I didn’t grow up with the word “dyke” meaning anything to me. The dialects of Spanish that were my first language don’t have ready equivalents for it, preferring euphemisms that only become offensive in certain tones. I don’t know if the people I came from use “perica” or “tortillera” for themselves, or if they borrow the more evocative slurs used for gay men, or use some other language entirely. My mother preferred to stammer out her disgust in English half-syllables whenever she had to mention queer women, and that sense of wrongness stayed attached to those words in my mind. I was closed to this part of myself in those days, unaware of my queer heritage even as I found no room in my heart for their contempt. The queer community where I finally found myself speaks primarily English, and it’s here that I finally met proud dykes.
Women in Secularism 2 was an amazing event, and one whose various liveblogs I encourage people to read. The talks and panels were fantastic, despite being bookended by obnoxiously wrongheaded attacks on the conference’s very premise. Short review: would do again. And not just because fellow attendees and bloggers Kate Donovan, Jason Thibeault, Miri Mogilevsky, PZ Myers, and Ashley Miller kept the atmosphere awesome throughout.
Some things that were said, in particular by CFI-Transnational Director for Outreach Debbie Goddard, got me thinking. It’s no secret these days that organized atheism’s roots in predominantly white, male, well-educated circles has often made it tone-deaf to the different experiences, priorities, and demands of people outside those groups. It’s also no secret that some of these “outsiders” have far more to gain from abandoning religion than Western atheism’s white, male, well-educated old guard ever did or hopefully ever will.
Continue reading “Hispanic, Atheist, American, Me”