Guest Post: Scott Reimers’ Separate but Equal is a Lie

There was recently a large conversation regarding people being turned away from rituals at Pantheacon due to gender.  As a man who was ineligible for 3 different women only rituals, my only complaint was the lack of clarity regarding requisites for attendance.

Courtesy TheBusyBrain via Flickr CC license

I intuited that the specific ritual Thorn mentioned in Duality and Diversity: Gender at Pantheacon was women only.   You rarely see AMAZONS hold a Skyclad, “ecstatic, undulating, life-affirming ritual in honor of Lilith”… and assume that men are invited.  On top of actual theological reasons, there’s an assumption that some men will distract focus from the ritual’s primal purpose through excessively intense appreciation of our female ritual partners.  Ironically, whether that assumption would hold true or not, the very worry about it by female participants could have the same effect.  Thus exclusion is an intelligent choice.

However, later that night there was a non-skyclad ritual to Hecate that in no way implied that Men were unwelcome… and I was turned away at the door.  My complaint?  Not that I was unwelcome, but that I DIDN’T KNOW that I was unwelcome.

Inclusiveness and “An it Harm none” are great guideline, but sometimes you have to weight benefits against costs.  Sometimes exclusion is necessary to help define ourselves and provide a safe space for work we need to accomplish.

As children most of us learn that not everybody can be on a sports team.  Some people will need to be turned away.  If we are healthy, we learn to differentiate the denial of participation from a denial of personal value.

For that reason, I support exclusive rituals and works which focus on excluding from love rather than loathing.  As long as exclusion is from love and with good purpose, those who can take part receive full benefit while those who can’t, can support others from a distance without feeling “put down” due to a denial.

I sympathize that some Gay and Transexual persons had this pour salt into currently open wounds regarding a definition of self, but if you were personally hurt, perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within.

You are not in the “simple,” well defined boxes straight men and women find ourselves.  Many social structures don’t have the ability to define where you fit in.  Sometimes you won’t agree with how the person in charge defines you… and that is THEIR problem.  Sure their problem inconveniences you, thus you can and should fight to be recognized consciously and fairly, but please separate the hurt of others not recognizing you in the manner you wish, from the drive to challenge and help restructure our understandings of sexuality and gender.

You are a powerful and whole person who fits into our society exactly as you should.  Unfortunately, sometimes that fit puts stress on yourself and others.  Congratulations and respect for choosing to manifest into a position where you will teach so much, to so many, by your very existence…

As for the rest of us?  We need to remember that while it’s fun to celebrate sharing things, part of why it’s fun is because we have so many differences.   Sometimes it is powerful to come together, and sometimes it is powerful to define boundaries.  Neither is functionally superior and both have their place.   Tolerance is not universalism, it is the ability to celebrate what we share AND what differentiates us.

Sometimes that celebration requires exclusion.

This post originally appeared on Power Before Wisdom and is reprinted with permission. Be sure to check out all the resources and posts on Power before Wisdom!

  • http://twitter.com/lizlady Liz

    I think this is a very thoughtful response. Thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      thank you. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lizlady Liz

    I think this is a very thoughtful response. Thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      thank you. :-)

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Scott, on the one hand, I feel what you’re doing here has good intentions. On the other, I think you’re missing the point of some of what has come up in all of this.

    Firstly, if you had read the “Journey to the Nocturnal Realms” session description, on p. 30 of this year’s PantheaCon program book, you’d see that the first sentence of it is “Women are welcome to join the Grove of Hekate…” That seems pretty clear to me that, no matter what one might have thought about the name of the event and who was welcome to attend by inferences from that, the program description, and the info on the Grove of Hekate (on p. 51, which also indicates they’re a women-only group), would have cleared up who was supposed to attend. In this case, communication was very clear, and the onus should have been on yourself that you, as a man, wasn’t the intended audience or expected participant. Your own lack of knowledge, in that case, was your own fault.

    Also, I find the following statement you made very problematic: “Congratulations and respect for choosing to manifest into a position where you will teach so much, to so many, by your very existence…” The question of whether many different gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people “choose” their existence is an open one; and, not everyone has (nor should have) a theological or cosmological belief that they choose their existences before birth. Further, the onus on us to “teach…by [our] very existence” is ridiculous–either everyone teaches by their very existence, including cisgendered straight folks, or no one does; my own view would be that all of us have something that we can potentially teach, including teaching one’s own self through various means. But, accepting your statement for the moment, I would ask, if it is the job of various types of queer people to teach by their very existence, who are we teaching? The non-queer people? This instead begs the question: why haven’t you non-queer people learned, or perhaps, why haven’t you taught yourselves?

    Yes, I do think all of us have a great deal to learn in general in our lives; and, I think that as a result of the responses you’ll be getting to this blog post, you’ll find out how much you have to learn yourself.

    So, I’m sort of wondering, was this post an invitation to be “taught” by people like me, or a rather failed attempt (in my view) to teach others something? Or, both? Or, neither? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      The original title of this article was too long and had to be shortened.

      “Separate but Equal is a lie; Yet sometimes we should exclude.”

      The vast majority of the responses to this ritual I’ve seen expressed are that we are not being inclusive enough. I totally honor the challenge of gender definition, but I disagreed with the default assumption that we need to always include.

      I was trying to position the article to point out that loving exclusion can be healthy.

      You are correct that not everyone agrees with my theology. However, I took a chance that people reading that article would understand I was merely expressing my belief (which some people share).

      I believe that before we come, people choose to both receive and share experiences in this game we call life. I manifested that my first 30 years were in a fat body… there are some things that I’ve both learned and taught due to this. I’ve both exhibited and broken stereotypes.

      By who I was, I’ve taught things to others regarding fat people. And before you go off on how being fat is entirely a choice that I could change, I would like to point out that people still sometimes say that about being Gay.

      You ask why we haven’t learned? There are over 6,904,124,152 people in this world as of 23:04 UTC (EST+5) Mar 06, 2011. Why don’t all of them know how to read? This is something people have been teaching for thousands of generations.

      Every single person has to learn separately. We can teach and share for our whole lives and we will only touch a minuscule fraction of humanity.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        No, I certainly realize that being fat isn’t a choice for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, from genetic propensities and things like thyroid conditions, to the fact that unhealthy food is cheap and healthy food is not affordable, so for those who don’t have abundant means the unhealthy and fattening food is the only thing that is economically viable. I have, and have dated, people of all sizes and “relative fatness,” so I hear you on that…that’s not the issue.

