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Insidious nature of the closet

Is it any easier to come out as atheist than it was 10-15 years ago? I doubt it.

It is perhaps a little easier to come out as gay or a pot smoker than it used to be, but to be trans or non-believer is still straight up ghetto or worse.

daddy2two 5 May 18

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I think it's much easier to come out as athiest than trans, but it all depends where you live.

Athiesm doesn't carry a stigma like transsexualism. Closets infer shame, which is why they are so toxic.

No one can judge you if you say you don't believe.


It depends on who you're coming out to I think. I am openly atheist, so I've never technically been in that particular closet. Another thing is, in my experience, almost everybody smokes weed these days, so that closet only exists at the workplace for me. Coming out as Gay or trans can go either way. Again, it depends on who you're coming out to and who they are as a person. My family would have a much worse reaction to my being trans than they do my atheism. But my friends all support me no matter what I am or become. Remember, those kinds of closets only lock or open from the inside.


Half the time no one believes you when you claim to be an atheist or they seem to have no idea what that even means.

That's one annoying part of it. When I told someone I respect for their intelligence that I was an atheist, they basically told me "no you're not, you're agnostic". I never could get him to understand the difference.

@Kbdank71 LOL! Frustrating, isn't it? I hate when they continue to insist that I'm still "spiritual" and religious. (Gag me with a spoon)

@KateZilla Ugh indeed. And they always sound do smug when they say it.


Being an atheist hasn't been a major closet in the UK for as long as I can remember. It's a long running joke that the Anglican Church doesn't expect you to believe in God or Jesus anyway (not strictly true, but we are talking Christianity Lite, here.)

Trans acceptance has seen dramatic improvements too. Trans attraction acceptance in cisgender males is still stuck in the dark ages, which is a crying shame.

I was reading an article yesterday (sorry, I didn't keep the link) about how the UK might have reached peak LGBT acceptance. The backlash in the newspapers about trans rights to self-identify, Brexit fueled xenophobia and the like are giving the bigots their voices back. Hating someone for being different is suddenly nothing to be ashamed of again. These are unpleasant times for anyone LGBT or who looks like they might be foreign. But UK atheists don't have anything to worry about.

no one I know talks about religion at all and I know a lot of people.

I echo everything Nicole says here. To be honest, despite a few hiccups in the middle ages, religion never really universally took in UK. I think we are a set of dye in the wool heathens.

Brexit voters are also being demonised in the same way trans people and atheists are in the Bible belt.

@Ellatynemouth You can't claim 52% of the vote and to be like an abused minority at the same time. Come back when someone's been murdered for voting leave. Plenty of people have been murdered for being transgender.


Do you live in the United Kingdom? Yes or no?

I know some good, decent people who voted Brexit for various reasons. I voted to leave the EU because of 'Article 106'. (Do you know what that is?)

I have fought against racism and bigotry my whole life and never have I been so wrongfully demonised by the mainstream media.

If you live in the UK you will know what it feels like be be demonised for voting Brexit.

You have lazily tarred all Brexit voters with the same brush in the same way a transphobe pigeonholes trans people.

That would be this article: [] πŸ™‚


Thank you.

@Ellatynemouth "You have tarred all Brexit voters with the same brush." I have done nothing of the sort. How do you get that from "Brexit fueled xenophobia?" No mention of the people who voted for it, just the fact that it's happening and one of the obvious consequences.

I don't directly blame people who voted Leave for this issue. Over fishing rights; over Poles coming over here stealing their jobs (even though crops are now rotting in fields because Brits won't work for the kind of money the Poles were being paid); over fears of where the EU is taking us in the future (though I feel a little sorry for those who were suckered by some of the Leave campaign's lies.) However, the result has given the racists and homophobes validation for their views, and this was very clear in the escalation of hate crime immediately after the result.

What seems to have changed since the result (perhaps coincidentally, but I doubt it) is that these people feel that they've got their voice back. It was their turn to go into their closets, because their extremist views were no longer welcome. Now they (falsely) believe that just over half of the country agrees with them.

I assume from your stance that you voted Leave. I'm sure you didn't vote for any of this, but you need to accept that it's happening as a consequence of the way you voted.


I get that from "Brexit fueled xenophobia".

