There is no room in my witchery for homophobia. Wait, check that; there is no room in my witchery for -phobia of any kind. Sadly, I realize this is not true of all witches, but I see the God/dess incarnate in every being, expressed through infinite diversity. We are all the Love of the Two Who Move As One; we are all equally precious and Divine; Love is my religion.
Fear is the Path to the Dark Side ¹
Moreover, as a citizen, business owner, mother, and the priestess of a coven with many GLBTQ members, I have a moral conviction to work for the betterment of our society for all. I cannot blithely abide the legalized violation of civil rights to any citizen. To stand by and do nothing is to tacitly condone this harm, and I have this witchy little creed about that. This is no time for “subtlety.”
Fear Leads to Anger
The point of my Witchcraft praxis is to purify me of my fears, work through my phobias, and awaken me from the illusion of separateness. I believe every single human on earth is sent here to enjoy their lives, love and learn from each other, present challenges and evolve through them. So, all phobias are there to instruct, and then be cured through my connection with Divine Love. The heart of my witchery beats to the rhythm of personal sovereignty and the responsible pursuit of happiness.
“All began in love, all seeks to return in love. Love is the law, the teacher of wisdom, and the great revealer of mysteries.” ~Starhawk, Spiral Dance
“An do what you will be the challenge,
So be it in love that harms none,
For this is the only commandment,
By magick of old, be it done.”
~The Witch’s Creed, Doreen Valiente
Have I mentioned recently that I live in North Carolina? Yup. We’ve had quite a month of controversy here. I live in a state now infamous for HB2, “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act,” better known as “the bathroom bill.”
This nightmare that was rushed through a special session by our GOP legislators is now state mandated discrimination of the most dastardly order. This is why we can’t have nice things, like work at high-tech jobs with Paypal, host championship games, or go to Bruce Springsteen concerts, and rightly so! Bring on the boycotts and travel bans, America! With no fool a season spend, nor be counted as our friend.² If a bigot invited me to a party at their house, where I knew they were coercing some of their other guests into dangerous and humiliating situations, I wouldn’t attend, either.
Governor Pat McCrory continues to manipulate the terrified conservatives of this state with the threat of “men in dresses” as sexual predators in bathrooms assaulting women and children. This is ridiculous fear-mongering, that only appears to be aimed at transgendered people.
This bill is a Trojan horse that really means to strip all GLBTQ people of their civil rights and protections under NC law; its about closing access to courtrooms, eliminating the right of any person to bring civil action for ANY claim of discrimination.
Anger Leads to Hate
The thing that makes me ANGRY is that all transgendered people are being painted with one broad stroke of assumption that they are child molesters and rapists laying in wait in public toilet stalls. I am stunned by how many conservative people I know who drank the McCrory Kool-aid! How can that kind of rhetoric by public officials be acceptable in this day and age? How is this any different than the Jim Crow laws we worked so hard to over-turn in the 1960’s?
There were laws about segregating bathrooms then, too, and restaurants, and barbers, and library books, and healthcare facilities, and marriages…I dare you to go to this link and read all the Jim Crow laws, then compare those to the new laws emerging in these same states THIS MONTH, and let the discomfort of what was once LEGAL in this country sink in so deeply that you can feel the dissonance of bigotry once more trying to emerge. Terrified? Me too, and being made to feel terrified by my government really hacks me off.
What I don’t get is why we are choosing transgendered women to be our scapegoats. Surely y’all have noticed that women are also still fighting for equal rights? I’m a woman, for the first incarnation in a long string of male incarnations, and I find womanhood to be frustrating and confounding. So, whenever I know of a person assigned male at birth surrendering that privilege so that he may permanently transgender and live out her life as a woman in this particular society? I give her mad-props for bravery and convictions, because she has got to be a STRONG woman.
Not only do these trans-women give up higher pay, opportunity and respect for merely being male in a good ol’ boy, patriarchal world, they are now, unfortunately, subjecting themselves to generalized misogyny, hatefulness like HB2, and an even greater risk of physical and sexual assault. I cannot believe for a second that trans-women with that sort of love of their own femininity, would undergo such radical effort for less-than-honorable reasons. Welcome to the club sisters, for better or for worse! Y’all have my respect, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that we all rise up together in safety, equality and opportunity.
However, here is the rub: this bill isn’t really about transgendered people, or what pots they piss in, but it does herald a new civil rights movement. These things tend to flare up over the question of where folks are allowed to sit down. Whether this be about a bus seat, a lunch-counter seat, or a toilet seat, it clearly is a much larger issue of discrimination than the seething ignorantsia³ within the conservative majority of the South would have you believe.