        What I’m concerned about in the suggestion of queer people being incarnate to teach is the fact that there are some people who won’t ever want to “learn” what it is we have to teach (if, indeed, anything), thus making our existence in terms of those people rather pointless. And, being that is the case, they are very happy and even eager to exclude us, with the understanding in their mind that they are doing so “from love,” from any number of things including the rights of marriage, the rights to visit our loved ones in hospitals, the rights to name our own beneficiaries in our deaths, and in some places (e.g. some countries in the Middle East, and Nigeria in the near future possibly), the right to continue living at all, and they will argue that they are doing so because they “love the sinner but hate the sin.”

        I would be far more comfortable if people actually said “I/My group just doesn’t want trans/gay/whatever people here because we don’t know how to deal with them,” rather than trying to couch their exclusion in terms of beliefs from on high about what people are like, that they are not interested in changing, and can challenge others’ opposition to by cries for religious freedom. Many things in life are not choices; religion and belief, however, is, and given that such is the case, why do some people want to stick with beliefs that exclude or demean others when there are other options? That’s another issue that has come up within this debate that has not been adequately answered yet…

        In terms of people learning to read–that is a technical skill that must be taught, just as learning to speak is (and the coordination of muscles and breathing that takes place to learn to speak, when one examines it from a physical viewpoint, is astonishingly complex!). Yes, people take time to learn things, and often cannot do so without good teachers or good exemplars. However, it is very possible indeed to learn acceptance and love of others, no matter who they are, without examples of every different sort of person being brought before an individual. It is work that can be done on one’s own, and with one’s own desire to do so. Like learning anything, there may be difficult steps along the way, but most would not begrudge another some of the mistakes that can occur in the learning experience any more than someone would begrudge Lance Armstrong for falling off his bike once when he was younger.

        That’s what I’m rather confused about–why haven’t people learned to do that, to have that sort of acceptance of others, on their own? If you make of our queer lives a full-time embodied teaching experience for everyone else, you’ve made our lives a default failure, because there are many who will never learn. That’s one implication, among many, in what you’ve written that I don’t think is entirely useful or helpful, or a loving way to look at others–unless it is “loving with exclusion,” which it may very well be…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

          It’s funny. Originally when you posted I felt attacked and worked to “defend my points.”

          When you and then Thorn then expressed after my first response, I find myself sympathizing with your dislike of an implication that all GBLT persons must teach gender and sexuality.

          My personal theology does argue that by everyone’s very existence, we will learn and teach each other. I have noticed that the greatest challenges everyone face tends to be where we most powerfully affect others around us.

          However, I don’t believe that anyone has a duty to teach or that we fail if others don’t learn. I believe that teaching is a natural consequence of living our lives. I think that we all manifested here for the experience of BEing… that we affect and are affected by other is just gravy on top.

          Your sentence at the end tied with Thorn’s response was very powerful to help me understand that this article really would have been much more powerful to its original purpose without any mention of the very large GBLT discussion. My tone did end up sounding patronizing and that was not my intent.

          Thank You.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      Oh yeah. As to failing to recognize the terminology that I wasn’t welcome? Thanks for pointing it out. Apparently yes… I screwed up.

      Now, I do know two other men and one woman who didn’t realize the limitation after reading it themselves… so it could be argued that the requisites were not clear enough.

      I have a feeling Pantheacon Leadership will be making sure this argument a moot point by ensuring all exclusive rituals are VERY clear as to who is being excluded in the future. :-)

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Oh, I’m certain of that–I think PantheaCon programming people will be very insistent on making limitations clear in the future, because they do not want to deal with the fallout of things like this ever again, with good reasons…So, no worries there!

    • http://www.thorncoyle.com Thorn

      Sufenas, thank you for speaking to this.

      Scott, as someone who has been writing about these issues, and is troubled by them and who *also* has been raising the questions about “what do we do about the diversity question” in both my original article and my follow up post (http://www.thorncoyle.com/musings/?p=995) I was following you until your essay got to this sentence:
      “…but if you were personally hurt, perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within.”

      At which point, I literally went, “Ouch”. From that point on, your essay felt patronizing to me which undermined any earlier points you were trying to make. I feel sure that this was not your intention – especially reading your responses here – but it *feels* somewhat like (to pick an example out of a hat) telling a child born into poverty: “your karma gave you this, so make the best of it!”

      On one hand, that is true – I often speak of Epictetus being a slave under Rome and being able to choose internal freedom, so much so that he became the great philosopher we still turn to today. However, though this speaks to the power of humanity and our ability to change our lives and become integrated teachers to each other, it simultaneously fails to recognize that sometimes we *all* need to speak up and say “Injustice is happening here, and we must do something to put an end to childhood poverty!”

      Yes, we can grow toward agency and power. But also yes, injustice is rampant and that takes everyone – the privileged and the not privileged – to speak against.

      I hope we all continue to grapple with these questions, including how to better treat one another with respect, and how to work toward a diverse cosmosphere and community. I don’t understand Dianics and have trouble with their position regarding transwomen – as I’ve stated elsewhere – but I also am not 100% certain we should ask them to include people they do not want in ritual. Perhaps in public space, they should. As someone who advocates for diversity, I want more dialog on the matter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

        Ironically, your example of the Child in Poverty IS similar to what I actually say. I’m rather less flippant and deterministic… My statement is: “I honor the strength and power you exhibited in choosing to manifest into this situation.” This was the tone I was trying to reach in my diversion… and apparently failed.

        As I explain in response to Sufenas, you both helped me. I agree that the article left it’s original purpose when I tried to touch onto the gender discussion vs. sticking to a reminder that inclusion is not superior by default. It would have been powerful to stay on topic.

        I do wonder though: Why did that specific sentence cause the ouch?

        I can see and agree with your point about the patronizing tone as I continued… I didn’t mean to end up there. However, even though it didn’t fit in the article I was writing, that one sentence still feels strong and important. Where is the ouch?

        In your response, you mention that it’s important for *all* of us to come together to decry injustice. I recently gave myself permission to stop trying to save the world. There’s just too much and it’s both overwhelming and counterintuitive to try to do it all. I decided I needed to focus on which actions I will sacrifice for.

        I watch people like Selena Fox, Starhawk, yourself and others spend so much money and time both getting to and taking part in marches and protests. It’s clear where your focus is… and it’s impressive to see. But I don’t feel that my focus should be there.

        Where is a healthy balance between achieving our hearts focus and honoring other’s heart’s focus (especially if we sympathize)?

        • http://www.thorncoyle.com Thorn

          We each do our part, as we can and as we will. I actually very rarely travel to protests, I work in a soup kitchen locally, have done direct action near home, and occasionally do things like the Nevada Peace Walk or working with activists when I am already in their area.

