It can be hard to explain what all is included in Druidry & Celtic Spirituality- I found it more useful to describe some of the major influences (many of them of course are the same as those in other parts of Neo-Paganism and the New Age) It can be helpful to keep these influences in mind when looking at books and other sources!
Romanticism- reaction to the Enlightenment, urbanization and industrialization- emphasis on individual artistic genius, emotion over reason, folklore, fairy tales, nature, the “Noble Savage” (identified with Celtic cultures)
Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton nationalism (sometimes led by individuals from outside those cultures) Revival of interest in native literature and mythology- sometimes forgeries (MacPherson’s Ossianic Cycle, Iolo’s Barddas) and tampered manuscripts were added to drum up nationalist interest
19th century antiquarians who had interesting theories about megalithic monuments, ley lines, Druids as mystical “proto-Christians”, folk etymology like Beltaine comes from the name Ba’al
Gardnerian Wicca & Ceremonial Magic (Gardner was buddies with Ross Nichols, founder of Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids)
Goddess & women’s spirituality, matriarchal pre-history theories- Robert Graves, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel the Mists of Avalon, Jungian archetypes for female empowerment!
Looking to Celtic Christianity as a way to reconnect with nature, honor the feminine (actual historical Celtic Christianity may be disregarded!)
Arthurian Legend- Grail mysticism- legend of Joseph of Arimathea bringing Grail to Glastonbury
Environmental and peace movements- in U.S., U.K., Ireland and elsewhere- Hippie, Peace Convoy, and other countercultural movements
Indo-European studies (ADF)
New Age “awareness” and consumerism- workshops, conferences, publishing, alternative healing
Folk music & cultural revivals
Riverdance and related rise in interest in Irish dance
Opposition to destruction of sacred/historical sites, lobbying for access to sites
Michael Harner’s Core shamanism
Reconstructionism as a methodology
Fantasy novels and science fiction, medieval and Iron Age re-enactment
I encounter with relative frequency, individuals calling themselves shamans or having an interest in shamanism in both online and offline settings. I suspect most of them are not Evenki or Tungus Siberian folks, though there is the occasional exception. I would humbly propose to other well-meaning defenders of indigenous cultures that screaming cultural appropriation! at these New Age “shamans” is probably not the best approach, especially if they are not actually the ones leading the weekend sweat lodge retreats and publishing books on Shamanic Wiccan Druidry. Instead, let’s have conversations.
Is there a better word to use than shaman?
What are you trying to describe with the word shaman or the adjective shamanic?
A role serving a particular community as a spiritual specialist who does lots of intense spirit work, healing and otherworld journeying? What tradition do you work within? Are there more culturally specific terms?
A solitary path that involves intense spirit work and otherworld journeying? Spirit worker, mystic, hedge witch/wizard/warlock
A belief/worldview involving plant, animal and other spirits? Animist
Some Potentially Very Bad Reasons for “Deciding” to be a Shaman include…
Connotations of “Noble Savages” who are more “in touch with nature, what it Truly Means to Be Human etc.” in contrast to This Corrupt Urban Industrialized Disenchanted society that I still don’t want to leave cuz indoor plumbing and electricity are nice… Please unpack your cultural assumption baggage again- some books that might help:
Orientalism by Edward Said
Books, articles and classes on postcolonial theory, postcolonial feminism, anthropology, cultural area studies (American Indian, East Asian, African diaspora et al.)
You have what Western medicine classifies as a mental illness, chronic illness or other disability. Therefore, shaman *must be* your spiritual calling! You have a shaman-sickness! You are specially/chosen or “marked” by the Gods/Spirits/Ancestors! Your suffering, isolation etc. now has meaning and It All Makes Sense Now! OK, let’s slow down. I admit this one is a little close to home, as I myself qualify as neurologically divergent in various ways (autistic, epileptic, ADHD, etc.) I believe this *does* make my spiritual perceptions and experiences unique and different in various ways, but I’m hesitant to jump to the conclusion that This Means I Must Have a Special Cosmic Destiny!!!
For one, I know plenty of other people with the same conditions as well as other disabilities that do not have any such spiritual inclinations and get pretty darn irritated when they get the “You are Special Child of God” or the other extreme “You are possessed by demons!” crap from people or similar Pagan/New Agey versions- “You’re an Indigo Child”, “You did something bad in a past life, and this is your punishment”. There does seem to be a higher than average number of Pagans with various disabilities and medical conditions, how much of that is self-selection or by Higher/Lower Powers That Be is up for debate.
