Category Archives: GLBT or LGBT Issues

However way you initial it–GLBT or LGBT– these are matters and issues concerning the Lifestyles of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgenders.

The LGBT Massacre in Orlando and Political Rhetoric

I’ve noticed lately that the media are throwing around the word “rhetoric” a lot. They’re using it like it means “an opinion or position taken by someone when discussing an issue.” Many treat it like it’s truth or a version of the truth based on fact. Merriam-Webster defines rhetoric as “language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable.” Rhetoric is opinions that do not have to be based on fact at all.

One thing about politicians: the vast majority are not honest or reasonable. Many pander to the lowest common denominator. They do not seek to raise us up and make us better people. There’s no adherence to a “harm none” philosophy, much less a desire to improve the lives of those who most need help. They’re leaders who lack the courage to lead. They perpetuate hatred, racism, and xenophobia. The debate about LGBT issues moved out of the spotlight after the anti-gay laws enacted in Mississippi and North Carolina fell victim to national ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder.) The shootings at The Pulse in Orlando brought it back into the spotlight—somewhat.

Orlando 1The massacre in Orlando brought many out to express sympathy, including those who block legislation that would protect the LGBT persons or introduce/sponsor legislation that directly or indirectly targets LGBT persons. Though the news has carried headlines about pastors and others who basically said that gays had is coming, much of the news focused on people—activists and mourners—who had messages of unity and love. Perhaps they aren’t Pagan, but those are at the heart of our philosophy. Particularly, I was struck by those dressed as angels who blocked protesters from the cult The Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting the funerals of the Pulse victims. Blessed Be.

Orlando 3The truth of the matter is that hate crimes, related to terrorism or not, will continue to happen because of the insidious nature of anti-gay prejudice that is ingrained in people from a young age. It starts with cultures or religions—in the US—that preach against it, cements when we tolerate anti-gay speech (even something as seemingly innocuous as letting kids say, “that’s gay” when speaking of something undesirable), and it proliferates in the hearts of those who internalize that hate.

That hate has to be directed somewhere. Is it ironic that some of the most strident anti-LGBT advocates are themselves found to have secret gay relationships or affairs? How about the fact that Mateen, the Orlando mass-murderer, repeatedly tried to pick up men? If these people had been taught to love and accept themselves, they wouldn’t be running around preaching hate, legislating anti-LGBT bills, or killing gays because they’re terrified of being who they really are.

At some point, we need to recognize the harm of rhetoric that perpetuates hate—hatred of self and of others—because that’s the real root of all this evil.Orlando 2

Wedding bells for Bert and Ernie?

Nothing should surprise me anymore, but when I saw a petition calling for Bert and Ernie to get married on Sesame Street, I took note. First of all, I had no idea that Bert and Ernie were a gay couple. Maybe I missed something. I grew up watching them on Sesame Street and don’t recall anything that could hint that they were a couple. I think they sleep in separate beds, too. Plus, they are puppets. Do puppets even have a sexual orientation?

I thought that maybe gay rights activists were acting out because of all the recent anti-gay news like Michele Bachman’s ‘pray away the gay’ class. Snicker. I find this even more ridiculous than a gay wedding on Sesame Street, but that’s another blog post.

Personally, I have no problem with gay people and it wouldn’t bother me if Bert and Ernie were gay or if they decided to get married. However, is this the proper venue to host a gay wedding? I’m not even sure the kids watching Sesame Street would understand the issue of gays and same-sex marriage.

What I do know is that there are certain people that would freak out if Sesame Street decided to air a same-sex wedding on a kid’s program. Do we really need to add more fuel to the anti-gay fire? Perhaps it’s best to just leave this issue alone, and those who want to believe that Bert and Ernie are gay can do so without enraging the anti-gay faction. And really, aren’t there more important issues to worry about than two puppets getting married?

Kelley Heckart

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Three different women, one ancient curse…

Cafe Opening

Garden in the City - Elen Sentier
Garden in the City – Elen Sentier

Garden in the City opens at 10am on Thursday 9th December 2010.

Do come.


Wye’s Women

Elen Sentier & Jennie Russell-Smith

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The Inherent Mother

This is the story that made me really want to get writing on Real News of relevance to Pagans:

OK, it’s a commentary page rather than a News story. But it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, and I find it hard to believe that I’m alone.

As pagans, we take the idea of the Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone pretty much for granted – it’s one of those things you learn right from the start, in the first (and fifty-first) Paganism 101 book.

The only time I’ve seen an alternative, in fact, is in a recent issue of Sagewoman magazine, suggesting an addition to the tripartate Lady – the Queen. This is the stage of womanhood after childbearing and rearing, but before menopause, when a woman really starts to live her life for herself. A lovely idea, and one I’d embrace wholeheartedly, if it were applicable.

But how many of us ladies have encountered a lack of place in such a system for us? (I know some gentlemen friends who feel similarly excluded from the God role, whether as homosexual, transgendered or simply for the same reasons I’m going into here, just from a male perspective – but I don’t think I’m equipped  to discuss that, so will leave it to one of the chaps. Hopefully they’ll be able to read this post regardless. As last time, I promise it won’t turn into a feminist rant.)

I’m a woman in my thirties, who has yet to feel any broodiness or longing for a child. I won’t discount it as a future possibility, but from childhood myself, I never really saw it as something I’d want to do. As with the women in the article, there are a variety of reasons, and with the efficacy of birth control, I count myself fortune that I can continue with my life without any small attachments as yet.

This doesn’t mean I’m some sort of uncaring harridan, the old-school spinster type. I have a loving partner, pets and busy life with many friends I care for deeply. I am not beholden to my career either, simply to living my life as fully as I can, with my faith as a strong part of that.

However, as the BBC discovered, some women cannot take such a lifestyle choice quietly. I know of like-minded ladies who have been openly confronted with such wisdom as ‘if you don’t have children, you aren’t a proper woman’. Their fitness to BE women is actually questioned because they take the option open to them not to be mothers – and this is before their faith even enters the argument.

Even in the 21st century, women’s roles are still tacitly assumed to be limited to their gendered skills – specifically Jerry Hall’s famous quote. In pagan circles, as we struggle for recognition in the modern world while endeavouring to recognise our ancestry, there is still only the Maiden, Mother and Crone. What place in there for me?

When placed in ritual, I’ve seen the confused faces as roles are assigned and realisation dawns. I’m usually planted somewhere between the Maiden and the Mother (presumably No-longer-a-Maiden-but-Not-a-Mother-Yet).

Men don’t seem to have this problem in society generally – there’s no stigma against a ‘confirmed bachelor’ – but in pagan rites you somehow aren’t so confined. You may be Brother, Son, Warrior, Lover… the comparative workings of your loins are not (necessarily) up for public debate.

But there are options – we’ve all seen them. Acting as Priestess, you’re effectively ‘mother’ to the group as a whole (whether you are in daily life or not). We’ll all be Maidens and Crones, but are also fully able to act as Carers, with all the responsibility that this conveys, without having actually given birth ourselves.

I certainly understand the importance of mothers – both in actuality, as a central point of our being, and in the larger, global sense of Earth and Goddess. But can we not also be Women, strong in heart, mind and body, without a small person to confirm it?

I know my Goddess can.