Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heterocidal

In looking back over the details of the whole bloody debacle, it's clear that the biggest mistake we made was "asking" rather than "doing." See, my buddy Sphinx and I thought it might be fun to start a social/discussion group for gay male Pagans in the Houston area, so what we should have done was chosen a date, time and place, and then send out an announcement via Meetup.com. Instead, we decided to see if anyone else was interested before we moved forward, and so we posted an inquiry on a local Pagan listserv.

Like the legendary invasions of Ireland, the responses came in waves.

First Wave: Accusations and condemnation. By expressing the intent to form a group for like-minded individuals with common interests and experiences, we're being divisive and separatist. And we're destroying the community. And we hate black people. Apparently.

Second Wave: An animated discussion between several self-styled "fag hags" about how much they just love their gays. Because, y'know, nothing makes one feel more human than being perceived as a fashion accessory.

Third Wave: General consensus that this currently-theoretical group for gay male Pagans will be open to everyone. Sphinx and I replied that no, actually, we'd like to keep things limited to gay men, which was met with...

Fourth Wave: Condescension. It's so cute when the gays try to think for themselves. But really, we know what's best for you. Bless your sexually deviant little hearts.

Fifth Wave: More decrees of forced inclusion. The group will now be open to gay men and any cisgendered woman who has (I swear I am not making this up) an invisible, "phantom limb" penis.

After the last round of attempted appropriation, we gave the fuck up. Oh, the group's still happening--several other guys have expressed interest, and an official Meet & Greet's in the works--but we've removed ourselves from NeoPagan Big Brother at Large. Safe space will be created away from the willfully ignorant, with outside approval neither desired nor required. And anyone in the Houston (cough) community who takes issue with that is more than welcome to bite me.

27 comments:

Siobhan said...

I hate that. I hate when privileged people refuse to acknowledge that other people might not be, and might NEED a safe space. Sorry, this is NOT a "no girlzzz allowed" white male clubhouse, it's a GAY male clubhouse, and we need to recognize that difference.

Besides, what do they think they're missing out on? Dating opportunities? Free decorating advice? anything else terribly stereotypically bigoted?

Evn said...

Besides, what do they think they're missing out on?

It basically boiled down to two arguments:

1. "I wouldn't attend a gay event, but if you say I can't attend, then you're discriminating against straight people."

and...

2. "I'm very supportive of gay people, which means I'm allowed to attend any gay event I want."

Siobhan said...

I don't even have a response to that, except for utter bafflement. At the very least, YOU ARE NOT WANTED AND THAT IS BEING MADE VERY CLEAR.

I have no interest in going someplace where I am not wanted. None. If they are feeling that left out of the cool kids club (!) maybe they could invite y'all out on at a time, or suggest a pagan poker night.

Veles said...

Try getting into a Dianic Feminist Seperatist group on the grounds of having a "phantom vagina" and you have the makings of a really bad MadTV sketch.

I doubt Z. Budapest ever asked anyone permission to do a damned thing.

I'm glad the group is happening. I might have to visit. ;)

P.S. No trivia? What am I going to do with my Tuesday?

Evn said...

Siohban: There's actually talk of a Capture the Flag tournament...

Veles: You'd certainly be welcome. We're going to go all Unnamed Path with it. (And Tuesday Trivia's happening on Wednesday this week.)

Brother Christopher said...

when you are tired of dealing with waves, just do what Long Beac, CA did. Make a wave break out of old concrete and probably a few sunken ships. OMG look, they have a harbor now. oooo magic

Evn said...

LOL

Excellent advice, brother. As always. ;)

Bo said...

Tell them all to fuck off! Most people are overrated.

Evn said...

Roger that.

Michelle said...

Lol,

It seems the pagan community anywhere is this way. We tried to start a pagan oriented writers group once. Similar waves happened. It's almost a lightbulb joke.

Siobhan said...

I'd argue that most communities are this way. No one wants to be left out, and inclusion in one group can make you feel like you're included in every group (but -I'M a pagan! Who cares that I'm not GAY), especially when one or more of those groups suffers from kyriarchical oppression (but -I'M a pagan! Who cares that I'm not GAY).

That does not mean they should not be FIRMLY smacked upside the head.

Matt Gerlach said...

My boyfriend runs a Gay men's circle and he specifically says no straight people allowed, because one of the guys brought his fag hag who was neither Pagan, nor had ever been to a Pagan ritual before. It sort of puts a damper on creating a Tribe of Brothers when you constantly have to reassure the mortally terrified girl that Satan isn't going to jump out from behind the couch and eat her.

And my advice: Anyone who wants to be part of an all inclusive Pagan group should just run one.

Evn said...