You are transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, intersex, asexual, kinky, yada yada…and once again this gives you a magical ticket to shaman-hood. In various cultures- yes shaman-type roles are often associated with gender-bending/blurring/fluidity and sexual “otherness”, though it’s important to remember that late 20th-21st century Western identities like I just mentioned above are different from alternate sexual and gender identities found throughout human history and contemporary cultures around the world. We can certainly find a lot of inspiration and ideas from these various identities, and learning about them can put into context how we view GLBTQ+ identities in our own cultural settings, and how they can have collective and individual spiritual meanings and roles. But likewise, a gender/sexual/romantic minority might see their identity in a completely secular manner, or see their identity as mostly incidental to their spiritual role and development.
So I’m not sure if this will attract my target audience who likes to post St. Patrick’s Day memes about snakes, but hey, it’s worth a try…
Irish History & Culture- From Patrick to Modern Times
Many of us Pagans are fascinated by the world of the pre-Christian Celts, but what has happened in Ireland since the coming of Patrick and Christianity? Come learn about the changes in Irish folk traditions, the impact of British colonization and the global Irish diaspora- including here in the Twin Cities!
It won’t be til March, so plenty of time to plan. It’s a 50 minute presentation (there was a 90 minute option, but I figured that might be too much for just me talking) I’m hoping to also include visuals.
There’s been yet another dust-up on Pagan Patheos about cultural appropriation- I’m not bothering to post links, you can find them yourself, and I found both of them had a mix of things I agreed with & disagreed with.
So, I’m re-posting links to some older posts I’ve written on the subject. My views may not be exactly the same as the various times these were written, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s very difficult to have all around hard and fast rules about what’s OK and what’s not OK- many folks on Tumblr use the concept of “closed” and “open” cultures, and while it’s good that gets the concept across that some things are off limits, I think it’s also an oversimplification. Many people think Shinto and Hinduism are “closed” but I know non-Japanese and non-South Asian-descended people who practice those religions in fairly traditional ways. Other traditions that are seen as “open” like revived/reconstructed European traditions still have etiquette and taboos, so it’s not like Woo! anything goes!
Cultural Appropriation Has Lost Its Meaning– the Blargh! Everyone’s talking past each other! post
All Wrong: Religion, Culture, Country– the whatever, I don’t care anymore, everything White Americans Do is Wrong post
Educate Yourself! Attempt at figuring out some guidelines for approaching other cultures respectfully
October 3 | TCSC Yard Sale
The Twin Cities Scottish Club is having a yard sale on Oct. 3rd from 9AM – noon at 7415 Shannon Drive, Edina, MN. There will also be a preview sale Friday evening from 6-8 PM, for members only. We have teapots, books, CDs, tea towels, beautiful Scottish photography, tartan ties, scarves, Scottish song books and many other Scottish goods. We also have many Party Light candle decorations, small toys, and more. For more information on how you can help out, please contact Mary: email@example.com
October 10 | St. Andrew’s Pub Night
We will be having our final Pub Night of 2015 on Saturday, October 10 at Cooper Pub: 1607 Park Pl Blvd, St Louis Park. Festivities start at 4 PM. Please join us for a fun afternoon/evening of food, drink and good conversation. Hope you can make it.
October 31 | Graeme Mackenzie Presentation
Hello Scottish Interest Group, and fellow Scottish enthusiasts!
To our great fortune, Graeme Mackenzie, MA, will be returning on Saturday, October 31 at 2:00 PM.
This is an event you won’t want to miss. Graeme is a professional genealogist who lives in Inverness, Scotland, and will be here in the Twin Cities for just a few days. He will be speaking on a subject titled “Culture and Traditions of the Highland Clans”.
This talk will examine the nature and origins of the Highland Clans; what set them apart from Lowland families; the sometimes competing, but often complimentary, strands of Celtic kinship and Anglo-Norman feudalism; the positions of the chief, the fine (his closest kin), tacksmen, tenants, and tail (household officers and hangers-on); the role of fosterage in binding septs to clans; and how myth and legend were used to define political positions and boost a clan’s self-image.
Please join us at 2:00 pm, on Saturday, October 31, at the Danish American Center, in Minneapolis.
Address: 3030 West River Parkway So., (near the Lake Street bridge), in the lower level; parking available.
A nominal fee of $7.00 will be collected at the event to help cover some of Graeme’s travel expense.
For more information, use this link to take you to the event website.
If you have specific questions, you can e-mail me and I will get back to you. John McKeen at email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
November 7 | Announcing the Launch of “Heigh Ho, the Green Holly”
Concert and CD Launch on Saturday November 7th, 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 PM)
The Celtic Junction
836 Prior Ave North | St. Paul, MN
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
(advance tickets will go on sale in October – check the Celtic Junction website, orlauramackenzie.com)
This event is a two-in-one production!
