So, I went to the Trans Health Conference.
The workshop on trans people in modern pagan culture was…not great. I heard the phrase “ever since the Burning Times” and had to leave about ten minutes later because it just got wiftier and more poorly researched from there.
Like, listen, I wanna talk about LGBT gods! That’s what drew me to Heathenry, the Norse gods are pretty damn Gay! I wanna talk about cis-centrism in Wicca from trainwrecks like Z. Budapest. I wanna talk about research that clarifies and helps navigate the existing frameworks with modern values and freedoms that allow us to fall out of the standard. I wanna talk about the evolution of liminally-gendered/gender-bending roles in pagan religion, like two-spirits and Volvas. I wanna talk about the cultural context of gender nonconformity and gender dysphoria that effected those religions. I’ll even settle for talking about Raven Kaldera, because even though I’m not a fan (no, anal fisting is NOT a shamanic experience), he’s at least *relevant*.
I’m also…just not down for ~queering~ paganism, especially when it is fluffy, toothless and poorly researched. Faith has been painful. It’s a good pain, the pain after running up a hill or moving house, but it’s painful. If, at this point, all that was available to me was tarot cards and crystals, my life would be hollow. If, when my dysphoria got bad again, I had not lit candles and cried on the floor in front of my altars, knowing Loki was well aware of trying reconcile manhood, inadequacy, rejection and the looming potentiality of childbirth that seems to haunt every single AFAB person ever, my life would be stagnant again…if it had even continued from that point.
The relationship I have with my gender, and with my faith, and with the overlap between the two, is wildly disparate from what I see reflected around me. The reconstructionist influence demands historical research and discernment. The gender issues demand spaces with modern values. It is difficult to find the middle ground as it is. It can, and should, be done better.