Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PantheaCon and Z. Budapest

I didn't comment last year because I wasn't present and felt that it wasn't really my place to say anything about Z.'s comments and actions towards the transgender community as I wasn't present and frankly I kept hoping she would do some soul searching and apologizing between last PCon and this PCon.  But reading accounts from several different parties, I feel I do need to say this.

I started my path in Paganism as a Dianic Wiccan and as a feminist.  While my path has broadened, Dianic Wicca is still an important part of my faith.  I agree with Thorn's comments about Mary Daly, and I often counsel younger (sometimes more impatient) feminists to understand that things were v. different in the second wave and that we need to try to bridge the gap of understanding between second/third wave.

That said, at the risk of sounding dramatic, Z. has broken my heart.  She was an important person in my religious and academic texts and I had read much of her writing, trying to give space and understanding for a difference in time, place and experience.  I was always able to bridge that gap until last year when she made those hurtful comments that she's never apologized for.

My Dianic coven does not discriminate based on "bits", we ask that the women attending be woman-identified.  I'm not sure that I agree with a cis-woman only space even as a cis woman but that's something I'm still personally reflecting on.

What I can't get past is her hurtful treatment of our trans-sisters.  As such, after much thought between last year and this year, I no longer consider Z. as one of my personal Dianic elders though I do acknowledge her work in the community and her personal struggles.

Resources if you would like to learn more:

Holding Beloved Community (Thorn Coyle)

Holding Beloved Community Part 2 (Thorn Coyle)

Lupa's Account of the Protest Held by Thorn (Lupa)

An Invitation to Remember Who We Are (Rabbit)

PantheaCon: Unity, Diversity and Controversy (Wild Hunt)

Dianic Rites, Gender Identification, and Gender Essentialism (Kenaz Filan)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this.

Fire Lyte said...

Wonderful and succinct.


Aisha @The Bewitching Bibliophile said...

when a faith is based on people's personal stories & personal journeys it is hard for others to see why they would exclude those who may appear to be the same. Dianiac witchcraft is so serious about excluding men they even spell the word "woman" different. Completely centering on the aspect of womb worship & the sacred feminine, I understand it seems mean to exclude those that aren't born as women & though I don't personally believe that this is my journey, no matter how skilled a surgeon with a scalpel, no matter how much you gender identify with women, there are journeys as women that a transgender woman will NEVER go through, & there are things we 'regular' women will never go through that transgender women go through. Z could have coached her tone differently as not to affront anyone but the tradition clearly states no men whatsoever. You take it as it is when going in,

Rose Weaver said...

Well said. Thank you.

Deborah Castellano said...

@ Aisha, I respect your opinion but as someone who does practice Dianic witchcraft, I can tell you there are Dianic circles that do include men (though mine isn't one of them, we do open our circle to men and children on Beltane for a family ritual) and while women's bodies are a part of the worship, in my circle it's not the only focus.

We also focus very strongly on our experience as women (which would include transwomen) and the feminine divine (which would include transwomen). Because we have women from all different age groups and orientations, some will never give birth and some don't even have their wombs any more or menstruation anymore (we don't do mensuration rites personally) so the focus on the body at least for us is more broad than just being comprised of "bits".

The ocelot said...

Apparently, Z has made/issued an apology, but I imagine how much of an apology it seems like depends on which side of the problem someone's on: http://bayarea.pagannewswirecollective.com/2012/02/21/pantheacon-2012-unity-in-diversity-and-controversy-recap/.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the whole thing beyond a lingering sense of Z being wrong. Which means I'll have something up about all that in a bit in my own little corner of the blogosphere.

Unknown said...

YOU WERE MENTIONED ON WILD HUNT!!! http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/02/the-pantheacon-gender-conversation-continues.html *SQUEEEE*'s everywhere for you!!!!

Deborah Castellano said...

OMG! I had no idea! Thank you for pointing this out to me!

Aisha @The Bewitching Bibliophile said...

@Deborah, I personally don't care for Diana Witchcraft, as I personally don't feel any connection to that tradition,I personally don't care for Budapest, as she isn't one of my elders. As a black woman in the craft i totally understand where the T.women are coming from, as much as people like to believe that the craft accepts everyone it doesn't; many people in the craft make microaggressions of sexism and racism all the time, ut if as a black woman I confronted everyone on everything I would spend more time confronting than on worshiping.

I do however understand and know that some places aren't for everyone. Just like a fertility ceremony wouldn't allow those who aren't fertile to participate and that personally would hurt but I would understand that for this working I can't be there. this ceremony was for biological women only, for whatever reason Budapest choose to make it so. Her hysteria about T.women being men attempting to take back what belongs to women only clearly shows her age and the era she was from. I'm not excusing what she said, she could have said it differently and not been so offensive, however my understanding is that this ceremony was skyclad, and was a healing ceremony, her actions & her statements clearly state that she is from a different era, it doesn't make it right, it also doesn't make it wrong. Just like the 90 year old who spouts racist statements while you take care of them, your hurt by it, but you have to understand in his era that was okay, that as he gets older he reverts back to his childhood understanding, it still hurts that s/he would even be thinking it, but to them this was what was okay when they were little.
We should see Z as an example of what came before and know that the craft has grown beyond her understanding and beyond her beliefs; because clearly she is still stuck in the past.

Deborah Castellano said...

@ Aisha - Those are v. valid points and I appreciate you sharing them here.

If you would ever like to do a guest spot here about being a woman of color in the craft, I would love to have you. (Though I certainly understand your point about confronting and if you're tired of talking about it and would prefer to pass, that's cool too)

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