          That one sentence that made me say “Ouch” is, as I stated, at least partially true. However, telling someone who feels injured or oppressed “perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within” feels presumptuous to me. It would have felt much better, for example, had you stated:

          “Whenever we feel hurt by the actions of another, perhaps we can remember that what is outside of ourselves does not define us. We can continue to look within.” That way, same message, but you are not telling the rest of us what to do, and you are including yourself in the circle of reference rather than risking sounding like a father with a child that needs to be taught something. It was in the tone – unintentional I am sure.

          Blessings on our continued path to learning from and with each other.

          Thanks for the polite dialog.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Scott, on the one hand, I feel what you’re doing here has good intentions. On the other, I think you’re missing the point of some of what has come up in all of this.

    Firstly, if you had read the “Journey to the Nocturnal Realms” session description, on p. 30 of this year’s PantheaCon program book, you’d see that the first sentence of it is “Women are welcome to join the Grove of Hekate…” That seems pretty clear to me that, no matter what one might have thought about the name of the event and who was welcome to attend by inferences from that, the program description, and the info on the Grove of Hekate (on p. 51, which also indicates they’re a women-only group), would have cleared up who was supposed to attend. In this case, communication was very clear, and the onus should have been on yourself that you, as a man, wasn’t the intended audience or expected participant. Your own lack of knowledge, in that case, was your own fault.

    Also, I find the following statement you made very problematic: “Congratulations and respect for choosing to manifest into a position where you will teach so much, to so many, by your very existence…” The question of whether many different gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people “choose” their existence is an open one; and, not everyone has (nor should have) a theological or cosmological belief that they choose their existences before birth. Further, the onus on us to “teach…by [our] very existence” is ridiculous–either everyone teaches by their very existence, including cisgendered straight folks, or no one does; my own view would be that all of us have something that we can potentially teach, including teaching one’s own self through various means. But, accepting your statement for the moment, I would ask, if it is the job of various types of queer people to teach by their very existence, who are we teaching? The non-queer people? This instead begs the question: why haven’t you non-queer people learned, or perhaps, why haven’t you taught yourselves?

    Yes, I do think all of us have a great deal to learn in general in our lives; and, I think that as a result of the responses you’ll be getting to this blog post, you’ll find out how much you have to learn yourself.

    So, I’m sort of wondering, was this post an invitation to be “taught” by people like me, or a rather failed attempt (in my view) to teach others something? Or, both? Or, neither? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      The original title of this article was too long and had to be shortened.

      “Separate but Equal is a lie; Yet sometimes we should exclude.”

      The vast majority of the responses to this ritual I’ve seen expressed are that we are not being inclusive enough. I totally honor the challenge of gender definition, but I disagreed with the default assumption that we need to always include.

      I was trying to position the article to point out that loving exclusion can be healthy.

      You are correct that not everyone agrees with my theology. However, I took a chance that people reading that article would understand I was merely expressing my belief (which some people share).

      I believe that before we come, people choose to both receive and share experiences in this game we call life. I manifested that my first 30 years were in a fat body… there are some things that I’ve both learned and taught due to this. I’ve both exhibited and broken stereotypes.

      By who I was, I’ve taught things to others regarding fat people. And before you go off on how being fat is entirely a choice that I could change, I would like to point out that people still sometimes say that about being Gay.

      You ask why we haven’t learned? There are over 6,904,124,152 people in this world as of 23:04 UTC (EST+5) Mar 06, 2011. Why don’t all of them know how to read? This is something people have been teaching for thousands of generations.

      Every single person has to learn separately. We can teach and share for our whole lives and we will only touch a minuscule fraction of humanity.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        No, I certainly realize that being fat isn’t a choice for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, from genetic propensities and things like thyroid conditions, to the fact that unhealthy food is cheap and healthy food is not affordable, so for those who don’t have abundant means the unhealthy and fattening food is the only thing that is economically viable. I have, and have dated, people of all sizes and “relative fatness,” so I hear you on that…that’s not the issue.

        What I’m concerned about in the suggestion of queer people being incarnate to teach is the fact that there are some people who won’t ever want to “learn” what it is we have to teach (if, indeed, anything), thus making our existence in terms of those people rather pointless. And, being that is the case, they are very happy and even eager to exclude us, with the understanding in their mind that they are doing so “from love,” from any number of things including the rights of marriage, the rights to visit our loved ones in hospitals, the rights to name our own beneficiaries in our deaths, and in some places (e.g. some countries in the Middle East, and Nigeria in the near future possibly), the right to continue living at all, and they will argue that they are doing so because they “love the sinner but hate the sin.”

        I would be far more comfortable if people actually said “I/My group just doesn’t want trans/gay/whatever people here because we don’t know how to deal with them,” rather than trying to couch their exclusion in terms of beliefs from on high about what people are like, that they are not interested in changing, and can challenge others’ opposition to by cries for religious freedom. Many things in life are not choices; religion and belief, however, is, and given that such is the case, why do some people want to stick with beliefs that exclude or demean others when there are other options? That’s another issue that has come up within this debate that has not been adequately answered yet…

        In terms of people learning to read–that is a technical skill that must be taught, just as learning to speak is (and the coordination of muscles and breathing that takes place to learn to speak, when one examines it from a physical viewpoint, is astonishingly complex!). Yes, people take time to learn things, and often cannot do so without good teachers or good exemplars. However, it is very possible indeed to learn acceptance and love of others, no matter who they are, without examples of every different sort of person being brought before an individual. It is work that can be done on one’s own, and with one’s own desire to do so. Like learning anything, there may be difficult steps along the way, but most would not begrudge another some of the mistakes that can occur in the learning experience any more than someone would begrudge Lance Armstrong for falling off his bike once when he was younger.

        That’s what I’m rather confused about–why haven’t people learned to do that, to have that sort of acceptance of others, on their own? If you make of our queer lives a full-time embodied teaching experience for everyone else, you’ve made our lives a default failure, because there are many who will never learn. That’s one implication, among many, in what you’ve written that I don’t think is entirely useful or helpful, or a loving way to look at others–unless it is “loving with exclusion,” which it may very well be…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

          It’s funny. Originally when you posted I felt attacked and worked to “defend my points.”

          When you and then Thorn then expressed after my first response, I find myself sympathizing with your dislike of an implication that all GBLT persons must teach gender and sexuality.

          My personal theology does argue that by everyone’s very existence, we will learn and teach each other. I have noticed that the greatest challenges everyone face tends to be where we most powerfully affect others around us.

