Zack and Peterson are together for the holidays, and rather than yak about Utah or Duck Dynasty, the two follow the travels of the afterbirth of Jesus in the Lost Gospel of the Holy Placenta. Enjoy this lighthearted and only slightly blasphemous holiday episode and let us know what you want to hear from us […]
Zack and Peterson are back after a very slight delay this past week, and the episode is jam-packed to compensate. Birds in the background. Bank Holidays. Memorial Day. Fighting ex-gay therapy abroad. Latin America’s Oprah/Jerry Springer? Federico García Lorca. The National Organization for Marriage’s race-wedging. Marriage polling that counters conservatives’ narratives. Dolores Huerta. Burritos. And more! […]
It’s Thanksgiving! Folks around the country will be sitting down to dinner today and will share what it is they’re thankful for. As I wrote last year and discussed on yesterday’s Queer and Queerer, Thanksgiving has an underlying assumption that God is responsible for those things. So today, rather than just thinking about WHAT you’re […]
Just in time to download into your MP3 player before hitting the road, Peterson and Zack are back to keep things light and just talk a bit about Thanksgiving. After delving into some of the religious connotations behind the holiday (and Zack’s interpretation that it should be “Thankshaving”), we have to take some time to […]
BOO! What’s funny is before recording, Peterson was going to use a funny Halloweeny voice and Zack wasn’t, but the opposite ended up happening! We sacrifice watching an episode of Glee to bring you this spooky episode, featuring the terrors of Judge Judy, Hare Krishnas, and peanut butter! Most of the episode is dedicated to […]
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Jubilee Day, an annual street fair here in central Pennsylvania. I picked up a lot of religious propaganda that I think will make great fodder here on the blog, which I look forward to writing about. I also connected with the PA Nonbelievers, a group—I’m embarrassed to say—was […]
Zack and Peterson are back after a very slight delay this past week, and the episode is jam-packed to compensate. Birds in the background. Bank Holidays. Memorial Day. Fighting ex-gay therapy abroad. Latin America’s Oprah/Jerry Springer? Federico García Lorca. The National Organization for Marriage’s race-wedging. Marriage polling that counters conservatives’ narratives. Dolores Huerta. Burritos. And more! Listen for all the details!
Rather than regurgitate my reconciliation of my atheism with a not-so-secular holiday, I thought I’d share a simple thought today (Christmas Eve for many).
Lots of billboards debate the reason for the season. Some atheist groups like to point out that Jesus is a myth, which is a reasonable point. Some Christian groups like to hammer home that Jesus is the reason. I never understood what makes the birth of a baby in a stable a compelling story unless you 100% accept the virgin birth, which I think is a stretch for most believers. (That’s besides the fact that if Jesus was born, he most definitely was not born in December.) Jews, meanwhile, already celebrated that there was enough oil to burn for eight days instead of one—not as miraculous as the virgin birth of a god, but at least a bit more original (or did Osiris have long-burning candles, too?).
None of those stories really matter, though. See, way back in 46 BCE, Caesar figured out that December 25 was the Winter Solstice, the day when the Earth’s tilt is farthest way from the sun and thus it is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The calendar was off though, and the date started shifting to earlier in the year. Pope Gregory XIII standardized it in 1582, but screwed up and restored the date to December 22. (Maybe he didn’t want all his loyal followers in the Holy Roman Empire to be suspicious about Jesus just happening to be born on a day already celebrated by many Pagans.)
But that’s why we have holidays around this time. It’s dark.
So we need to light it up and warm it up (though admittedly, the wintry association with this time of year is biased to the Northern Hemisphere).
We need pretty lights and warm food and stirring music and good company. We need to make each other smile and show each other how much we love each other and exchange presents as tokens of that love.
And that’s it. That’s all it’s about. That’s all that’s important.
No myths or legends necessary! Just the intention to warm the hearts of your loved ones. We all owe ourselves and each other to do so at least once a year, and what better night than (almost) the longest of the year?
