23 February 2012

An open letter to the PantheaCon organization

To Glenn Turner and the other organizers of PantheaCon:

I write to you in the understanding that you have asked for feedback from the community about this year's contention over gender and ritual and the role of transgender Pagans at PantheaCon, as triggered by Z Budapest's ritual Sunday night and the protest that accompanied it.

Already, just a few days after the weekend has concluded, we see an explosion of discussion of these topics by Pagans on the web. With so much discussion in the air, I want to try to speak to the specific implications for you in the PantheaCon organization.

Even that specific focus demands a long-windedness which I hope that you, and other interested readers, will forgive me. Understanding the meaning of the weekend's events demands understanding their context. Understanding the implications for the future demands opening some difficult questions.

A word about me

I am a Pagan Hermeticist and a cis man. (For readers unfamiliar with the term “cis”, it means “not-trans”; I was called a boy the day I was born and call myself a man today. The trans community has expressed their preference for this language over other alternatives; I use it as a mark of respect for trans people.)

The night of Z Budapest's ritual I had duties which prevented me from witnessing the protest against it. As I am neither trans nor a witch nor a woman nor present at the pivotal event, one might say that I have no stake in that singular moment last weekend.

But I believe that I do. I have participated in PantheaCon every year for fifteen years. I am a Pagan living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Your event is an integral part of my community. And so I write to you as a member of that community.

I must also note that I am co-founder of Solar Cross Temple with T. Thorn Coyle, who played an important role in the events of the weekend, having precipitated the protest by announcing her intent to sit in silence outside the ritual. (It's worth noting that Thorn, who at that point did not know that anyone would join her, did not refer to her plan as a “protest” at all. That we now refer to this as a protest contains a lesson, I suspect.) But I speak neither for Thorn nor for Solar Cross, but rather as a member of the PantheaCon community.

The past year

The incident at the Lilith ritual at last year's PantheaCon and the the many discussions in the Pagan community which followed influenced both the shape of this year's Con and the significance of Budapest's ritual. I'll not rehash the whole story here, but I want to underline a few key points essential to understanding the current controversy.

The clumsiness and confusion underlying the original incident demonstrated how despite often having good intentions the Pagan community does not have the sophistication about gender which it needs in order to properly welcome every member of the community. We saw how people neither thoughtless nor malicious took actions that turned badly sour, leaving trans Pagans feeling justifiably alienated.

The original incident demonstrated how exclusive rituals, however defined, can put the PantheaCon organization in the awkward position of enforcing the ritual's rules and implicitly endorsing the the event.

The vigorous discussion which followed demonstrated that the Pagan community could not and would not defer an examination of how we handle the complexities of gender any longer. That discussion failed to close (or even to fully open) many of the questions we face. Having demonstrated a commitment to talking about those questions was no small achievement, but we still have many Pagans of different perspectives feeling that they remain unheard, unsupported, and unsafe in the community.

In short, we found that we had a lot of work to do, that the work is difficult, that we cannot turn away from it, and that PantheaCon has an essential role to play in helping to lead the greater Pagan community forward.

This year's PantheaCon

The PantheaCon organization obviously made a commitment to this process. The Con schedule included numerous events — talks, rituals, and panels — addressing gender in the Pagan community and in Pagan practice. The schedule included a ritual offered explicitly welcoming of all women, both cis and trans. The convention theme of “unity in diversity” obviously alluded, in part, to PantheaCon including trans people in that diversity.

That deserves applause. Both the PantheaCon organization and PantheaCon community the made the effort to walk the walk.

This makes me certain that you included Z Budapest's ritual in this year's schedule with the very best of intentions. The thinking must have been that, in the spirit of having spaces which support the needs of the diverse members of the Pagan community, it made sense to have a range of differently-defined rituals, including one limited to women but inclusive of all women, both cis and trans, and another ritual limited to only cis women.

