Thursday, June 21, 2012

Transgender Pagans – Take A Deep Breath

Yes, this morning at PSG a member of the Pagan community shared her pain at being excluded from the main woman’s ritual. Yet this should not spark the kind of firestorm that resulted from the same issue at Pantheacon.  Frankly PSG is different, this brave woman’s actions were different and the communities’ reception was clearly different.

PSG is a family atmosphere where individual community members are regarded with love and respect, a low-key event where individuals feel free to express themselves in a warm and loving climate. While Pantheacon is an incredible event, its’ nature is clearly different than PSG

When this issue was expressed at morning meeting it was intentionally done after the ritual, called for no protest, and requested nothing from the community other than an attempt to see her pain, it was a profound, insightful and emotional moment.

Among the crowd there were looks of compassion from many, even those who may find themselves conflicted over the core issue. As a member of this community, I found myself felling pride in how differently this manifested at PSG.

There is still much work to do. Later in the week Selena Fox has scheduled a discussion of this issue that is intended to address transgendered inclusion respectfully, with individuals from interested parties. This is quite a challenge that is worth a try.

 In conversations this week with a prominent Dianic leader it became clear this individual has poor insight into the issue resulting in what seems to be unintentional discrimination. Frankly I view this person like my Grandmother who was challenged in letting go of a bigoted term that she grew up with. I feel the need to confront the damaging beliefs and at the same time have compassion for the individual and feel no need to make a judgment about them personally.

By all reports the woman’s ritual this year was deep and meaningful and it seems clear that the issue brought forth by the transgendered community is not with the ritual its self, but with the scheduling of an exclusive event as the main woman’s ritual at PSG.  Woman who want this kind of ritual have a right to it in their own space; that space should not be the main women’s ritual at a large public Pagan event.

So please my friends in the blogging community, take a breath, give the process a chance to work, resist the creation of a “Big blow up”, maybe, just maybe, now is the time for a new drawing of the lines of acceptance and tolerance in our community. Please give Selena and this community a chance to deal with this without the distraction of a firestorm of misinformation and unsolicited opinion on the Internet.

Join me, take a deep breath and let us see if the process works.


Elizabeth McNally said...

Sage advice Peter. May this experience create growth in consciousness and compassion for this issue.

Kyara said...
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Dave Grega said...

As a former critic of Selena Fox, I will say that woman is amazing at getting groups of people together amicably to work out issues. I understand there are always ways people can improve (even someone as calming as Selena Fox) - but I think another thing to keep in mind is that one of the major ground rules of PSG is essentially "let's all try to get along" and this is a ground rule that many attendees that otherwise have long-standing conflicts with other attendees voluntarily swallow their pride on to contribute to the welcoming atmosphere of PSG as a whole.

Shauna Aura said...

Thanks for posting this Peter. Glad to see this opening the way for more dialogue and compassion!

Kate LBT said...

I believe that grandmothers who are reflexively and unconsciously biased need to be challenged - perhaps lovingly, but firmly challenged - to see beyond those biases. Because whether said biases are the product of their time and whether they are held without the intent to hurt people, they still cause harm and pain.

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