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Yes, my atheist life is this boring. August 9, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues, rants.
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26 comments

Excuses on why I haven’t posted in about a month now:

  1. Religion is no longer something I want to discuss with my parents. (However, I get more and more resentful that I have to sit and wait while they pray before dinner. At least I have breakfast and lunch elsewhere, and with co-workers who, while religious, don’t shove their beliefs in my face.)
  2. Workplace drama isn’t all that interesting. It’s mostly bitchy co-workers making rumors about me, like I’m fucking my married boss, et cetera. Tedious.
  3. I don’t have much time to go online, and when I do I’m usually feeding my crush on Steven Weber and Casey from Make Me a Supermodel. (He’s a Buddhist! He thinks that “the whole peace and love thing is, like…awesome”! Is it weird that I find that totally sexy?)

Now, I did mention that workplace drama isn’t all that blog-worthy, but I’ve experienced some new, weird reactions to my admitting my atheism.

Once, I was talking about a dire-but-funny situation with Gary, 36, and for some reason he asks…

Gary: “So, are you a Catholic or a Born Again Christian?”

TA: “Atheist, why?”

Gary: “Oh, never mind.”

TA: “No, really, why were you asking?”

Gary: “It’s nothing.”

Then just yesterday, I was walking home with Marc, 28, and we were talking about his close encounter with a different married boss whom he’s crushing on big-time.

Marc: “Are you a Catholic, or…?”

TA: “Atheist.”

Marc: “Oh okay, nevermind.”

TA: “Why?”

Marc: “No, I was just asking.”

It’s weird how they get eerily quiet about it, like there was a joke they wanted to tell you but they refrained from it because people of your “kind” probably wouldn’t get it. What does this reaction even mean? It’s good that they’re not going into some idiotic argument about how I should see the light or whatever, but are they scared to offend me now? I like offensive jokes as much as the next guy. Take this hilarious skit from Judd Apatow and friends.

…Man, I love me some Jews. (And Justin Long! Woohoo!)

On the tangent of interesting things I found on the Intarwebz, I’d been Googling Christian Bale since watching him in The Dark Knight (unpopular opinion: I liked Heath Ledger’s Joker, but my favorite performance in that movie was Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face). Much digging led to my discovery of a full recording of the less successful of Todd Haynes’ two rock-star-inspired films,Velvet Goldmine.

Now, the movie itself wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but it was definitely interesting, and worth watching just for Ewan McGregor’s brilliant turn as the Iggy Pop avatar Curt Wild. He was a revelation! I’d been “eh” about him before, but after seeing the awesomeness that is Curt Wild, I am all over this boy. Plus, he’s one of the very few men who look hot in platinum blond hair and guyliner. Is anyone else as psyched to see I Love You Phillip Morris as I am?

Check out his rocktastic take on “TV Eye” (warning: NSFW!):

Velvet Goldmine had me as wistful as Christian Bale’s character in the movie, even though I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s. It was more centered around the sexual freedom of the era, which made me sad in realizing the truth: that we’d experienced a regression since then. Whatever happened to the days when being gay or bisexual was cool?

And then I get to thinking, was it easier to be an atheist back then, as well?

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What I did for love (TA at the gay pride parade) December 9, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, friends, issues.
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7 comments

(Why yes, that post title is a reference to A Chorus Line. Man, I’m cheesy.)

It was the night before the parade, and I approached my mother in the kitchen to ask her again if I could attend the gay pride parade. She, again, refused.

“Please,” I whined, “my gay friends are counting on me to be there!”

After taking a while to think it over, she sighed, “Ask your father.”

So I did, and Dad was like, “It’s up to you,” and hey, a victory is still a victory, even if I didn’t get to use the “they’re being discriminated against, like meee!” speech I had prepared in my mind.

My parents have a certain way of showing their disapproval of my choices, and that’s by leaving me to fend for myself as much as possible. They pulled this little trick on me when I enrolled at Dream College; Mom went through all the red tape to procure an application form and even bargain for an extended deadline for me when it came to College That She Wanted for Me (also known as Smarty-Pants College), but when I insisted on applying for Dream College, they didn’t lift a finger to help. I had to take three-hour-long trips on public transportation (no walk in the park, especially not here) to and from the school for a number of days to complete my application. For the parade, I had to take the whole journey myself as well.

