Or “Why Sexual Orientation Doesn’t Matter”…
So I discovered this wonderful button that lets me look at my site’s stats, and one of the search terms that popped up is “is freya a lesbian goddess?”
Today I received a question from an anonymous asker who hopefully won’t mind if I quote them:
“What are your thoughts about bisexuality in modern heathenism? Are there particular Vanir whom a bisexual heathen may be better able to relate to, than others?”
(BTW, my tumblr is here: http://answersfromvanaheim.tumblr.com/)
So I think it’s time to address this question.
The long and short of it is, the idea of “gay gods” and “lesbian goddesses” is about as silly to me as the idea that there are “straight gods” and “straight goddesses”.
What I mean by this is that deities definitely appear to have their preferences. There are deities who are (at the very least) bisexual as we moderns would understand it, but the thing is, sexual orientation wasn’t really a thing until modern times. In many societies, as long as you “did your duty” and had children, you could have lovers “on the side” and no one would give a fuck.
If you were a man, at least. It’s difficult to find a lot of material on lesbians in pre-modern societies (though depending on where and when you’re looking, you might have better luck). In kyriarchical societies, men just don’t care about what women are doing unless they’re doing something particularly transgressive (like dressing up in men’s clothing). These are just broad brush strokes that obviously don’t account for time and place.
I think there is definitely a misconception among some that the phrase “gay/queer god” somehow means that I think the deity can only be worshiped by gay or bisexual men. Such people usually say “Well, I’m straight and I worship X.”
Seriously, this line of reasoning is just silly.
By the same token, it’s also silly to claim that certain deities can’t be worshiped by queer folks because of something stupid like “deity X is too manly” (as if all gay/bi men are effeminate). This opinion was expressed by a well-known Heathen author who I believe has since retracted those comments.
Deities will choose whoever they want. It doesn’t matter if that person is gay, het, bi, genderqueer, intersex, or any other orientation or gender identity. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t particular deities that LGBT+s might feel an affinity towards (Loki, f0r instance, seems to have a lot of queer followers) but that doesn’t mean you, as an LGBT+ person, is limited to a list of deities the community defines as “queer friendly”.
Your relationship with any deity is between you and that deity.
Although, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that even the most heteronormative deity is secretly flying a rainbow flag in their bedroom.