The Launch of “Heigh Ho, The Green Holly”, a holiday compilation on New Folk Records.
~ A Celtic Christmas collection of timeless classics, arranged with Irish and Scottish music for an array of instruments, including pipes, flutes, whistles, fiddle and harp plus horns and percussion.
The Anniversary Launch of “From Uig to Duluth”, released October 2014
~ Scots Gaelic music and song, arrangements of traditional music sourced from Duluth, 1937. The evening will feature Laura MacKenzie (vocals, flutes, whistles, pipes, concertina), Dáithí Sproule (guitar, vocals), Andrea Stern (harp), Michael Bissonnette (percussion), Mary Vanorny (fiddle), Danielle Enblom (fiddle and steps) and a surprise guest.
Refreshments will be available.
This month for GPS
Oct. various dates and times | Haunted House Build! Rehearsals!
Do you want to build a junkyard? How about a T-1? Do you want to wear a costume and scare people? There was an informational volunteer meeting to see this year’s rough script and learn about build and rehearsal dates, and notes were sent out to everyone on the volunteer distribution list. To volunteer and get all the info email email@example.com
Sat Oct 3 | 9:30a – 6p | Scavenger Hunt
Put a team together, be it family, friends, club, convention, or con department. Entry fee is $20 per team. Teams can be up to 4 adults, or up to 6 (4 adults, 2 kids). Teams start with 9:30 am registration, judging starts at 5pm. Remember, creativity, and bribing of judges, is encouraged!
Show up at the center room 107, get your list, go forth and scavenge!
Fri Oct 9 | 7pm | GPS Edutainment – Water
The “Edutainment Video Discussion” is a series of events gathering people together to watch and discuss curated collections of videos on various topics. During each event we will watch videos on a topics, with discussion breaks during and after video blocks.
October’s topic is Water. We will start the first block of videos at 7pm.
Sat Oct 10 | 6:30 pm | GPS Movie Night Cosplay and Fundraiser Event
GPS Movie Night would like to invite you to join us for an evening of Fun Feminist Science Fiction from Down Under. Along with screening a couple of great films, we will be raising funds for BCRF as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month and encouraging anyone interested to join in on the fun with movie inspired Cosplay. Due to licensing requirements we cannot publicize the titles, but here are the hints from the Eventbrite page.
What A Lovely Day – We will begin our evening with an apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.
If you missed this one in the theater this summer, here is your chance to watch it “on the big screen” at Event Horizon.
In 2033, Justice Rides a Tank and Wears Lip Gloss – Based on the British cult comic-strip, our tank-riding anti-heroine fights a mega-corporation, which controls the world’s water supply. Rebecca (Lori Petty) makes friends with Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and a group of Kangaroo-Hybrid Super-soldiers (Ice T, Jeff Kober) who join her on a quest to avenge the death of her friends, rescue young Sam from the evil Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell) and take down Water and Power.
Join your tribe for an evening of film and fun in the annex at GPS Event Horizon. Located at 1121 Jackson St NE in Minneapolis, it’s the only volunteer run, non-profit, geek community center in the state of MN.
As always, feel free to bring your own snacks (or dinner!) and a comfy chair. We will have some snacks and soda available for sale. Room 107.
Still not sure what we’re watching? RSVP for the event and we will send you the titles in your confirmation email.
Mon Oct 19 | 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm | Figure Drawing Salon
The GPS Arts Initiative holds a monthly 3-hour Figure Drawing Salon the 3rd Monday of every month in the Event Horizon classroom (106A). The session includes short, medium and long poses. There is a nominal fee ($5-$10) to help defray the cost of models and other outlays. Questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming for GPS
Nov 10 | 6pm – 8:30pm | Project Lighthouse Info Night – We have money that we want to spend on kids to get them excited about science and learning. Come to this informational meeting to find out more about our educational grants program and how to take advantage of it.
Nov 17 | 7pm to 9pm | GPS Open Meeting As always, we invite all members, partner members, geeks, and general public to come and find out what’s been going on and what’s in the hopper.
Club News (alphabetical by club)
Black Hat Collective
Oct 24 | 1pm – 5pm | BHC Monthly Meetup
Graphic artists helping each other stay on target. Drop in to room 106A if you’re interested in joining us for an art jam, or email email@example.com.
Thursdays | 7pm – 9 pm in Room 106A or 107
Come and make something awesome! This club meets weekly, with a project on the third Thursday of the month.