This trip was made significantly more difficult because of what I’d chosen to wear. I’d never been to a gay pride parade before, but I figured that what I wore to the parade made an important statement, so I gay-ed it up some, with a black mini-skirt and rainbow striped knee-high socks. It was a little discomforting to hear the catcalls and lewd remarks as I walked to the bus stop, as well as the odd stares from pedestrians, but hey, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? Ah, the things I do for love.

I’d actually signed up as a volunteer with the organizers a week beforehand, so I got to be a marshal to the madness, which was really cool. People loved my outfit — some even stopped to take pictures of me! I’m always flattered to hear praise about my sartorial choices from gay men. I remember being at a high-end shoe shop once, where the gay manager approached me to tell me how much he loved my outfit. I happily recounted this to my mother later on.

“Yeah,” she snorted, “it’s no surprise that he liked your outfit — he’s a fag.”

Thanks a lot, Debbie Downer. I just brushed it off, because I love gay people, and my mother is a frumpy dresser, anyway.

(more…)

I don’t know any better, but you might! December 2, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, issues.
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33 comments

So I’d like to ask you all for your advice again.

There’s an LGBT Pride March in our country this month, and as an LGBT supporter, I of course want to go to show solidarity for the awesome gay/bi/transgender people of this ultra-conservative country. And my gay friends too, hee-hee.

I approached my mother and asked her if I could go. She gave me a firm “No,” explaining that I was too young to attend such an event.

“Why am I too young?”

“Well, there’s the whole thing about gay marriage, and gay rights…issues that even some adults can’t understand, let alone a child like you. Besides, if you’re only there for show, you’re going to look like an idiot.”

I smelled bullshit (come on, it’s kind of flimsy, don’t you think?), but I wasn’t surprised. Mom always underestimates me. Of course I understand gay rights, why the fuck do you think I’m going? To look fabulous, or scout for the perfect Gay BFF? This march is about anti-discrimination, which has always been my biggest cause. LGBT people deserve as much respect as everybody else.

Naturally, I’m bummed about it. My first-ever semi-political event, and I’m not allowed to go because I’m too young. Sure, there’s this other party that day that I’m going to attend in case I really can’t go to the march, but since when has my mother’s disapproval ever stopped me from doing anything? If I did everything my mother told me to, I’d be a timid, frumpy Catholic girl instead of the fabulous, go-getting atheist that I am today!

Readers, I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. Is my mother right? At 17 (going on 18 in less than a week), am I too young to attend this march?
  2. If not, how can I convince my mother to let me go?

No two ways about it October 25, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends, issues, rants.
Tags: , , , , , ,
13 comments

Fred finally got to read the post I wrote about his homophobia, and as expected, he didn’t like what I had to say. He confronted me, demanding an apology.

Fred: “First, I talk to you on the assumption that what I share to you is kept between us, and sorry, but I find what you’ve said to be rather condescending.”

Basically, he didn’t like it when I called him out on his homophobic bullshit on his blog, and now he doesn’t like it that I called him out on his homophobic bullshit on my blog. He also called me a bigot for the way I write about him on this blog, and said that I was also “rude and disrespectful” towards him.

Well, go ahead. Call me self-righteous and condescending and whatever you damn well please, because I probably am, but if we continue to be tolerant of that idiotic “homosexuality is a choice” mentality, then when will the bigotry end? So no, Fred, I don’t respect your opinion and you can’t make me, because I won’t stop bitching until people treat gays with the respect they deserve.

He also blamed me for bringing up the actual topic with him and confronting him on it, because he supposedly didn’t want to talk about it with me.

Fred: “I tried to back down so many times, because I didn’t want to talk about it. I knew you were sensitive to that crap, and I knew you’d disagree with whatever I have to say.”

See, now who’s being condescending?

Fred: “It would’ve been fine with me had you not taken my opinion like shit. You never did respect my opinions when I disagree with you.”

We jumped right back into the debate, because Fred claims I misunderstood him the last time.

Fred: “Look, this stems from the difference in belief of what you and me see people as. From what I could tell, you see people as a bunch of chemicals just thrown together to make meat that moves. I see people as a being of will. Above the capacity of one’s own physical brain, humans have a will, and I believe that a person’s will is the only limitation he has in anything. See, serial killers are people who kill a bunch of people for arbitrary reasons, without direct benefit from the act of murder; so, to many psychologists, serial killers are known to have parts of their brain that just make them go that way. You know that, right? Now, would you argue that a serial killer just kills people because he’s been born with an extra large adrenal gland, or because he lacks the will to control his deficiencies?”
TA: “The latter; but see, I find it hilarious that you’re comparing gay sex to murder.
Fred: “Then there’s no point in reasoning out any further.”
TA: “Allow me to repeat myself: who do gay men hurt when they’re fucking? Humankind? See, here are my basic rules: if no one else is getting hurt, then what’s the problem?”
Fred: “Well, that’s your belief, and I’ve no right to question as much, but it’s not the act of having sex that bothers me, it’s their being homosexual in the first place, because as can be observed, MOST homosexuals arise from trauma, and I believe that it’s weakness for one to simply resort to homosexuality. It’s kind of the same as depression, or suicidal tendencies.”

