Oddly enough, my original topic for this Sunday was going to be about how we should use our skill as magical people and our communities as pagans (although the two are not mutually inclusive) to lift up the oppressed, and to guard against any kind of anti-minority sentiment in our respective communities.
I am trans. I know what that means. In the wake of the tragedy of the Pulse shooting, it is made even clearer.
Our religious beliefs should never become a shield to hide behind and to justify harmful opinions; I saw this behavior so much in my youth and even now in my Christian parents. It’s part of why I left Christianity. A very large part. And, at least most of the time, the broad umbrella of ‘pagan’ communities is better about this. But that doesn’t mean bigotry doesn’t exist; it doesn’t mean that we can’t be racist or homophobic or transphobic in our communities, or allow people with these views to lead them. We can, we have.
And for people that are generally so welcoming, we need to see this behavior as what it is: harmful to minorities looking to explore their spirituality. People who may need what you can offer, but who are driven away by less-than-accepting group leaders and insiders.
We need to call these people out on their shit.
When you see this kind of behavior in your own community, let people know it isn’t acceptable or welcome. We have seen today that being homophobic isn’t just an ‘opinion’; it disregards and disrespects and dehumanizes real people who may look to your group for spiritual guidance. And, most importantly, I’m speaking to the pagans and witches who aren’t LGBTQ, who are white or otherwise privileged. We often cannot, or are too afraid to say something, or we just aren’t there. You, as someone with more institutional power, need to listen to us, and let other people know bigotry and hate won’t be tolerated.
I also make a strong case for those of us who practice magic: protect us, in whatever way you know how. Witchcraft is the tool of the oppressed, so in our time of need, use it to help. We too often overlook these things as not something that our magic can help. That it’s too ‘big’. But nothing is too big for magic.
Remember, my fellow LGBTQ family: They cannot kill our love. They cannot kill our truth.