Announcing Secular Woman Salon

Secular Woman is incredibly pleased and excited to announce the start of a new project that will add to the growing number of incredible voices writing on issues of concern to secular women, and that project is the Secular Woman Salon! The Salon is a new outlet on our website for the latest in opinion, think pieces, and news for secular women, as well as anyone interested in advancing the cause of social justice with a secular lens.

Through this project we hope to, quite literally, advance our mission of amplifying the voices of secular women by establishing a dedicated space where the causes, issues, and thoughts of such women will be foregrounded. Here you can expect to find articles, opinions, and discussions with an intersectional, feminist sensibility that are nuanced, intelligent, and sometimes angry. In this space we’ll be working to ensure that the voices and issues of import to women and other marginalized groups are front and center.

To ensure this we have put together a salon that is comprised of a fantastic group of writers who are as excited to be participating in this new endeavor as we are to have them. They come from a wide array of backgrounds with many interests and areas of expertise, and we couldn’t be more pleased that they have chosen to join us!

Without further ado, please peruse their bios below, and check out our first articles that have been published!

Iris Vander PluymIris Vander Pluym is an artist, activist and writer based in New York City. Raised to believe Nice Girls™ never discuss religion, sex or politics, it turns out those are pretty much the only topics she ever wants to talk about. A self-described “unapologetic, godless, feminist lefty,” Ms. Vander Pluym blogs at Perry Street Palace; she is also a regular columnist at The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy, a contributor to Worldwide Hippies/Citizen Journalists Exchange and an occasional guest poster at Pharyngula, The Greanville Post and elsewhere. Follow her on Facebook, or @irisvanderpluym.

Elizabeth Higgins E.A. Higgins is a freelance writer from Los Angeles, California. A published ethnographer and graduate student studying Geography, she researches religion across the globe and the impacts it has on people and the planet. She enjoys writing about issues relating to women, humanism, secularism, and in her free time enjoys traveling, painting, and spending time with her boyfriend and her dog. Follow her on twitter or instagram (Darthlyzzious).

Marina MartinezMarina Martinez lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, Ben, her dog, Pepper, and her cat, Medusa. She enjoys being fat, being loud, long walks on the beach, and general awesomeness. You can find her on Twitter @marinaisgo, on Facebook, or by email at marinarosemartinez (at) gmail (dot) com.

Autumn Reinhardt-SimpsonAutumn Reinhardt Simpson is a librarian, activist and writer originally from Kennewick, Washington.  She received her Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2008.

She spends all of her hard earned peanuts on travel to the U.K. and unnecessary fabric purchases in pursuit of the perfect warrior-inspired fashion. Autumn is the founder and organizer of Richmond (VA) Clinic Defense and delights in being a secular thorn in the side of the local authorities. She is currently at work on both a memoir as well as a book of essays in addition to the odd article.

She appreciates sewing, knitting and all things involving needles (except heroin), Katha Pollitt, travel and female warriors. When not sewing, she can be found pumping iron at the local YMCA.

Sara LoneSara affectionately refers to herself as a “millennial on a mission.” This mission? Creating a safer world for everyone, particularly women and non-religious folks in all the vast corners of the earth. Sara truly believes that education and cultural awareness will pave the way for tolerance, a virtue desperately needed in these extremely difficult and tumultuous times. Currently earning her Master’s degree in public policy, Sara fights relentlessly for women’s rights and separation of church and state on a policy level by regularly speaking out and lobbying on behalf of these causes. She has written for and worked with several organizations; a monthly columnist for Sacramento Reason and a weekly writer for The Humanist, she hopes to reach an even wider audience through Secular Woman, telling stories, sharing knowledge, and contributing to the growth of the secular women’s movement.

JadehawkKarolina Lewis is a student of environmental sociology and social theory who writes about theory and practice of social issues such as feminism, environmental justice, mental health, and secularism/skepticism. She formerly blogged at Jadehawk’s Blog.