          However, I don’t believe that anyone has a duty to teach or that we fail if others don’t learn. I believe that teaching is a natural consequence of living our lives. I think that we all manifested here for the experience of BEing… that we affect and are affected by other is just gravy on top.

          Your sentence at the end tied with Thorn’s response was very powerful to help me understand that this article really would have been much more powerful to its original purpose without any mention of the very large GBLT discussion. My tone did end up sounding patronizing and that was not my intent.

          Thank You.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      Oh yeah. As to failing to recognize the terminology that I wasn’t welcome? Thanks for pointing it out. Apparently yes… I screwed up.

      Now, I do know two other men and one woman who didn’t realize the limitation after reading it themselves… so it could be argued that the requisites were not clear enough.

      I have a feeling Pantheacon Leadership will be making sure this argument a moot point by ensuring all exclusive rituals are VERY clear as to who is being excluded in the future. :-)

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Oh, I’m certain of that–I think PantheaCon programming people will be very insistent on making limitations clear in the future, because they do not want to deal with the fallout of things like this ever again, with good reasons…So, no worries there!

    • http://www.thorncoyle.com Thorn

      Sufenas, thank you for speaking to this.

      Scott, as someone who has been writing about these issues, and is troubled by them and who *also* has been raising the questions about “what do we do about the diversity question” in both my original article and my follow up post (http://www.thorncoyle.com/musings/?p=995) I was following you until your essay got to this sentence:
      “…but if you were personally hurt, perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within.”

      At which point, I literally went, “Ouch”. From that point on, your essay felt patronizing to me which undermined any earlier points you were trying to make. I feel sure that this was not your intention – especially reading your responses here – but it *feels* somewhat like (to pick an example out of a hat) telling a child born into poverty: “your karma gave you this, so make the best of it!”

      On one hand, that is true – I often speak of Epictetus being a slave under Rome and being able to choose internal freedom, so much so that he became the great philosopher we still turn to today. However, though this speaks to the power of humanity and our ability to change our lives and become integrated teachers to each other, it simultaneously fails to recognize that sometimes we *all* need to speak up and say “Injustice is happening here, and we must do something to put an end to childhood poverty!”

      Yes, we can grow toward agency and power. But also yes, injustice is rampant and that takes everyone – the privileged and the not privileged – to speak against.

      I hope we all continue to grapple with these questions, including how to better treat one another with respect, and how to work toward a diverse cosmosphere and community. I don’t understand Dianics and have trouble with their position regarding transwomen – as I’ve stated elsewhere – but I also am not 100% certain we should ask them to include people they do not want in ritual. Perhaps in public space, they should. As someone who advocates for diversity, I want more dialog on the matter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

        Ironically, your example of the Child in Poverty IS similar to what I actually say. I’m rather less flippant and deterministic… My statement is: “I honor the strength and power you exhibited in choosing to manifest into this situation.” This was the tone I was trying to reach in my diversion… and apparently failed.

        As I explain in response to Sufenas, you both helped me. I agree that the article left it’s original purpose when I tried to touch onto the gender discussion vs. sticking to a reminder that inclusion is not superior by default. It would have been powerful to stay on topic.

        I do wonder though: Why did that specific sentence cause the ouch?

        I can see and agree with your point about the patronizing tone as I continued… I didn’t mean to end up there. However, even though it didn’t fit in the article I was writing, that one sentence still feels strong and important. Where is the ouch?

        In your response, you mention that it’s important for *all* of us to come together to decry injustice. I recently gave myself permission to stop trying to save the world. There’s just too much and it’s both overwhelming and counterintuitive to try to do it all. I decided I needed to focus on which actions I will sacrifice for.

        I watch people like Selena Fox, Starhawk, yourself and others spend so much money and time both getting to and taking part in marches and protests. It’s clear where your focus is… and it’s impressive to see. But I don’t feel that my focus should be there.

        Where is a healthy balance between achieving our hearts focus and honoring other’s heart’s focus (especially if we sympathize)?

        • http://www.thorncoyle.com Thorn

          We each do our part, as we can and as we will. I actually very rarely travel to protests, I work in a soup kitchen locally, have done direct action near home, and occasionally do things like the Nevada Peace Walk or working with activists when I am already in their area.

          That one sentence that made me say “Ouch” is, as I stated, at least partially true. However, telling someone who feels injured or oppressed “perhaps this is a reminder to stop using externalities to define yourself and look within” feels presumptuous to me. It would have felt much better, for example, had you stated:

          “Whenever we feel hurt by the actions of another, perhaps we can remember that what is outside of ourselves does not define us. We can continue to look within.” That way, same message, but you are not telling the rest of us what to do, and you are including yourself in the circle of reference rather than risking sounding like a father with a child that needs to be taught something. It was in the tone – unintentional I am sure.

          Blessings on our continued path to learning from and with each other.

          Thanks for the polite dialog.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V7AZR2KXQF6VMZ72KOVYZ4S4BY Shiroise

    Scott I agree that there should not be too much pressure to include. But of course where that line of “too much” is drawn is problematic.

    As an individual woman I do mixed rites, with any gender. But if I’m doing something with women I define that narrowly as born women. That’s simply where I’m at and if the only option was to share women’s rites with transgenders then I wouldn’t be able to do women’s rites. I wouldn’t be able to reach down deep in that situation.

    Now as an individual that’s an OK choice. My small unit of need is quite reasonable. I support the needs in society of transgenders and gay men – but I don’t have to LIKE doing personal and sensitive things when they are around. To put it more sharply I would suffer risk and exhaustion to defend their rights in general, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy their company.

    This is far too often confused. Equal rights, or political rights are not the same as friendship, or actively enjoying all types of people.

    So far so good. For me. But once you get a lot of women saying much the same it ain’t so good. For an isolated transgender without other transgenders to form a cosy group it’s harsh and lonely being excluded.

    Nor do I think it is a joy at all being a “teacher” to others by existing. I’ve been there – being invited to help a workshop leader explore my personal life choice so as to educate other workshop members. No thank you. I’m not exhibit no. 1.
    I teach if I do, when I feel like it in an everyday way but if I attend a workshop I don’t go there to act as unexpected unpaid and untrained teacher.

    As for men being excluded? Well yes I suppose that’s a bit of a shock for men because they are used to being the centre. Hence the huge rise in porn and the epidemic rates of domestic violence and rape. A lot of men can’t cope with being dislodged from privilege even the little bit that’#s happened so far.

    Nor is it easy to get the sharp end of female suppressed anger if you’re a guy trying to be a different kind of male. Too often this bottled up female aggro gets directed at the nicer, gentler men instead of the idiot louts who really deserve it. Understandable soft target action but NOT nice! But then when women are learning not to be nice they don’t act nice.

