Welcome to Fagnostic! (are we allowed to say that?)
What’s up y’all of little faith?
Fagnostic. I know what you're thinking... "are we allowed to say that?"
Well let's look at the etymology of the words making up Fagnostic: Fag + Agnostic.
Sure, fag has been a slur against gay men specifically for a few decades now. Some folks know that a fag is what Brits sometimes call cigarettes, though not as much anymore since the word was weaponized and stigmatized. Turns out, straight male Brits weren't fond of sucking on fags. They don't know what they're missing! Before that, fag was what one would call a bundle of sticks. Why we need a word to describe a bundle of sticks is beyond me, but why we need a word to define what I do in the privacy of my own home (usually) is beyond me as well. Anyway, a bundle of sticks (aka fag) was associated with women's chores, and in British public boarding schools, the younger boys often had to do chores for the older boys. The young fags would perform fagging for the older boys. I also would like to work on bringing back "fagging" in my everyday vernacular. (i.e. What are you doing this weekend? Eh, going to the club, hoping to do some fagging if I meet the right guy/s).
Agnostic has also been weaponized by the evangelical sect of Christianity to essentially describe a neutral state of spirituality. Agnostics have not faith nor disbelief. Agnostics often describe themself (since in a hyper-religious world, we are forced to define how we do or do not engage with the Divine) as searching. But an agnostic doesn't thrive on the search. An agnostic thrives on the peace of the unknown. I do believe that an Agnostic can be a follower of Christ's teachings. Or of the Buddha's. Or Allah's. Or nobody's. While often described in judgement, an agnostic actually has a more balanced view of spirituality that either zealots or atheists. That's my opinion anyway.
Thus, Fagnostic. I am a queer person finding peace in the unknown.
My name is Mat Hayes and I created this site as a resource for people looking to overcome or contribute to overcoming religious trauma.
It all started back in the early days of Covid when my friend Ryan Basham asked if I would host a queer faith panel on KPFK as part of Pride Month on behalf of the local Stonewall Democrats Club. After an amazing hour talking to some of the biggest thought leaders on faith and sexuality, I thought I might be able to start a podcast on the subject, interviewing different folks on a weekly basis. And The Fagnostic Podcast was born.
Two years prior, I had written, directed, and starred in a short film called Cognitive that ended up winning several awards after screening at over 25 film festivals all across the planet. I began seeing how much healing was still left to be done for the LGBTQ community because of the church’s bigoted, asinine, and hateful teachings. More importantly, there were still kids in those pews being told that they were unworthy of god’s love! Fuck that!
I started the podcast out of anger. I wanted to squash religion. Now I realize the arrogance behind thinking that I could do something so big in squashing one of the oldest types of community known to man. But I was bound and determined! So I started having conversations on air with people who seemed to have a little more figured out than I did. Every conversation led me to some sort of revelation about the divine and my association to it/he/she/they.
39 episodes (and counting) and 2 seasons in, the podcast has become a place where people talk about victory over trauma, and I hope that my listeners feel that way too – that they are becoming victorious over the chains of religious oppression. I know I am.
But I wanted to do more. I recognized the impact my platform was having on my community, and so I came up with this website. I am so fortunate to have met influential and loving people representing all walks and aspects of life. So I’m putting them in one place. For you. One place for you to figure out if there are doctors, therapists, lawyers, teachers, preachers, artists, volunteer opportunities, and so much more in your market. A place where our community is elevated and encouraged. A place where people of success/privilege can find places to donate time/money to. Fagnostic is for everyone, no matter where you are on your deconstructing journey to freedom.
I will continue doing the podcast, if for nothing else
If you have questions, send them. If you have suggestions, offer them. If you have hate, go look in the mirror and figure out why.
Fagnostic is here to see you and to remind you that you are not alone. You are okay.
I look forward to watching this community grow and change the world.
While I do not subscribe to any religious organization, I do believe that if it has a chance at survival, it will be because of the queer voices.
Keep searching. Keep waking up. Keep hoping. And Fagnostic will hold space for you do to that.
Sending extravagant wishes to you all for peace, joy, love, and impact.
Peace be with all y'all,
photo: Holly Lynch Photo