Interview with Fiction Writer Alyson Miers

First thing’s first: where can our readers find you and your work?
I have a blog at I’m on Twitter, on Goodreads, and I have an author page on Facebook. My books are available at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. Everything can be found from my website.

Do you have a favorite character in Suicide is for Mortals? If yes, why?
I honestly can’t pick a favorite. I love to write in both Scanlon’s and Miranda’s voices, and I have high hopes for Meliana and Clarice.

What’s your writing process?
My process is pragmatic and unglamorous. I write while commuting on the Metro, while at lunch break, and at home after dinner. I write on an iPad, a laptop and with pen on paper. I use Scrivener on my laptop, Notebooks on the iPad, and my Dropbox account ties the two together. Figuring out a process is a process unto itself, and part of the struggle is accepting that I’ll probably never have that perfect system worked out.

Do you have advice for the aspiring writers out there?
Get out there and have experiences. Travel, meet new people, see places and do things that make you uncomfortable. If you don’t already know a foreign language, try learning one. Then you’ll have plenty of things to write about.

Can you speak to the reality of being a self publisher in a growing self-publish market?
The market is still figuring itself out, and so am I. Everyone has advice for everyone else, and the way I respond to that barrage is mostly to focus on writing the best book I possibly can.

Not to spoil anything, but there’s a pretty strong set up for book two. Can you talk about that?
How do you feel if you’ve been seen as just another ordinary person all your life, and someone comes along and tells you that now you have to be exceptional, just as your mostly-ordinary life is getting to where you want it to be? And what happens if that someone isn’t taking no for an answer, and isn’t interested in letting you be exceptional on your own terms?

My Bad Feminism

Once you commit yourself to social awareness in your politics, words, and actions, it can be easy to think everyone around you has had all the answers forever and you’ll never catch up.

The truth is, however, everyone has been through phases that we’d now reject, and we’re all still growing and making mistakes and trying to learn to just admit our own errors without getting defensive. Most of all, we’ve all internalized problematic ways of thinking, and it’s hard to shake those mindsets while living in a world that frequently rewards and perpetuates them.

At SkepchickCON last month, Secular Woman vice president Elsa Roberts introduced me to Roxane Gay’s amazing essay, “Bad Feminist”––an exploration of the tension between feminist ideals and the complexities of real life, which she’s since expanded into a book. And at the excellent Science of Irrationality panel that weekend, Jamie Bernstein made the point that positive storytelling––using one’s own discoveries as a way to convince others, rather than causing them to dig in their heels with a barrage of “Well Actuallys”––can be the most effective way to be persuasive. She suggested approaching the conversation by trying to find common ground, using the “feel/found” script: “I used to feel the same way, but what I found was that…”

I was reminded of that good advice this week when Josh Spokes made an insightful Facebook post addressed to “Jaclyn Glenn and Others Like Her” who have hateful misconceptions about bisexual people. Instead of attacking, he admitted that he used to think the same things. This inspired many who saw his post to offer their own stories of mistaken attitudes and internalized sexism and bigotry, and what they learned. Josh suggested compiling the powerful thread, and here, beginning with his initial post, is the result. I hope it inspires more people to recognize how easy it is to fall into problematic patterns, and be proud of how they’ve grown.

To Jaclyn Glenn and others like her–

When I was much younger I said ignorant, vile, stupid things about bisexuals. Out in public. I said they weren’t real, that they were all posers who couldn’t admit being gay, that they were just ginning up controversy and no one should take them seriously. I gleefully echoed the most uncharitable, mean-spirited sentiments from people who cared more about shooting their mouths off than about the real people whose dignity and treatment by society was already threatened.

Yep. I said that with all the brash confidence of a 21-year-old. Some older people tried to persuade me to think more deeply. I didn’t listen. Because I was Young And With It and fuck them.

And it contributed to my popularity among that set. Everyone loves someone who’s witty and can turn a sharp phrase that echoes their personal prejudices.

In the real world outside the fan club in my head, I hurt a lot of people who didn’t need any more shit. Especially from ME and people who should have been allies. My behavior was *appalling*. It shames me to this day, and it should.

That’s you, Jaclyn Glenn, and others like you. That’s you, babe. Talk to me in 20 years.

