A quarterly exploration of issues and events related to gender diversity in the context of a Pagan practice.After a year of seeking out and announcing "trans*/pagan" events, I'm redirecting my focus toward this new series of posts wherein I share about my recent adventures and discoveries in service as a metagender member of CAYA Coven's clergy. I am hoping to include book reviews, interviews, events listings, event reports, and anything else that may enlighten and inspire those who, like me, value the wisdom and well-being of Pagans Beyond the Binary. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like me to check out. Blessed be!
Happy birthday, Kate Bornstein!
Pantheacon 2015: Seeking and Co-Creating Gender Variant Hearth & Hospitality
Because I'd never before been in a space where everyone was Pagan and no one was cisgendered. Because for the very first time, I was speaking to a crowd where I didn't have to deal with resistance to the idea of non-binary genders AND my Pagan practice was as accepted as my need to stay hydrated. I was speaking to "my people." It was a completely weird experience for me to feel so normal. I didn't know how to handle it.
Born of a MTF deity and an FTM deity, Paneros is the first non-binary deity of the group. Not half-male/half-female, like Ardhanarishvara or Hermaphroditos, but something else entirely. Meta means “beyond” and gender means “type.” (The character actors of the gender world, who cannot be typecast?) Paneros is much like a mirror to every individual e meets. Eir mother calls em “she,” eir father calls em “he.” Even the few who know what e is, such as eir grandfather Antinous, cannot speak eir name or pronouns until the child speaks them emself. Pushed to the edges of everything and beyond, the child finally releases all forms of sex and gender hatred from emself while simultaneously freeing their antidotes into the world. E is Paneros: ALL LOVE. (my synopsis is so bare and stilted, please read the original!)
All of this is a rambling explanation of why Dee Shull's two round-table discussions (neither of which were in the main program, by the way) provided a desperately needed service at Pantheacon. When one finds oneself in a safe and hospitable space, deeper understandings and vaster opportunities open up. Many closeted Pagans experience this joyful feeling of inclusion and community by attending events such as Pantheacon. The conversations Dee facilitated brought forth the challenges and solutions we need to consider in order to expand that generous spirit to include currently marginalized members of our community. One wise and wonderful participant posted this excellent clarification of the essential differences between accommodating and providing accessibility.
In my explorations of gender-related issues, I have found the most useful language and questions in the words and works of our many brilliant Pagans of Color. In Bringing Race to the Table, Crystal Blanton drops this mindblower into our laps, "If the mainstream within Paganism is not cognizant of the effects of racism in the overculture, and does not become active in promoting a culture of change that is inclusive of people of color, then we should be honest that diversity is not our goal." Once you read that, you cannot unread it. Enjoy!
Many thanks to the Pandemos Hospitality Suite and to the Pagans of Color Hospitality Suite for opening their spaces to host these events! You lead the way with heart and soul.
With hospitality and safe, sacred space in mind…
CAYA Coven's newest ritual offering: Rainbow Moon Circle at The Sacred Well
Told in v's signature chatty, witty, and astonishing style, Mx. Bond lays bare the most tender and quivering bits of a childhood that may or may not be as uncommon as some people think. Oh, it's certain v is a most unique individual—as a writer, a performer, and a fashion trendsetter—however, I am beginning to wonder if suburban neighborhoods are rife with children doing strange and unspeakable things to each other. Or maybe it reveals more about that bygone era of the mid-60's, when family members were protecting their privacy from the nosey neighbors rather than soliciting "Likes" from them on social apps. No one really knew what the kids were up to in that treehouse. Or if they did, no one was publishing a book about it. It seems that the adults of Hagerstown, Maryland always knew that there was something different about the chatterbox young 'un that would grow up to be an award-winning performer. Justin's beloved Pop-Pop called his grandchild "twinkle toes" with nothing but affection, but Mom threw a fit when she caught her 6-year-old son leaving for school wearing lipstick. All of us who grew up uncertain about living up to the gender expectations around us know how such inconsistency leads to second-guessing our every impulse— completely thwarting our childhood spontenaeity. Justin Vivian unpacks all these closets and more in v's little book.