Michelle:

Q - "How many Pagan writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"

A - "STOP OPPRESSING ME!!!"

Siobhan: "Kyriarchical" is my new official Word of the Day. Seriously, I'm going to see how many times I can work it into conversations.

Matt: We ran into similar issues back in my Radical Faerie days, except it involved a bi guy who would always bring his girlfriend along.

Thalia Took said...

Yeah, uh, privilege fail, as they'd say. It's reminding me of this poem by Chrystos.

People are fucking stupid, and I'm so sorry about that.

hidingplainsight said...

Yeah, that asking bidness is all kinds of wacky fun. I never ask anymore. If I'm really committed I just do it and see what happens. Fucking internet pagans. Nothing but dissension. But then I'm not crazy about my parents Quaker need for consensus either.

What to do, what to do...

Yewtree said...

We absolutely need gay-only and LGBT-only discussion space, because every time you try to hold a discussion about magic and Wicca for LGBTs, some dumbass hetero turns up and asks really dumbass questions, thus preventing us from getting on to the really interesting stuff. It really really annoys me.

And, y'know, the issues are different for Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts, so we need discussion groups for the individual groups too. I treasure the memory of the time when I got together with some other bisexuals to discuss religion and spirituality.

Anne-Kathrine said...

Good grief those people need to get a life. I know Im a straight chick who's learning about pagan but even I can figure out y'all wanted only gay men. They all need a collective Gibb's smack :)

Yewtree said...

Welcome to the mad world of Pagan, Anne-Kathrine. You have probably figured out already that the best way to stay sane is to avoid joining any Pagan mailing lists, except those with very tight membership and topic criteria.

Meanwhile, this comic seemed curiously apposite to the mailing list members you describe.

(HMM, word verification is biolds - d'you think blogger is trying to tell me something? Clearly as mentioned previously on this blog, the internet really does know you're LGBT.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

I find issue with just one thing--the characterization of the list serve in question as "the Pagan community." Nuh uh.

What a list serve often is is a representative sprinkling of members of the Pagan community (as in, people who actually have and nurture RELATIONSHIPS with other humans who make up that community) and a large assortment of online and offline trolls, whose self-identification as "the Pagan community" ought not to be accepted at face value.

If your world is restricted to sycophants and enemies, as are the majority of the online and offline community trolls, you are not actually taking part in deepening any human relationships. Instead, you are substituting large quantities of uncritical ego-worship and/or flame wars for aforesaid relationships. And for therapy, which it would be a good idea to pay for instead of that latest soul-retrieval workshop.

We, the members of the actual Pagan community are off over here, in the meadow, actually worshipping gods, connecting with one another, and generally behaving like kind and intelligent beings.

We apologize to the newcomers to our Pagan culture for the fact that we have so few signs and banners to allow you to find us easily. We used to have them, but every time we put them up, they attracted a bunch of trolls who showed up en masse and started telling us they owned the meadow. We found them annoying to argue with--they never listen or make any sense--and so we just took down the signs.

We are grateful for those Pagan community members like Evn who make regular forays into Troll Country looking for those who have yet to find the meadow, and celebrate the use of any portion of it to meet any community needs whatsoever, whether the creation of resources for gay men, Pagan parents, or Pagans involved in the production of pastries. It's all good.

Just don't confuse us with the trolls who think they own us. We don't--which is why you'll rarely find us on their listserves...

Pax said...

Cat, please, please, please, post that comment to your blog... it needs to be spread far and wide!!

Evn said...

I agree.

Albiana said...

Oh, Evn, I went utterly schizoid reading this post. Half laughing at your likening what transpired to the various invasions of Ireland AND really having angry empathy pangs for you over your descriptions of the moron-a-than that followed your well-intentioned public announcement on the listserv.

It all comes back to "you can't please everyone" and "most people can't handle being left out of the loop, even if they don't truly care about the loop itself."

Nashing of teeth, half-choked guffaws ensue. I hereby echo the pervading thought of fellow commentors....internet pagans generally suck.

*braincramp*

Paul said...

I was bouncing around the net, looking for interesting pagan blogs when I found this post via MetaPagan. I am a gay male pagan in the Houston area, so if you are still planning a meetup, I would definitely be interested. My path thus far has been very eclectic, solitary, and sporadic, and I've lately been feeling the need for something more communal.

Evn said...

Paul, I'll definitely keep you posted! Where in Houston are you?

Siobhan said...

DAMN YOU PAUL!!

Proving RD's point on that other thread :(.

*grumble grumble*

Paul said...

Paul, I'll definitely keep you posted! Where in Houston are you?

I live out towards Humble and work in the Med Center area.

Siobhan, sorry if I stepped on any toes.

Siobhan said...

LOL! Not at all -- check out this thread for explanation.