Queer I Stood: An Exit Interview

As I write this, and it is posted on Patheos' Pagan channel under my (not as regular as it has been in the past) column in late May, there are several milestones upon the site, as well as in my own life. The whole website just turned five years old at the beginning of this month, which is an important anniversary. The Pagan channel here has changed a great deal during that time, with two different managers, a rotating cast of bloggers and columnists who have come and gone, and some important (and often ongoing) discussions taking place. I don't know the rest of the website as well, but I know there has been a great deal of expansion and addition on many other channels, too.

As of May 22, I turned thirty-eight years old (or am entering my thirty-ninth year, according to Roman inclusive counting). Given that there have been many times in my life (particularly before I turned eighteen) in which I wasn't sure, nor were my family and friends, that I'd live another day much less another year, each birthday is an accomplishment for me, even if the preceding year didn't have as many publications or important projects completed as I'd have wished (and 2013-2014 thus far has been no exception). In a few months, I'll also be having my twenty-year high school reunion, and I've been asked to give a post-valedictory speech, as I gave the valedictorian speech at our graduation in 1994; I'm both pleased and disturbed that much of what I said back then is still as true now as it was back then, for good or ill.

I just heard back in the negative on a very enticing job prospect, which was severely disheartening, but I've since learned of a new prospect that might take me back to the east coast for a year … and if all goes well, possibly more. This is an exciting potential, but also a daunting one for many reasons; at the best of times, moving, packing, and unpacking is one of my least favorite activities, and ranks far behind dental appointments, podiatry, and other uncomfortable medical procedures, and is far inferior to them because even the worst of those only last a short while, whereas moving and packing or unpacking can take days, if not much longer. Given that no matter how "settled" I've been in one place during the last twenty years, I've never had all of my possessions out of boxes or storage at any stage. I may not be closer to a longer-term solution to that ongoing difficulty, but nonetheless, it's something to consider. As with my short-term job in Michigan in 2010, that lead me to get closer to Polydeukion; this other possibility would have me only a short distance from several Antinous sculptures, and a great deal else of interest, in New York City.

In June, I'll be coming up to twelve years of involvement with devotion to Antinous and to the continuing effort of building modern Antinoan devotion. My only regret in this regard is that I have not been able to accomplish as much as I'd have preferred in the time I've been given, but I hope I have a few more good years in me for expanding and deepening that overall project. Every moment of engagement with Antinous and the many gods, heroes, and other divine beings with whom he is connected is a blessing and a treasure, and I look forward to many more in the future.

And, while I did come to an understanding of myself that indicated I was queerer than a thirteen-dollar bill around the time I graduated from high school and went off to college, it wasn't until about March 1995 that I officially came out to some of my friends at school, February 1997 that I came out to one of my siblings (then '98 with one of my parents, and '99 with the other). I am not by any means out to everyone in my life, in my family, or at work—about my gender or sexual orientation, nor about my religious identities—but nonetheless, I am more out about these things now than I was twenty years ago, and even ten years ago. I took a chance with being out more casually and quickly on my gender identity recently, and am happy that I was met not with hostile questioning or doubts, but instead expressions of interest and understanding. The world is most certainly improving in relation to all of these matters, I think.

But, I also must admit that for many months now, since the beginning of this calendar year, I've had some uncertainties, including about the future of the present column. I did what devotional polytheists usually do when there are uncertainties in their lives, and entreated the advice of a trusted colleague who is very good at divination and oracular work, and tried to find out if Antinous and my other deities had any insights or suggestions for me in terms of my future prospects here. They did have some direct suggestions, and while they did not set a time constraint on compliance, or even a condition of following their suggestions, nonetheless I did not ask the question lightly, nor would I dismiss their answers casually.

As a result, I've known since late January of this year that "Queer I Stand" at Patheos' Pagan channel would not be lasting much longer. I'm grateful for the time I've had here and the chance I've been given to share aspects of my viewpoint with this community. There are many more queer-specific columns and blogs (or, at very least, gay-specific ones) on Patheos overall since when my column first began, which was the only queer-specific game in this particular town at the time. And the queer theory street cred of such current bloggers here, like A Sense of Place author Rhyd Wildermuth and Agora author Julian Betkowski, far surpasses my meager abilities, and so I feel that the queer dimension of the Pagan channel is in very good hands with them.