The Bridge Called Pride
Much discrimination is based solely on the religious teachings over the years by Judeo-Christian faiths that an LGBTQ Lifestyle is a “sin” or “goes against God.” The same is said for practitioners of Pagan or earth-based faiths.
Both the Pagan and LGBTQ communities have been victims to discrimination in employment; difficulties with landlords & neighbors; harassment up to and including assault & battery; parents disowning children; famiy members turning away; awkward pauses in conversations; and preaching on what the other person feels is right based on their beliefs.
Like the LGBTQ community, Pagans cannot always live their lives openly & honestly because of fear that surrounds them.
While there are people that would never make a racial slur or discriminate based on gender, those same people still discriminate based on religion. This is deeply rooted in the teachings of those faiths that their beliefs are the only true or correct beliefs, or due to the individual being misinformed about other religious practices.
Acceptance in Paganism
The vast majority of Pagan faiths do not share the many of the viewpoints of other faiths and therefore sexual orientation and gender identity are irrelevant.
This is not to say that all Pagans feel this way. There are some that still feel that only feminine born is feminine and only masculine born is masculine. However the majority do not define the masculine and feminine by the physical body. A large portion of the Pagan Community actually believes all human beings possess both masculine and feminine energies.
LGBTQ & Spiritual Connection
Under the umbrella term of “Paganism” falls all earth-based spiritual practices. Amongst them are all Native American cultures.
In some Native American cultures those who identify with neither gender or identify as a different gender than the physical body indicates, are often regarded as being the bridge between men and women. These individuals are also often viewed as special healers.
Amongst the Navajo and Lakota people, they were often seen as the guardians of special ritual or magical holders of unique ritual instruction, such as ritual magical chants or the ability to make child birth easier.
The Mohave believe that female Shamans are spiritually stronger than male, and that “other” gendered Shamans are stronger still.
Amongst the Yokuts & Klamath tribes, individuals who identified as neither or different genders, oversaw the burials & rites for the dead.
Other Pagans also revere members of the LGBTQ community has holding special spiritual connections and abilities, citing that they hold a deeper rooted connection to both the masculine and feminine divinity by nature.
Coming Out of the Closet
The term of “coming out of the closet” is also shared between the LGBTQ and Pagan Communities.
In the Pagan community it is often asked if one has “come out of the broom closet” – ie: openly Pagan. At times it is very difficult for these individuals to live their lives as the magickal and free spirited individuals that they are out of fear of some kind of discrimination or abandonment by their families.
Part of the West Central Florida Pagan Alliance’s mission is to assist individuals with finding ways to come out to their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers by providing insight into each other’s experiences, as well as providing safe spaces for discussions, education and worship without these fears.
The Bridge Between Communities
Because the issues & goals between the LGBTQ and Pagan Communities are similar, when Cecylyna Dewer, the founder of the Pagan Pride Organization, began the movement to promote understanding and acceptance of Pagan Spirituality, the phrase “Pagan Pride” came to mind.
Both communities seek to reduce societal xenophobia until no one needs to hide his or her “differences”. Pagan Pride owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Gay Pride movement for its achievements.
The history of shared experiences between the LGBTQ & Pagan Communities coupled with the majority acceptance of all human beings regardless of race, color, creed, gender identity, disability, sex, financial status & sexual orientation are what brings these two communities together so often.
Pagan & Proud
Some people feel “Pagan Pride” is confrontational, however it has proven to be an effective phrase for both Pagan & LGBTQ Communities.
We will not hide in the shadows.
We are not ashamed of who we are or what Gods we reverence or the ways in which we celebrate.
We claim the right to take pride in ourselves.
What is a Pagan?
While people can debate the true definition of Pagan and/or Paganism, the following is the most common current day definition within Pagan Religious practices, as stated by Pagan Pride Organization founder Cecylyna Dewer.
Someone who identifies as Pagan and whose spiritual beliefs or religious practices include 1 or more of the following:
West Central Florida Pagan Alliance
We are a nonprofit 501c3 religious organization. Our mission is to provide education to the Pagan and non-pagan community about Pagan beliefs, provide safe spaces for religious worship, promote a loving and tolerant community between all faiths, and encourage love and acceptance regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation throughout the central Florida area
Pagan Pride Org
While the West Central Florida Pagan Alliance, Inc. shares the same values and goals as the Pagan Pride Organization, we are not directly affiliated with them.
For more information about the Pagan Pride Organization, visit www.paganpride.org.