One of the most important functions of secular communities is providing a safe place for those who have left religion behind can be themselves and find support. But sometimes the need is far more immediate, especially when someone’s family has disowned them as a result of their beliefs. Troy Fitzgerald has a very ambitious idea, the development of Secular Safe Houses for those in such situations around the country.
The Mission of Secular Safe House is to provide physical “secular safe houses” via a network of facilities and private homes as well as a virtual community of support via the Internet for those coming out of religion, cults or as LGBT from a religious environment.
Coming out of religion as a non-believer or as LGBTQ from a religious background can be a lonely and scary experience. This is because those who surround us — those we call our “friends” and “family” — often will not accept us for who we are and what we now believe. Far too often we find those who are supposed to be there for us do not actually love us unconditionally and may even kick us to the curb, literally, because we have come to accept our true identity and reality.
Countless numbers of people suffer this kind of rejection and alienation every day and it keeps those who might otherwise come out living in darkness and chaos. That’s why we are creating Secular Safe House — a safe refuge for those coming out of religion, cults or as LGBT from religious backgrounds.
We are in the process of building a network of professionals, volunteers, private homes and facilities so that we can provide the following support services for those coming out:
* Access to a transitional facility, lodging or private home as a temporary “safe house” for days, weeks or months as necessary until the next steps in one’s life can be planned out.
* Travel expenses to a safe house when a local one is not available or appropriate.
* Access via video conferencing to professional counseling, if necessary, as well as a network of friends who have run the gauntlet of coming out and can be a listening ear and support.
I think this is an absolutely great idea. Here’s Troy talking about the project:
This is a very ambitious project, one that will require a lot of money and effort. But I think it’s a very important one.