I’m an atheist. Unfortunately, there are a lot of asshat atheists out there who make fun of and criticize religion as a whole. They mock believers and take stances that anyone of any religion can’t be completely trusted because they believe in a fantasy world. I once saw an asshat atheist say something like, “I would completely write off an adult who believed in Santa Claus, so why shouldn’t I write off an adult who believes in God?” And while I’m certain there are a lot more atheists like me, the majority of the vocal ones are obnoxious religion-haters.
SO. I try my best at every opportunity I get to be vocal about my support of religion. I speak fondly about my religious past. I post encouraging articles about churches doing things I support. I attend religious functions and respectfully bow my head in prayer. I’ll even share out cultural writings from religious figureheads. I try to do everything I can to prove: I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE ASSHAT ATHEISTS. I don’t want my religious family or friends to think I mock their faith when they’re not around. I want them to know I support them.
(As long as they don’t use their religious views to oppress others, of course.)
ANYWAY. I look at it that the burden of proof is on me. If someone I loved came up to me and said, “You are an atheist so you don’t support my right to be Christian,” I would say, “Oh, no. I see 100% why you would think that because there are a lot of asshat atheists out there who would like to banish all religion. But religion was very important to me for a very long time and so I believe it can serve a worthwhile purpose. I try to be vocal about that, but if I haven’t been enough for you to know that, I am sorry. But I 100% support your right to be Christian.”
“(As long as you don’t use your religion to oppress others, of course.)”
Why do I tell you all of this? To tell you that if you vote for Trump, the burden of proof that you support your gay family is on you. You may not agree with the view that people have of Trump Supporters not supporting gay rights, (I don’t love the fact that people think all Alabamians are racist) but you need to know that every homophobe I’ve ever come into contact with…voted Republican. And back when there were state-wide ballot efforts to legalize gay marriage? The Republicans were the “Vote No” people. And when the GOP realized that Covid was going to complicate their efforts to rewrite their platform this year? They just opted not to, even though it still said (from four years ago) that they opposed gay marriage. Are there Republicans who fought this? Yes. But you need to understand…when your party can’t even agree on this? It’s hard to change the general public opinion that Republicans Don’t Support Gay People. And as far as polling goes? While the numbers are increasing…they still don’t support it as a majority.
So, yeah. You need to accept the responsibility to prove otherwise.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable attending a PRIDE parade or putting an HRC sticker on your car. But there are plenty of other ways to show support.
I have a lot of Catholic family, including one aunt who was a nun and she reached out to me once and told me she was going to send an article I wrote about Pride Parades to her friends. That was her way of saying, “I support your gay kid.” I also have several Catholic family members who constantly quiz me about that kid’s love life to show their support. I even had one very Catholic family member who used our last visit together as she was dying to make sure I knew she supported my gay kid.
So…if my really Catholic family has figured out how to convey support, then any Trump supporter who says they support gay people, should be able to as well.
Of course, if you don’t also support Transgender rights then you need to understand that most queer people support each other under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. My gay kid is not going to look at your lack of support for Trans people and say, Well, at least they support my rights.
Honestly, I don’t know how it’s possible for anyone under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella to feel loved by a Trump voter. But, if you are a Trump voter because you support trickle-down economic plans or you don’t think it’s the government’s job to provide a safety net for poor people, then you need to go out of your way to prove your support of the LGBTQIA family members in your life. And if you don’t? Then don’t be surprised when they assume you don’t support their lifestyle.
And if they do accuse you of not supporting their lifestyle because you voted for Trump? Then I would suggest saying something like, “I vote for Trump because I believe in his economic plan but I 100% support your rights and the rights of other queer people and I’m sorry my political party has not come around yet but I’m optimistic that they will in my lifetime.”
My point is that if you are vocally or visibly part of a group that is known to have certain views, it is on you to make sure the people you love know where you stand. If you are constantly talking about your guns and hunting and going to a shooting range – BUT YOU SUPPORT GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION, make that known. I’m a white lady living in Alabama, it is 100% assumed I vote Republican so I make sure every social media platform I am on has some sort of indicator of otherwise. Hell…I made this my new Facebook profile pictures just in case anyone tries to friend me they’ll know what they’re getting into.
I constantly feel like the burden of proof is on me to show where I stand when it could be assumed otherwise. I put stickers on my car, I put my pronouns in my social media bios, I show up at Pride and act like a crazy person, I post about books I’m reading about gender norms and systemic racism. I want to make sure that even though – on paper – I might look like a Republican (White suburban Mom in Alabama) – it is obvious that I am not.
So be aware of how you present to the world and know – whether or not it’s fair – what assumptions people make about you. And if there are people in your life you truly support who might not know it because of the other ways you present yourself…LET THEM KNOW.