So whatever you do this holiday season, enjoy it. Do what it takes to make it really feel like the holiday season and not just the dark one. Celebrate that which makes us all human: love.
Zack and Peterson gather by the fireside to follow up on DADT repeal, Barack Obama, and the United Nations, and lots of other interesting things happen too. Happy Holidays from the Queer and Queerer Podcast!
Just in time to download into your MP3 player before hitting the road, Peterson and Zack are back to keep things light and just talk a bit about Thanksgiving. After delving into some of the religious connotations behind the holiday (and Zack’s interpretation that it should be “Thankshaving”), we have to take some time to discuss some frightful messages coming from the ex-gay movement. Still, after several heavy episodes, the humorous banter that is Queer and Queerer is back and we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!
BOO! What’s funny is before recording, Peterson was going to use a funny Halloweeny voice and Zack wasn’t, but the opposite ended up happening! We sacrifice watching an episode of Glee to bring you this spooky episode, featuring the terrors of Judge Judy, Hare Krishnas, and peanut butter! Most of the episode is dedicated to discussing the true terror that is the Christian “Hell House.” Take a listen as Zack goes straight and Peterson goes all Stockholm syndrome in our special Halloween/Day of the Dead episode! Have a safe and happy holiday everyone, and don’t forget to find Zack at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear this weekend in DC!
A whole lot of people have been saying lately that it gets better. They’re (we’re) not wrong to say that. Life is not a prison, nor a canyon river with only one path.
But one of the ways it gets better is if you make it better for yourself. You have so much strength, so much power. You probably don’t even know it. There is so much you can do to create change in your life, but one of the most fundamental is to just be honest with yourself.
I still remember quite clearly the friend I had who badgered me about coming out. Even though I “knew” I was gay, I didn’t understand that I was gay. I hadn’t come out to myself. I hadn’t figured out that all the sexual and emotional attractions (including legitimate love) I’d had for men meant that I was gay. I thought “gay” was something else, something bad. I knew whatever I was, I wasn’t something bad.
And that’s what my friend hammered into me. I wasn’t being honest with myself. I was denying myself love. I was denying myself sex. I was almost 19 years old and I really hadn’t been out on a real date that meant something to me. I hadn’t flirted with somebody. I hadn’t danced with somebody. I hadn’t felt the heat with somebody. I hadn’t found somebody who loves me because I didn’t love myself.
All I had to say to myself was, “It’s ok.” All I had to do was realize that it all makes sense. “I’m gay,” and the lightbulb goes off. There’s nothing wrong with me, and all those people who don’t get that? They’re the ones with the problem. They’re just plain wrong. They can say the nastiest things and they can even hurt me, but they can never be right.
That’s when it all got better for me. On July 19, 2004, I said to myself, “I’m going to let me be me.” It was like I was reborn, and I don’t even remember who I was before then, because it feels like it was somebody else—somebody who carried this huge weight of guilt and shame for no good reason. I’ve stood proud and confident ever since.
Today is National Coming Out Day. It’s a day when we celebrate this important step in our identity development, the moment when we each break free of the chains of heterosexism. It reminds us that “pride” is about being true to ourselves and owning our identities no matter what the rest of the world says about us. We are here and we deserve to love and be loved.
You can only come out when you’re ready, but if you’ve been thinking about it, maybe today’s your day. Maybe today you’re ready. It’s not easy, and it won’t always be rosy, but you will not regret it. And you will never have to stand alone.
So come out, even if it’s just to one person… even if it’s just to yourself.
I was rereading my birthday reflection from last year and seriously, not five minutes later I again heard my father ask me, “Do you feel older?” I informed him that he asked me the exact same thing last year, so we agreed that my answer must actually be “Yes” since it’s been a full year since he asked me, but also that he needs to get out more.
