Jaysus. And I Thought Coming Out as an Atheist Was Hard.

Maybe you’ve already seen this. A young man in the military, stationed in Germany, calls his Alabama father.

Can I tell you something? Will you love me, period? Dad, I’m gay.

Kudos to his father, too: Dad, you totally rock!
Makes me kind of ashamed I occasionally conceal the fact of being an atheist.


  • kirk

    I definitely teared up a bit when I saw that. This guy had been posting several videos anonymously about being a gay soldier in the weeks leading up to repeal. He was eventually outed after another video associated with his account went viral, but as he says in this one, everyone there was very supportive of him.

    He and his dad were interviewed by ABC News, and his dad said he didn’t quite agree with his son putting the whole thing up live on YouTube, but he stands by his statements that he loves his son no matter what. You’d think that would be a universally held idea, that parents love their children no matter what. Unfortunately, we still see examples all the time where that isn’t true.

  • jflcroft

    Thank you for positing this. It;s something to remember: so often the parallel between “coming out” as an atheist and coming out as gay is made without the recognition that, for many, there really IS no comparison.

  • Stevarious

    I don’t think that it’s that there is no comparison. I think it more has to do with individual circumstances. I know (for a fact, because they told me so) that my parents would have been much happier if I had come out as gay – coming out to them as atheist was much harder on our relationship, and still causes significant problems, whereas they have no problem with gays.

    It all depends, I think, on which your family has been indoctrinated to dislike more.

    • jflcroft

      That’s why I included the qualifier “for many” ;)

    • jflcroft

      I suppose I’d also just point out that coming out to your family is one thing, but you also have to deal with a whole lot of crap from other people that atheists really never (or at least very infrequently) have to. My parents have no problem I’m gay (it seems sometimes like they quite enjoy it =P), but that doesn’t mean I don’t get yelled at walking down the street with my date. When you’ve had a death threat on the street from someone who mimes shooting you with a rifle for being an atheist, get back to me.

  • Michael Swanson

    As an atheist in Portland, Oregon I generally have it easy. I’ve never run across anyone who has felt threatened by it or made me uncomfortable for it. Some people have been flabbergasted or dismissive, but that’s about it. I understand that it’s also easier — not easy, easier — to be gay/bi/trans here.

    My mother also would have, given the choice, preferred that I was gay rather than an atheist. She was fairly progressive for a 70′s mom, knowing that there was simply x% chance that her kids could be gay she was perfectly willing to support it. As a New Ager (some sort of Gnostic Christianity/Buddhist mash-up) she didn’t believe in Hell either way, so no worries there. Had I been gay it would have made no difference in my karmic balance, but an atheist is turning away from the beauty and majesty of their own soul and hampering their own spiritual growth. I’m sure she thinks I’ll come to my sense in my next life, or the one after that.

    Damn. I’m just rambling now.

  • http://giliellthinkingaloud.blogspot.com/ Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes

    I admit, if one of my kids started a conversation like this (they’re still way too young at the moment), I’d start worrying like hell what they had done.
    Had they crashed the car? Been arrested by the police? Teen-pregnancy? What horrible thing could they have done that would make me question my love for them?
    It sets the stage rather high.
    It makes me sad that children still have to fear that their parents would put “being gay” into the same category as being arrested after crashing the car while drunk-driving.
    Having said that: Kudos to the family, all of them, they seem like a cool bunch.

  • gwen

    It would be easier to come out as gay, than as an atheist with my very religious African American, bible belt family. They can accept that some people are born gay, but NOBODY rejects JESUS. Therefore, I am an undercover atheist with them!

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