You cannot conflate the Brexit vote with racism and xenophobia without offending some people.

I seem to recall the Conservative government sending out their 'immigrants go home' lorries to drive around the country. The same government who sent households booklets urging us to vote Remain.

I did not vote for racism and xenophobia.

@Ellatynemouth If you choose to be offended, then that's up to you. No derision was intended towards the typical Leave voter. Most xenophobes voted Leave. It doesn't follow that most people who voted Leave are xenophobes. Unfortunately, that's the bit that the xenophobic Leave voters don't get - they now think over half of the country is on their side.

To paraphrase an old clichΓ©: Some of my best friends are Leave voters. I'm not one of those who cut all ties with anyone I knew who voted differently to me.

I don't know why you're now conflating something about illegal immigrants with something about legal ones. Most countries' governments expect you to enter the country via legitimate immigration means and to either leave before your travel documents expire, or to obtain new ones if you wish to stay.


I think anyone who is labelled a racist and xenophobe by association would be offended, including yourself.

I'm sorry, but I have to block you.

I don't want to "Like" Nicole's post...because I agree with her Brexit has brought out something I had hoped was becoming a non-factor in the British public sphere. Of course, we are dealing with the same thing over here. I don't like it. But I agree with everything she said about it. While not all Trump voters voted for him out of racism/xenophobia, pretty much all racists and xenophobes voted for Trump and these racist people have felt much more empowered to be public with their racism. I have family and friends who are Trump supporters. I recognize that all are not the same or were motivated by racism (politics here is so tribal that Rs and Ds will usually support a pot of paste if it has the right party listed on the ballot), but the impact on public displays of overt racism and xenophobia of the Trump movement has been undeniable, and of course, Trump and Nigel Farage are great admirers of each other, and I definitely find Nigel Farage to be pretty damn racist, too.

Not sure what's happened here. All of @Ellatynemouth's posts have disappeared. At least for me. Has she flounced? Or has she blocked me, and that's what happens on here when someone does?

@Palacinky I think you need to hold me to blame for that. I mentioned the article, and @girlwithsmiles simply found the link.

I think the article is fairly transparent. It is tracking the percentage of people who feel same sex relationships are wrong, in surveys over a number of years. So not strictly LGBT as a whole, but the figure is indicative of overall sentiment towards those who deviate from cishetero. The article appears to conclude that we've reached the limits of what
achieved through education, and hit what's likely a brick wall of religious and cultural values. So basically good old turn of the 20th Century homophobia that Britain seeded in the colonies is now coming back to bite its LGBT+ citizens now.

Meanwhile, we have the current trans panic in the newspapers, and the shift in politics to the right (Brexit and Trump) that has people believing it's okay to air and act upon bigoted views, rather than keeping them to themselves. So even those who wouldn't have dared speak out until recently are finding their voices now.

So 'peak acceptance' makes perfect sense to me. And yes, I'm concerned that we might have passed it.

@Palacinky Good point. Perhaps we've hit (and passed) a peak, but not the ultimate peak. Who can predict where things will go next?

The biggest problem with the Brexit referendum was that most people didn't have a clue what they were voting for. That's why we should have a second one, now that people have a better grasp of the consequences.

@Palacinky I only added it because it related to the comment above, so no skin off my nose if you don't like it!


I think it's easier to come out as trans now than it was 15 years ago. Still a shit show, but it's getting easier. If nothing else, the support from the trans community on social media is a big help.

Funny, since about age 18, I never thought twice about being openly atheistic. It just never crossed my mind to hide it, and I guess I never cared what anyone thought about it.


I live in the Bible Belt so no, I don’t think it’s changed much. I usually don’t bring it up one way or another. If it does come up, I tell the truth.

Iffy Level 5 May 18, 2018

Having come out as "bisexual" at first but then admittinh Inwas gay was definitely very difficult back in 1997. However coming out as Atheist was no biggie. I am in NC and it is very conservative and very religious. I don't really care anymore but when I first came out as anythhing other than str8 I lost a lot of friends. Reflecting on it now those people never were real friends anyways. While my family has accepted my Atheism and sexuality they largely do not agree with it. They have learned over the years though that I am not a bad person and that I am infact the same person I have always been. I would say it seems to be a bit easier these days to come out on both fronts. The hardest obstacle any person coming out is themselves. Their mind set coupled with all they have invested in family and friends holds a lot of people back. When they realize that they have to be themselves and let the chips fall where they may they come out. Those who truely love them unconditionally will stick around. As for the rest you just have to say "fuck em"....


