Between Two Worlds: Considering Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People in Pagan Events

Between Two Worlds: Considering Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People in Pagan Events April 7, 2018

It took me most of my life to truly enjoy my life. You may ask, why? Well, when you know what’s on the outside isn’t who you are on the inside, it takes time. Most of you who have read any of my previous articles, have found out that I’m a Pagan Transwoman. When you hide what you really are from the time that you’re very young, what you become is an introvert, a shy, reticent person.

Thats how it was with me. Hiding. From others and from myself. Even though I was around others, I found that I was only really happy in nature. As defined by the dictionary: Solitude – the state or situation of being alone, a lonely or uninhabited place.

But was I lonely? No. I was surrounded by nature’s beauty. The colors of spring. Green grass, beautiful wild flowers, the fresh smell of the moist earth carried on the wind, the arrival of songbirds, and the young animals being born. The fawns, a multitude of life, with baby birds in their mother’s nest. The summer, with crops growing, the warm rains to replenish the earth. Fall with the crops being harvested, golden fields of wheat, oats and barley. The reds, oranges, yellows, and lots of colors in the trees. Even winter, with beautiful white snow.

Being around people was another story. I got really good at avoiding groups, especially group functions where there would be people I barely knew. Unless I was hanging out with really good friends, most of whom had no idea I was Trans, I stayed by myself. And being in a small farming community when I was younger, without a car, I got used to it. It stayed with me my entire life until I found my true home, many, many years later.

Solitary: alone or existing alone. I found in nature, and many years later, when Hekate came into my life, that I was never really alone. But it was still a struggle to not get too depressed at times. I was solitary as a child, and even as an adult, because I didn’t have that option of a community of inclusive people. By being an introvert, I was not driven to seek out other Pagans.

Even though I had known Selena Fox for some time, I was still hesitant to get involved with other Pagans. Having the business, and being Trans was hard enough, I was afraid to rock the boat with my clients by openly admitting I was Pagan. That changed in 2016. Hekate was the one who literally pushed me into going to Welcome Summer at Circle Sanctuary, but at the time I hadn’t realized it. I knew when I first walked into the Temple Room, I had found my home. My chosen family. And I was finally accepted unconditionally.

For others that are introverted, and solitary in their craft, here’s a link to a really good article written by Astrea. Sometimes all it takes is a little push to leave your comfort zone. That was how it was for me. I have to thank Hekate, Selena Fox and others at Circle Sanctuary for that push.

At PSG 2017, I met some younger Trans and gender non-conforming Pagans who reminded me of myself when I was younger. Some of them weren’t “out” to parents or friends. I was able to talk to them, and let them know that within our Pagan community they weren’t alone. I was very glad there was a Social Justice Center in Rainbow Camp. Having a safe place, where we can come together, and discuss issues important to us, is very necessary. This type of safe place needs to continue at all PSG events in the future.

As more and more younger Pagans come to, and get involved in events such as PSG, older Pagans have to realize that what was sufficient before, such as two gender rituals, isn’t any longer. With all the information about Pagans like us available today, most younger Pagans, a lot of them millennials, are and have to be the future. I feel that people like me who are older, gender non-conforming, and understand the challenges we face, that the older community will indeed need more education about us. And a lot of them are almost afraid to ask I found out at PSG last year. Change is coming, and needs to come. The future is, and needs to be in the younger generation that will come behind us. They too will need education and guidance from us older Pagans.

For Pagans that are Trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming we need a place for trans and gender non-conforming youth in our community; understanding that a body’s sacredness surpasses gender or sex assigned at birth. It is not enough to “accept” trans and gender non-conforming people in the community; the community must work to include them on their own terms (Senioring vs. Croning/Saging). There is a need for spaces in ritual which celebrate and include genders outside of the binary. There was an All-Gender Ritual at PSG last year that I attended. I found it to be very well planned out and was pleased to see so many diverse people that attended. We need to keep doing these. It will be a way to affect the change that we need.

But it’s not just what Circle Sanctuary and PSG are doing. I feel they are leading the way in that regard. I think that event planners at other Pagan events need to realize that the Trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Pagans are here to stay. I know there are a lot of smaller events out there, and it does take a little extra planning, but in the long run it will be worth doing. Even though we are accepted, there still needs to be more education about us. We are not going away.

So until next time, with Her, I’ll see you…in the future!

Mighty Hekate, Queen of the Witches,
Blessed am I,
To call myself one of Your chosen.

(Above used with permission from Cyndi Brannen..with many thanks and love)

About Brianne Ravenwolf
Brianne Ravenwolf has identified as a Pagan from a very young age. She is an active member of Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin. She volunteers her time there helping at most Full Moon Rituals, as well as some workshops, Circle events, and Sanctuary work days. At Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) last year, she became the first Pagan Transwoman to have the Senioring Rite of Passage. She follows a Hekatean Witchcraft Spiritual Path. To relax, she likes to walk, camp, and hike as much as possible in very rural areas. Brianne is also an avid reader, especially young adult novels. Her latest YA book read was "Belle Dame Sans Merci" by Astrea Taylor. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives