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Flaunting It

Cousin Ricky

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My first non-believer event was the Reason Rally in 2012. Up until that time, I was brash and baldfaced about being an ex-Christian, but apologetic and quiet about being an atheist.[1] However, I made the typically last minute, but uncharactaristically bold, decision to attend the American Atheists convention that immediately followed the rally. The attendance package came with a T-shirt. A LOUD one, a là American Atheists.
I was nervous about wearing it once I got back home, but I convinced myself that any reaction would be positive in its own way:

  • Positive reaction - means that there are more of us out there, or at least people who support our civil rights.
  • Negative reaction - means that someone else has learned that we’re here, get used to it!
  • No reaction - means that we’re accepted, meh.

The first time I wore it out, a complete stranger asked if she could take a photograph of the T-shirt, and asked me if there were any atheist organizations in St. Thomas. (There aren’t any.)
Since then, I have collected several more atheist T-shirts, plus one marriage equality T-shirt. I have gotten very little reaction from them, except for one Richard Dawkins T-shirt which is easily mistaken for an African pride statement, and is most likely perceived as such. (If I were white like Dr. Dawkins, I’d probably get more questions, rather than just feel-good thumbs up.)
Yesterday in the supermarket, I noticed a rather puzzled look on the cashier’s face. Then she asked, “Are you an atheist?” at which point I realized she had been reading my T-shirt. I just responded, “Yes.” Since she had a job to do, the exchange went no further. But it’s good to know that non-belief has been noticed. Also, that she didn’t freak out.

[1]How many of you recognize the vocabulary in that sentence?
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  • Moderator

I'm glad that you've had a positive experience with that.

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