Today, the organizers of PantheaCon, the largest indoor Pagan-oriented convention, released their policy on limited-access rituals. Most notably, for those who’ve been engaged in the ongoing dialog/debate over gender and the inclusion of transgendered individuals at officially scheduled events and rituals, the policy explicitly states that women-only or men-only events will be open “to all who self-identify as such.”
“PantheaCon will adhere to state and federal laws which require age limitations and non-discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin or gender. We also affirm the importance of safe space and will continue to schedule presentations that limit attendance to specific groups of individuals. All workshops or rituals that say “Women Only” or “Men Only” will be open to all who self-identify as such.
PantheaCon cannot police all boundaries. One thing has become evident, simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient. Prospective presenters applying to make group-specific presentations should be clear in their language about limitations and observe these guidelines. Private rooms, including Hospitality Suites, at the DoubleTree are not subject to this policy. In the past, groups have held invitation-only events and skyclad rituals in private rooms, and PantheaCon will not interfere in these private arrangements.PantheaCon aims to provide a safe environment for all of its attendees to enjoy their diverse paths. As we evolve, this policy may be subject to some nuanced changes in the future. We welcome any and all comments on this policy. Feel free to email feedback at pantheacon dot com – although we cannot promise a response, all emails will be read.”
This can only be seen as win for those asking for a clear policy regarding exclusive spaces at PantheaCon, and step forward for those fighting for the full inclusion of transgendered men and women within the Pagan community. Coming days after the announcement of the Amazon Priestess Tribe / Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe retiring from Z. Budapest’s lineage, and changing their official stance regarding gender, it’s clear that the “genetic women only” event at PantheaCon 2012 has sparked some deep reevaluations and changes. No doubt there will be a lot of comment and commentary on this clarification of policy, and I will keep you informed as they emerge. As always, please endeavor to keep discussions civil.