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Saturday, 4 July 2009

Coming out of two closets

Which is the worse: coming out as gay or coming out as an atheist.

There was an interesting piece in the US paper the Examiner a few days ago on this very subject – and the writer reckons it’s often harder to come out as atheist.

She relates an old joke:

If you’re afraid to tell your parents that you’re an atheist, just tell them you’re gay and after they are done flipping out say, “Don’t worry, I’m not gay, I’m only an atheist.” The interesting thing is that coming out atheist can be much harder than coming out gay.

That’s in the States, of course, where religion plays a bigger part in people’s lives. Here in the UK, it’s probably seen as cool to be an atheist. Certainly, I never encounter any antipathy on the few occasions I’m in a conversation with someone and say I’m a nonbeliever. Often, the other person is, too.

1 comment:

vjack said...

That is a great question. Like you said, I think it depends not only on one's country but probably also on the region of one's country in which one leaves. There are parts of the U.S. where I suspect that one might have an easier time being openly gay than openly atheist or vice-versa.

In my experience, I've encountered far more anti-atheist gays than anti-gay atheists. I'm not suggesting that my experience is necessarily representative, but I wouldn't be surprised.