– Josh Spokes

Growing up, the only time I really heard the word “feminist,” it was something my mother was griping about. For instance, “Feminists are the reason I have to pump my own gas.” In my twenties, I espoused the whole “Lean In” thing. I was seriously privileged and blind. I had no problem with the fact that a woman in my profession had to be three times as good as a man for half the recognition. Frankly, I was, and could see no reason anyone else couldn’t be too. I did not object when I found out that my base salary was a little over half as much as the males in the same position with the company. Instead I prided myself that I earned more because of commissions and bonuses.

– Becca Thomas

When I was in my late teens to late 20s, I was a triple threat; a Chill Girl, a the Token Non-threatening Black Friend, and a Poor Libertarian.

“Ugh, girls are icky, backstabbing, gossipy little twits who want accept me in their little club anyway.  And if they’re feminists? Please, buncha whiny girls who don’t have anything else to complain about. We got the fucking vote, right? You can own land and not have to get married to get laid.  If they’d just have sex like guys do, they’d be fine, right? Aren’t we supposed to all sex-positive?  That means fucking like the men! Don’t be such a prude!  I once read about some big name feminist named Dwakin, Dwo… whatever, who claimed that call heterosex is rape! Can you believe that shit? I’d never be a feminist.  I’m one of the boys! Bitch! Cocksucker! Cunt! Hah, hah rape jokes are so funny!”

“Man, black people are lazy whiners, I’d never be one of them!  I’m an Oreo, get it?  All of my white friends act blacker than me!  I don’t “do” black––unless it’s for a joke.  If you need someone to turn up the AAVE and act like an Angry Black Girl, I’m your girl!  Mm-hmm, sho’nuf. Slavery was, like, 300 years ago, we got the vote, and they need to get over it.  If I knew I got to college under Affirmative Action, I’d drop out.  I’d be offended; how dare they treat me like some number in a quota?  I got here all on my own, and fuck them other folk.  Oh, oh! I know this really funny joke: Why is aspirin white?”

“Yeah, I could qualify for food stamps, health care, maybe even some section 8 for a place to stay because I make minimum wage and I’ve got a chronic illness, but I’m not going to do that.  Nope.  I’m not some leech sucking the government teat.  I grew up on government cheese and projects and all that, and I’ll never stoop to that level again. I’ve got my pride.  None of my friends are on that mess. That’s just offensive that you would even suggest it! Leeches are the worst. Just you wait until the Libertarians gain more power. Everybody won’t pay a dime in taxes and we’ll shrink the government, and if you can afford to live, too bad!”

– Niki Massey

I used to parrot the lines “all girls are crazy” and “all my friends are guys because I couldn’t deal with all the mean girls and drama.” I blush at that thought because it was based on a model of female behavior that was enforced by the very guys and some of the girls I was hanging out with at the time. Ugh, I was so embarrassing.

Cait Quinn

Oh god, I did ALL the things. “If you wear low cut shirts, don’t complain if guys look”; “I’m not like other girls”; “I’m a girl but I prefer hanging out with guys”; “Girly things suck” etc. unto death.

Soooo much internalized sexism. So. Much.

Jade Hawk

I used to think bigoted things about trans people when I was that age. I only knew one and considering it was at least 15 years ago, she was pretty stressed out. I’ve since learned I was wrong, and I was an asshole.

– Deanna Joy Lyons

I was an engineer. Engineers are logical. Engineers don’t feel. Engineers just get the job done. Engineers (at least in Silicon Valley) make it work, no matter what the personal cost. Counting personal costs was unacceptably feminine. Feelings were unacceptably feminine. What’s really shocking is that I believed all of that garbage for an unconscionably long time, while I worked myself into a severe depression. Even on good depression meds and thinking more-or-less clearly, it took years more to fully shake it out of my system. Ultimately I had to escape the engineering culture altogether; I was getting too much reinforcement of unhealthy attitudes. I admire the women (and men) who can work in the field and not succumb to the BS.

Karen Locke


I transferred from a women’s college to a co-ed one. I immediately got a boyfriend, let my entire social life revolve around him, and after two years when we broke up realized I had few women friends or even just friends of my own.

In fact, I still don’t have close women friends like I used to. I’m trying to learn to nurture that again. I had kind of a bias against closeness with women for a while or something.

