Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What is Trans*? What is Pagan?

 A memo that started out as a short message to the other members of Beyond the Binary became an unfolding exploration I'd like to share with you all.

This week has given me much food for thought in the realm of our studies and service in Beyond the Binary—from the PACO panel discussions on POC, gender and the intersections of identities, to the Rainbow Moon (a seedling CAYA group) Circle's brainswarm on Monday to spending all of yesterday in the company of P. Sufenas Virius Lupus (birther of the Tetrad++ group of gender-variant deities)! WOW.

What is becoming clear to me is that it is important to acknowledge that many gender identities (if not most, if not all) are inherent, and deserve to be recognized as primary and central to each individual's experience— rather than in their relation to the binary, cisgendered cultural "norm." In that context, using the word Trans* no longer feels correct as the term to use in my events listing, or in my description of whom I serve. Trans* is included, yet still not the central focus, nor the umbrella term that works for me. Many people who identify as Trans* also identify as binary, besides. There are ritual spaces for women or men. This is not where I serve.

I have been questioning the usefulness of my Trans*/Pagan events listing for a few months now, wondering if it is necessary to include every all-gender event that is Pagan, or focus only on events that address variant-gender inclusiveness, though many are binary-oriented. Are Buddhist sanghas, yoga classes, healing clinics and workshops that focus on or include the needs of Trans* people appropriate to list on a Pagan events announcement?

What is Pagan? What is Trans?* That could be (and will be) the title of the blog post this is clearly becoming. (Though I won't be opening the can of worms called "Pagan" at this time. It's about as useful as "Trans*" is to me these days.)

Frankly, I included all of those aforementioned options because I haven't found very many events that could be considered Trans* AND Pagan. If my service as a public Priest/ess is to minister to the needs of nature-based spiritual practitioners who do not identify with the gender binary, then WTF do I call it? C'mon, Hermes, give me the language!

The intersection of personal identities within an individual is difficult— perhaps impossible— to sort out into neat sections. The phrase that seemed to resonate with brilliant intensity this week was "Gender is a holographic experience. Identity is a holographic experience."

While I sort this all out, my events listing will go on hiatus. Is it transitioning to a new identity or simply recognizing what it was all along?