(Most of my essays on dreaming and paganism were archived with my older blog. This is the first essay I have posted on this blog, probably not the last.)
Being both pagan and a transgender woman can be a very harsh road. As I was working out my gender identity, I learned some of the hardest people that existed in my community.
There are still Pagans who are followers of a belief that only women who had experience of a period could be “true women”. Forgetting how ableist this is for a moment, it is often explicitly directed at exclusively. Usually paraded in the name of historical accuracy, which if you ever do your reading in neopaganism you know for sure is complete bull shite.
I’m confident that such history, is ultimately flawed, even reconstructionist pagans can never hope to have an entirely accurate depiction of what the pagan cultures they reconstruct. Many modern and ancient cultures though had more than one gender, and our binary two have not always been a strict line that is followed. The whole idea of two-genders an exclusively Abrahamic idea, but it is a duality that historically has been used by those purporting to such religions have used to their advantage.
Almost all reconstructions of pagan beliefs hold that their is nothing to be done about the parts of history that have humans harming each other. Pagans were systematically persecuted for centuries. Conversely, when the pagans were in control of the government systems that did exist, the same was done to the Christians. It’s unfortunate but true. The other thing was that the pagans who did get more modern practices, those that survived to the point of the Christian church’s reach over the Roman Empire, believed that sex and gender were more fluid than those coming from the teachings of Abraham and his followers.
I’m not looking to open old wounds here. I’m looking to compare. LGBTI people often find sanctuary within the neopagan community. The idea of sex being scared, life itself is scared, and these are qualities that many LGBTI people find attractive against the raw, often strict monotheisms, though there is an issue of being excluded. Transgender and intersex people still usually are. I have seen the way too many a pagan ritual or pagan woman’s group that has said I have to have been “born” and or “blood” or have experienced it. I have heard of similar men’s rights that require a penis, or the ability to ejaculate. I think we also shouldn’t go into the “cakes of light” stuff from the often pagan aligned occultism. How LGBTI people can fit into some of this is usually a big question that some of these paths answer, others never even consider, and some make explicit that LGBTI people are just not yet welcome.
So I exclude myself. Work only with women who see me as a woman. Who actually know “biology” is far more complicated. That “Mother Nature” is a fallible woman. That many animals exist in the single-gender environment, swapping their physical gender due to temperatures, age, status etc. The gods to some pagans are infallible just like they are to the Christians. Such a thing seems insanely dull to me. The gods are changing, movable, malleable, and almost every mythology tells of a god or goddess changing their mind or forced to due to their situation or needs. Strict rules are often bent, broken or in some case just plain ignored. Why then can us supposedly fallible humans not be the same?
I’m hopeful myself that these things are something more of the pagan community sees as sacred. The ability for the changeable divine. The transgender divine even. The gods are always going to have to change as we do. One day, maybe we will find how to change as quickly as they.