I can imagine a ritual for cis women only which many of the people who protested this weekend would have found entirely appropriate for PantheaCon and the community. I can imagine many others among the protestors finding that such a ritual justified criticism but not protest.

But Z Budapest's “The Sacred Body of Woman (Self-Blessing)” was not that ritual. It represented a terrible failure of what I take to be the PantheaCon organization's intentions.

Z Budapest

Budapest has a reputation for — putting it kindly — stubbornness and speaking bluntly. I respect that strength of character. It is impossible to imagine that a gentler woman could have broken the ground she has and achieved the things she has in the times and circumstances she faced. The Pagan community stands on a foundation of those achievements, and while I can count myself as neither witch nor woman, as an American Pagan I mark myself as owing an incalculable debt to her. One could easily argue that without her efforts over many years, PantheaCon itself might never have happened. And many, many people in our community have greater and more direct debts to her and her work.

That speaks to the past, but her value to the Pagan community lies not only in the past. Just two weeks before PantheaCon I stood in circle with her at the Pagan Studies Conference, where she served as keynote speaker. At one point the energy of our circle had started to flag. She got a mischievous look and said something that has always seemed as trite and flat as a bumper sticker to me. “The Goddess is alive,” she told us.“And magic is afoot.” These words held a spark I never recognized before. Then she turned and grinned and said it again, differently. “The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot!” It was utterly infectious and we repeated it with her. “The Goddess is alive and magic is afoot! The Goddess is alive and magick is afoot!!” The Goddess was there, and I knew her in a way I never had before. Magick.

So while I have the profoundest disagreements with many things that she stands for — some well beyond the scope of this letter — it pains me to speak against her. It does not surprise me that some people wept as they sat in protest on Sunday.

But.

One of those things which she stands for is the fear and hatred of trans women. She represents transphobia in the most literal sense.

Many commentators have pointed to this statement attributed to her, inspired by last year's controversy:

This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.

We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions. You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!

Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess.

Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic!

Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine.

But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.

Women are born not made by men on operating tables.

I cannot read this as anything other than contempt toward trans women expressed through deliberate insults. The word “Transies” alone is unmistakably a slur. Budapest says both directly and by implication that trans women are in no sense women, they are nothing other than men in disguise, and the only meaning to their desire to circle with cis women is what it denies to cis women. This dismisses the lived experiences, material realities, and obvious commitment of trans women to living as women.

T. Thorn Coyle, who instigated the sitting in silence at Budapest's PantheaCon ritual, called this hate speech. She is right. It denies the fundamental dignity of trans women, as many commentators have described more ably than I can.

Recently, Budapest has said that some people have attributed things to her that she did not really say, though she has not specified what she means. Perhaps she includes this well-known blog comment … though tellingly she has had nearly a year to correct the record on it and has not found it necessary to do so.

But even if this specific comment did not come from her, the sentiment of fear and hatred and disrespect for our trans sisters it contains unmistakably reflects her expressed views, well known in the community. Many people have described her as having made similar comments in person, and I count myself among them. The morning before I circled with her two weeks ago, at the conference she spoke this same idea that trans women wanting to circle in women-only spaces are none other than men who, characteristically for men, want to deny women any space to themselves.

I will not attempt a full critique of those ideas here. Others have, more ably than I could. It is enough, in order to understand the significance of her ritual on Sunday and the protest that accompanied it, to note that many people in the Pagan community, both cis and trans, rightly regard Budapest as hostile to trans women.

The ritual

PantheaCon included only only one scheduled event featuring Budapest this year:

The Sacred Body of Woman (Self-Blessing)

This skyclad rite honors the body of each and every woman present, the beauty and grace of the feminine form in all of her infinite variety. Allow yourself to be embraced by the glorious love of your sisters, with voices raised in sacred song in this central ritual of the Dianic Tradition. Genetic women only.

Emphasis mine.

