This weekend I attended a Harvey Milk Vigil because I was in San Fransisco being a tourist. It sounded like an interesting event and it was. There were multiple speakers talking about different issues facing the Gay Community. Really, all of the issues face all of us in the fight for equality. But I did take issue with one of the speakers on one point. Gay or straight, I think that it would apply for many of us that are still coming out as Atheists as well.
The speaker was talking about the difficulty of being Chinese and gay because of the cultural norms and the long held expectations. I don't know why it's harder to be a gay Chinese person than say a Middle Eastern gay person, but I'll leave that argument alone and accept his point that some cultures are tougher than the next to come out in. What he said that really perked my ears was in regards to the dream of what the loved ones say in these cultures when you come out. He said (para), "The goal is to one day hear, We still love you." I found it to be an incomplete dream. A goal to be second class. Not a hope of mine, so I would suggest that it's not, nor should it be, the goal of the any group.
Families are different in mix, but few have one person speaking for the group. You'd be hard pressed to find a mono-lithic family. Even the Phelps have defectors. The idea that I should accept that Grandma is so big that she'll love me despite my defect, is an insult. The response should be something along the lines, "What do you mean by, 'You still love me.' Do I say, 'I still love you even though you use more resources than you bring in?' Do I say, 'I still love you even though you hold me up on walks?" It's an absurd notion to put forth that we should be loved despite who we are or because of the human condition.
When you come out, (Atheist, Gay, other) do it with confidence. There is no shame in being yourself. There is no reason to be relegated to "still" being OK. If you aren't still OK or are just OK because you are special, the person that makes you feel that way needs to be called out. They need to be called on the carpet for how they are treating you and others like you. They may not even realize what they are saying and how it's hurtful. It might turn into a teaching moment. Frankly speaking, I'm not going to be OK with Grandpa putting up with me, but hating everyone like me. If we don't all stand for equality together, then we don't deserve it ourselves.