Parallel Closets

It isn’t impossible to hide one’s sexuality or gender identity, nearly eighteen years of DATD showed us that. And of course trans* service people still have to conceal their deepest selves even today.

What is impossible is having whole and meaningful connections with the world outside your closet doors.

So, I’m reading this post on Bilerico, and I can’t help but remember why I stand firm in my belief that being out is not “privilege” as the shamers amongst the Bourgeoisie want us to believe, it’s defiance —maybe the privilege of a loving family is a hollow one for the price of closeting, but the notion that being “out” is a privilege is a Bourgeoisie lie, designed to create an artificial rift between those enslaved to their closets and those who paid a hard price to be free of theirs. And the whole notion of being closeted “for love” is for only the the most empty kind of love you can get from a person; I mean, what kind of love demands that you keep a heavy door between you, never letting the two of you really see each-other, much less really touch and be touched by?

When Psykhe took the lamp into the bedroom of Eros’ crystal castle in the sky high above Helikon, and the tiniest bit of oil singed the beautiful God’s skin, He ran. He didn’t run from the pain, or simply the surprise of being woken up in such a way. He ran from the lack of trust. But at the same time, can She really be blamed? When we truly love some-one, any-one, we want to know them as much as we trust them. We don’t have to know everything, but we have this burning desire to know them, or as Genesis P-Orridge put it, to completely consume them and be a part of them and have them be a part of you. We cannot love from behind doors, we can only admire. Trust, knowledge… Love needs that vulnerability to exist, and until such openness is allowed, there exists little more than fondness.

From the trials of Psykhe, after breaking open Eros’ own closet of darkness, we learn that true love overcomes, making us more willing and indeed able to take in the whole person, love them even more, as with the more we learn, the more we have to fall in love with —be is romantic or familial.

Some might want us to believe the Capitalist lie, that love is a privilege to be earned, but indeed, it’s what makes the world turn —for Gaia so passionately loves Ouranos, that she twirls about in His arms forever as They dance the dance of Eternity around Helios’ shining orb, for even after that blazing ball consumes Them, they and Their love will live on. It was created freely in the womb of eternal night, and is given freely at alarming rates, often with neither rhyme nor reason. Some actions can cause love to end, but this is the most mortal form of love, and being mortal, we can’t help it when that happens —but the less mortal, more pure the love, the more willing it is to see that which sets us apart and love us all the same, or even all the more.


Well, colour me late-to-the-party…

…but it seems the misandrist, gender-essentialist transphobe, Mary Daly has finally kicked it. At the risk of appearing in really bad taste, I have only one word to say:


Maybe now LBTQ Women’s spirituality can make some real progress now? Seriously now, the difference between Mary Daly and Valarie Solanas is, later in life, Solanas insisted that her apparently anti-man writings were never meant to be taken seriously while, as recently as 1999, Mary Daly consented to retirement after refusing to admit male students into her Women’s Studies course. Daly, in no uncertain terms, was always explicitly clear that she believed women superior to men.

She also has been cited by critics as “homogenising” women’s history, ignoring (and thereby marginalising) “women of colour”, and has been explicitly transphobic, stating “transsexualism” is a “male condition” and “Frankensteinian” and post-operative TS women live in a “contrived and artifactual condition”.

I will shed no tears for this woman’s death. Not only is one of my best friends a woman of transsexual history (as in, “male-to-female transsexual”), but her basic gender essentialism (which reduces all the psychological, neurological, and socially-encouraged aspects of gender down to what one’s genitals appear most like at birth) and dismissal of the TS experience as “a male condition” is one of the more ignorant forms of hate-speech as it outright denies the possibility of [female-to-male] transsexual men and renders the TS man’s experiences little more than non-existent. I would say “was” if not for the fact that this harmful gender-essentialism still permeates both feminist and pagan/polytheist discourse to an extent that is near-impossible to escape. (Follow this link for more boring crap!)

Now obviously the idea that how one “is supposed to” dress and behave and think because is what they have between the legs is at least as old as Hesiod, though most likely older, but saying that “it’s the right way to believe because it’s a traditional way to believe” is logically unsound. By that logic, well, it’s traditional to hold women as chattel so therefore we “should”.

The fact of the matter is, while undeniable that Mary Daly’s own thoughts on the subjects of ecofeminism and feminist spirituality helped bring these topics into discourse as we know it, she used this position as a pioneer to push her own essentialist and anti-male, anti-man, anti-masculine agenda, which many people now feel has no place in progressive discourse. She painted spirituality and gender in terms of black-and-white when what truly exists are varying greys and even colours. She was a casual racist who ignored the voices of non-“white” women — and a kook who truly believed that humanity’s, and indeed the entire planet Earth’s only true salvation was in phasing out the male sex.

Progress will not mourn Mary Daly, and Progress will eventually learn to pity her memory and those who cling to her now-useless and all-too-often counter-productive ideals. I’m convinced that her time and place was to be nothing more than the “squeaky wheel” that called attention to certain progresses by being an educated kook, and so once that spotlight shifted into position and lingered, her time had passed.

Edited to add:
I just wanted to add a link here to this awesome post on Daly and feminism from the Genderbitch blog on She and those she quotes sum up the perspective of TS women on Mary Daly better than I could. Even a trans guy is quoted.

I’m also going to say that a lot of my Daly research is fairly recent; before this last few days, most of what i knew about her was second-hand from two TS women pagans I know who seem to hold Daly personally responsible for the gender essentialism that continues to permeate pagan and polytheist circles — and the “uterine supremacy” that seems to outright deny sacred masculine, sacred androgyny, or anything else in-between. Some of the most pious polytheists I know are TS/TG, genderqueer and/or “genderfucked” (I use both of these terms pretty loosely and broadly, for the sake of keeping this edit shorter), or completely devoid of any internal sense of gender identity. Many polytheistic recons I know are women especially devoted to masculine Deities or men especially devoted to feminine deities. Furthermore, Hellenic polytheism specifically has no shortage of “androgynous” deities (Athene is often considered “hard Butch” and Adonis is practically “bishounen” — just as two ready examples), and the ancient cults of Kybele, Hermaphroditos and, less well-known, Aphroditos (— or “The Bearded Aphrodite” who is “masculine above the waist and feminine below” [link to source later — trust me, google is your friend]) have mythologies that rely heavily on a transformation from one apparent sex to another. Personally, I feel that gender-essentialist ideals such as those spouted by and inspired by the words of Mary Daly have no place within this beautiful religion.