Tuesday, October 11, 2005

NCOD: Double the Fun

Today is National Coming Out Day, the day on which we gay folks are supposed to let the people around us know who we really are. If you're Pagan, though, there's often another closet you need to come out of - the "Broom Closet", as it's known.

I came out as a Pagan to my parents quite unwittingly. When I became the editor for my first Pagan publication (printed at the local Kinko’s), I was very proud of myself. So proud, in fact, that I sent a copy of each new issue to my parents (living in Virginia at that time) for their edification. After about the second or third issue, they took notice of my accomplishment.

Mother: “So... this means you must be one of these Pagans."

Me: “Well, yes.”

Mother: “Why didn’t you mention this to us before?”

Me: “Mention it? Didn’t you notice all the books with pentagrams I left lying around the house?

Mother: “No.”

To be fair, I’d left books lying around the house the entire time I was growing up. I can see why she would have stopped taking notice of their content.

The fun part of my timing: my mother was a social worker, and had just finished a course on Satanic cults. She was very concerned for my welfare.

Mother: “I’m wondering how well you know the people in charge of this group. They could be leading you on, or deceiving you.”

Me: “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m in charge of our magazine, our main source of propaganda. So if anyone’s leading anyone on, it’s me!”

I don’t think that made her feel better. My father said that he knew I would never do anything wrong and left it at that. If only other people felt that way...

Flash forward to about seven years later. By this time, I was living with my wife and editing Rainbow Wind Magazine (now sadly defunct). My parents had become missionaries and were stationed in the Philippines. Given their reaction the last time I had sent them unsolicited literature, I decided I probably didn’t need to send the mag overseas. I did mention, however, that Gwen and I were running a Pagan group in my emails. Pride reared its crested head once more.

During one of their visits in the States, they asked if the group had a publication. I said ‘yes’, of course, and confirmed that I was the editor. Naturally, they asked if they could see some of the issues.

So, I let them read it. What else could I have said? I guess coming out in print is just something that comes natively to me.


At 11:42 AM, Blogger Frank Glenn said...

Now for the other (father's) side.

About the time you became 15, I'd substantially dropped out of "Christianity" as an affront to the teachings of Jesus but somewhat useful as a social group. By the time you were 17, I'd discovered the First Century Gnostics (Christian and otherwise) and was engrossed in the "heterodox" side of Early Christianity (or the "dark side" as some of my detractors at Central Baptist said).

So, what's good for the Daddy and promotes peace, justice, and social harmony is not going to bother Daddy about the beloved daughter's seeking.

I've learned a hell of a lot (no pun intended) from you both before and after that time. Mostly I've learned that you love people well even when they sometimes don't deserve it. Keep it up.


At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Chancy said...

Funny thing about our culture: I found it much easier to come out as a pagan than as bisexual. While my parents, who have pastored two churches, know I am pagan, I still haven't told them about my sexuality, though I doubt they are totally in the dark.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Sarah G said...

It's pretty odd how often people feel they can come out of one closet more easily than another. :) I've gotten emails before from people whose parents and friends had no trouble with their being gay or lesbian, but were bewildered when they learned they were also Pagan.


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