It would be wrong — it would be an insult to the diversity of trans people — to suggest that the trans community speaks with one voice. Indeed, the concerns and the rhetoric of the trans community exhibits so much diversity, and moves so quickly, that even keenly interested people can have difficulty keeping up. But in at least one way trans people have spoken unambiguously: if you want to demonstrate respect toward trans people, when you describe people as not-trans, you refer to them as “cis”. Cis men. Cis women. Cis people.

So a person who cared to make the effort could have identified this ritual as exclusive to cis women without making the description itself insulting.

That the description of the ritual used, instead, the strange descriptor “genetic women” indicates that Budapest — and by extension, you in the PantheaCon organization having published this description in the guide — either did not make the effort to know that this language would be offensive, or did not care.

What Budapest's ritual signifies

Many commentators have suggested that the protest against Budapest's ritual represents an attack on cis women having their own space at PantheaCon, an attack on the Dianic tradition, an attack on Budapest for having unpopular opinions. These readings are wrong. I have spoken to several of the protestors, and read the writings of many more. Niether the fact of a ritual restricted to cis women nor the fact of Z Budapest present a ritual inspired the protest.

It was combination of the ritual description and it being led by someone well-known for bigotry against trans women and its timing in the wake of the events of the last year that add up to the ritual being an insult to trans women. It was that having this on the convention schedule implied that such an insult is an accepted part of Pagan culture.

The protest

So the Pagan community stepped forward and said:

No. We cannot allow the implication that we accept bigotry against our trans sisters. We cannot allow the implication that we accept insults to our trans sisters.

Nor can we allow the implication that we disrespect our Dianic sisters who find value in spaces for cis women only. We will protest in the least disruptive way we can.

But we will not let the moment pass unmarked.

I say the Pagan community pointedly. This was not a protest of trans women, or of trans people, or of activists. It was a protest by a range of people reflecting the diversity of the Pagan community.

I have no doubt that the diverse participants in the protest, and those not present but aligned with it in spirit, hold a suitably diverse range of opinions about the greater questions of gender in the Pagan community. I look forward to that conversation, which has already begun to unfold.

Mindful of that, I don't want to pretend to speak for all of the protestors. The one opinion I feel confident in claiming that the protesters share is that we want our trans brothers and sisters to feel welcome in our community.

So what about rituals exclusive to cis women, in general?

The Pagan community is now talking about the role of rituals exclusive to cis women in Pagan practice.

No one can or should enforce some kind of ban on rituals exclusive to cis women, and were such a ban even possible, I certainly would not want the PantheaCon organization to police it, if for no other reason than that you don't deserve to be cursed with that kind of responsibility.

But no one is calling for that, and defenders of exclusive rituals for cis women who hear an attack on Dianics' religious freedom, who hear some voices in the Pagan community “telling them what to do”, have heard something which no one has said. They have mistaken criticism for some kind of compulsion. I see a Pagan community which recognizes the freedom of Budapest or anyone else to say and do what they wish. But that freedom does not extend to freedom from criticism.

Frankly, some criticism is warranted. In many of the defenses of cis women's circles, I have seen some unexamined transphobia. I'd like to see more discussion to explore that, and I'm heartened to see that happening; the community has obviously made a commitment to discussing these questions.

But those transphobic commentators — Budapest among them — do not speak for all cis women who build exclusive spaces, or even more narrowly for all Dianics. And in this conversation I think we have also seen the awesome power which rituals and other spaces exclusive to cis women can have. I cannot imagine how anyone could hear the stories that cis women have told about the importance of these spaces without feeling profoundly moved. And the depth of these spaces' significance goes beyond what I can ever fully appreciate having lived the life of a cis man.

This reflects one of the truths learned by social justice movements. A range of forums are necessary to nourish the community. We must have inclusive forums where we all come together. And we must have exclusive forums where people who share a more specific identity can do work they can only do together with people who share that identity. And not for nothing, it's worth noting that we owe this realization in large part to women like Z Budapest who discovered the vital importance of women having some spaces away from men.