Oct 29 – This month’s project Pumpkins and Power Tools. You can keep an eye on the meetup group for details and to RSVP so they know how much to get for materials.
Make It Sew (part of Crafty Geek)
Thursdays 6:30 pm – 9 pm | Rooms 106A
People who sew. All skill levels are welcome. Recurring meetups coincide with the Crafty Geek meetup.
Oct 5 | 7pm – 9:30pm | Room 106
October book is Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Geeks Read meets the first Tuesday of every month, with doors opening at 7:00 pm and the discussion beginning at 7:30 pm. If you have any other questions about the Geeks Read Book Club, please contact Liz or Dierdra at firstname.lastname@example.org; join our Google Group Geeks Read at http://groups.google.com/group/geeks-read or like us on Facebook at GPS-Geeks Read.
No events planned as of newsletter release. Keep an eye on the Meetup group for updates.
GPS Photography Club
Oct 20 | 7pm – 9:30pm | Monthly Meetup
Waiting until you’re packed up to head home for Thanksgiving or Christmas is the wrong time to be working out what you will want to do photography-wise over the holidays. Are you planning on going around and getting pictures of everyone’s Christmas lights? Do you want to be set up to get that picture of your brother or sister getting that gift, or perhaps even that proposal they were not expecting? Stop in, and we’re going to discuss what you need to remember to have along with you.
Go to the meetup to RSVP and for more information. Email email@example.com if you have questions.
Come to network, hear readings from works in progress, swap story critiques, and talk shop. Our members range from those just starting out to established authors with multiple book contracts. Follow the event links to RSVP (some meetups have a limited number of spaces open) and get details on locations and updates from organizers.
Oct 11 | 12pm-4pm | October-Not-A-Meeting
Meeting of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. First two hours are dedicated to topic discussions (topic TBA, check out the meetup link) and the last two hours to writer’s crit group. This all open to the public.
Location update: Event Horizon room 106A
Oct 11 | 7pm – 9:30pm | East St Paul (ESP) Speculative Fiction Writers Meetup
There will be a general discussion based on the ubiquitous online versions of “Writer’s Rules”. Everyone is invited to bring a “rule” from one of the lists for consideration and maybe debate!
We will be accepting three submissions for critique–first come, first served. Check out the meetup for details how to submit and for location in St. Paul.
Oct 28 | 6:15pm-7:45pm | Speculations Reading Series with Michael Merriam
Michael will be reading at DreamHaven Books as part of the Speculative Reading Series. The reading will run from 6:30-7:45 p.m. with a Q & A session and a brief reception and autographing. By 8:00 p.m. Michael will adjourn somewhere with food and drinks for general hanging out. October 28th, 2015.
Location: DreamHaven Books, 2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN
Read the Book/See the Movie
Oct 9 | This month’s movie is based on the short story Who Goes There? in Who Goes There? and The Science Fiction Hall of Fame by John W. Campbell, Jr. under the pen name Don A. Stuart. Social time at 7:00 pm – movie begins promptly at 7:30 pm. Our gathering location rotates venues so email firstname.lastname@example.org for location. Feel free to bring a snack to share!
2nd & 4th Friday Oct 9 & 23 | 8:30pm – 11pm | Classroom (106A)
The Anime Twin Cities/GPS co-sponsored club will be showing free classic anime movies and series. Join us and socialize with other people who enjoy anime as much as you do. Due to holidays there will be only one meetup this month. Questions? Contact: email@example.com.
FSA BattleTech Tabletop | Fri Oct 2 | 6pm | Fallout Shelter Arcade
Open Gaming | 1st & 3rd Saturday, Oct 3 & 17 | 10 am – 10 pm in room 107
Burl’s D&D | Sep 19 | 10am – 10pm in 106A
RPG Day | Sundays after Open Gaming, Oct 4 & 18 | 12 pm – 8 pm in 106A
Designers Sessions | Tue Sep 29 in 106A, Fri Oct 9 in 106 / Tue Oct 27 in TBA – These are a series of meetings for game designers of all stripes to come together for discussion and testing/playing games.
Crafty Gamers | Thu Oct 15 | 7:00 PM – UGG joins Crafty Geek to hang out for a few hours and work on whatever scenery making, miniature painting, map making or other gaming projects, we want to do in the company of others.
Programming Brainstorming is right around the corner, in 2 sessions.
1. Oct 10 | 1pm – 5pm | Crowne Plaza Bloomington
We’ll be in Room: A-E-I-O
Address: 5401 Green Valley Drive Bloomington, MN 55437
Many of our programming ideas for the next convention are generated at this brainstorming session. Once we have a list of ideas, we proceed to enter them all into our database. By February 1st, our list of ideas goes live and we invite CONvergence members to volunteer as panelists and moderators. For more information, check out our panel scheduling page.
