complicated. I think veganism is the obvious moral position to take. I think animals have obvious moral worth and the harm we inflict on them through factory farming isn't worth the minor uptick in pleasure we get consuming animal products instead of vegan alternatives. This is just a no-brainer to me. If you are reading this blog, you probably don't have any excuses not to be vegan, as far as I'm concerned.

I wrote a post that garnered a lot of attention, though, about why atheists specifically should be vegans. The argument is actually a little more subtle than I maybe let on, but the basic point is that veganism is an obvious moral conclusion for everyone except theists. They have potential compelling objections that atheists can't make (atheists can't point to bible verses about dominion over animals or suggest that animals can't suffer because they don't have souls, since souls are necessary for consciousness, and so on). So in that sense, if you're an atheist (who accepts what I think are really noncontroversial moral premises) then you should be a vegan.

Besides being the editor of NPS, you're also a Research Associate for the Center for Advance Hindsight. Tell us a little about that.

Sure, that's my really fantastic day-job. I work at Duke University with Dan Ariely, who is just this amazingly brilliant and generous figure. I basically help with the day-to-day running of the lab: I get money for subjects, make sure our research is squared away with the University ethics board, and run a fair amount of studies for other people who have busier schedules than I do. Part of the reason I love my job so much is because it leaves me a lot of time to read journal articles and pursue my own research projects, which has been amazing because I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I want to study. The entire staff of the lab (we're unusually large, with close to 20 people in and out, I think) is great, and we collaborate a lot and bounce ideas off one another and it's just in general an amazing place. I can't say enough nice things about it.

Troy Campbell, one of our graduate students and a good friend of mine, got a lot of press lately for two of his new papers, one on solution aversion and another on how we use unfalsifiable beliefs defensively. Another collaborator of mine, our postdoc Nina Strohminger, recently wrote a fantastic essay for Aeon about some of her research on personal identity. She and I are working on a paper about humor and have started up some projects on group identity, following up on some of her work on personal identity. I'm really excited and grateful to be working there, and I plan to stick around for at least another year (at which point I'll apply to graduate school for my PhD).

What's the biggest criticism you have of today's atheist movement?

The atheist movement is too narrow. A lot of times you'll see atheists railing against mission drift, because atheism should be about criticizing religion, promoting science education, advocating for the separation of Church and State, or whatever else. You hear, "why are you talking about racism? why are you talking about sexism? why are you talking about interfaith activism? Atheism is just lack of a belief in God, so leave your values out of it."

God not existing doesn't tell you anything about politics, though. It doesn't tell you that you should criticize religious believers, and it doesn't tell you that science is important. But old white dudes cared about this stuff, and they were the main atheist demographic for the longest time, so their values just got treated as the default. Now, they're pretending that the values they've enshrined aren't there, whining about mission drift any time anyone else wants their values heard.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Riot Is The Language Of The Unheard


Last week a grand jury find no reason to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed young black man. A riot immediately broke out in Ferguson, MO, with reports of arson and looting. President Obama shortly commented on the riots in a speech:

“To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that,” Mr. Obama said. For those working to make change, he added, “I want to work with you and I want to move forward with you.”

Indeed, just like with the L.A. riots of 1992, there's been a huge call for nonviolent protest in the wake of the Warren verdict. During a protest in Birmingham, AL, Harry "Traveling Shoes" Turner told a crowd not to turn to violence:

"We will say to you today all over these United States - as your hearts are broken like our hearts, or you are saddened like we are today - we are asking for the violence and the destructiveness to stop," Turner said. "Put down your firebombs, stop the turning over of cars, stop the destruction of property. We don't want to see anyone else's life lost."

I'm all for nonviolence (except for self-defense, but that's another story). However, I can't, in good conscience, outright condemn last week's riots. For starters, being a white person, I can't tell black people how to respond to police brutality. It would be like a cisgender straight person telling me how to feel about homophobia and transphobia. Second, by focusing on the riots, I would be overlooking the root cause of the unrest: a racist society.

We all remember Martin Luther King as an example of peace and nonviolence. But what many people do not know is that while Dr. King did not condone the race riots of the 1960's, he could not outright condemn them, either. As he said in a 1968 speech:

I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view... But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. [Emphasis mine]

We've heard the saying "Violence begets violence" again and again. The riots in Ferguson is a prime example of this: we live in a society that, even in 2014, automatically grants privileges to white people and marginalizes people of color . . . especially black people. We're taught that justice is blind, and everyone's innocent until proven guilty, but that's not how it really works. For black people, it's mostly "guilty until proven innocent."

So when nothing gets done, shit will eventually hit the fans!

And shit will eventually hit the fans if things don't improve

Just this past week, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner, and a police shot and killed an unarmed black man named Rumain Brisbon. So far there have been several nonviolent protests nationwide in the wake of the Garner verdict, but no riots (yet). However, if we don't get to the root of these senseless deaths soon . . . well, as the old spiritual goes, "No more water but fire next time."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thankful Humanist


It's Thanksgiving time again. Time to ignore the genocide of Native Americans to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, eat turkey, and camp out in front of stores to get those early Black Friday deals spend time with family. It's also a great time to reflect on what we're thankful for.

And you don't even have to be a theist to give thanks, either!

I used to date a girl who's fundamentalist family thought Thanksgiving was a "Christian holiday" because, according to them, "Who are we thanking?" (I guess Muslims, Jews, and Hindus can't thank their respective gods.) The truth is anyone can be thankful; some of us just thank the people who actually deserve it.