So we have some work to do to figure out the place of exclusive rituals for cis women in the Pagan community. More conversation is needed, and it looks like we are going to get it.

I say all of this in service of pointing out that this conversation isn't PantheaCon's to adjudicate. You shouldn't do it, you cannot do it, and I cannot ask you to do it. But you do need to follow this conversation as it unfolds, because you need it to inform a thing which I am asking you to do.

The need for a clear policy about exclusive spaces at PantheaCon

Unhappily for the PantheaCon organization, we have obviously come to the end of an era in which it has been possible to run the Con without having pinned down exactly what role exclusive events — events which will only admit some members of our community — have at PantheaCon. I think you will no longer be able to make decisions about events in isolation, but will need to do it in reference to a clear, explicit policy.

In retrospect, it becomes evident that this day had to come eventually. It's not hard to imagine the exclusive events the community would reject out of hand. But if there are some exclusive events PantheaCon supports and others which it rejects, what defines the difference? Someday you have to answer the question, and that day is now upon us.

An argument can be made that as an environment where the Pagan community as a whole comes together, PantheaCon simply should not include exclusive events at all. That would be a clean solution, and I believe that you need to consider it.

But eliminating exclusive events would also be a loss. Eliminating events exclusive to cis women would be a loss. We have been talking about exclusive rituals' power for cis women, and they can be powerful for many other groups as well. Certainly many conventions of all kinds include exclusive events, so they are not inherently a problem. But I think you cannot schedule them any more without referencing a policy that you publish to the world.

“Event descriptions must not insult people who are excluded from the event” would make a good rule to include in that policy.

I'm not asking for a policy to last forever, but I believe that the organization does need to name one for next year, and to commit to refining it in the years to come.

The need for an apology from the PantheaCon organization

You have taken on the question of gender at the conference with grace and goodwill and seriousness of purpose, and mostly done a good job of it. But with the inclusion of Budapest's ritual you screwed up badly, and you should have known better.

You need to apologize to trans women, to PantheaCon participants, and to the Pagan community as a whole. It was your responsibility to forsee this problem, and you failed.

A non-apology apology will not cut it. You're not sorry people's feelings were hurt, you're sorry that you did the wrong thing. You need to make clear what was wrong about it, so that we know that you understand, and so that the whole Pagan community can see what was at stake.

Everything I have seen from the PantheaCon organization makes me confident that you will step up. This will do a great deal to heal the community.

The need for an apology from Z Budapest

I believe that before this weekend, it might have been possible to schedule Z Budapest for an event without it constituting an insult to trans women. Had she been speaking on another topic, or leading a different kind of ritual, it would not have been an endorsement by PantheaCon of the range of her views, and thus could be read not as an endorsement of the bigoted slurs she has made toward trans women ... though even that seems iffy in retrospect.

But at this point, she has become identified with her rhetorical attacks on trans women. Scheduling her for anything now would read as support for her and what she has said and done.

Yes, she attempted an “apology” the night of the ritual. I presume that the PantheaCon staff urged her to do so, and if that guess is correct you deserve great credit for that. But that was not a real apology, and the community needs one. She needs to say that what she did was wrong. She needs to show that she knows why it was wrong. She has to promise not to do it again.

PantheaCon should not silence her, and does not have the power to do so anyway. But you don't have to give her a microphone.

What I call for

PantheaCon is facing this crisis because you have shown invaluable leadership in the Pagan community, both with respect to the addressing the role of gender in our community and in general. That leadership is renewed each year and ratified by the community's participation in the event.

We need you to show that leadership again. So I am calling on you to do three things:

  1. A clear apology from PantheaCon for the insult to trans women implied by the scheduling of Z Budapest's ritual
  2. A refusal to schedule Z Budapest for any PantheaCon events in the future unless she apologizes for her comments about trans women and recants them
  3. A clear policy about what constitutes an appropriate basis for a ritual with restricted participants

I hope that other members of the community join me in this call.


