The Pagan path is generally welcoming to GLBTQ community and many are practitioners or are generally supportive of our beliefs. As part of the OHF's outreach efforts we had a booth at the festival and we spent the day talking to Pagans and the Pagan-friendly. Many questions were asked, many questions were answered, many connections were made. All of the interactions were positive and people's responses ranged from extremely excited to cautiously curious. It's really fun and uplifting talking to the excited ones, but it's those cautiously curious ones that made me think.
Those cautiously curious approached the table and quietly took a brochure. They didn't have any questions, they didn't want to be on the mailing list, they just wanted to get a brochure and, "Oh great! You have a web site." That's all. Good bye. Walking away now. These were not the interactions of someone who was anti-Pagan, that's a whole other post--they want information, they want details. These were the questions of closeted Pagans.
The cautiously curious were wearing Pride buttons and/or t-shirts of an LGBTQ organization they were representing or with which they were affiliated. They were gay. They were Pagan. They were out and proud and okay with being gay. They were NOT out and proud and okay with being Pagan. Why?
Power in number and power in community.
Both labels have their stigma and opposition in our over-culture, both groups have similar but different battles and a long way to go. However, the LGBTQ community has a longer history of being out and proud. They have had longer to find support among themselves and their communities.
Capital Pride 2011, was the 36th year of Pride in Washington, DC. It has been only since 2001 since Washington, DC has been hosting Pagan Pride Days. I hope it doesn't take 26 more years before Pagans can have a week-long celebration, a huge parade, and a festival that takes over 10 city-blocks in our nation's capital. In fact in 26 years, I hope there is no longer a need for a week-long celebration, huge parade, or a festival, because we won't be considered different.
This Fall the Pagan Pride Project will help organize Pagan Pride Day celebrations all over the world. Now is the time to get involved. Volunteer. Help your local coordinator. Register. Make sure your group or business is represented. Show up. Be a proud Pagan, meet other pagans, grow your support system and your community.
There is too much as stake for us to not come together and not to be out and proud and celebrate who we are. Besides, and not to be selfish... I really, really, really want a parade!