Queer I Stood: An Exit Interview

While I've addressed a variety of matters on queer-specific issues over the years here, and have had some good conversations on some of these topics, I've found that I've been given more grief over my gender identity on Patheos by other Pagans elsewhere on this channel than almost anywhere else I've encountered such opposition. I find that truly dismaying, and it tells me there is a great deal of work to do, indeed, before the gender-dualist essentialism of mainstream modern Paganism gets any kind of re-evaluation. Here's a suggestion that I've made many times before: if "he or she" is still in your phrasebook as a way to refer to "humans-in-general," then you are excluding many of us who aren't "hes" or "shes," never have been, and never will be; and if you intend to exclude us consciously and deliberately, that's fine, but then don't claim to be all-embracing or all-accepting at some later point when you are operating under a cisgender and gender-dualist privilege mindset.

I've found, though, that the "queerer" thing about me in the present context is not so much my gender identity or my sexual orientation, but my polytheistic viewpoint. There are other polytheists at Patheos' Pagan channel (and there are more now than there used to be), but polytheism has never been more controversial than it has been since the beginning of 2013. While it certainly doesn't need to be the case that anyone else must have a theological viewpoint even remotely similar to mine, it would be nice if the pluralism that Pagans so often speak about actually applied to theological opinions (even those that are stated not as absolutes but instead as personal preferences) as much as it does to other issues. But, that's a much larger and more involved issue than this brief column can usefully address at present, much less do anything to "fix."

I have made some new friends and acquaintances at the present column that I would not have done otherwise, for which I am very grateful. Likewise, my respect for certain people who write at Patheos' Pagan channel has increased greatly over the last few years, even if I don't remotely agree with them on a variety of issues. I've also lost friends on this site, which I feel is lamentable, but it seems to be inevitable as well; anyone who comes out about any facet of their life runs the risk of losing friends and associates, but one cannot worry over such things if one's motivating values are truth, authenticity, and a pursuit of one's own destiny as far as divine service is concerned.

While this column may be "going away" in terms of no longer having new installments added to it periodically, it will still be archived here for anyone's reference; I won't be replying to comments much (if at all) once a week or two passes after the present column's posting. I will still be reading some blogs and columns here, and will be participating in T. Thorn Coyle's reading group on The New Jim Crow here as well. And, "Queer I Stand" will not be disappearing entirely: it will resurface again elsewhere, in a slightly different format, with other collaborators and contributors, in a different online venue in the months to come. It will be much better as a collaborative effort rather than a single viewpoint and a sole responsibility of one person—especially one person like myself, who is rather strange in my particular constellation of personal and theological characteristics, and cannot possibly represent anything (be it queerness, polytheism, or any other large category) in a useful, accurate, or comprehensive fashion.

I would, thus, like to close my words at Patheos by thanking everyone who has made my presence here possible, and who has contributed to the conversations held here in diverse ways.

I will end with an echo of how I began this column, as the shadow of where I stood here fades and moves elsewhere: Queer I Stood—by the gods, I can do no other. And by the gods, for I can do no other, I shall still Queerly Stand elsewhere in the future.

5/28/2014 4:00:00 AM