Commentary on this blog post

I hope that other members of the Pagan community will co-sign this letter. Co-signatories need not agree with the letter in every particular, but should agree with the things I called for at the end. I am reserving the comment thread on this page for people to join me as co-signatories on this letter; any other comments on this page will be deleted.

But in the hope that this letter will garner comments and criticism, I have created a separate page on my blog for commentary and discussion. I will also try to index every discussion of the letter which I know about on that supplemental page. I encourage folks commenting elsewhere to contact me by email, so that my index can be as complete as possible.

I strongly encourage anyone to repost this letter, in whole and in part, but I ask that all re-posts link back to this page.

As I have had reports of some folks having trouble posting blog comments, I have added a section for folks who have emailed me asking to be co-signatories:


Autumn Tyr-Salvia aka St. Mae of Discordian.com

Elf

109 comments:

Charlie Glickman said...

I am 100% in support of the sentiments and message of this post. PantheaCon is an amazing event, and as leaders, you have the marvelous opportunity to help the many pagan communities find a path through this.

Charlie Glickman
www.charlieglickman.com

Barry said...

Sounds completely reasonable to me.

Co-signed,

Barry King

Nemea said...

Co-signed,
Diane Nemea Laessig

Rowan Fairgrove said...

I agree with everything except the demand for an apology from the "PantheaCon organization". Thank you for this summation.

Josh A. said...

Beautiful!

Sincerely co-signed,
Josh A. :-)

China said...

I'm supporting this post and it's recommendations as a cis woman who feels very strongly in the power that can be created by a focused group of cis "genetic" women when creating majick and Will.

I think strong evidence can be seen that gender is not a black-or-white thing but something that really falls on a scale and manifests in a wildly delightful myriad of ways.

So this is not an "us-against-them" issue. This is not "men trying to get inside something that is female-only." And I agree that the language was antagonistic.

China Krys Darrington
china.k.darrington@gmail.com

Rhett said...

I have quite intentionally not gotten more involved in this struggle due to lack of direction and feeling like I cannot correctly separate out the various issues.

This, however, provides a clear statement of goals which I feel I can support.

I, therefore, wish to join with Charlie, Barry, Nemea, and others in my support on this list of goals.

Co-signed,
Rhett Aultman
http://rhett.weatherlight.com

Elizabeth Abbott said...

Apologies are necessary for the healing of our community, and policy is necessary for our continued "unity in diversity".
I fully endorse the sentiments of this letter, and I urge PantheaCon to take them seriously.

Jennifer Elizabeth Abbott
Sacramento, California

nerthuschild said...

I am indebted to you
Jonathan for putting thoughts I share together so concisely. Am having to comment via cell so the only thing left to do is sign Christine Berger

Al said...

Well said.

Amy Hale said...

Yes. I believe the first step in healing is to start thinking concretely about what the community/communities in question need to have happen to heal. I support this suggestion.

Niki Whiting said...

I, too, support this.

Vivianna said...

Thank you for this well written and thoughtful piece on such a difficult and deeply important issue to all involved (which IMHO does include men to an extent)!
Thanks!

Karen said...

Yours has been the best commentary on this I have read so far.

Kate LBT said...

I believe in this statement. I believe that an emergent consensus will come about the amount of exclusivity desirable/permitted in an officially sanctioned event.

Katherine L. Berger Tremaine

Nicholas Farrell said...

Co-signed,

Nicholas Farrell
thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com

christianday said...

I concur entirely. Insightful blog.

Malacandra said...

Well put.

mrsb said...

Co-signed,
Kris "Mrs.B." Bradley
http://www.confessionsofapagansoccermom.com/

Anonymous said...

Co-signed with love,
Kristen Oliver

The Acid Queen said...

Co-signed.

Camille Klein

Oriana said...

Co-signed,
Susan "Oriana" Miller

Gyelle said...

I concur.
Laurel Hess

Candi said...

