Monday, May 2, 2011

International Pagan Coming Out Day

Line art drawing of a besom broom.Image via Wikipedia
Today is International Pagan Coming Out Day. The idea, much like it exists for queers on their coming out day, is for people to "come out of the broom closet" (stop hiding the fact that they are pagan/a witch, etc.) so that the world can see we are not scary or evil and keep persecuting us. The persecution is real, and this is one way for people in a certain type of situation to remedy it.

That said, I know we are not at a place culturally for everyone to come out. People lose their jobs, their families, and their lives over being a pagan, a polytheist, or a Witch. It's rosy thinking to assume we all can "be brave" and take that step. I respect many that are not "public pagans", even though I am one. Online communities offer a nice middle place for many- they can create an identity and become known to people like them, but still have a degree of anonymity that allows their personal lived to be safe.

Big Queer NationImage by M.V. Jantzen via Flickr
I find it hilarious that I, of all people, am writing a post like this. I used to be a very radical queer and thought that everyone had a duty to come out. Now here I am talking about how the closet is necessary for some. Not that I like it, mind you- I detest that we live in a world where people cannot be themselves openly without fear.

Personally, I have found that it cost me some relationships being completely free. But what does it say about those people that they are disapproving and not around? I think I made the right choices, even though loss hurts.

Are you "out" in all your identities? Has it been positive, negative, a mixed bag? 


  1. I'm not closeted, in any way, but neither am I "in yo' FACE". I simply don't talk about being either pagan or bi in situations where it's not important. If it comes up, sure, I am who I am, but it's simply not a big deal to me. I'm far more concerned about other aspects of my identity - mother and doula, for example, or depressive. I'm discrete around my very Christian in-laws, but then, they're fairly discrete around me, too.

    I guess I've had the luxury of spending my life in places where the less "mainstream" aspects of my identity are either not a huge deal, or closer to being mainstream than not - first in the Bay Area, where I spent my first 27 years, and now in Oregon.

  2. I'm not yet sure if I want to be a Pagan. I am sure, though, that I want to be a shaman.

    For my willingness to investigate/try other beliefs, I have had a few people become wary of me. I even had a former boss, a professor with a PhD, indirectly question my ability to tell right from wrong.

    Yes, there times when it's best to be closeted.

  3. I hear you both, loud and clear. As I have written about, psychologists think we are crazy for holding our beliefs and acting upon them. We could easily be committed if we were in a less progressive area or had someone with a vendetta against us.

    While I am "out" in most of my life, I am not out in others. Living with two identities is weird at times.

  4. It is more difficult when the issue involves a loved one. Do I out myself to him or not? What if he looks at me with contempt afterwards, knowing how Christian he is?

    My own Mom really didn't like it when she saw a Tarot money spell laid out on a makeshift altar in my room. Thank God she didn't go to the local priest and asked for help! My sister, more open than our Mom, is averse to it. Although I'm not sure if it's because she doesn't want to believe anything that can't be seen or she just prefers to stick to Christianity.


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