So, you don’t mind the gay sex part, just that they’re actually being gay, because homosexuality is…a mental illness? Wow, that’s much less offensive!

I actually do believe that human beings are of will, too, but I don’t think gayness is something you have to exercise control or will over. Because it’s not wrong.

Fred: “Okay, in being gay, it is only wrong if it is an exhibition of past trauma. There. That’s it. Otherwise, you can have whatever you wish.”
TA: “Wow. do you blame rape victims for experiencing PTSD too?”
Fred: “Sure.”

Then I just laughed in his face, and he called me an ass. Honestly, is there anything I could possibly say to make him look worse than he does? He does a pretty good job of it himself!

Fred: “I’m very much inclined to reason, and simple reason dictates that what I believe is true, it takes something else to believe in what you believe in.”

“Reason.” Heh-heh. (And rationalists all over the world weep at the misuse of this term.) It’s reasonable to not have any respect for gay people. Oh wait — Fred doesn’t dislike all gay people, only the ones who experienced some form of trauma when they were younger.

TA: “What’s the point of all this then? Why did you confront me? What do you want me to do?”
Fred: “Have a little tact?”

[Note: This is hilarious coming from Fred, because he’s one of the most obnoxious people I know. He’s the kind of guy who likes to rub it in my face that Kurt Cobain sucks, just because he knows I’m a Nirvana fan. (What?)]

TA: “I think you’re a bigot, as do my readers. I’m just being honest, dude, because I find your views outrageous.”
Fred: “Well, you shouldn’t have posted it there in the first place.”
TA: “Why not? It’s my blog!”
Fred: “Because I like to keep my opinions to myself, and those who I entrust them to.”
TA: “I’m glad I posted it, because I think that people need to know that this way of looking at things is wrong, and it’s hurtful to gay people.”

He then went on a tirade on how I was wrong to be “thinking in absolutes,” in that there is an actual right and wrong in this debate, instead of respecting the opinion that gay people who couldn’t overcome their past traumas are weak.

Still, of all the dumb things he’s said in this exchange, this has got to be one of the funniest:

TA: “Have you read the sources that Martin posted? From the American Psychological Association? You think the APA are bullshitters, too?”
Fred: “If they’re not in paper, they’re not worth reading.”
TA: “It’s the bloody APA, read it before you talk to me.”
Fred: “And, please, that’s America.”
TA: “And so?”
Fred: “Everyone in America is touchy-feely with everything.”
TA: “You’re discrediting the APA because they’re touchy-feely? Nice rebuttal!”

Seriously. He claims to be making his arguments on “reason,” when the only basis he has for them is anecdotal. I’ve got sources from a national association of psychologists, and their opinion is worth shit because they’re touchy-feely?

Fred: “Fine then, I discredit them as the society and culture in their nation pressures them to believe in such. And I never said I wanted you to believe in what I have to say, that’s why I didn’t even want to talk to you about this.”
TA: “I know, you wanted me to ‘have some tact.’ Well, I’m sorry, but there’s no being tactful about this, because I hate how gay people are treated. They have it nearly as bad as atheists.”
Fred: “You’re too close-minded about being open-minded.”

He’s upset because I’m supposedly making him out to be this evil, fag-murdering monster on my blog, when really, I haven’t said anything that makes him look worse than he is. All I did was cut-and-paste his quotes to my blog.

He insists that the way he thinks is okay because he treats gay people the same as everybody else. I likened that to the way my parents treat me: They don’t openly hate on my atheism, except for the occasional backhanded comments, and they clearly believe me to have no sense of values. It’s not as bad as some people, but it’s still very offensive to me.

Fred: “If I would find out that a person resorts to homosexuality as a means of escaping something in his mind, then that’s something I don’t like about him.”

TA: “How is what you’re doing to gay people NOT like what my parents are doing to me?”

Fred: “Does that matter?”

