Statement Endorsing LGBTQIA+ Equality
In Collaboration with PFC’s LGBTQIA+ Initiative
Every year in June Pittsburgh Freethought Community (PFC) celebrates Pride Month with the rest of the world. When we remember that we’re all human beings, we can unite as one people living on one planet. When we offer more assistance, understanding, and acceptance to one another, we can effect positive change.
Shamefully, bigotry and discrimination against us, our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors still exist. Our basic humanity is denied. We encounter social and professional barriers based on purely arbitrary characteristics. PFC strongly opposes discrimination and hatred against anyone for any reason. Valuing and investing in everyone as equals improves our human condition and are humanist values.
According to the Pew 2015 America’s Changing Religious Landscape report, 41% of LGB Americans are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, “nothing in particular,” collectively called “nones.”) Among straight Americans, 22% are nones. In addition, in 2017 Pew found that 62% of religiously unaffiliated Americans (LGBT or not) think that a person’s gender identity is not necessarily determined by their biological sex and that 57% of nones say that the US has not gone far enough in accepting transgender people. Moreover, 88% of American nones (LGBT or not) say that society should be more accepting of homosexuality. Thus nonreligious Americans are far more accepting of LGBT people than are the religious.
PFC is unaware of any secular, i.e., nonreligious, opposition to LGBTQIA+ equality. At present many, but not all, American religious organizations are vocal, powerful, and unrelenting in their hostility towards their fellow Americans. Recently, these groups have claimed that ensuring LGBTQIA+ rights to equal treatment under the law violates their “religious freedom.” They demand “religious exemptions'' from any civil rights laws they don’t like. If these religious organizations had targeted any other minority group, most Americans would be outraged. Instead, a shocking number of elected officials and appointed judges have sided with religious bigots to deny even basic public accommodations, such as housing and employment, to LGBTQIA+ Americans. PFC condemns any discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.” This is merely an excuse to enforce a peculiar religious belief on our secular nation.
Most of these religious bigots say that homosexuality is “unnatural.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Biologists have observed same-sex sexual behavior in over 1500 non-human animal species, from famous gay penguins who raise young together to field crickets, domestic cows, and sea urchins. Homophobia, by contrast, is a uniquely “unnatural” human invention.
An overwhelming body of research has shown that LGBTQIA+ people face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders,substance abuse, and suicide. LGBTQIA+ people frequently experience violence and victimization that have long-lasting effects on individuals and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity strongly affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBTQIA+ people, especially youth. Coming out to religious family members can be fraught with abuse and outright rejection. Religions tell us we are “wrong.” We react to religious anti-LGBTQIA+ dogma by leaving religion.
For these reasons, PFC proudly supports the LGBTQIA+ community. Why would we not? We provide a warmly welcoming organization to counter the judgment and rejection of some organized religions. Humanists embrace all humanity, especially people who have been degraded and persecuted.