    I’ll leave the last word to my wild half crazy, deep witch bloke. Asked why he (mostly) supports Radical Feminism, and the authority of priestesses he’ll give his fierce broken teeth grin. “It got me into the most interesting beds,” he’ll say.
    I could end by commenting that he’s just tonight proved in my bed how magnificent a contract that is … after 20 years of dedicated practice he’s a world phenomenon of sexual delight.

    But instead I’ll add a more sober point that his grasp of the power relations between the genders is the most mature I’ve known apart from my own, and a select few leading Radical Feminists I favour. So there’s a lot more to his devotion to strong women than sex. Or you could say there’s a lot more to sex than bed.

    Written by a woman of power who knows just how rarely lucky she is to have the love of a strong male. Even if he was a bastard along the way sometimes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      “It got me into the most interesting beds” hrm… definitely an interesting angle I hadn’t contemplated. ;-)

      I never understood men or women who choose partners who can’t knock them on their asses intellectually. emotionally and spiritually. Kudos to both being thusly powerful and choosing an equally powerful partner. ^_^

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V7AZR2KXQF6VMZ72KOVYZ4S4BY Shiroise

    Scott I agree that there should not be too much pressure to include. But of course where that line of “too much” is drawn is problematic.

    As an individual woman I do mixed rites, with any gender. But if I’m doing something with women I define that narrowly as born women. That’s simply where I’m at and if the only option was to share women’s rites with transgenders then I wouldn’t be able to do women’s rites. I wouldn’t be able to reach down deep in that situation.

    Now as an individual that’s an OK choice. My small unit of need is quite reasonable. I support the needs in society of transgenders and gay men – but I don’t have to LIKE doing personal and sensitive things when they are around. To put it more sharply I would suffer risk and exhaustion to defend their rights in general, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy their company.

    This is far too often confused. Equal rights, or political rights are not the same as friendship, or actively enjoying all types of people.

    So far so good. For me. But once you get a lot of women saying much the same it ain’t so good. For an isolated transgender without other transgenders to form a cosy group it’s harsh and lonely being excluded.

    Nor do I think it is a joy at all being a “teacher” to others by existing. I’ve been there – being invited to help a workshop leader explore my personal life choice so as to educate other workshop members. No thank you. I’m not exhibit no. 1.
    I teach if I do, when I feel like it in an everyday way but if I attend a workshop I don’t go there to act as unexpected unpaid and untrained teacher.

    As for men being excluded? Well yes I suppose that’s a bit of a shock for men because they are used to being the centre. Hence the huge rise in porn and the epidemic rates of domestic violence and rape. A lot of men can’t cope with being dislodged from privilege even the little bit that’#s happened so far.

    Nor is it easy to get the sharp end of female suppressed anger if you’re a guy trying to be a different kind of male. Too often this bottled up female aggro gets directed at the nicer, gentler men instead of the idiot louts who really deserve it. Understandable soft target action but NOT nice! But then when women are learning not to be nice they don’t act nice.

    I’ll leave the last word to my wild half crazy, deep witch bloke. Asked why he (mostly) supports Radical Feminism, and the authority of priestesses he’ll give his fierce broken teeth grin. “It got me into the most interesting beds,” he’ll say.
    I could end by commenting that he’s just tonight proved in my bed how magnificent a contract that is … after 20 years of dedicated practice he’s a world phenomenon of sexual delight.

    But instead I’ll add a more sober point that his grasp of the power relations between the genders is the most mature I’ve known apart from my own, and a select few leading Radical Feminists I favour. So there’s a lot more to his devotion to strong women than sex. Or you could say there’s a lot more to sex than bed.

    Written by a woman of power who knows just how rarely lucky she is to have the love of a strong male. Even if he was a bastard along the way sometimes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      “It got me into the most interesting beds” hrm… definitely an interesting angle I hadn’t contemplated. ;-)

      I never understood men or women who choose partners who can’t knock them on their asses intellectually. emotionally and spiritually. Kudos to both being thusly powerful and choosing an equally powerful partner. ^_^

  • Rua Lupa

    I originally didn’t want to be involved in this debate and had decided to take the sideline to see how it all panned out since it appeared all views were covered already and I agreed with a lot of them. But I keep seeing the included/excluded options and not having any other options being pointed out (notably they are out there but seem to be brought up less often). I personally feel that the two gender split is quite limiting and would gladly see more diversity.

    (note: when I say private, I mean rituals that exclude even though they may be in a public setting.)

    What I foresee coming out of this debate is public rituals of every path, no matter what gender is traditionally favored, that include all people that also teaches what that path entails. The same paths that traditionally favor one gender, will still have their private rituals for themselves (ideally both rituals would be available at major public events). This would include different private GBLT rituals. All paths teaching, learning, and celebrating.

    Paganism, through my eyes, has grown to accept many peoples for who they are and their right to choose their God/s and/or Goddess/s or even no deity. I’ve seen how, as a community, we’ve been able to include others of different paths into rituals of another (not to mention the rituals that involve everyone; allowing each to contribute in their own way). This is how many of us learned more about the other and have come to respect each other all the more. By all means, keep your private rituals that are important to your gender. I only mention the opportunity given now to create new rituals, like we’ve done before, that openly express your path so that others may learn and become better able to respect your path and communicate on the same level.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      When I shared this article with my wife and read some of the history of the current debate, she surprised me by vehemently sympathizing with Z Budapest. With tears in her eyes she expressed how men can’t understand what it feels like to grow up feeling like property expected to sacrifice our identity and become “our Husband’s Wife”, and how anyone born a man really can’t understand the “Moon Mysteries.”

      Personally I was shocked that Z’s comment would share such a default loathing of men. Her argument that all men care about is getting our way, objectified us. Yet after hearing my wife, I start to recognize that there is still a need for this Anger/Hatred. I share in a previous article http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Beyond-Pride.html that pride is a necessary step to true empowerment… Well, for anybody in despair, guilt and shame, so is Anger.

      How do we choose to support both sides of this debate? How do we support the need for Women to have safe space to get angry, and find pride on their way toward courage, while still honoring and supporting the equal needs of the GLBT Community. Both sides are sometimes finding their way up from shame, guilt and despair. The powerful work that the Dianics are doing is perfect for those Women and the methodology is probably a great fit for some Gay, Bi and Trans persons as well… but depending on the group, having a person who was born a man can interfere with the healing work they are doing for their prime demographic: Women who were born a woman.