TA: “Yes, because they’re prejudiced, and so are you.”

Fred: “You’re forcing it that I prejudize [sic].”

TA: “Well, you haven’t proven me wrong, have you? Or do you think my parents aren’t being prejudiced towards me?”

Fred: “I don’t think they’re as prejudiced as you see them, and whatever prejudice they have for you, you’re doing the same to me.”

TA: “Are. They. Prejudiced?”

Fred: “In aspects, yes.”

TA: “Then so are you.”

Fred: “But it’s more of a no, really.”

I laughed. I laughed out loud, and I also wanted to kick his teeth in, because what he just said was both hilarious and upsetting. It’s more of a “no?”

This is why I blog about you, Fred. Because if I let this mentality slide, then people will think it’s okay to group homosexuals in with depressives and serial killers. People will think it’s okay to secretly dislike fags and atheists, just as long as you treat them normally. Well, it’s not. I do believe there’s an absolute right in this debate, and it is this: acceptance. And not just pretending you accept them, but really believing them to be as human and normal as the rest of us.

Yes, I could probably have handled this with a little more tact, but this issue is something that I take to heart, and there are really no two ways about it — it angers me that people continue to think this way. Maybe you’re right, Fred, and I am being “just as bigoted and prejudiced” towards you as you are to gay people, but guess what? Ethnic minorities didn’t gain acceptance until people stood up and said “It’s NOT okay to hate.” So I’m not going to accept your opinion, and I’m not sorry for being “rude” and “tactless.” The occasion called for it.

Wanted: Objective (and gay) third party October 2, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends, issues, rants.
Tags: , , , , , ,
44 comments

One of the reasons I’m glad I started this blog is that I learn so much from the people who comment here with advice and explanations for various things. So in this blog post, I’m going to actively ask for your opinions, this time regarding the topics of homosexuality, homophobia and affirmative action.

I often discover my greatest passions through embarrassing means. I’m an alt- and grunge-lover, but I only discovered these genres through watching Rock Star: INXS. I discovered Imogen Heap through Garden State. I’m a huge supporter of the LGBT cause, and while I have never hated or disliked gays, my PFLAG-esque passion stemmed from watching Queer as Folk (or as I like to call it, “gay porn”). Now, I don’t think the catalysts affect my sincerity, even though they’re a little tough to admit to.

In any case, I’m still a staunch defender of gay rights, despite the fact that I’m just a straight girl who likes watching pretty boys make out with each other on a soapy Showtime series. And I don’t espouse gay rights as my cause celebre because Brian/Justin was an abnormally hot, so-wrong-it’s-right couple, but because next to atheists, I think the LGBT community faces the most discrimination.

So it irked me considerably (read: I totally PO’d) when Fred* made a gay joke on his blog and then followed it up with this statement (paraphrased):

“I’m not a homophobe. The term ‘homophobe’ is pejorative. I’m not afraid of homosexuals, I just don’t like them. The politically correct word is ‘heteropreferential.'”

Granted, my rebuttal was a wee bit more hostile than it should have been, but I found that statement to be incredibly asinine, and I thus responded accordingly. To me, being a homophobe and calling yourself “heteropreferential” is like being a racist and calling yourself “[insert race here]-preferential.” And I don’t think intolerance should be sanitized. You’re free to disagree with me, readers; I’m probably biased in thinking that homophobes do not deserve a “politically correct” term. (Though if you called me “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice,” I wouldn’t stop you.)

Anyway, Fred doesn’t see himself as a homophobe. He “likes Freddie Mercury, even though he was gay.” I asked him if he didn’t like that Mercury was gay, and Fred said yes. I thought that sentiment was homophobic in itself. If I said I liked Jimi Hendrix “even though he was black,” as opposed to just liking Jimi Hendrix, period, would that not make me a racist?

I confronted Fred on his statements, and we got into a lengthy debate about it. Debates with Fred are tiresome because they always wind up circular. We just keep repeating the same things over and over again. It boiled down to this conclusion: Fred thinks he’s not a homophobe because he goes by the literal translation (“homophobia” = “fear of homosexuals”) while I think he is because I go by the dictionary definition (“homophobia” = “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”).

But Fred also disagrees that he’s a homophobe by dictionary definition because he feels that his dislike for gays isn’t unfounded. So, why does he dislike gay people?

Fred, verbatim: “Homosexuality is a choice.”

If I were as devoid of morals as people say atheists are, I would have punched him in the face right then. (more…)