When I was a Christian, I used to equate atheism with nihilism. If there's no god, I thought, then there's nothing to be happy about because everything is meaningless. True, there's no grand design (or even a grand designer) of life here on Earth, but that doesn't mean everything means nothing. In fact, from a humanistic point of view, the very fact that we are here right now is something to be grateful for.

I hate to quote myself, but a few months ago when my grandfather died I had a sudden revelation:

I, we, the entire human race--we all beat the odds to get here. Our pre-human ancestors survived the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. We adapted and evolved while millions of other species became extinct. Our brains developed so that we can explore our world, define ourselves, and, most importantly, create something beautiful. Some of our mothers had miscarriages before we were born. We are the lucky ones, because we are here. Right now. You and I.

And that's why I'm giving thanks this Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for this opportunity to be here right now, and for the ability to create something beautiful before I die.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Transgender Day Of Remembrance Matters


TW: Violence, Transphobia, Murder, Suicide, Rape

Because within the first few months of 2014, 102 transgender people were reported murdered worldwide.

Because 10% of all acts of violence against transgender people were against transgender youth.

Because nearly half of all transgender people have attempted suicide.

Because 64% of transgender people have reported being sexually assaulted.

Because transgender women of color are more likely to experience violence.

Because trans lives matter, period.

Because it's 2014 and we still have to protest this shit!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yes, Virginia, There Are Transphobic Atheists


*UPDATE 11/20/14: A Redditor sent me a link to something they wrote about the biology vs. social norms debate. Turns out it's more both/and than either/or. However, I still stand by everything I said about transphobia in secular circles.

* * *

TW: Transphobia, Cissexism, Reddit

There's an old Internet proverb that says, "Don't read the comments!" This is especially true for /r/atheism.

This past Monday, the PR Director of American Atheists came out as a transgender woman. Danielle Muscato made her announcement as a guest post on Friendly Atheist. She says that while she fully supports "ntersectionality and working together with LGBTQ activists on mutual goals," she mainly identifies as an atheist activist.(Personally, I think you can be both an atheist activist and a queer activist, but that's just me.)

Despite the "Don't read the comments" rule, the comments on Friendly Atheist have been overwhelmingly positive. Which was a shock to me, since I don't see a lot of conversations about trans issues in the atheist community. I decided to post the link to Muscato's piece on /r/atheism, which bills itself as "the world's largest atheist forum." Surely the Reddit atheists will be just as supportive, right?

Well . . .

There were some positive comments, but then came the old transphobic cissexist bullshit:

  • "Fact: boys have a penis, girls have a vagina."

  • "I personally would like to take this opportunity to come out as a lamp. I'll be wearing this lampshade which totally makes me a lamp. Sigh. Sorry. Identify as whatever you like obviously, I'm just feeling a little old fashioned when apparently everyone is making up their own shit these days, from Masculine Hairy Woman With A Penis to Furry GenderQueer Pony with Xe-Pronouned Spirit Other And a Sequoia In a Past Life."

  • "Unpopular dissenting opinion: a person cannot declare themselves the opposite gender any more than a white person can suddenly declare themselves black. Unless you've got Klinefelter's or you're a true hermaphrodite, I just don't think it's healthy to start saying you are something that you're clearly not. This is America, you have every right to dress however you want and modify your body however you want, but this guy didn't grow up with a substantial subset of typical female experiences. It's disrespectful to lay claim to something you simply haven't experienced or earned."

For people who pride themselves in being intelligent, atheists can be dumb motherfuckers sometimes!

It's particularly upsetting to see transphobia in atheist circles because there's so much support for gay rights and marriage equality, but hardly any mention of transgender rights. In fact, the only prominent transgender atheist activist I know of is Zinnia Jones. When it comes to social justice for LGBT people, there's plenty of focus on the G and the L (although most of the time queer women are more fetishized than supported), but hardly any mention of the B and the T. (Or asexuals. Or aromantics. Or pansexuals.)

When talking to transphobes, the number one argument I keep hearing over and over again is, "What about biology?" I love science just as much as the next atheist, but gender goes beyond genitals and chromosomes. Gender is a social construct; all of our ideas what it means to be either a man or a woman come from human ideas and social norms. If you are a designated male at birth (DMAB), you're expected to play with certain toys, dress a certain way, hold your books a certain way, cross your legs a certain way, and take on a certain role in romantic relationships. Same thing for designated females at birth (DFAB). The funny part is these gender roles have absolutely NOTHING to do with biology. Nature doesn't demand us the wear certain clothes, or have certain careers when we grow up. Humans decided that men should be the dominant ones in relationships. Humans decided that men should be stoic and not emotionally vulnerable. Humans decided that boys can get dirty while girls have to be clean and pretty all the time. Maybe in our early evolutionary stages we had to adopt certain roles in order to survive, but since then we've evolved to this point where we can take a look at our socially constructed norms and say, "This is bullshit!"

By the way, biological sex isn't always black and white, either. All clownfish are born male, but the dominant male will turn female if the female of the group dies. Some reed frogs change from female to male when there aren't enough males for reproduction. Even some humans are born intersex.

To borrow a quote from Doctor Who, people assume that gender is a strict binary of male and female, but actually, from a non-binary point of view, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly gendery-wendery . . . stuff.

I've come to expect transphobia from conservative Christians, but it's especially disheartening to see transphobia in atheist circles. With all the progress made by secularism in the past few centuries, we've still got a long way to go.