Major Mike MansplainerMuch to his dismay, Major Mike Mansplainer is a fictional character, dredged up from deep within the lizard brain of Michael X.  As for the pseudonymous Michael X, he is a middle-aged suburban dad who writes and co-hosts a podcast for Secular Nation Magazine.  Tweet @Dofang for Michael X, and @MajMansplainer for his evil twin.

Corrina AllenCorrina Allen has been an educator in Central New York for the last decade and is the founder and president of the CNY Humanist Association. She lives with her book reviewer husband and their two young daughters in a house overflowing with books. She loves to dabble in all things creative – from drawing, crocheting, and designing mosaics to dancing in a jazz ensemble. You can find her on Instagram or Twitter @corrinaaallen.

M. A. MelbyM. A. Melby was born on a farm in rural Minnesota.  She studied physics and music as an undergraduate and applied physics and computer music composition at the graduate level.  After teaching college level integrated science in Flint, Michigan for seven years, she accepted a position teaching physics within a health sciences program in Minnesota.

During her college years, she was highly involved in student government and served as the Minnesota State University Student Association Cultural Diversity Representative from her campus.  She currently blogs at and is a contributor at Transadvocate. She is active on twitter and serves as a Block Bot admin; frequently documenting online abuse. She was the lead author of the petition presented by Secular Woman, asking the Southern Poverty Law Center to list Gender Identity Watch as a hate group.

Elsa RobertsElsa is currently a graduate student, pursuing a M.S. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, but her real calling is to perpetual activism and teaching. She is frequently distracted by planning actions, attending meetings, and fighting people who are wrong on the internet. Her passions are typically aroused by thoughtless city planning for pedestrians and cyclists, casual sexism, poorly constructed arguments, and being told to “chill” about inequality. She is the current Vice President of Secular Woman (and heading the Salon project) and can be found tweeting wildly about a variety of subjects @elsalroberts.

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Looking Forward by Looking Back, Secular Woman’s 1st Year Anniversary


For more information, please contact:

Kim Rippere, Secular Woman President: 404.669.6727  E-mail

Elsa Roberts, Secular Woman Vice President: 906.281.0384 E-mail

Looking Forward by Looking Back, Secular Woman’s 1st Year Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Secular Woman, the first and only organization composed of and focused on atheist, non-religious, and secular women. Secular Woman launched with the vision of a future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of American society.

Secular Woman is proud to look back on a productive first year. Our advocacy has spanned multiple topics of concern to women, from an Equal Rights Amendment Task Force and participation in the secular movement’s Heads meeting to our @AbortTheocracy campaign, an unapologetic project focused on the intersection of religious power and women’s bodily autonomy and dedicated to terminating that connection by opposing religious influence in government. We have provided funding for women to attend secular conferences and related events in the United States, working toward a secular community in which women have a strong footing and an opportunity to be heard. Secular Woman has established itself as a voice for secular and intersectional feminist activism and we are proud of our position in the secular movement.

“I am continually heartened by the reception within the community, by the strides we are making, by the progress we are achieving, and by the way we are facing our challenges,” said Secular Woman President Kim Rippere. “Secular Woman and its membership have made a difference in our community, and thanks to our growing support we have no doubt in our ability to meet the challenges ahead.”

The millennial generation is less religious––fully one in four millennials is religiously unaffiliated, reports a Pew study––and more progressive than the population as a whole, and Rippere says the secular movement is at a crucial juncture, especially in its relationship to activism and social justice. “I am cautiously optimistic that we are reaching a turning point within our community,” she says. “I hope that human rights and women’s rights will become an integral part of the community and inform the projects and developments that galvanize us; that women’s reproductive rights will stand beside science education in importance to the secular community; and that we as a movement will come to see, acknowledge, and fight to end the debilitating force that millennia of patriarchal and religious-based ideology have exacted on women.”

Secular Woman is hopeful that our positive influence, activism, and inclusive social justice stances will be a model for new secular organizations as we grow our community. We are excited for what the year will bring as we continue to focus on our mission of amplifying the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women by working to achieve our goals for the year to advocate for women’s bodily autonomy and sovereignty, promote secular women through networking opportunities and providing connections with other women in the secular community, and increase the financial stability and ensure the longevity of Secular Woman.


Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit:

I am a Secular (Trans) Woman by Trinity Aodh

I am extremely proud to be able to stand up and say “I am a secular woman.”

Growing up in North Carolina, I was treated less than nicely by my peers for being an atheist. To the other elementary school students, you couldn't not believe in "God". It simply didn't work that way, it wasn't something they knew or understood. At that age it was about as different as I could have gotten, and it was tough.

That kind of treatment continued throughout all of public school, and it wasn't until I went away to university that I found relief. The school I chose to attend actually had atheists in the majority, and even the religious people who attended were far less likely to bother me, and the campus, as a whole, was a much more accepting place that I had ever been. This environment contributed in no small part to me finally making the decision to transition, and the lack of religion breathing down my neck made it much easier to accept myself after I had made that decision. I am extremely proud to be able to stand up and say “I am a secular woman.”

This statement means a lot to many of us. We're not just atheists, we're female atheists in a world dominated by male voices, and we're ready to stand up and be heard. We're fighting for diversity within a group that is already a minority, and the ways we are doing that extends beyond simply the gender gap. To me it means something very special, to stand up and be recognized not only as an atheist, but as a woman.

A friend of mine, Bridget Gaudette, recently mentioned in a blog post that she has a responsibility to be “extra visible” as a secular woman of color. I am realizing more and more not only how correct she is, but how I share a similar responsibility as a secular transgender woman.

Transgender individuals on a whole are very often misunderstood and misrepresented. Just today I've seen two or three atheist blog posts use improper terms to refer to us. Usually it's at least not the slurs, as it is starting to become more common knowledge that “tranny” and “shemale” aren't acceptable, but surprisingly few people seem to know the word is “transgender” not “transgendered.” Someone isn't “gayed” or “bisexualed,” these words are adjectives, not verbs. Similarly, they aren't nouns, and calling me “a transgender” won't put you on my good side.

I was designated male at birth, or DMAB (though you might also see coercively assigned male at birth, or CAMAB, depending on the person), but my gender is female. My preferred gender pronouns (PGPs) are she, her, and hers. One of the questions I get asked rather often is if I am “pre or post op,” and besides the fact that that question excludes the rather large group of people who are non op, it's really impolite to go around asking people about their genitals. I am about six months into hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, and am quite literally going through a second puberty. I deal with gender dysphoria almost daily, which is the discomfort caused by one's physical characteristics not aligning with one's gender.

Some terms have varying degrees of acceptance among the transcommunities (trans* being a broad term for any number of identities that might start with "trans"). Transsexual used to be the general term for people whose gender doesn't align with what they were designated, but has fallen out of common use for being too reminiscent of sexuality, as well as until recently being classified as a mental disorder. Female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) are still very often used, but can give the impression that a person used to be one gender, then switched.

A great majority of people reading this likely aren't transgender. This doesn't make you normal, this makes you cisgender. Further from that, gender is far more than a strict binary of male and female. You can be both, neither, somewhere in between, something different all together. You might be genderqueer, neutrois, androgyne, hard femme, butch, third gender, gender fluid, or any number of different genders.

My experience is very unique, and I'm not asking anyone to try to completely understand. What I am asking is to be respected as any woman deserves to be. If there is something you don't understand, all you have to do is (politely) ask. Remember what applies to me doesn't necessarily apply to other trans* people, or even other trans women.

I have fought hard for both my non-belief and my womanhood, and I won't let anyone deny me either. I will stand up, I will be counted, and I will not be silenced. I am Trinity Aodh, and I am a Secular Woman.

Trinity Aodh, Secular Woman Member