So…after those last two posts about Pulse, Orlando and that horrible one by Sophia, I find myself rather sickened. Yes, even I, the husband of Hela, can only take so much necromancy. At least, when that necromancy is used for the self glorification of bigoted idiots who care more about their virtue points than the dead souls they’re abusing. So we’re going to take a break and talk about something less necrotic and something a bit more hilarious.
(Okay, I’m lying…)
You know, I never thought I’d see a fair and balanced news report from the Wild Hunt. But hey, I guess when you gotta talk about something and you have no idea which is the “right side of history” I suppose you have to be fair and balanced so you can beg mercy from the winning side. I am of course, talking about the fight that doesn’t end: Feminist Biocentrists vs Transgenders. And I have to at least give some respect to the author Heather Greene. At least she had the bravery to face the lions.
TWH – Over the past year, issues related to transgender rights have crested in mainstream social discourse. The most recent national debate has centered around the passage of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (also known as House Bill 2 or HB2) that, among other things, “blocks local governments from allowing transgender persons to use bathrooms that do not match the biological sex.”
I’ve avoided talking about the whole “bathroom” issue because, dear gods. We’ve gotten to this point of the gender wars. Frankly, the wording of the law isn’t that transphobic, as it doesn’t say anything about transgender being a real thing or not, simply that one has to use the restrooms of one’s “biological sex” regardless of gender.
But I’m sure we’ll address that issue here shortly. Thing is though, Greene says “this past year” but truth be told I don’t think the issue has ever gone completely silent in the Pagan community since that PaganCon thing between the Dianics and the Transgenders. Which, feel free to read past posts about that here on this blog for the full story. But it seems that what is past for us is now present for the rest of the world…and the present for us again.
Now, I’m not a big fan of the Dianics and I’m not a big fan of the political transexuals. So we’re really going in to this like that dude from Godzilla.
The collective Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, as diverse microcosms of the greater whole, are not free from similar debates, discussions and, at times, serious conflicts on the subject of transgender inclusion. While never fully disappearing from the culture’s meta-dialog, there are times when a particular event or action rekindles the conversation with renewed fervor, pushing it to the forefront of communication.
Remember kids, once you pull the pin, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend.
Of course, one of the joys of watching communities grow larger is that those who had to band together because they were small and week are now growing large enough to fend for themselves. But as the political left is discovering more and more both inside and outside of Paganism, the problem with Diversity is Folkism.
Meaning that even as people embrace the rights of other groups to live by their other cultures, they will insist on retaining the right to live by their own group’s culture.
After all, the idea of diversity is that a bunch of little communities come together to form one bigger community that is more powerful together than any of them could be apart. Not unlike Voltron. Or Captain Planet.
The problem with that is if not everyone agrees with the course of action or has different ideas about morals and end goals, you’re going to have people at cross purposes. Especially when you combine groups whose ultimate existence is at cross purposes with each other. Humans are essentially tribal in nature, they’ll find like people and stick by them through thick and thin. This is all well and good. However, in a place where communities are ultimately divided this does lead to civil wars.
And that is exactly what has happened over the past month, reaching a fever pitch last week. Transgender inclusion became a focused topic in a conversation at the Pagan Unity Festival (PUF) in Tennessee and, similarly, the subject became the focus of online protests due to a newly proposed anthology edited by musician, author and priestess Ruth Barrett.
While some of the dialog was offline, most of it appeared in digital forums. Those people who do not use social media regularly or not all, may have seen or heard only bits and pieces of the conversation. Through interviews and public postings, The Wild Hunt has put together a look at just what happened and why.
Hooray! I don’t have to do all the research this time!!!!
Also, why wasn’t I invited to this Pagan Unity Festival? I feel excluded. Pretty sure there was some sexism involved. lol
But okay, let’s see what happened this time.
“I guess this all started three weeks ago at Pagan Unity Festival. I was a VIP and sat on a panel to discuss topics of Paganism on Thursday afternoon,” explained Heathen author and craftswoman Gypsey Teague in a message to The Wild Hunt.
“When my turn came I called out some of our female elders in the Pagan community for being sexist and exclusionary due to their philosophy of gender versus sex. I stated that it was insane to tie someone’s religious following to what does or doesn’t appear between your legs or in your genetic DNA. Unfortunately there are still some women out there that not only believe that but force it on their line and their ilk that follow her.”
Well, I hate to break it to you Gypsey, but this actually started way before you. Still, I do have to question a Heathen’s abuse of hospitality here. I mean, Gypsey says she was a VIP, and yet apparently the first thing she does when it’s her turn to speak is insult a bunch of people (women even!) at a Unity festival.
So much for diversity and inclusion…
Now, I am of…presently indeterminate “Heathenism” but I did practice it for nearly fifteen years by itself and I did pick up a thing or too. Like hospitality being one of the most important things in that religion. And while going around, insulting people, and starting fights are very Heathen things to do…as a rule Heathens do tend to keep that to select times and spaces where combat and insults are the norm (like every single facebook group I ever found).
So the act of going to a Unity festival, which is a place to promote peace and build treaties I’m guessing, and to instantly start off insulting a bunch of people for their beliefs is most Inhospitable, and thus not pleasing to the Gods at all.
Jo’s more into the Heathen society than I am, maybe he has some info about this woman…
And let’s be clear here, she’s not just insulting people in her own religion, she’s insulting people whose religions teach these things about gender and sex that she disagrees with. Now, I know denouncing other religions for their “immorality” is a tradition as old as time, but again, I would think Unity Festivals were all about trying to get past that age old art and actually get around to being nice to each other. But hey, apparently so much for tolerance and acceptance.
I will point out though that groups like the Dianics do not “force this belief” on anyone or their own practice. Their practice is defined by that belief. Discard it and you’d have a case that they were no longer “Dianics.”
After that event, Teague was interviewed by the hosts of the Tree of Life Hour at Pagans Tonight Radio Network. As advertised, the two-part radio show was focused on the “transgender issues that are coming up again and again in our community and how we as a community should respond to folks who have a different gender expression than the binary male/female cisgender.”
Why does this issue keep coming up? I have the answer. It’s simple.
Because people do not believe in “Freedom of Belief.”
Really, that’s the big issue here and one of the reasons why, despite my despising their religion’s teachings, I have generally fallen on the side of defending the Dianics. Because religion is about belief. What people believe determines how they see reality and how they judge reality. And the transgenders cannot accept or tolerate a difference of belief like that the Dianics have.
How the “pagan community should respond” to people who have a different gender expression should be up to each of the religions in the “pagan community.” There is no one set response because there is no one unified teaching in “paganism.” What a heathen believes about transgenderism is going to be potentially different from what a Cultor or a Wiccan believes. And even with in each of those groups the belief is going to be different between sects/traditions. Normally, I would think that was okay, but the sad truth with my experience with transgender people is that it is an zero sum game. It’s rather totalitarian.
Teague said, “By the end of the event it seemed like everyone was talking about transgender exclusion and how I was ‘pissed’ at the discussion; which was not true. What I believe is that if you tie your religion to a penis or a vagina you don’t deserve to be in the religion. We have too many examples of gender fluidity in our paths to still believe or accept this.”
“What I believe is that if you tie your religion to a penis or a vagina you don’t deserve to be in the religion.”
Also, like another discussion we’ve been having so much lately what is “the religion?” Paganism? Paganism is not a religion. Paganism describes a bunch of religions. And if Gypsey is a Heathen, and heathens as a rule tend to consider themselves almost completely separate from Pagans, the Hel is she even talking about here?
The truth is I am completely fine if someone wants to tie their religion to a certain genitalia. There’s a number of Gods and Goddesses where that is completely legit if you are following them directly or exclusively. The Dianics are a perfect example of this since the Goddess Diana is very famous for her hatred of all things Male. I’m fine with this because it keeps the religion true to the desires and will of the Deity whom that religion serves.
I do question where Gypsey gets her moral authority to dictate terms to other religions though…
As for the “too many examples of gender fluidity” I…really have to question that part. I’ve been in this game a long time and…there’s really not much in the way of examples. Not that I know at least. Especially not in Heathenism.
Around that same time, author, musician, witch and Dianic priestess Ruth Barrett was launching an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for her new anthology titled Female Erasure. Barrett explained to The Wild Hunt, “Female Erasure is an anthology that celebrates female embodiment, while exposing the current trend of gender-identity politics as a continuation of female erasure as old as patriarchy itself […] Female erasure is being enacted through changing laws that have provided sex-based protections.” The unedited interview in its entirety is available here.
There’s a reason Satanists and Catholics do not share Mass.
Transgender people go along the lines of believing it doesn’t matter what your genitals or genetics say, you’re born the “gender” you feel you are, irregardless of biological or genetic sex. On the other hand, you have more gynocentric paths like some 2nd Wave Feminists and the Dianics who feel that you are your biological self and that influences and informs every part of your existence.
Catholics and Satanists. Christ and Lucifer. Complete and total different ideologies that cannot co-exist as “True” at the same point in space/time. You can’t have two groups, one of whom insists that biology means nothing and one that insists biology means everything, and have them both be equally true. You might as well try to divide by zero.
The best you can really do is try to separate the two groups and hope they never meet. Because otherwise you’re going to have a god damn religious war on your hands….and oh wait, we’re already doing that now aren’t we. Congrats, you divided by zero.
Cause the thing is, according to both these groups, they’re in the absolute right. And according to their world views, they’re both completely right. To the transgender crowd, any act that does not recognize their “Gender” is an act of “gendered aggression.”
By Barrett’s measure, only women who are born women can be women, and any attempt to allow those not women (i.e. Men) into women’s spaces is an invasion by men and a further act of “male aggression” against women, and transgender people’s attempts to define women as something other than a biological existence erases what it means to be a woman.
The IndieGoGo campaign was launched June 4 with a goal of raising $25,000 toward editing, design, legal and technical fees. After only eight days, the campaign has reached 50 percent of its goal. Barrett said, “Our contributors want radical societal change – freedom from oppressive gender roles, not from our sex. We want a world free of the so-called gender stereotypes of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity.’ We want a world where the ideal of diversity is not abused to oppress and erase 51 percent of humanity. We want a world in which everyone’s biological reality is honored, our sacred bodies are celebrated, and where sex-based violence and enforced gender roles become obsolete.”
Or course at this point I’m about ready to throw my hands up and declare all sides cuckoo for coco puffs. Mostly because I’m tired of me and mine constantly being caught up in their “divide by zero” campaign of complete destruction.
I mean look at this, Barrett’s people want to destroy the “gender stereotypes of femininity and masculinity” while retaining complete recognition of biological sex. Ironically, the transgenders want to destroy the “idea of biological sex” while keeping a lot of the ideas about masculinity and femininity because…well, those ideas are an integral part of how they know they’re transgender.
The grand irony is (at least according to my religious world view) is that regardless of which side “wins” they still lose. Without the biological directive and the sociological directive, gender/sexual identity is completely moot. Without the social and the physical parts of any thing, object, or so forth, the entire thing “ceases to exist.”
So for example, I could say that anything that bridges two points while hanging i the air on supports is a “bridge.” So by that definition, a car could be considered a bridge, because it’s supported by the tires while hanging in the air. That’s the “biology” of the bridge. But a road connects two different points, embodying the “psychology” of a bridge. Now, we could go with the biological or transgender idea of the bridge, but enforcing either one or the other completely destroys the real existence of what a bridge “Is.”
