Earlier this month, I got asked if I’d be interested in having a table at our areas first “Coming Out Day” by our newly created Pride Alliance. I hadn’t had a chance to sit in on meetings and the like, so I was really lucky a good friend could and keep me up to date. I was like HELL YEAH, of course, but then after I signed up, I got nervous. What does a pagan ministry have to do with LGBTQ+ issues?
For me, it’s personal and professional. I am pansexual that just happens to be in a heterosexual relationship and a monogamous one by choice. I don’t love my partner because they have certain body parts- I love him because of who he is. Not only that, I have family- both immediate and extended, who are gay, lesbian, trans, bi, genderfluid, and asexual. I have friends in all those categories as well. And if there’s one thing I know for sure- their lives can be made miserable by exclusivity, hate, fear and fundamentalism.
If there’s one thing that helps prevent suicide in our LGBTQ+ friends- it’s having an ally. Straight kids don’t commit suicide because they are straight. Suicide happens, but not because they have been profiled, excluded, attacked, treated as less and wrong for their heterosexual identity. LGBTQ+ do commit suicide for those reasons, and it’s not neccesary. Particularly as a pagan person, using religion to justify this mistreatment and abuse in the name of “God” is highly offensive.
So yes, pagan ministry has something to do with the LGBTQ+ community because I want to stand as an ally. I want all LGBTQ+ folks, pagan or not, know that I accept them for who they are, and I stand with them. I want them to be proud of who they are. I want them to know that there are people like myself out there, wanting to cheer them on, support them, foster their spiritual development and personal growth.
When I first started to study to be a community minister for the Pagan community, one of the biggest things I wanted to do was be able to provide services for the spiritual LGBTQ+ community. Again, pagan or not. If they needed a priestess to marry them, if they wanted a blessing on their transition, to celebrate their coming out, to bless their children, celebrate life stage, and even walk with them, providing comfort as they, or someone they loved passed from the Earth- they could find them.
My own tradition is not any set of specific path. I set off with the simple idea of providing a place and service to help others grow into their best self- regardless of spiritual tradition- and have moved from that desire. The best self of an LGBTQ+ person includes allies, support folk, and yes- priests that care. It feels, at least to me, that it’s only natural to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
And while Liminal Raven Ministries is new- and mostly online at this point, it feels super scary to step out into my in person community. In a way, I almost feel as though I’m stepping out of the broom closet, and while I think it’s scary, I’m grateful for those who support me. I hope that me reaching out my hand, will help others feel safe to step out of that closet as well. And maybe I’ll get lucky and start to find the community I desire to be a part of closer than I hoped- right in my own backyard.
So, the next few weeks, in between my studies, I'll be working on some art projects, some support services that have long been on the back burner, and some fun stuff for my little table. And anyone who knows me, knows that I'll be happy if I can help even one person feel more comfortable and welcome in their skin.