My May Blogging

I spent May sleeping as much as I could while my body tried to tear itself apart with neuromyotonic cramps. During more cogent moments, I managed to publish a few batches of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion related blog posts from my lanes of neurodiversity, disability, and toxic Christianity.

I Cannot, and Will Not, Believe in That God: Libraries as Candles in the Dark

The reason I am now doing much better is that, after a decade and a half of struggling to remain in an authoritarian faith that entails fundamentally inhumane theology, I let go of it entirely. I stopped accepting that I needed to feel like an impossible person who shouldn’t exist, and I embarked—haltingly at first, and then with greater confidence—on a path of self-acceptance and truth-telling.

In truth, while hypocrisy in the church is a huge problem, it is far from the only reason we’re leaving. We’re leaving because of the theology itself, a theology that in so many cases we tried as hard as we could to hold on to even as it was destroying us. And by the way, the existence of those visible discussions and resources for exvangelicals you seem to fear are contributing to the church’s loss of a generation? They are literally saving the lives of young people like you and I once were, pondering suicide as they face a crisis of faith.

Evangelicals hold to an anti-pluralist, anti-democratic theology of inequality that has contributed to abuse and trauma in so many cases. Why is it so hard for you to see, Dr. Moore, that you simply cannot have a prevailing doctrine of “biblical patriarchy” without the pervasive abuse of women and children? Evangelicals also hold to a theology that simply makes no space for women who refuse to accept unequal status with men, for single women (except perhaps on the mission field), or for LGBTQ folks like myself who are told that our experience of ourselves is “rebellious” and that we shouldn’t exist. All the abuses inherent to authoritarian systems about which exvies have stories-and the scars to back them up-are logical consequences of evangelical theology and the culture it supports.

But is the preacher who beats his daughter for dancing really an aberration in evangelical subculture? Quite the opposite, for he accurately reflects the character of the authoritarian god of the evangelical cosmos, with his arbitrary and unjust social hierarchies and his insistence that eternal conscious torment for even the most minor of temporal infractions is moral. These beliefs are inherently abusive.

I cannot, and will not, believe in that god, and if I still believed in him, it is very possible that I would have killed myself by now.

Source: Russell Moore had a crisis of faith, but it didn’t help him understand ex-evangelicals | Flux

“I cannot, and will not, believe in that god.”

I recall my days and nights of spiritual torment as a kid trying to align Southern Baptism with my own burgeoning moral autonomy and sense of self. I couldn’t. One night, around age 10 or 11, I “let go of it entirely”. In that moment of letting go, I grasped my moral autonomy. I held to it as I quietly rejected the religion of my upbringing and the people who perpetuated it. The moral, ethical, and intellectual dissonance ebbed, and I never invited it back.

I turned instead to the far more satisfying spirituality found in the skepticism and wonder of science and the local library.

But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.

Source: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The best thing my parents ever did for me was park me in the local library all those days. In its stacks, I found candles in the dark. I found a secular education. I found an antidote to dissonance and fear of eternal conscious torment.

Previously,

There’s No Glory in Dysphoria, Victoria

This is the Story of Victoria

Just like a mourning dove

And there’s no glory in Dysphoria

Victoria

Source: Bad Cop/Bad Cop – Victoria Lyrics

With Republicans criminalizing transgender existence and pushing for government-mandated conversion therapy—forcing youth to have the wrong puberty—the chorus to Victoria has been running through my head on this Trans Day of Visibility.

CW: suicide, dysphoria

For more songs—and perspective—on dysphoria, minority stress, and queer and neurodivergent mental health, check out my playlist ”Chronic Neurodivergent Depressed Queer Punk: Punk Rock, the Social Model of Disability, and the Dream of the Accepting Community”.

As we come to understand depression in the transgender community more accurately, it’s become clear that the major cause is what’s referred to as “minority stress;” that is, “stressors induced by a hostile, homophobic culture, which often results in a lifetime of harassment, maltreatment, discrimination and victimization.” The good news, then, is that as social relations and culture change over time, negative attitudes toward transgender people may be reduced, which will then reduce the stressors which trigger anxiety and depression.

Source: When Worlds Collide – Mental Illness Within the Trans Community — Lionheart

Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,

“The increased rates of mental health problems in these minority populations are often a consequence of the stigma and marginalisation attached to living outside mainstream sociocultural norms (Meyer 2003). This stigma can lead to what Meyer (2003) refers to as ‘minority stress’. This stress could come from external adverse events, which among other forms of victimization could include verbal abuse, acts of violence, sexual assault by a known or unknown person, reduced opportunities for employment and medical care, and harassment from persons in positions of authority (Sandfort et al. 2007).”

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Autism, Transgender and Avoiding Tragedy

Autistic and queer folks share some dark history-and some bad actors. Chapter 7 of NeuroTribes, Fighting the Monster, shares the legacy of Ole Ivar Lovaas, the twisted father of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and conversion therapy. He applied his abusive, torturous techniques to autistic kids and “sissy boys” to make them “indistinguishable from their peers“. He had little regard for their humanity-they were engineering projects.

Protecting queer kids protects also neurodivergent kids-and vice versa. The fight is for inclusion and acceptance-for all operating systems, for all of our different ways of being human. Supporting our kids means supporting all of their possibilities and expressions.

Source: Neurodiversity and Gender Non-conformity, Dysphoria and Fluidity – Ryan Boren

And that is what happens when you soak one child in shame and give permission to another to hate.

Source: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette – Netflix

Republicans are killing us. Music can only do so much. What are you doing? Are you emptying the pews of the toxic Christianity fueling this bigotry?

Usually, for adherents of this kind of repressive Christianity, queer people are not supposed to exist, and when their existence cannot be ignored, it poses a problem to be solved, sometimes literally with references to Satan. Given that objections to the legalization of same-sex marriage and the now seriously threatened expansion of transgender visibility and rights are flashpoints in the contemporary right-wing backlash, it is of the utmost importance to amplify the voices of members of the LGBTQ community harmed by conservative Christianity.

it has become clear that right-wing Christians—evangelicals, radical traditionalist Catholics, and Mormons—are authoritarians who will dismantle democracy before they will give up power.

Source: Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church: Stroop, Chrissy, O’Neal, Lauren, Schaeffer, Frank: 9781946093073: Amazon.com: Books