(By the way, this post is just me talking about myself, so if you’re here for news or commentary, sorry! But hey, I might end up saying something poignant about life—you never know.)
Year 25 was definitely unlike any previous year of my life. It was the first full year that I did not live my life according to prescription. There were the 18 years of grade school and the 6 of higher education, and then I got this wacky year where nothing was according to plan. What a good thing that was!
You know, I could easily bemoan the economy and the challenges of the job search, and certainly there are those out there eager to mock me for it. A full year has passed and you still don’t have a real job, Zack? Yeah, it’s true. Get over it. It’s actually been a great year, because I’ve had to find a way to make meaning of my life despite not fitting the mold I’d always had in my head for how it was supposed to progress.
It’s fun having a September birthday, because I can measure years of my life parallel to school years. This was my first non-school year (and hopefully my last). But the Fall still brought very important changes, because it was at the beginning of October when I launched the redesign of my blog. Two weeks later I was reporting from the National Equality March. Suddenly, I felt like I had a legitimate blog and I was connecting with other bloggers and activists who were excited about my work. It might not sound like much, but those changes really set the tone for the year that went on to include the Prop 8 Trial, Creating Change, working for the Central PA LGBT Center, developing the Queer and Queerer Podcast with Peterson, and Netroots Nation.
In some ways, it’s kind of felt like an intermission, but in other ways, it’s just been a refreshing break. I think we all need to take time to explore life and find ourselves in spite of what anyone wants for us. Heck, it wasn’t what I wanted for myself, but I definitely have no regrets!
In addition to being a test of creativity in the absence of structure, it was also a test of resiliency. If you had asked me on September 8, 2009 if I would still be confident and optimistic if a year later I still didn’t have a job that put my degree to use, I probably wouldn’t have been thrilled with speculating. But here I am, and I have so much work to be proud of, even if I’m not “on track.”
Truly, we spend our whole lives reconciling who we are against who others want us to be. In any of these struggles, we come out (often literally) stronger because we believed in ourselves. I can look back on year 25 as a year of transition, but a year in which I stayed true to myself in spite of circumstance. And now I can look forward to a new quarter-century with a piece of myself that I never would have known I had.
Cheers to you my friends and readers, and everyone who has been a part of my life! Cheers to life! Cheers to making it work!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Jubilee Day, an annual street fair here in central Pennsylvania. I picked up a lot of religious propaganda that I think will make great fodder here on the blog, which I look forward to writing about. I also connected with the PA Nonbelievers, a group—I’m embarrassed to say—was not aware of. I was glad to see they are active and have many groups throughout the region.
I marched as a U.S. Army veteran with the Pennsylvania Nonbelievers in the Annville Memorial Day parade.
We carried a banner “remembering all who bravely served, including atheists in foxholes.” It was well-organized and brought back pleasant memories of my time in the military.
As a citizen who thinks the world of the United States and does not subscribe to any belief system, I was shocked at the behavior of religious people along the parade route. One gentleman, sitting with his wife, clearly stated “I will put you in a foxhole and kill you.”
Another woman along the parade route stood up and just booed as we passed. Others yelled “go home” and “you don’t belong here” to me and the other veterans in our group. This type of religious conduct was disturbing but did not deter me from holding my head — and more importantly, my American flag — high.
The parade was personal for me because I promised a friend during Desert Storm that I would never forget him. My friend, who had no religious beliefs but loved America, was brutally killed in heavy combat during that war. The Memorial Day parade allowed me to honor him.
I want to thank parade volunteers for coordinating the event. The negative responses from those religious spectators have only motivated me to bring back a bigger flag next year.
This is incredibly disappointing to hear. The comments posted on the article confirm that there are plenty of other folks eager to disparage the nonbelievers. Nonbelievers need to keep quiet; they have an agenda. It just shows the importance of helping educate people about atheism.
You can see various pictures from the parade on the PA Nonbelievers page. Here are a few that demonstrate some of the negative reactions of the crowd: