These Atheists Are Rightly Criticizing Richard Dawkins’ Anti-Trans Tweet April 23, 2021

These Atheists Are Rightly Criticizing Richard Dawkins’ Anti-Trans Tweet

Yesterday, I compiled a list of what a lot of well-known atheists were saying about Richard Dawkinstweet comparing trans people to Rachel Dolezal (who lied about her race) and claiming they “choose” to identify as another gender. He ended the tweet with the word “discuss,” which is odd since he was never going to engage with commenters (Here, you do the work. I’m out!) and also suggests trans identities need to be debated.

So many people associated with the “New Atheists” — the sort of people media outlets routinely and unfortunately turn to whenever they need an atheist voice — defended Dawkins, lashed out against “woke” people, and argued there was nothing wrong with Just Asking Questions.

In that post, I didn’t include the voices of people who were critical of Dawkins. But in fact, a lot of people — especially bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers — were sick of seeing Dawkins using Twitter to once again denigrate a marginalized group.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a reminder that there are a lot of vocal atheists who are leaders in their own right and who loudly and proudly stand up for trans rights. (And if you’re not familiar with them, you should get to know them!)

Once again, I’ll post these without additional commentary.

… I hate to be the one to break this to everyone, but the next 40 years of nontheist organizing in America is going to look a lot different than the last 40 years. We’ve going to see tons of new organizations pop up that radically depart from the culture and priorities of today’s orgs. You’re going to see more younger, non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-cis leaders taking over and with that, a lot of new ideas about how to define, promote, organize, and grow our movement (again, a good thing!) that will make a lot of traditionalists super uncomfortable and upset.

… We work tirelessly with a diverse range of allies (including religious folks) on progress, equality, and justice for all people, we just happen to like doing it in our uniquely atheist community. For those reasons and more, we do not usually hold space for endless debate about human rights for the sake of debate. Experience shows us that’s an even bigger wedge for members that share our values than calling out hate, ignorance, and bigotry of those that do not.

… For my own part, to the trans community, I’m so sorry for the man I was before. In my religious life (and as the fog emerged after), I knew nothing about these sex/gender issues, and when I hosted shows with trans guests, those podcasts served as a classroom for me as much as my audience. It’s been years of learning a new human language, of discovering yet another ring in the human circle…and the beauty that comes along with it. I see you. I support you. I’m grieved at the hate you’ve faced, and I do understand why recklessness (intended or not) harms your desperate fight to be acknowledged and accepted as human beings. I’ll never tell you how to feel or react. I can only speak to my own little world, and I’m doing the best I know how.

Way back in 2009, the American Humanist Association thought I was worthy of their Humanist of the Year award. I was honored to receive it, and still don’t know if I really deserved it, but I do keep it in my office. I had no idea it could be taken away.

Apparently, you have to maintain your status as a good humanist, which I think is entirely appropriate. If I start promoting bigoted ideas, it should be retracted.

To any reporters, if you’re looking for atheists to speak to, you have so many options here. Use them as your starting point.


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