I always identified as a feminist, but for periods in my life I liked to make sure guys knew I was one of the cool women who don’t get upset about certain things like other women do.

Even a few years ago I was mad at a woman in a meeting who pointed out that the men were all talking over the women and not letting them talk. Not because I didn’t recognize that dynamic (and I had studied it in psychology), but because I took her efforts as patronizing to women. I can still understand my point of view back then, but now I’d more likely be the one trying to equalize the conversation not just think “well women just need to learn to be more aggressive!”

Ginger Pierce

I was always a feminist and never trusted women that said that they didn’t get along with other women. I think my most problematic issue with women when I was younger is I was terribly jealous of the way other women looked, painfully so. I was very jealous with my partners, wondering if I measured up to women that they were friends with or even women that were on television. That ended when I got out of a long-term abusive relationship and discovered myself. I found my own interests and passions in life and the jealousy ended.

Melody Hensley

I’m going to confess one of the worst things I did, which, funny enough, I was just thinking about yesterday. A group of guys I knew would play what they called “meat market” where they’d sit on a wall on a busy part of VCU campus and basically street harass women for hours. I PARTICIPATED in this a couple of times. I feel horrible about it now. This was one of the ways I proved I was “one of the guys.” I also equated feminine as weak and presented very masculine for a couple years. This is all so strange since I was immersed in the punk scene and very into women being tough and equal. But my picture of that was so fucked up.

Nicole Harris

I used to come up with nicknames for all my female coworkers (cupcake, muffin, cheesecake, cinnamon bun, etc.). It was moderately well received at the time to where every time a new girl was hired they’d always ask me what nickname I was going to give her. Ultimately I came to the realization that I couldn’t really reconcile it with my burgeoning feminism and just generally I didn’t want to be “that guy” anymore.

Tim Branin

My story is more about what I dismissed as “boys will be boys” in the 1980s, didn’t report or complain about to anyone, but which made enough of a negative impact that I remember it like yesterday––they were in fact sexual assaults. The first instance I had my tube top pulled off (and I was bra-less) at the freshman party at my residence. I was thankfully able to quickly get it back on. The second instance occurred also at the residence where some fellow male students were grabbing women’s crotches, including my own. I kept pushing them away, but laughed it off as I thought that’s what I should do. There was a third incident that was much more dramatic, which was being held at knifepoint by an angry ex-boyfriend of my roommate––angry because “she belonged to him,” according to him––until she promised to give him another chance. All of these things went unreported. There were many more instances of being grabbed, threatened, followed, but those are the ones I remember the most. I hate that I let them go, and normalized the first two in my mind and many others too. In essence I objectified myself. I’m glad young women are not doing that as much today.


I used to claim to hate bands fronted by women musicians because they were “less talented” than men––WTF? I still feel embarrassed to acknowledge I said that.

Melanie Elyse Brewster

I was extremely fem-antagonistic––looking down on “girly-girls” and seeing male-dominated activities as more worthy of respect than female-dominated ones.

It was sort of a confused version of rejecting imposed gender roles and admiring women who were pioneers; it got very twisted around until it morphed into full-blown misogyny.

I was involved in the Noise music scene for a while and routinely tolerated pretty horrid treatment as some sort of badge of honor that I could “take it”; and once asked if a band had any “power electronics” CDs primarily to impress them as being the exceptional woman who likes the harshest of the harsh macho-blah-blah stuff.

Eventually I realized that taking their crap wasn’t actually giving me the cred and respect, and place in the boys’ club, that I thought it was.

It did give me some insight into toxic masculinity though––routinely having people treat me nicely privately and treat me horribly publicly, because treating me with respect in front of other guys was considered demeaning.

M. A. Melby

I used to spout libertarian platitudes as fact. Seriously. Ugh. Ick.

– Jon Childress

To my great shame, I have not always supported marriage equality.

It wasn’t because I looked down on same-sex sexual activity, because I have been with numerous men, women, couples, and groups.

I took care of and buried a lot of friends in the ’80s and ’90s long before their time. They were far better people than I was, and the truth is that the world would be better off if it had been me that left it rather than some of them.

I don’t know why I felt that way, but I would give anything if I could go back in time and change that.

