We are all connected, not separated out. Duality—the division for love’s sake—is a teaching tool, a construct, a helpful way to think about things sometimes, a lot of fun at other times, and a stumbling block in still others. It does not reflect the deeper reality that I, as a Pagan mystic, touch in all the times I remember myself. When I remember myself, I remember the world, and the world is whole.
- T. Thorn Coyle (Patheos.com)
I am going to finally say it. I am neither male, nor female, masculine, nor feminine…I am simply non-gendered, androgynous, beyond or within the concept/idea of gender…to be honest, gender makes no sense to me at all beyond the biological function of procreation.
I am saying this now, though I have always felt it (perhaps not so articulately), because of the recent furor in the Pagan community focussed on gender discrimination, conceptualisation/identity and reality. Recently, at the largest hotel Pagan convention in the US (Pantheacon), transwomen were excluded from a womens-only ritual because transwomen are not ‘women born women’. The organisers of this ritual (which has been the catalyst for the explosion in discussion in our global community) have since apologised for this oversight and have vowed that any ritual they hold at any future Pantheacon will be open to all those who identify as ‘woman’. I applaud them on this gesture, however I also markedly understand their right to create ritual for ciswomen (women whose external physicality and internal identity match) only being that these rituals often focus on the feminine mysteries of the female body and its flow and functions. That transwomen will never bleed with the moon is a fact, but that does not mean they will not feel that psychic tide, or find it significant in the formation of identity. It is beyond me to truly understand the struggles of transwomen or ciswomen, or to even comment on the inherent right of women to self-determine and make their own decisions. What I wish to comment on, as Thorn has done so beautifully in her article at Patheos Pagan Portal (http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Duality-and-Diversity-T-Thorn-Coyle-03-04-2011?offset=2&max=1) is the concept of gender and how I as Queer do not identify with it.
I can not begin to understand why or how I feel this way, but it is the way I have always felt. I identify as gay, and perhaps this is so because largely my physical attraction is to the male physique; it is not necessarily the characteristics of men or the stereotypes thereof which endear me toward them; for me, it is a purely physical thing. I am also attracted to women, and more often than not, I find that I make friends with women more often. All of this aside I do not feel duty or obligation to state whether or not I am masculine or feminine, or even whether this societally-ingrained duality/polarity serves my own instinct.
Several years ago I dressed more ‘feminine’ than I do now. My hair was long and the envy of many women, I wore only women’s clothes, and I often wore make-up (eye-liner, mascara and lip-gloss). However, during this time I never once felt any less gay (or any more gay) or attracted to the masculine. I never felt that I had to be more ‘womanly’ to attain to a a basic polarity. I often shudder internally when someone asks, “So who is the wife?”, when it comes to the dynamic of my relationship with my husband. No one is the wife! We both have penises! If we are to use the English language and its conventions of description and definition that would make us both biologically men and thus both husbands. My concept of marriage is a heartfelt and devoted union of two or more consenting adults, to live life together, not necessarily as a unit, but definitely as complementary parts of an organic wholeness – contributing to a common cause (the relationship). My gender identity throughout all of this, however, is nil.
I sometimes wonder whether this state of being I find myself within also influences my skill as a shaman? Do I find it so easy to shift paradigms and transform consciousness to attain to ecstasy because I have no particular anchor in any point of polarity? Perhaps for me this is so, but equally it would be right to say that as a woman one is thus empowered, and a man too, and a transwo/man. I will not indulge in the multiplicity of theories as to why women are thus empowered, or men, or transwo/men. However, what I wish to convey is the magnanimous truth that infinite possibility translates as infinite expression/s and as the Mighty Weaver weaves so are we each a strand in this cosmic tapestry we call Life. These strands must be unique to preserve the deep integrity of this woven web; just as an ecosystem requires diversity to flourish, so does humanity require it to discover meaning.
I am a feminist, not because I am physically a woman or because I identify as feminine, but because I uphold the idea and ideal of equal rights for all regardless of distinction. I call myself gay because I am biologically male and with a male who most likely identifies as a man. I refer to myself as a Witch, not because our modern Craft community declares it a gender-neutral term, but because it is a word that calls to my soul. I am incarnate as human, even if internally I feel myself pulled in more ‘celestial’ directions. I find language an effective tool of communication and expression insofar as it does not force us to limit the potentiality or mutability of any given concept.
I do not feel the need to declare myself non-gendered or even androgynous on government or official documentation. When I glance at those two boxes however, I feel a sense of repulsion. I often find my hand nearly scribing “Do not abuse me with your gender politics”, but at the end of the day I simply see through this paradigm of binary opposition and separatist notions of better-than or different-than. I will not deny anyone’s right to identify as they wish and celebrate that innate feeling; I do not have or wish to have that authority. I simply wish to add to this diversity and the depth of understanding we are pooling together in exploring these Mysteries. Like Thorn, I have to also agree, the issue of gender is not so much an issue for me…
Let us Love one another for who we are~