I concur. I believe that a policy needs to be in place, and that Z Budapest needs to give an apology before being allowed back at PantheaCon. I think that she now stands exposed as craven before the pagan community and the gods, and it is not wise to continue a relationship with her.

twinkbipagan.blogspot.com

Dedra Shahan said...

Thank you for supporting this. As a spouse of a trans woman, I appreciate everyone's work to have trans people included in all things. Discrimination in any form is an ugly thing.

Dedra Shahan

BabyBrowman said...

Co-signed,
Jamie Urbanawiz

ericjdev said...

Co-signed,

Eric DeVries

Jim Dickinson said...

While I have very mixed feelings (still exploring and formulating) about the various political, social and linguistic demands being promoted by the trans community, I can agree absolutely with the need to end bigotry in all its forms. As a cis, gay man... and just as a man... I am often astounded that more men are not as outraged as the trans community at Z's (and some other Dianics) utter hate speech directed at anyone with a penis. Claim your space. I support you. But do not demonize everyone with a penis in the process.

I think your suggested plan of action is appropriate and reasonable.

Martha Linn said...

Well written, well said.

Kallan said...

Co-signed with applause to the author.

suzanne reynolds alpert said...

co-Signed (with deep gratitude for all That Z has done for the Pagan community; but with full acceptance of the sentiments of this blog post)

Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
http://suzannereynoldsalpert.blogspot.com/

Adaryn said...

Cosigned,
Christina Gozdanovic

David Wiegleb said...

A cogent, compassionate, and comprehensive letter which provides concrete steps toward reconciliation and healing. I applaud and support this statement.

As a fifteen-plus year attendee at PantheaCon and long-time member of the larger community, I am glad to see us engaging with these and other social justice issues. Thank you Jonathan for this, and "thank you" also to the PantheaCon organization for engaging in this dialogue.

Co-signed,

David Wiegleb
www.fieldsbooks.com

Ryan Smith said...

Very reasonable, especially in light of the 2011 controversy and its escalation this year.

Co-signed,

Ryan Smith
ryansdesk.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Cosigned!

Ealasaid

Alan S said...

I agree with the sentiments of this post. I think apologies would do a lot to calm the waters, and we all need to move forward being mindful of our words and their impact on others. Gender is not black or white, and not even a spectrum. It's too hard to pin down to something that simple, but we as humans all deserve respect whether we agree with each other or not.

Alan Heartsong
Sacramento, California

Vickie said...

Co-signed,
Vickie McNeely
http://aoibhealslair.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Co-signed in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Tara Brihde

meagan said...

Agreed. -M

Sarah Pilgrim said...

Co-signed wholeheartedly. I think this is probably the most eloquently I've heard the issue and needs for healing discussed.

Sarah Pilgirm

Kat of EmKatCreations said...

Signed,
Kat Emralde
aka Meghan Splaine
Baltimore, MD

Krystal said...

Co-signed,

Krystal Henderson

Pombagira said...

Co-Signed

Polly Lind,
Wellington, New Zealand

Ashley Brown said...

Co-signed.

Unknown said...

Cosigned - this may be the best solution

Rhi said...

Co-signed.

Michele said...

Cosigned wholeheartedly,

Michele Costigan
Northampton, MA

Khalila RedBird said...

Well said. Thank you for setting this example for all of us.
Khalila RedBird

Anonymous said...

This is *a step* in the right direction
Co-signed,
-Shannon Moore

Anonymous said...

co-signed.
kats eye view

Lady Autumn Heather said...

Co-Signed

~Lady Autumn Heather~

Ellen Apple said...

Co-Signed with honor at the opportunity
Ellen WhiteOwl Smith-Apple
www.whiteowlatmidnight-whiteowl.blogspot.com

Becca Perry said...

Thank you for your clarity, sensitivity, and advocacy.

Co-signed,
Becca Perry

Aspen said...

co-signed, Aethelbera Heidinsdottir

Karmic said...

Co signed,

Shannon Del Fiorentino

Lauricat said...