Now I know, that’s perhaps an awkward example, but that’s how I see it. Neither party is inherently wrong, but both parties are missing integral parts of the equation in a way, because of how they view the world. At least to my world view.
Despite Barrett being the editor, the anthology is not a Pagan-specific project. Its projected audience is far broader and most of its contributors do not fall under the Pagan, Heathen or polytheist umbrella. With that said, the project does include several Pagan voices, such as Ava Park and Luisah Teish, and essays that discuss the proposed issues from a Pagan perspective. One of Barrett’s own offerings is titled, “The Attack On Female Sovereign Space In Pagan Community.”
For Barrett, the project is linked to spirituality in that she has been “assisting women in the often painful process of coming into awareness about how male-centered cultural and religious views and institutions have been foundational in their very personal sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and how patriarchal socialization powerfully influences their self-perception.”
When you look at things from the Dianic world view, there are only two genders: Men and Women. Men are aggressive, invasive, and violent. Women are…”perfect” I suppose is the best way to describe it.
And I can guess Barrett’s piece is probably going to relate to the constant invasion by transgender people into the Dianic’s spaces. If the reality for them is “penis = man” because men are defined by having a biological penis, it’s no surprise that they treat women with biologically male bodies as men and view their presence as an invasion. It’s a world view that is not hurt by the fact that transgender people tend to view places they’re “Excluded from” as places “They have to get into at all costs.”
Now look, I do not like the Dianic religion. It’s to misandry what neo-nazism to anti-Semitism. Largely non-violent, but only because they couldn’t get away with doing it. They embrace the same authors and ideas that generated such things as the “Society for Cutting Up Men” and “All penis-in-vagina sex is rape.” Oh, and that “there are no straight women, just women who have be brutalized and raped to the point they desire their rapists.”
On the other hand, I can’t say that objectively the trans community has been any better. They’re general attitude when it comes to getting into Dianic rituals or similar belief spaces, could be compared to a bunch of jocks who break into a rape crisis center shouting at the top of their lungs and waving big floppy dildos in the air as they dance around.
So we’ve got a bunch of “jews” raging at neo-nazis vs a bunch of rape victims being harassed by frat boys. Far as I’m concerned everyone’s an asshole. Probably including myself.
While a few of the unpublished anthology’s essay titles evoke what some might consider a feminist spirit consistent with many Pagan practices, other titles raised immediate concerns, resulting in a fierce wave of backlash. Along with that spirit, there is also an expression of what is being called “transgender exclusion” and “transphobia.” In our interview, Barrett said that “transgender politics dismisses biological sex differences as irrelevant, while suppressing critical conceptual examinations of gender itself, ignoring the history of female class oppression, enforcement, male domination, sexual violence, personal suffering, and social and economic inequality.”
Look, I’ll be honest. Transinclusion does erase the identity of biological women. And focusing only on the biology of women erases transgenders. Catholics and Satanists.
She’s right and She’s right.
“They can’t both be right!”
You’re also right.
Everyone’s so right to the point where everyone and everything has gone horribly wrong!
Both sides have their positions honestly. There is some degree of logic to both positions. Sadly, the science of the day has no answers for us. Both side has a morality to their world view and their arguments. And unfortunately I don’t see a road to peace. It’s like Israelis vs Palestinians. One group wants the right to exist by themselves and one group wants to invade all the spaces (and you get to pick which is which, mwuahahahahahaa!!!!). And there’s good and bad points to both sides (or all sides, bloody Hel I’m getting confused myself here). But there can be no peace with the other because peace relies on admitting a validity which would destroy the “their” side of the debate.
The instant the Transgenders admit any validity to the Biocentrists they lose their legitimacy because they admitted biology can be a factor. The instant the Biocentrists admit any validity to the Transgenders they lose their own legitimacy because they admitted biology doesn’t matter.
I think I’m gonna call it here for now, We’ll carry on in Part 2.