Transgender acceptance in the atheist community

2013_Rally_for_Transgender_Equality_21166

In the first weekend of June 2013, I attended the American Humanist Conference here in San Diego, CA. On the second night, they awarded journalist and author Greta Christina with the LGBT Humanist Pride Award. Her acceptance speech was amazing. She wowed the crowd with ideas and inspiration to get out and work, and she did speak about what the humanist and atheist movement can learn from the LGBT movement. But she brought up one point that really stuck out to me, one that left me thinking the whole drive home and the next day.

In the humanist and atheist movement, we are traditionally and overwhelmingly accepting of the LGBT community, but we need to do better. The area we need to improve the most? The T part. We are amazingly accepting of LGB, but we fall short on the T, the transgender community. I am not personally sure why this is, but I have some thoughts.

When it comes to the LGB, we all seem to know someone, either very directly and personally or indirectly. We understand their struggle and we want to fight right along with them. However, I think very few have a direct connection to the transgender community, or at the very least, we don’t think we do, because of the terrible social stigma still attached to it. Many of us probably do know someone who is transgender, but is still too afraid to come out.

I think the fact that it is still so hard for the LGBT community to come out in so many parts of this country is one of the biggest battles transgender people face, and as humanists, we will embark in this battle with them, but we have to make sure to include them all, not just who we know. It is our duty, as humanists, to work towards erasing the social attitudes towards traditional gender roles, and create an environment of safety and understanding for those who do not fit into our society’s current gender roles. No matter how small a group appears (and I say appears because I do believe it’s much larger than we know, and once we rewrite social norms, we will get to know many more) we should be fighting for their rights as humans.

So please, learn as much as you can about the transgender community, especially in your area, reach out to them and offer support through your humanist group, or on your own. Find out what you can do for them and let’s be sure to include everyone in our struggle together. L G B and T.

This post first appeared on EmilyHasBooks.com in June of 2013.

(Image: Ted Eytan / Creative Commons 2.0)