Co-signed,
Laurie Brown

patti wigington said...

Co-signed, because it's an absolutely spot-on assessment of a very unfortunate situation.

Patti Wigington
http://paganwiccan.about.com
http://pattiwigington.com

Valerie Herron said...

Co-signed,

Valerie Herron

lee gilmore said...

you have my support.

Kate said...

This was carefully thought out and written with care. Thank you and I agree.

Matt from Montreal said...

It is the teaching both of my Goddess and my basic moral feeling that cis people are no better or realer exemplars of their genders than trans people are. A place that openly calls the genders of trans people into question and acts with contempt towards them is not a place in which I feel safe.

quincunx said...

Co-signed

Peter Ringo

Unknown said...

Co-signed,

Andrea Hess

Willow said...

Well said, thank you.

Co-signed,

Willow

crow baeries said...

I agree wholeheartedly!

Signed
Teri Gravenmier
Crowbaeries.com

Clio said...

Cosigned. I hope to bring my trans partner, who is not of my faith, to Pantheacon next year. However, I will not feel comfortable doing so unless I feel reasonably sure that she won't get slapped in the face with event-endorsed transphobia.

Joseph Max said...

Well said.

Co-signed,
Joseph Max

Cheryl said...

Thank you.

Co-signed,

Cheryl Morgan
http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/

Kay said...

As a member of the small but diverse pagan community of Wellington New Zealand I endorse the approach proposed in this post. I'm a human rights defender and I stand or sit with my trans brothers and sisters in challenging transphobia and cissexist attitudes.

Morag Spinner said...

Co-signed.

SunflowerP said...

Co-signing gladly.

Sunflower

frater-treinta said...

No matter what someone's past successes, when they start deliberately hurting other people they not only need to apologize, they need to repent. I cosign this letter as the minimal acceptable thing that could be done to rectify this.

Wild Juniper said...

I think this is the best commentary I have read thus far on the subject. Concise and pertinent to all parties involved. As a cis woman I struggle for equality and acceptance even today, and EVERYONE should have that chance no matter their gender or origins. The actions called for here are completely reasonable.
I co-sign this letter.

Crash said...

Co-signed,
Scott Wardzinski

J'te Argent said...

co.signed,in complete agreement! and I speak here as Alison Harlow's spiritual heir, which I am. She stood for diversity and acceptance and I drink from the same well.

Dawn Davidson said...

I was not present at Pantheacon, but I agree with the letter, having read it in full, and presuming the accuracy of the reporting and the presented background information (of which I have no doubts, but cannot attest to since I wasn't present.) Trans-persons -- just as ALL people -- deserve respect in our communities. If anything, the millenia of service of those who are "two-spirit" or otherwise trans as healers, shamans, and other magick-workers deserves *extra* thanks from those of us who benefit from their legacy.

I whole-heartedly co-sign this letter.

Dawn Davidson

Philip said...

Cosigned,
Philip the Preacherman

Cindy Cummins, Rawprincess Studio said...

Co-signed

Cindy Cummins
Portland, OR

Ysabeaux said...

I agree with the sentiments and requests put forth in this post. We are creating a cultural change and it requires the commitment and follow through of our community, both supporters and leaders.

Cosigned,
Elizabeth Rowan

BayouGirl said...

Co-signed,

Windi M Larson

Blake Kirk said...

Jonathan,

Thank you for having expressed things so clearly. I am glad to add my name to those co-signing this open letter.

Blake Kirk / Brock

Mary the Witch said...

Co-signed,

Denise V.H., TX

Stella Omega said...

Co-signed.

Stephy said...

Co-signed, with the deepest gratitude for putting into words what I could not.

Veleda said...

Co-Signed.
Veleda

Dominic Elemirion said...

I totally agree with this too. I was appalled by the rhetoric that Z used to issue a statement to those of us who sat outside her ritual. I was also extremely proud that none of us responded to it. We remained in silent meditation which was what Thorn asked us to do. I feel we seriously need to not be excluding people but including them.

