Today is just another day in June but the month of June is something special and unique for many Pagans and myself. During the month of June we take time to honor LGBTQ history and the many people who have fought battles, went through hell, and paved a path to create a better world. For my husband and me it hits close to home and this month is also a time when we remember these heroes, alive or in the other life.
This blog piece is not necessarily about the many Pagans or Non-Pagans that make up our colorful history. Instead it is about how during a moment of writer’s block I came across a story of Ruth Burks. She is not part of the LGBTQ community by birth or Pagan but she is someone that cared for well over 30 gay men who died from AIDS. Her story (which I strongly recommend you read) made me pause for a second and ask what the hell have I actually done for others?!
As a Pagan we want to naturally heal and do our best to take care of those near us and for ourselves. However, in my community we have not really seen the stories of Pagans that really are out on the front lines and doing something more for this world. It took some digging to find that the Church of the Sacred Circle helps soldiers who are Pagan or that we have programs for individuals in the prison system. I was able to find a few scattered examples of collective efforts to donate to the poor.
This made me think and wonder and feel…. I mean deeply feel a sense of, “what can we do?”. So I wanted to take a moment during a month that has deep meaning for LGBTQ practitioners and encourage you to look at our story and our history. I want to encourage you in these times of political shit (there really was no other word for it) to look beyond the negative and try to help others. When you as a LGBTQ Pagan help other people, you are setting an example that can break two stereotypes. You are showing the world that despite being burned or left to die, we lived and we are going to treat others better than we have been treated.
This shouldn’t be some high horse or a way to gloat. I mean who really wants another arrogant person just walking around and taking up the oxygen? This is more of a calling of sorts and a plea. It is my plea, the God’s pleas, or the Earth pleading for us to do better and be better.
I believe it was the Dalai Lama that said:
“It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate.”
So if you are gifted with the ability to heal, heal others. If you are gifted with the ability to cook, cook for others. If you are able to provide for others in any way, do so.
Again, I am no saint when it comes to this and certainly not the best of examples. I am, however, someone who has been helped by other people and knows the importance. I am also someone who has been part of someone’s life and death that had AIDS. I am someone who is part of the LGBTQ community and I am someone who wants to do more.