      I’m starting to think that our community’s response is essentially attempting to beat the angry people back down into shame… “how dare they say that?” Cause that’s where they need to be right now. Let’s support and love them

      Most of us agree that what was said isn’t loving and caring, but OUR response hasn’t been to help lift them up… it’s been to knock them down. Can we support the GLBT community without attacking the Dianic’s anger? What IS the confident and loving response?

      I really respect how you point out that new rituals must be designed and shared which are powerful for all. Perhaps in our furious response to Z’s comments the community missed a very good point. Maybe the community does need to create/recreate a mystery for the differently gendered community… or at least intentionally find a way for the current groups to incorporate the aspects that provide such a wonderful healing space for women in Dianic circles.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        A couple of clarifications, Scott:

        1) This larger debate isn’t about Dianics and LGBTQ people, it’s about cisgendered-women-only proponents (some of whom aren’t Dianic) and trans people, but mostly trans women. There are some lesbians and bisexual women who are Dianics, and who are on the side of cisgendered-women-only space; there are lesbians, bisexual women, and Dianics who are for full inclusion of all women. The wider gay and lesbian movements all too often appropriate trans history and trans issues as their own when it is favorable to do so, while often ignoring actual trans and gender-variant inclusion. All of the issues of each division within queerness are distinct, though there is a great deal of overlap, and it’s important to remember that, rather than lumping all of queerness into one pile and assuming they are shared issues of exclusion. (In this particular situation, for example, cisgendered gay men have not been directly affected, for the most part, though they may be in solidarity with either the people who want cisgendered-only spaces or with full trans inclusion, depending on their own particular viewpoints. They would, however, resent this being painted as a “gay issue” because it isn’t, technically.)

        2) One of the most salient points to emerge from this wider discussion is that the idea that there are “women-born-women” (when it is really cisgendered women that are indicated), and that this distinction “women-born-women” therefore excludes trans women, when that’s not the case at all. There are females born into female bodies who feel female and who are female, and these are cisgendered women. There are women who are born into male bodies and who know they are also women, even though society doesn’t initially consider them such or classify them as such, and these are transgendered women. Both are “women-born-women,” it’s just that some of them have different bodies, genetics, and genital configurations. The real struggle in trans acceptance and inclusion is to get people to realize this, and to accept that some women have what appear to be male bodies, and some men have what appear to be female bodies. Gender is about internal feelings, identities, and senses of oneself, not about whether one’s genitals are “innies” or “outies.” “Women-born-women” who are butch (and thus more “man”-like in their behavior and character) will admit and even insist on this as much as anyone, and have done in this debate, while still trying to suggest that those who have or ever have had penises cannot ever be “real women.” Most of the defenders of “women-born-women” spaces will still not admit that all women who identify as women are “women-born-women,” and then they often default to arguments about the blood mysteries and various other things, which also often exclude what (in their minds) are “women-born-women” who have medical conditions, have been in accidents, have had cancer, etc., and who therefore lack the necessary anatomy and menstrual cycles…Which would mean that a ton of “women-born-women” are therefore not “real women,” because, for example, many of them are on birth control pills and thus don’t menstruate–but rather than saying that as a result of their choice to take this approach to birth control they’ve given up their status as women, they say they are still women because they can menstruate if they want to, whereas trans women–who do want everything that cisgendered women experience, including the oppression and exclusion and societal abuses of patriarchy and misogyny, not because they are masochists but because they know in their hearts and souls and bodies that they are women–aren’t real women because their physicality could never conceive and carry fetuses to term or menstruate. This is a really important understanding to have for this question.

        If the events in question from which some women (generally trans women) are excluded do not have to do with blood mysteries, or are not for the purpose of healing from male-inflicted trauma and oppression, but there is still an insistence on “women-born-women” space that excludes trans women, one has to ask whether there is actually a valid reason for the continued exclusion that is being disguised as some sort of gender/sex-particular “mystery” or if there is actual and intentional exclusion based on prejudice or bigotry; this would, thus, not be “exclusion from love” by anyone’s definition of love, I think. The Lilith ritual at PantheaCon didn’t have to do with blood mysteries, it had to do with empowerment of women, and it was skyclad-optional. Given Lilith’s transgendered qualities, and the fact that trans women need to be empowered and celebrated just as much as cisgendered women do, this has all the more confused a number of people as to why there was exclusion in this case. But, the real difficulties in that particular instance were that there was a lack of communication as to who was supposed to be included or excluded in the program book.

        There was already actions taking place and conversations being had in relation to cisgendered-women-only events at PantheaCon, and the C.A.Y.A. Lilith ritual incident was a flashpoint for it, but the issues were already wider and were being addressed in various ways apart from it. That is also a really important matter to remember in this entire discussion–that movement was already in place and working when the C.A.Y.A. Lilith ritual occurred, and thus the latter added to the discussion, rather than prompting it.

  • Rua Lupa

    I originally didn’t want to be involved in this debate and had decided to take the sideline to see how it all panned out since it appeared all views were covered already and I agreed with a lot of them. But I keep seeing the included/excluded options and not having any other options being pointed out (notably they are out there but seem to be brought up less often). I personally feel that the two gender split is quite limiting and would gladly see more diversity.

    (note: when I say private, I mean rituals that exclude even though they may be in a public setting.)

    What I foresee coming out of this debate is public rituals of every path, no matter what gender is traditionally favored, that include all people that also teaches what that path entails. The same paths that traditionally favor one gender, will still have their private rituals for themselves (ideally both rituals would be available at major public events). This would include different private GBLT rituals. All paths teaching, learning, and celebrating.

    Paganism, through my eyes, has grown to accept many peoples for who they are and their right to choose their God/s and/or Goddess/s or even no deity. I’ve seen how, as a community, we’ve been able to include others of different paths into rituals of another (not to mention the rituals that involve everyone; allowing each to contribute in their own way). This is how many of us learned more about the other and have come to respect each other all the more. By all means, keep your private rituals that are important to your gender. I only mention the opportunity given now to create new rituals, like we’ve done before, that openly express your path so that others may learn and become better able to respect your path and communicate on the same level.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      When I shared this article with my wife and read some of the history of the current debate, she surprised me by vehemently sympathizing with Z Budapest. With tears in her eyes she expressed how men can’t understand what it feels like to grow up feeling like property expected to sacrifice our identity and become “our Husband’s Wife”, and how anyone born a man really can’t understand the “Moon Mysteries.”

      Personally I was shocked that Z’s comment would share such a default loathing of men. Her argument that all men care about is getting our way, objectified us. Yet after hearing my wife, I start to recognize that there is still a need for this Anger/Hatred. I share in a previous article http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Beyond-Pride.html that pride is a necessary step to true empowerment… Well, for anybody in despair, guilt and shame, so is Anger.

      How do we choose to support both sides of this debate? How do we support the need for Women to have safe space to get angry, and find pride on their way toward courage, while still honoring and supporting the equal needs of the GLBT Community. Both sides are sometimes finding their way up from shame, guilt and despair. The powerful work that the Dianics are doing is perfect for those Women and the methodology is probably a great fit for some Gay, Bi and Trans persons as well… but depending on the group, having a person who was born a man can interfere with the healing work they are doing for their prime demographic: Women who were born a woman.

      I’m starting to think that our community’s response is essentially attempting to beat the angry people back down into shame… “how dare they say that?” Cause that’s where they need to be right now. Let’s support and love them

      Most of us agree that what was said isn’t loving and caring, but OUR response hasn’t been to help lift them up… it’s been to knock them down. Can we support the GLBT community without attacking the Dianic’s anger? What IS the confident and loving response?

      I really respect how you point out that from this new rituals which are powerful for all must be designed and shared. Perhaps in our furious response to Z’s comments the community missed a very good point. Maybe the community does need to create/recreate a mystery for the differently gendered community… or at least intentionally find a way for the current groups to incorporate the aspects that provide such a wonderful healing space for women in Dianic circles.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        A couple of clarifications, Scott:

        1) This larger debate isn’t about Dianics and LGBTQ people, it’s about cisgendered-women-only proponents (some of whom aren’t Dianic) and trans people, but mostly trans women. There are some lesbians and bisexual women who are Dianics, and who are on the side of cisgendered-women-only space; there are lesbians, bisexual women, and Dianics who are for full inclusion of all women. The wider gay and lesbian movements all too often appropriate trans history and trans issues as their own when it is favorable to do so, while often ignoring actual trans and gender-variant inclusion. All of the issues of each division within queerness are distinct, though there is a great deal of overlap, and it’s important to remember that, rather than lumping all of queerness into one pile and assuming they are shared issues of exclusion. (In this particular situation, for example, cisgendered gay men have not been directly affected, for the most part, though they may be in solidarity with either the people who want cisgendered-only spaces or with full trans inclusion, depending on their own particular viewpoints. They would, however, resent this being painted as a “gay issue” because it isn’t, technically.)

        2) One of the most salient points to emerge from this wider discussion is that the idea that there are “women-born-women” (when it is really cisgendered women that are indicated), and that this distinction “women-born-women” therefore excludes trans women, when that’s not the case at all. There are females born into female bodies who feel female and who are female, and these are cisgendered women. There are women who are born into male bodies and who know they are also women, even though society doesn’t initially consider them such or classify them as such, and these are transgendered women. Both are “women-born-women,” it’s just that some of them have different bodies, genetics, and genital configurations. The real struggle in trans acceptance and inclusion is to get people to realize this, and to accept that some women have what appear to be male bodies, and some men have what appear to be female bodies. Gender is about internal feelings, identities, and senses of oneself, not about whether one’s genitals are “innies” or “outies.” “Women-born-women” who are butch (and thus more “man”-like in their behavior and character) will admit and even insist on this as much as anyone, and have done in this debate, while still trying to suggest that those who have or ever have had penises cannot ever be “real women.” Most of the defenders of “women-born-women” spaces will still not admit that all women who identify as women are “women-born-women,” and then they often default to arguments about the blood mysteries and various other things, which also often exclude what (in their minds) are “women-born-women” who have medical conditions, have been in accidents, have had cancer, etc., and who therefore lack the necessary anatomy and menstrual cycles…Which would mean that a ton of “women-born-women” are therefore not “real women,” because, for example, many of them are on birth control pills and thus don’t menstruate–but rather than saying that as a result of their choice to take this approach to birth control they’ve given up their status as women, they say they are still women because they can menstruate if they want to, whereas trans women–who do want everything that cisgendered women experience, including the oppression and exclusion and societal abuses of patriarchy and misogyny, not because they are masochists but because they know in their hearts and souls and bodies that they are women–aren’t real women because their physicality could never conceive and carry fetuses to term or menstruate. This is a really important understanding to have for this question.

        If the events in question from which some women (generally trans women) are excluded do not have to do with blood mysteries, or are not for the purpose of healing from male-inflicted trauma and oppression, but there is still an insistence on “women-born-women” space that excludes trans women, one has to ask whether there is actually a valid reason for the continued exclusion that is being disguised as some sort of gender/sex-particular “mystery” or if there is actual and intentional exclusion based on prejudice or bigotry; this would, thus, not be “exclusion from love” by anyone’s definition of love, I think. The Lilith ritual at PantheaCon didn’t have to do with blood mysteries, it had to do with empowerment of women, and it was skyclad-optional. Given Lilith’s transgendered qualities, and the fact that trans women need to be empowered and celebrated just as much as cisgendered women do, this has all the more confused a number of people as to why there was exclusion in this case. But, the real difficulties in that particular instance were that there was a lack of communication as to who was supposed to be included or excluded in the program book.

        There was already actions taking place and conversations being had in relation to cisgendered-women-only events at PantheaCon, and the C.A.Y.A. Lilith ritual incident was a flashpoint for it, but the issues were already wider and were being addressed in various ways apart from it. That is also a really important matter to remember in this entire discussion–that movement was already in place and working when the C.A.Y.A. Lilith ritual occurred, and thus the latter added to the discussion, rather than prompting it.

  • Kilmrnock

    i personally have no real problem w/ exclusionary rituals . but my opinion is these rituals should not be offered at public events . as another poster mentioned thesen rituals being born woman blood rituals or for whatever reason exclusion is exceptable . i’m not coming out against these rituals , but all things in a proper time and place . i just don’t think at an open to the public convention is the right time or place. Kilm

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      I dunno. Some of the people who go to Pcon and these large events don’t have local groups that do similar work. The healing and empowerment that these rituals can provide might actually be their only resource. By denying those rituals due to not being inclusive removes the opportunity to change persons lives. There are upwards of 10-12 classes per session. Having 1 or 2 classes/rituals during that time which have requisites doesn’t seem that limiting toward our options.

  • Kilmrnock

    i personally have no real problem w/ exclusionary rituals . but my opinion is these rituals should not be offered at public events . as another poster mentioned thesen rituals being born woman blood rituals or for whatever reason exclusion is exceptable . i’m not coming out against these rituals , but all things in a proper time and place . i just don’t think at an open to the public convention is the right time or place. Kilm

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      I dunno. Some of the people who go to Pcon and these large events don’t have local groups that do similar work. The healing and empowerment that these rituals can provide might actually be their only resource. By denying those rituals due to not being inclusive removes the opportunity to change persons lives. There are upwards of 10-12 classes per session. Having 1 or 2 classes/rituals during that time which have requisites doesn’t seem that limiting toward our options.

