[Trigger warning: homophobia, anti-Pagan bigotry, ranting]
In the wake of the recent drama around the Pagan/polytheist/whatever the fuck we’re calling ourselves this week blogosphere, there’s been a bit of discussion about community. whether there is or is not a “Pagan community” or whether or not online spaces “count” as a community, and such.
I just want to chime in and say that if it wasn’t for the online communities I’ve joined, whether groups on Facebook or fora like The Cauldron, I would find it very difficult to do religion. It’s kind of sad that I have to say this, but I would.
I live in two closets. I have told my mother that I am not interested in men sexually. She believes that I’ll turn around once I “try boys”. I haven’t said anything to my biological mother and stepdad because they make homophobic comments all the time and talk about wanting to slap gay men for DARING to kiss on a crowded beach. In short, I am concerned that if/when I do come out, I could be shunned or assaulted by my own blood because I’m queer, and that’s a scary thing.
I am also in the broom closet. In a nutshell, my a-mom thinks I’m an atheist, she calls my Pagan-y books “crap” and really doesn’t take any non-Catholic religion seriously. In fact, if I show the slightest interest in doing anything even remotely Pagan-y, she assumes I’ve gone and joined a cult. I am, after all, her sweet, innocent, naive daughter who couldn’t possibly make up her own mind about religion despite spending FOUR YEARS studying religion on a full time basis at university.
“How did you manage to collect so many tarot decks?” You ask.
To be honest, I have no idea, I think, somewhere inside my mom there is a very new agey part of her that believes in things like divination and TV psychics and stuff.
But then she turns around and gets mad at me for bringing home fiction about witches.
All I’m going to say is that there are certain things I’m writing that she’s never going to see, like Chapter 2 of The Tithe-Boy.
Some of us are not free to set up altars or shrines. Some of us are not free to make regular offerings, attend group meetings, conventions, or the like. Some of us are not free to do simple things that most Pagans don’t think twice about, and there are those who are not as lucky as I am, and who can’t have their tarot decks or books because their parents are super religious.
This is why online spaces are so important.
I have the advantage over my parents in that I am net savvy. The Internet is the one place where I can express myself as a Pagan, as a queer Pagan women, in places where there are other people like me. I have a very good reason why I don’t friend people I know in real life on Facebook, because sometimes (gods forbid) I don’t want to watch what I say, and I want to talk about things with others that people I know in real life just wouldn’t get. Sometimes I need a break from all the “compulsory monotheism” in my life, and I would rather have all the Internet Pagan Drama in the world than have to listen to my mom going on about how I’ve joined a cult and am only interested in “crap”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, but sometimes….sometimes….sometimes she just makes me sad. Very sad. Biomom is the same way.
My point is, online spaces are very important. For some of us, they’re all we have at some point in our lives, and I think some, having broken out of their closets (or having had the good fortune to grow up with open-minded folks) forget that.