I’ve been wondering this, myself…

A quote from Northern_Light_27 on Patheos:

I’m not at all surprised to find Pagan Pride days at part of the root of this, because I contend that PPDs have no idea what they actually want to be. They want to be occasions for outreach and education to non-Pagans about Paganism, but they also want to be Pride in the sense they borrowed the term from, “we’re here, we’re Pagan, get used to it” and be a celebration that we can walk around in public without serious persecution. The problem is that these are not aims that mesh. If it’s about educating the non-Pagans, you don’t want Miss Fairy Wings talking to the press, but if it’s about Pride, she should let her freak flag fly. If it’s about putting on a good image, you might want to vet the rituals so that you don’t get anything that confuses participants or scares the horses because “we are a whole bunch of things that have absolutely bubkes in common with one another” (which will, of course, beg the question of “so why are you all called ‘Pagan’, again?”) is a harder sell than “we worship the earth”. (Though if I’m a Heathen kindred, I’m not touching this with a 40′ cattle prod because of massive message dilution– a table at the county fair is a whole lot more effective than participating in this.) If it’s about education, it shouldn’t be done ad-hoc so that common themes within diversity can be explored in a way less baffling to outsiders. If it’s about Pride, you want no gating at all, and if people from without are baffled, tough– google it or ask somebody after the presentation.

But PPD wants to be ALL these things, so ends up doing none of them as well as they could if they focused. The other elements of the Wiccanate Privilege discussion notwithstanding, *this* part I think is squarely on PPD’s perennial confusion about itself. (As are the also-perennial complaints about silly garb at PPD and how it looks bad to press/non-Pagans, which would be cleared up if PPDs could pick between the competing missions– with LGBT Pride, you can legitimately tell people complaining about Leathermen that they’re missing the point. It doesn’t stop the complaining, but it actually isn’t germane, while the complaints about PPD have a point, I think.)

So what *is* the original intent behind Pagan Pride day, and what exactly is the point? I think if we could determine that, it would make for an excellent reclaiming project. I got to admit, when i see the term “Pagan Pride”, coming from a Queer space, as I have, I logically assume this to mean “We’re here, we’re pagan, get used to it” and, while certainly educating and engaging the public can be a by-product of that radical notion of Brenda Howard’s to show up and remind people we exist and in all sorts of ways, that’s not the goal: The goal was to be present in and say “I’m here, too”, the goal was to put faces to a movement.

If the initial goal of Pagan Pride Day was to educate people and reach out and putting on a “united” image, then why appropriate the terminology of “Pride Day” from the Gender and Sexual Minority movements?


2 thoughts on “I’ve been wondering this, myself…

  1. Actually I think Queer Pride events these days are more about education and PR than “we exist whether you like it or not” though we still have lots of drag queens and leathermen prancing about- there’s just way more people period, so more conventional-looking people. And that’s kind of the case with at least some Pagan Prides. The one in my area is actually pretty good about including different sorts of paganisms. I just went to Paganicon, the conference they put on, and I think I felt weirder there for being a non-magic user/believer than being a polytheist.

    I remember 2 members tabling once for our Pagan college group- one was a pretty traditionally-minded Heathen, the other was one a very idiosyncratic eclectic (the only feature of his path I remember was that his “totem animal” was a pterodactyl) so between the two of them they had to explain what “Paganism” was. Fun fun!


    • Yeah, GBLT Pride events tend to lean a bit more educational, these days (and not to mention, far more corporate than Brenda Howard and the original Stonewall rioters ever intended), but on the timeline of these events, it’s clearly more of an afterthought than an intended purpose. And Smaller GBLT Pride events, like in Ann Arbor and Lansing, Michigan, education is a matter more often left to a table of pamphlets and television.


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