You looked in my closet? Ok, I admit it is pretty insidious.


I think that most people could care less if one is gay or religious. I suppose it is more of a geographical issue

In Britain we say "couldn't care less" which is technically more correct.

@Gareth It's only more correct if your version is what they meant in the first place ?

@daddy2two ..which it invariably is. πŸ™‚

@Gareth thank you so very much for correcting my English. I know what sticklers you Brita are when it comes to the Queens english. keep working hard to support her...

@springlover It's not a correction so much as a cultural variant - like saying "math" when it's clearly "maths". πŸ™‚


just amazing


Depends where you are and who you tell. Some places, and some people, are more superstitious than others.


I "came out" the same day I was confirmed into the Lutheran church at age 15 or 16. My Mother was a believer and Dad wasn't, we had an agreement that I would get confirmed then it was my choice. I went to Sunday School and church every Sunday, bible camp in the summer and finally the confirmation classes, I never believed a word of it from the start.


not necessarily.


I only have experience coming out is as an atheist. It was relatively smooth, even when I moved to Little Rock. I know some of my co-workers talked about it behind my back, but for the most part nobody seems to care. Surprising being in the South.

@nutrition_nerd programmer. All but one of the other programmers are open minded and couldn't care less. I got lucky, I suppose.

@nutrition_nerd ugh. Do they at least leave you alone about it or do they try to "save" you?


I technically qualify all of the above, except that I resemble a pretty, cis hetero woman, so generally get a free pass.

Besides, I'm a demisexual, lacking sexual attraction for any person or gender, so am not seen chasing the wrong gender..

Because I'm female, my fearless male-like behavior is seen as brave and admirable by both genders, and I didn't realize I'm agnostic until the 2016 election.
Since I've been in tolerant Thailand since 2010, no religious confrontations in the US yet, although I'm been preached at by Christian ex-pats I've met here.
I immediately distanced myself from them.


I didn't want to compare the different closet doors against each other so much as to reflect on which ones are slowly getting easier (or less dangerous) to open and which are not. As such, I can't help feeling a little flustered when that's what many of these fine commenters did.

Still, I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, especially those who related personal truths and anecdotes.


It appears easier to me.. When I get going about how bad things are takes one of my twenty-somethings to remind me of how much worse it once was. And, they’re right.

Varn Level 8 May 18, 2018

It might be a little easier today, but not much. To many fools believe in fairy tales for us really thrive.


I have a colleague (online teaching) who told me that he is less prone to telling people that he is atheist than he does telling them he is gay.


I never came out as an atheist, I always was and will be. I think the hard thing would be to come out as an alt right christian, Now that is a messed up belief system/
And regarding pot smokers, that too has been a part of me and never hidden except for the law. I live if Florida where the bible heals you and nothing else. Hell we are twenty years behind the nation in thought.

EMC2 Level 8 May 18, 2018

Idk....I was never in a closet about it.
From what I've seen and heard it can be difficult though.


Depends on your particular situation. Here is Canada things are more relaxed on average for coming out as anything, but we still do have some issues of course. Atheists have trouble coming out in the Bible Belt, but Theists might have trouble coming out in Scandinavia. Gays find it easier coming in big cities where more gays gravitate too, than in small rural communities.
It still seems difficult for trans people everywhere and I too was more awkward about it from lack of knowledge maybe 10 years ago. I do try to see everyone as a human person first, and then add on the other lesser labels of color, orientation, ethnicity, gender, religious group or lack of, etc, later on as I learn more about them. While not into pot myself, I have no problem with it for others if the terrible smell is not in my face.




It's never been any secret that I'm not religious. However, I have never officially proclaimed myself non-religious. I'm not sure I see the point in labeling myself.

vita Level 7 May 21, 2018

Most things worth doing will be difficult and will cause friction with most of the population who never do much of anything or hold any real values of their own. Zero is the number of fucks given for what 'most' people think because most people barely think at all.
Be true to yourself, it's a novel concept these days. πŸ™‚

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