  • Prayven627

    Although, I agree that this was thoughtful and a point worth making, I also agree with Lupus that the crux of the matter may have been missed. I don’t think anyone really argues that inclusion is the problem. The controversy was over genderism: “What constitutes the definition of a woman?”

    Z. Budapest’s blatant and glaring intolerance (i.e.: “…attack from transies”) was not only an embarassment to the Goddess community — I mean, really, does the Goddess shun ANY of her children?? — but a disturbing reminder that bias and the principles we strive to break from have permeated our culture, after all.

    “Women Only” and “Men Only” rituals have their place and time. No argument there. But, when a “women only” event turns away a human being who thinks like a woman, feels like a woman, experiences life as a woman, identifies herself as a woman, but does not have the reproductive organs of a woman, is that any different than a woman who’s had a hysterectomy?

    And would ANY Goddess-loving Wiccan or Pagan dare to call a woman without a uterus NOT a woman and turn her away at the gate?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      My Libra moon wants to get me in trouble by rearing its balance finding head here.

      Should any freedom loving pagan dare tell another how they HAVE to believe?

      You are taking a very firm position that all Wiccans or Pagans should believe a certain way.

      I know a councilor who focuses on helping women who receive masectomies and hysterectomies come to terms with their identity as many women who receive these surgeries DO feel that they’ve lost a lot of what makes them women.

      So far my stance is rather cowardly in that I don’t feel I have to take one. I am lucky enough that so far I’ve been able to honor each person as a unique individual.

      I knew an F2M who I kept thinking of as a woman even through her surgeries; however, I met him the other day and something had changed… to me he is now a He.

      I don’t know what tipped the scales, his aura, his hair cut, his walk? Whatever it was changed and I could mentally think of him as a Man. Before I would call him a he in respect to his preferences, but deep down I didn’t see him as a man.

      I completely agree with everyone’s point that the discussion is important. I’m glad it’s happening probably as much as I am glad that I don’t have any horses in this race. However, I decline to allow anyone permission to guilt me into placing my rights to choose into a box.

  • Prayven627

    Although, I agree that this was thoughtful and a point worth making, I also agree with Lupus that the crux of the matter may have been missed. I don’t think anyone really argues that inclusion is the problem. The controversy was over genderism: “What constitutes the definition of a woman?”

    Z. Budapest’s blatant and glaring intolerance (i.e.: “…attack from transies”) was not only an embarassment to the Goddess community — I mean, really, does the Goddess shun ANY of her children?? — but a disturbing reminder that bias and the principles we strive to break from have permeated our culture, after all.

    “Women Only” and “Men Only” rituals have their place and time. No argument there. But, when a “women only” event turns away a human being who thinks like a woman, feels like a woman, experiences life as a woman, identifies herself as a woman, but does not have the reproductive organs of a woman, is that any different than a woman who’s had a hysterectomy?

    And would ANY Goddess-loving Wiccan or Pagan dare to call a woman without a uterus NOT a woman and turn her away at the gate?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      My Libra moon wants to rear its balance finding head here.

      Should any freedom loving pagan dare tell another how they HAVE to believe?

  • Pitch313

    It’s dawning on me that we Pagans and Heathens and all want and need these large, well-attended, more or less yearly events that draw folks from all over the place (like Pantheacon) to be more than they really can. At least from the organized bunch of events accessible to registered attendees side.

    The way I look at it, these large events are like traveling carnivals. Folks get tickets and can go on the rides. If you you don’t want X on your ride, don’t get it running on the carnival grounds.

    It could be that these large events just need to declare that they are actually more than one carnival. And let folks buy tickets for the rides they can handle. In the carnival that they bought tickets for.

    Or maybe they should adopt a variation on the trail difficulty ratings for downhill sking–symbols like green circles, black diamonds, and such linked to every event to make clear who is eligible to undertake which.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      lol. I can’t tell if you are trying to make humor, be serious or both. :-)

      Calling it a carnival makes it sound empty and capricious. At the same time, your comment regarding “trail difficulty” has been expressed by a LOT of people in complete seriousness.

      I’m thinking of offering an “energy work 201″ where people are assumed to be able to see auras, move energy, do basic energy work and know magical terminology before they arrive. I know others who are thinking of offering intermediate and advanced courses as well. When there were a couple hundred of us going to these events we couldn’t assume a certain level of knowledge, but we’ve gotten to the point where we can figure on at least a few attendees.

      The best part is that once you get to intermediate and advanced concepts, the “students” are usually able to teach the presenter as much or more then they came to present, especially if the presentation is designed to give information and open up time for the attendees to give back. I’m thinking that the content learned over the first couple years of doing the class will help build toward the 301 content.

  • Pitch313

    It’s dawning on me that we Pagans and Heathens and all want and need these large, well-attended, more or less yearly events that draw folks from all over the place (like Pantheacon) to be more than they really can. At least from the organized bunch of events accessible to registered attendees side.

    The way I look at it, these large events are like traveling carnivals. Folks get tickets and can go on the rides. If you you don’t want X on your ride, don’t get it running on the carnival grounds.

    It could be that these large events just need to declare that they are actually more than one carnival. And let folks buy tickets for the rides they can handle. In the carnival that they bought tickets for.

    Or maybe they should adopt a variation on the trail difficulty ratings for downhill sking–symbols like green circles, black diamonds, and such linked to every event to make clear who is eligible to undertake which.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Reimers/659542888 Scott Reimers

      lol. I can’t tell if you are trying to make humor, be serious or both. :-)

      Calling it a carnival makes it sound empty and capricious. At the same time, your comment regarding “trail difficulty” has been expressed by a LOT of people in complete seriousness.

      I’m thinking of offering an “energy work 201″ where people are assumed to be able to see auras, move energy, do basic energy work and know magical terminology before they arrive. I know others who are thinking of offering intermediate and advanced courses as well. When there were a couple hundred of us going to these events we couldn’t assume a certain level of knowledge, but we’ve gotten to the point where we can figure on at least a few attendees.

      The best part is that once you get to intermediate and advanced concepts, the “students” are usually able to teach the presenter as much or more then they came to present, especially if the presentation is designed to give information and open up time for the attendees to give back. I’m thinking that the content learned over the first couple years of doing the class will help build toward the 301 content.


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