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Pagans: Stop Treating Trans People as ~Mythical~

I first wrote about this 7 years ago, and unfortunately it is just as relevant as ever.

I have seen too many pagans fetishize transgender people as some ultra spiritual unicorns. While it’s less common, too many refer to us as a “sacred third gender”. Now, I am not talking about indigenous cultures’ beliefs and their descriptions of other genders in those cultures.

No, I’m talking about Westerners in predominantly Christian cultures. I’m talking about reconstructionist religions, which attempt to piece together pre-Christian beliefs and worship. Something that, you know, Christians generally went to great lengths to destroy & distort all evidence of. A lot of the writings are outsider’s versions of events.

Most of the US, Canada & Europe aren’t incredibly trans friendly. Some are better than others, definitely, but they aren’t all super great harbors of trans awareness. So within a culture that already demonizes, objectifies, fetishizes, and otherwise dehumanizes trans people- seeing people treat us as some super special mystical ultra-intune-with-the-divine people is pretty disconcerting.

Putting people who aren’t even seen as people onto a pedestal is not a step in the right direction. It’s just a fluffier version of saying “you aren’t a person, you aren’t real”.

One problem with this is that, simply put, most trans people aren’t pagan. Plenty of trans people are atheist or Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or any other religion. It is really screwed up to say that trans people are just deeply in-tuned with a religion they aren’t even part of and may actively reject.

Then there’s the issue that paganism is very cis-centric. Not all of it, but quite a bit is based on the binary- God and Goddess, masculine and feminine, etc- in a very cisnormative way. All queer people can struggle to find their place here, transgender people even moreso.  To claim that Transgender people are “more divine” when your divinity actively excludes us? That’s a problem.

If this is something you want to read further about, I strongly advise you read Sophia Burns’s post on the subject.

Is this something that you’ve come across? How have you handled it?