Wizard Lizard the Magick Educator said...

Co-signed in all my names:
Christopher Douglas Salvatore Hughes
flurp
Tristissima
Staci Everheart
Grok Amiri
et alia laughing and weeping
Wizard Lizard
Princess Teacup
Pope Uncommon the Dainty
and all the names I have not yet acquired

Cynthia said...

Well said. Co-signed.

Cynthia Bale

Hawthorn magick said...

I fully support the sentiments expressed in this post.

Co-signed
Hawthorn

Laura said...

I was one of the silent protestors, and I gladly co-sign.

-Laura Malouf-Renning

Allie Cat said...

Co-signed,

Alison Stevenson

Lady Robin said...

TMiniver,

Thanks for clearly delineating the multiple aspects of an issue I was unaware of (at least in the Wiccan community).

I could assert, this issue does not involve me because I am not a practicing Wiccan, but as a non cis woman I AM involved!

I was blessed with a Hand-Fasting in 2000. At the risk of diverting discussion, all present, Wiccans and those who were not, price - support CONSENSUAL BDSM!

I applaud Miniver's so clearly defining - articulating her (Wicca's) issues AND the actions - position she proposed PantheaCon should take.

Not surprisingly, similar concerns (Cis - exclusive) have arisen regarding dungeon / play spaces during major organized events and for Gay-Lesbian events/spaces.

Clearly, the dilemma is NOT exclusive to Wiccans!

As humans we need to find commonality and cooperate, NOT separate - isolate, shun, deny, stigmatize, segregate!

As a non cis woman, I urge everyone to focus on what we have in common and how we can be BETTER by being inclusive!

One & ALL be blessed, be WELL and be SAFE!

Lady Robin
lady_robin_00 at Yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the day when we can toss out the cis- and trans- nomenclature and enjoy ourselves, and each other, in all of our glorious isomers. Clearly, we aren't quite there yet, so let's take these steps toward mutual respect.

Co-signed,
Meliny McCoy

FernWise said...

Co-signed,
Fern Miller

FernsFronds.blogspot.com

Stian Kulystin said...

Very well put, happy to co-sign

-Stian Kulystin

Anonymous said...

Co-signed.

Thank you for your cogent analysis. And may we come to a resolution with grace.

Ellen Francik

Caren Franco said...

Well Said.

*signs letter*

Aisling said...

Happily co-signed,
Aisling

Catherine C.R. said...

Co-signed,
Catherine C.R.

Kiya Nicoll said...

Signed.

- Kiya Nicoll

Elirea Earthsong said...

While not a Trans Female, I GLADLY sign my name to this letter. We Pagans have enough against us outside the community, no use fighting on the inside as well.

Sincerely in love and light,
Lady Elirea Ivy Earthsong
Priestess of the Firefly tradition

Mo Batchelor said...

I am a Pagan from the UK. I am not part of the PantheaCon community as I am too far away to attend, but I have followed events both times from afar as I feel strongly about trans-rights. I would like to add my support to Jonathan's letter.

Ruadhán J McElroy said...

signed

Anonymous said...

Co-signed,

Rhiannon

Leslie Gladney www.thirdprincess.com said...

We agree with the terms of this letter, and ask Pantheacon to consider them in true seriousness, to commit to the Unity in Diversity *with compassion and love* thhat we all desire.

Co-signed,

Leslie and Ardyn Gladney

dheideman said...

I agree with this letter.

Cosigned,
Diana Heideman

Soli said...

I co-sign this letter!

Soli / Shezatwepwawet

Anonymous said...

As a UK pagan and a trans woman I agree 100 percent with the sentiments expressed here. Please if you must exclude us at least don't insult us, we get trampled enough as it is.

Neal Jansons said...

This is Neal Jansons, aka thePuck. Anyone who knows me knows where I stand on this issue.

I co-sign this letter.