While it is very easy to find the horror story statistics of crimes against trans people, in my research I’ve found zero instances of transgendered people committing crimes against children, or anyone else, in public bathrooms. Yet, there have been multitudes of sexual crimes committed by anti-gay republican legislators, many of which did happen in public bathrooms. Imagine that!
HB2 is about bullies pitching a temper tantrum on the playground. This bunch took a fresh beat-down when the supreme court ruled that we could no longer refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They don’t like that. So now, they are twisting whatever knife they can find in the hearts of the easily-manipulated, conservative “Christian” majority as a means to strip all GLBTQ people of their civil rights.
Hate Leads to Suffering
March 23rd, the night this thing was clandestinely signed into law without any public warning, I spent some time in disbelief, then shock, then anger. I wanted to make a sign for my shop window that read “No REPUBLICAN Legislators allowed.” I harbored delirious fantasies of denying access to our unisex restroom to anyone who supports this law unless they’d drop trou’ and show me how big a dick they really are. (Not that these haters even shop at my witchcraft store, but a girl can dream.)
I felt wounded, endangered, not represented by my representatives and as we all know, wounded people tend to wound other people. I felt like doing something really outrageous and offensive to the powers that be, but lashing out would only cause harm, and would be an ineffective use of my power. <sigh>
By the grace of the gods, I happened to be home with the flu, so I had some time for all that anger to turn to deep mourning, that ran a gauntlet of righteous indignation, and with a lot of help from my spiritual guides, emerged as loving activation.
I am the Witch on Fire, after all; I seek to be a catalyst for beneficial change. I will not allow myself to burn the witch become the weak link and start inflicting discrimination and indignity on anyone else. So, it was time to be present to win, goose the fires under the cauldron and stir things up in a creative and civil way!⁴ I hatched a plan with my children to help me make a BIG, public, artistic and political statement against HB2. We went radically rainbow to show everyone exactly where they had allies, and a safe pot to piss in!
This is how we decorated the arbor around the doorway of The Sojourner. Mind you, we are located in our downtown area where all the law firms, city hall, and the courthouse are located.
We signed up our business with a “safe bathrooms” map online, which caught the attention of the local newspaper, and WITN news station, who came to take pictures and interview me about my bold stance for the 5:00 news. Check out the video below and the full story here.
The next day many friends said I was “brave” and “strong” for so publicly speaking up as an ally, and I thought that was odd. For me, this response was a no-brainer…until the next day when I read through the comments on the WITN news website responding to the interview.
The things my fellow North Carolinian’s said were frightening, threatening and altogether depressing in their promises never to step foot in my shop, or anywhere else that provided safe bathrooms to transgendered people, because “now they know where the perverts hang out.” We know that those folks aren’t our customers, anyway, but it still hurt my feelings.
Because I live and work, worship and play, all within this delightful bubble of love created by the progressive, rational people of the Witching community, I sometimes forget what dragons still lie just outside the safety of this bubble. When I stood my ground, the trolls groaned and rattled the bridges on the Internet, but our patrons, GLBTQ friends and allies, showed up in droves; they thanked us, brought us cookies, surprised us with Starbucks coffee, and did some massive shopping, making the next two week’s sales some of the best we’ve ever had.
There is much good work left to be done, my lovelies. You want to do some effective witchcraft to help us out? Hold us in an intention of love and protection, send Reiki, work the roots, do the voodoo you do so well, but more importantly, keep up those calls to your elected officials against any hateful legislation that creeps up near you. Boycott asshattery wherever you see it. Be kind to strangers. Show up and vote responsibly on election days, stand up, sit in, march, protest, let your voices be heard in a clear and fearless way, but choose your words wisely. Be not like the trolls; remember that love always trumps hate.
To my gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and queer darlings, know that I love you in all your exquisite Divinity, and so do our gods (and if you run across a god that says otherwise, appeal to different gods!) May you all know the unconditional love and protection of the god/dess, wherever you “go.” 😉
- “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda in Star Wars. (back)
- The Wiccan Rede, Long Version. (back)
- I just made this word up. Definition: Ignorantsia: (n.pl.) ignorant or fear-bound people considered as a group or class, esp. as a cultural, social or political group. antonym: intelligentsia. (back)
- My Four Rules of Witchcraft for Personal Sovereignty: Don’t burn the Witch, Don’t be the asshole, Don’t be the weak link, Must be present to win. For more on these, see my last post on Aphrodite’s Thealogy of Perfection. (back)