Rogelio Tavera

I saw that feminine was considered weak and I knew it was wrong. But instead of declaring feminine to not be weak, I declared that I was not feminine! I eschewed all things pink and “girly.” I held disdain for things girls did, like shopping and makeup. I became “one of the guys” and, to prove my worth, talked locker room banter as much as or more than they did.

At this same time, the only way I saw my own worth was through the eyes of men. Garnering sexual attraction was the number one way to measure self worth. So I did that as much as I could, which was a lot!

I objectified women right along with the men.

I referred to women as “females” while trying not to call them chicks or girls.

We all can have incomplete ideas about feminism, especially in the beginning stages of learning about it.

Monette Richards

In addition to trying to be “one of the boys” I used to think that sexism didn’t exist in the states, and women should just “suck it up.”

A few years ago I worked in a place that focused on social justice. I was hired before I even knew what those words really meant, but it was at a time when I was starting to learn about inequality and didn’t know what to google to explore it in depth. My job required a social justice 101 class and training where we learned about sexism, racism, ableism, etc.

My workplace was also extremely conscious of filtering out all the subtle biases and overt “isms.” Prior to that year I claimed that I had never been cat-called and had never experienced sexism, but now that I had a space to compare it against I became aware of all the cat-calling and subtle prejudices that I was receiving daily.

Earlier I would have told myself to suck it up––that cat-calling is just part of being a woman. But I realize now that it shouldn’t be a part of my experience; it doesn’t have to be something I learn to deal with; I shouldn’t accept that it is a consequence of being a woman.

– Michelle Huey


Supreme Court rules DOMA Unconstitutional

Yesterday, shortly after 10 a.m., the United States Supreme Court announced its decision that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prevented federal recognition of same-sex married couples, is unconstitutional. The Court also dismissed California’s Prop 8 appeal, opening the door for marriage equality to resume in California but allowing other states’ discriminatory amendments to stand.

Though it is an incomplete victory, the ruling is still a landmark moment for civil rights. “As advocates for marriage equality, social justice, and freedom from religious ideology, we welcome this Supreme Court decision,” said Secular Woman president Kim Rippere. “The attempt by politicians to legislate marriage is religious influence at the most basic level. It is pressuring citizens to conform with a passé definition of marriage based on religious traditions.”

Secular Woman, which signed amicus briefs urging the Court to overturn DOMA, applauds the downfall of the discriminatory law that denied same-sex couples thousands of rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. 83-year-old Edie Windsor of New York, the plaintiff in the case, was forced to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes because the federal government did not recognize her marriage to her wife, Thea Spyer––even though same-sex marriage is legal and recognized in New York.

“By seeking to injure the very class New York seeks to protect, DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government,” the Court’s decision on the case attests. “DOMA’s history of enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.”

The Court stated that “no legitimate purpose” for DOMA “overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

Support for LGBTQ equality is consistent with Secular Woman’s core values embracing human-centered ethics informed by reason and science; rejecting dogma, superstition, pseudoscience, and religious authority as sources of morality and truth; and holding that all human beings are entitled to freedom from others' religious ideologies in living their lives, engaging with service providers, and interacting with government. Secular Woman explicitly affirms that each person has the right to seek happiness through consensual relationships that enhance their lives. We support full marriage equality nationwide and are thrilled to see DOMA overturned.


Fundamentalist Survivor: Staying alive while being Queer

Secular Woman's first article in the LGBTQ week Series

by Aaron Roberts

I'm queer. I can say it now with assurance, pride even, but it took many long painful years to get to this place. I started from a place where gay was sinful, gross, wrong, immoral. Where sex was hidden, something no one talked about. Where sexuality of any kind was looked on with deep suspicion and shame. I've peeled those layers of oppression off over the years and this is my story.

My parents strongly discouraged any thoughts of romance or sex while I was growing up. They made me feel it was wrong to be attracted to anyone regardless of sex or gender. They said it was wrong to have sex before marriage and that it should not be about pleasure. They made me feel like any sexual attraction was an unforgivable sin. I was terrified of being attracted to anyone. But when I was about 15 I couldn't help myself anymore.

At night I started having visions of being intimate with girls. At first I felt guilty because I thought it was wrong. My mind took over, and my fantasies turned to me getting raped by a woman. I thought that, "well, if its against my will then it's not my fault. Then, I won't be guilty."

