Trans Acceptance in the Pagan Community

Over the last few years we’re seeing legislation change to extend protections and rights to the Transgender Community.  Events such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance (http://www.transgenderdor.org/) bring the spotlight on just how much this community has suffered at the hands of the masses. 

GLAAD (http://www.glaad.org) lists the following statistics:

  • At least one transgender person is murdered every month; and several more are assaulted
  • 55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked
  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt
  • More than half of transgender and gender non conforming people who were bullied, harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide.


So the over all message here is that Transgender individuals are not welcomed or accepted in general. They are outcasts and looked down upon. 

What about the Pagans?  They accept everyone, right?

Overall the Pagan community is a pretty accepting community. They generally are a live and let live group.  Pagans usually are accepting of alternate family structures such as families headed by Gay or Lesbian couples.  Many cite the “Charge of the Goddess” which says “All acts of Love and Pleasure are My ritual”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Goddess)  This view is also found in some Native American cultures, such as the Lakota, Crow and Cheyenne, where these individuals are celebrated as “Two-Spirited” people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Spirited)  They are given special roles in the tribe such as healers, medicine people, fortune tellers and matchmakers to name a few.

Many branches of Wicca specifically have individual beliefs based on what they feel is respecting the God and Goddess prospectively. For example, many believe that focus on the “Great Rite” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rite)which celebrations the male/female union is essential within Wicca Culture and can really only be celebrated by “biological” males with “biological” females. 

Some followers of Dianic Wicca generally welcome lesbian pagans but close their doors to Trans women.  My understanding behind this rule is that there is a need for a sacred safe space where “female bodied” women to join together and conduct rituals for the Goddess.  This “safe space” needs to be free of any “male” energy that may make the members feel threatened.

This is where I beg to differ.  At what point does the Trans woman become an aggressor to this event?  What does she do that makes the other members of the tradition suddenly become threatened?  Transwomen are attacked just as “Genetic Women”.  (http://bit.ly/x7lSCB)  Trans women can worship the Goddess, just as women worship the Goddess and as men worship the goddess.  I understand the need to be surrounded with like minded people; however I do not understand the thought process behind stopping Trans women from participating in a public ritual, in a public area such as the recent events at Pantheacon (http://pantheacon.com/wordpress/); where in a public forum trans women were singled out and  advised not to attend a Dianic ritual from the description for the event which included the statement, “Genetic Women Only”.

So what do we do?  Do we ask leaders of Dianic covens to allow Trans women to participate?  Do we request that events where Dianic rites are held to stop the discrimination against an entire group of people based on their assumption of other’s gender roles?

There’s no easy answer here. We do not want individuals coming into our covens or our circles and telling us who we have to worship with.  I have a very personal example of this.  I joined a group and felt connected to many of the members, however there were some that I just couldn’t connect with.  I didn’t ask the group to remove those members.  I left the group. It just wasn’t a good fit for me.  No one wants to stop Dianic covens from continuing their worship.  I would like to offer the following thoughts.

We are the same in the eyes of the Goddess.  We are accepted and we have a relationship, not a religion.  We have the ability to think freely and to accept those around us at their face value.  Is this person coming to your coven true of heart?  Is she seeking her Goddess in perfect love and perfect trust? 

These are the questions that should be on the application to join a group; not the question, are you a “biological female”.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna


Renee Olson

Wife, Witch with the Metal Skills of a Dark Elf. I spend my time working with wire, weaving life and magic.

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