Between Two Worlds: TERF’s and Transphobia in the Pagan Community

Between Two Worlds: TERF’s and Transphobia in the Pagan Community July 26, 2018

As a transwoman, I am very concerned about the transphobia comments on Facebook and other media directed to people like me.

When I first went to Circle Sanctuary a couple years ago I was welcomed unconditionally. It didn’t matter at all that I was a transwoman. I was just a human being. I was just me. Not anybody else. Just me. (I’ve written about those experiences previously in this space.)

Photo by Ross Burgess, Wikimedia Commons by the UK LGBT Archive as part of the LGBT Free Media Collective coordinated by Wikimedia LGBT and WikiQueer. (Photo slightly edited by editor.) CC 4.0 License.

I’ve been very aware of hateful remarks to me and lots of other transwomen and transmen most of my adult life. Unfortunately, I’ve almost come to expect those comments from people who chose to vilify and hate us.  Yes, we are different from the societal norms of the binary. Female or male. Does that in itself justify transphobic remarks? It shouldn’t. But it does happen. A lot. Especially on social media.

In my mundane world I have to deal with transphobia a fair amount. Men in dresses. Chicks with d**ks. Go back in the closet. Why don’t you go out and kill yourself. The world doesn’t want freaks like you. And on and on. That’s one of the reasons our suicide and attempted suicide rate is almost double what it is for returning veterans from wars. It hurts, but that is a fact of life for people like me.

TERF’s. Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. I have to deal with them in my mundane world as well. But to a much lesser extent than the ones who post or talk about transphobic topics. I think that a lot of them are older, and don’t want to accept us under any circumstances. I have never had a problem with any woman under the age of forty accepting me. Hopefully I won’t.

What I’ve been having a real problem with is why do we have TERF’s in the Pagan community at all? Why, IF our Pagan community is accepting of all people, is this happening?  I for one have noticed a lot more transphobic comments this year than ever before. Especially on social media. I read about a problem at PaganiCon in January that was solved before the event opened. Why did it have to come to that? It’s been in replies to comments on FaceBook a lot more lately than it was last year.

I presented a workshop at Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) this year. It was called A Conversation With a Transgender Senior Pagan. For those of you who didn’t attend, here’s what it was about. It seems that there are a lot of older Pagan’s who have no idea what people like me are all about. Most of them were brought up with only two genders, male and female. Besides people like me, older Pagans I speak to are mostly very confused about non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Most older Pagan’s I have spoken to, especially after my Senioring Rite of Passage, are maybe too “embarrassed” to ask younger Pagan’s about pronouns, polyamory, Gender-Queer people, and related issues.

I believe in education. Maybe if TERF’s learned more about people like me, it might help with their attitude towards us. One can always hope anyway. At PSG,  I talked to quite a few cis-women who can’t have babies, don’t have periods, and don’t have a uterus. So would they be excluded from “women only” events?

I was really happy when a transwoman went through the Croning Rite of Passage at this years PSG. The first one that I’m aware of, ever. Inclusive means all, no matter what we are. Some of my fellow writers and authors at Patheos have written about this.

The bottom line for me, and many others like me is this. “Enough is enough”.  Time to stop these transphobic remarks in our greater Pagan community. As well as all racial and hurtful slurs, anything that hurts another human being. I am a woman. Legally and physically. So to the TERF’s out there I say this. GET OVER IT!

So until next time, in the future.

Special thanks go to Starlight Witch, for her help in editing.

About Brianne Raven Wolf
Brianne Raven Wolf 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.

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