As I got older I started doubting religion and everything I was taught. By the time I was 18, I was self identifying as Agnostic. As my religious beliefs began to fade, I felt less and less guilty about masturbating and having erotic fantasies. It was very liberating, now I was able to enjoy myself without feeling guilty. My fantasies became more varied, and I also learned that queer people existed and wondered what two men would do together sexually. I started having fantasies involving men, and enjoyed them.

When I started having queer fantasies it was hard for me to imagine being able to have a family because I'd never seen queer families. I thought that they wouldn't be accepted by society and that I couldn't have a queer family. I remember telling my sister, "I think I would like having sex with a man, but I don't think I could fall in love with one."

During this changing period, I went on 4-H exploration days. It was a program where kids would go to Michigan State University for 4 days. There were classes that taught a wide range of subjects. One year I took sailing and a drama/acting class. The classes weren't too involved, but it was enough to teach you about a subject and get you interested in it. We also got to go on an all day adventure away from the campus.

This particular year we went to an amusement park. At the amusement park I hung out with some boys that were in my same 4-H group and we went on some water slides. I remember being aroused by their naked chests.

We were assigned dorm rooms on campus during our classes and in our rooms the boys talked about masturbating among other general conversations. Before this point in my life, I'd never had the opportunity to be with my peers; therefore, I hadn't heard people talk so openly about what I thought were private, taboo topics. These experiences were very educational for me.

When I was seventeen, my parents let me put a door on my room, but I wasn't allowed to put a lock on it. I thought I was lucky because I had the only door in the house. My sisters and my parents didn't have doors to their rooms, and there was no door to the bathroom either, as our house was in a constant state of renovation and my parents didn't believe in giving us privacy.

But, since I had a door I felt safer exploring my sexuality and masturbating to porn. I would shut my door and watch porn, listening intently for my mother walking up the stairs. Usually I was able to hear her before she got to my room, so I would close the pornography and pretend I was just surfing the web or playing a game. She would just open my door unannounced and look at my computer to see what I was doing. I know she was scanning my window tabs for porn. She would accuse me of closing a page so that she couldn't see what I was looking at. Then she would tell me to go to bed and not stay up too late.

Because of my mother's unannounced "visits" to my room I started taking pictures of the porn with my parent's digital camera because then I could take it to bed with me. I thought that would be less risky. I had the foresight to swap out the memory cards so that my parents wouldn't find them in the camera but one night I forgot.

That next morning my father came in to wake me up and tell me to feed my horse. He saw the camera and tried to turn it on, but the battery was dead. I immediately asked him to let me see it. He sensed my anxiety and asked me why. I told him I took a silly picture of myself and wanted to erase it. He took the camera downstairs to find more batteries.

I quickly got up and dressed. I ran out to feed my horse. I was hoping to convince my father to let me have the camera back. However, when I got back inside he had told my mother. I went upstairs to my room because I knew I was doomed.

My mother and my father interrogated me about masturbating and my mother went on to tell me how disgusting and repulsive the pictures were; it was clear that she was referring to the gay pictures. She was equally upset about all the porn though. She was very grossed out by any references to sex. My mother then asked me how I would feel if other people were watching my sister like that. She was trying to make me feel guilty.

My mother then quizzed me if I watched porn with my friends. She told me that she was taking my computer away and I wasn't allowed to play computer games or use the Internet. She also said that I wasn't allowed to see any friends. She went on to say that from now on they would make me go to church with them every Sunday. I begged her to not tell anyone about my porn. She got so irate that she left the room and went downstairs.

My father was calmer. After my mother left the room he told me that he had been into things that were wrong when he was younger, and that he wanted to help me to not crave these evils. I'm not sure if he was talking about my sexuality or porn in general. I didn't say much because I knew that they were wrong but I couldn't argue with them.

One of the most upsetting parts about this was they ignored the sexuality issue completely. I knew they believed that gay people didn't exist and that gay sex was just evil and that there was no attraction between two people of the same sex. Because of this mindset my parents only saw porn and sex for pleasure as evil and a sin. The fact that it was gay porn made it no worse because being gay was just as sinful.

My mother said that they were taking me to see our pastor to talk about what happened. I was very upset because I had asked her not to tell anyone. My parents took me to the church to talk with the pastor.

The pastor and my parents started out by discussing my lack of faith. I told them that the biblical story was full of holes and that I didn't need religion to be good and moral. The pastor said that some people, famous atheists, come back to the lord. He also agreed that many people leave the Christianity.

He went on to discuss porn and the sex industry. He said it was evil and that the women were forced to participate. My mother sat there agreeing with him. He said that watching sexual images was wrong. He then went on to say that pornography led to homosexuality. My parents asked if I would be willing to meet with the pastor and talk more. They made it clear that if I didn't meet with the pastor I had to move out.

I was forced to see the pastor a couple times, and during our visits we talked and he tried to pressure me into reading a book about a crazy evangelical guy. The pastor and my parents basically wanted to convert me back to Christianity, convince me of the evils of pornography and get me to become ex-gay.

After this traumatic experience I became more reserved. I knew my life was over. This person was dead. It took me years to come out and be comfortable with myself. My family used religion to try and control my sexuality and it scarred me for life.

After this experience, about a year later, I moved out and started college. I played soccer and hung out with the soccer guys. I said I was straight and tried to be straight. It was a very difficult time for me because I was trying to be someone I wasn't. The soccer team was very homophobic also, which didn't help. I also tried to have sex with girls and began dating a girl for several months. I tried to make our relationship work but I just didn't feel an attraction for her. Finally, I came out as bisexual, which made her very uncomfortable. She was afraid I would leave her for a man. I was very sad that she couldn't accept me because I knew she had other friends in the LGBT community.

After I broke up with my girlfriend I started dating a guy who was a friend of my sisters'. I felt more comfortable with him right away, and I just knew inside that this was right for me. I'd never felt that way before. It's something that you can't explain with words.

Since I had a boyfriend it was easier for me to come out because all I had to do was mention my boyfriend. Most people at my work were friends of mine and so everyone would mention my boyfriend once in awhile in conversations. It didn't take long for every new employee to find out that I was queer.

One time I was working with a guy who I knew from a conservative family. I don't think he knew for sure I was queer, so one day he was goofing off and called me a faggot. I told him never to call me that again. He immediately became embarrassed and asked me what he could call me. I told him anything but a faggot.

One time another conservative guy made a comment about a customer who he heard over the headset saying, "Sounds like he plays for the other team." It was not necessarily a negative comment; he didn't have a negative tone, but, I knew the comment itself was heteronormative and homophobic. I was taken by surprise, but I also knew this guy wouldn't understand what heteronormative meant, so I just dropped my jaw and stared at him with the expression, "what the fuck?" I think he got the message without me saying a word.

Another time at work I was telling my co-worker about the night before when I ordered pizza for my boyfriend and I. The guy delivering supplies for the store overheard our conversation. After the delivery guy left my co-worker told me that he had asked about my sexuality and commented that he didn't know people were so open. I was surprised about this reaction because I assumed that he would have seen open people before. I realized how important it is to be open because other people notice it. If they are queer themselves it will help them feel more comfortable and if they are straight they will realize that queer people exist and are comfortable.

Now I know that I am queer and I am proud to be who I am. I define myself as queer because it is a broader term than gay. I think the term queer explains that I do not fit into normative gender identity and gender expression categories as well as covering my attraction to men.

For me, queer also encompasses how I don't fit with society on many levels. For example, I used to have a speech impediment and to this day sometimes it surfaces. I don't have the same values or beliefs, as most of my peers. I do not accept our capitalist, greedy mind set that so many do. I know that the clothes I wear have no bearing on my character. I have many terms to define myself; hard worker, liberal, atheist, humanist, queer, and survivor. But, although I happen to be queer and I am proud to be who I am, it is only a fraction of my being, my identity.

Introducing the LGBTQ Article Series, Recognizing Pride Month

This week Secular Woman will be featuring stories on LGBT people and their experiences with the oppressive forces of religion. Many queer and gender variant people face horrific and relentless discrimination and hatred from their faith (or former faith), and often from their family who practices a faith which rejects them. Part of our vision is a world where secular values celebrate same-sex love and people of all gender identities and expressions.

The stories this week show how far we have to come as a society and the capacity of the secular, atheist, and humanist communities to embrace LGBTQ people and stand with them in their fight for equality and justice. It is our goal to share these stories with the expectation of increasing understanding in the secular community of the challenges gender and sexual minorities face and the importance of continuing to support their struggle for acceptance and equality.