What is this book about?
It's about why the LGBTQ movement will be stronger if atheists get involved, and vice versa.
There have been many attempts over the past decade to show how the atheism movement parallels the LGBTQ movement. While there are similarities, the differences cannot be ignored. This book is about how those two worlds overlap more than you might think, how religious believers can be both an obstacle and a path forward for true equality, and why atheists specifically should care about these issues. It examines all of these issues in extraordinary depth.
More importantly, there are non-believers who believe their support for LGBTQ rights shouldn't be assumed because the definition of atheism begins and ends with a disbelief in God's existence. That's too simplistic. This book makes the case for why atheists should be among the most vocal supporters of LGBTQ rights.
It's not enough just to agree that LGBTQ people should have equal rights; atheists must advocate for them. This should not be an extension of atheists' beliefs; their cause must be atheists' cause, too.
Why did you write this book?
Hemant: I have been blogging at FriendlyAtheist.com about atheism for more than a decade. So often, when I write about LGBTQ issues, one kind of comment inevitably pops up: "Why should I care about this? It has nothing to do with atheism." My knee-jerk response has always been that those issues are connected... but I couldn't always articulate why.
Camille had been writing about LGBTQ issues for my site for years. She's always thoughtful and eloquent, something that comes from her time working for and living in the LGBTQ world. I asked her if she'd be interested in pursuing an in-depth look at these issues, and we began putting together this project. This Kickstarter is the culmination of more than a year's work.
She wrote the entire book. I edited it and I'm handling the publishing. Tracey Moody designed the cover.
Camille: When I started writing for Hemant's site, I rarely found stories about LGBTQ people and atheists working together. Instead, I was mostly writing about homophobic religious groups, with the occasional story about an awesome LGBTQ-accepting church or pastor.
I felt like atheists should care about all three of these things -- religious bigotry, progressive faith groups, and opportunities for collaboration -- and that they were all connected. I knew I couldn't be the only one. This book was an amazing opportunity to explore those overlaps and talk to people who agree and disagree with me.
As an added bonus, I'm both queer and an atheist, so this is personal to me. I think all the time about how those two parts of my life relate to each other, and it seems lots of other gaytheists (ba dum tss) do, too.
Are you just trashing religion?
Camille: Absolutely not. While it's fair to say religious beliefs are often an obstacle to achieving LGBTQ rights, many churches, religious leaders, and believing individuals have been incredible allies. This book talks about what churches do right and wrong, and it includes the voices of many religious people who also identify as LGBTQ.
Hemant: It doesn't matter if you're a firebrand atheist, progressive Christian, or someone who's not exactly sure what your identity is right now. I really believe you will find this book worthy of your time and investment.
What's in this book?
Hemant: I want to stress that this is NOT a compilation of stories or essays that have been published before. It's all original material that covers a subject neither of us has seen explored this way.
Camille: Anecdotes, interviews, statistics, resources, conversation-starters, coming-out stories, reflections on being a closeted kid with super-religious friends -- you name it. It's a non-fiction investigation of how LGBTQ and atheist communities overlap.
Throughout this process, it was important to me that there were lots of voices in the book besides my own. I've been writing about these issues for a while, but there are countless other opinions out there, and a whole host of people who have experienced things I have not. So I tried to include as many different voices as possible -- folks from many religions, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and sexual and gender identities -- to give a fuller picture.
I worked as thoughtfully as possible, but I know there are millions of people out there I didn't get to talk to and plenty of ideas I haven't considered. This book isn't meant to have all the answers, but instead to start a conversation.
What does the book look like?
Hemant: Here's a sample from the inside of the book. We're still putting finishing touches on it!
Where is the money going?
If we can hit the initial funding goal, that will cover the cost of formatting the book, printing it, getting the cover design right, paying for shipping/taxes, taking care of the Kickstarter fees, promoting it, and reimbursing the time spent writing and editing it. We hope you'll agree it's worth it.
And if this is successful, we'll have the incentive to work on another book this way in the future!
Risks and challenges
Hemant: I have published books through an official publishing house and through independent presses. This is the first time I'm putting out a book on my own, through Friendly Atheist Press. Hopefully, it's the first of many. With your support, and with guidance from friends who have done this before, I'm confident we have everything covered from start to finish.
If there are glitches along the way, we'll take care of them and provide regular updates. But we waited to launch this Kickstarter until we had jumped over most of the larger hurdles to make sure there would be as few surprises as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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