2. Oct 10 | JOFCon Session | DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis Park Place
This year there will also be a CONvergence Programming Brainstorming Session at JOFCon! Journeypeople of Fandom Convention (JOFCon) is all about what goes into putting on events like CONvergence; it is a gathering to discuss how we make volunteer-run conventions happen, and how to organize, nurture, and improve our con running communities! CONvergence has partnered with JOFCon and we are excited to let you know about this very cool event. The day and time of JOFCon’s CONvergence Programming Brainstorming Session will be announced on their website.
If you can’t make it to a brainstorming session, we encourage you suggest panels online via our Panel Suggestion Form!
Sep 28 & Oct 26 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm | ATC S.O.S. Meeting
Want to help organize events for ATC? Join the Social Outreach Services team at our staff meeting!
Oct 4 | 9am | ATC @ MN Renaissance Festival: Oktoberfest
It’s the annual SOS outing to the MN Renaissance Festival! We’re switching up our weekends this year, giving you a chance to see different themes and events! As per usual, we’ll meet a little ways ahead and to the right of the main gates (by Bakery Stage) right at open, which is 9am! The grounds close at 7pm, and we’ll be there the whole time!
Oct 6 | 6:30pm – 9:30pm | October Kotatsu
Anime Twin Cities presents its monthly open hangout night! Bring games, cards, writing, knitting, any other hobby that suits you. Or just bring yourself and join us around a table for good company and good conversation. This is a public gathering; come relax with your friends at ATC. Look for the host wearing a blue armband with the ATC logo.
Location: Davanni’s, 310 White Bear Ave in St. Paul
Cost: Food is at your own expense.
Oct 31 | 6pm | ValleySCARE with ATC!
Come join us for a night of Frights and Scares at ValleySCARE! We will be meeting between 6 PM and 7 PM, when the MONSTERS come out! Afterward, we can meet at the Shakopee Perkins for late night games and munchies. Please remember that at 7 PM, Valleyfair is not meant for small children. The entertainers will scare anyone in the scare zones. This will also be a late night. Please note that costumes are NOT permitted during the Halloween Haunt. https://www.facebook.com/events/750366731739794
Oct 20 | 6pm – 8:30pm | Convention Planning Meeting
This will be held in room 106 at Event Horizon.
Oct 16 – 18 | Anime Fusion | Ramada Bloomington
The Panels & Events page has been updated with a list of panels being planned by your fellow Anime Fusion attendees. A number of them are open to additional panelists, so don’t miss that section of the page! The panel schedule is currently being finalized and will be posted on the website October 1st. In the meantime, check out the panel descriptions and start planning your weekend!
Oct 9 – 11 | Convention
JOFCon is a convention for geeky convention and other community organizers. So get your memberships now. Rates go up Oct 1 http://jofconmsp2015.blogspot.con
Oct 4 | 1pm – 5pm | Furry Migration Post Mortem
Held at the center in room 107
Registration is now open for Furry Migration 2016, being held at the Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis September 2016.
Sep 27, Oct 11 | 3:30pm – 5:30pm | S.C.A. Dance Class
This is (usually) a bi-weekly practice for period (historical) dance open to anyone interested. Each meeting will include instruction in techniques and specific dances from different time periods and different countries, such as English, Italian, court, country, etc. All skill levels and ages are welcome and encouraged to join in. Open to the Public.
Sep 30. Oct 7, 14, 21, 28| 6pm – 9pm | S.C.A.
The weekly meeting for Barony of Nordskogen, a chapter of The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization. Held in the Main Hall and Classroom (rooms 107 and 106A) every Wednesday, except 10/21, which will be in 106A only.
Sep 30 & Oct 1 | Attack on Titan The Movie: Part 1
Oct 22 & Oct 24 | Attack on Titan The Move: Part 2
The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul is presenting Attack on Titan The Movie: Parts One & Two—the live-action adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s macabre tale featuring Survey Corps’ struggle against the monstrous Titans, with humanity’s continued existence hanging in the balance—at St. Anthony Main Theatre.
Oct 17 | 10am – 5pm | Twin Cities Book Festival
The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community. This FREE, day-long festival brings people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, magazines, booksellers—all of whom connect over great books and conversations.
Oct 20 | doors/sign up 8pm, show 8:30pm | The Not-So Silent Planet: A Speculative Open-Mic
ABOUT THE SHOW: Have you ever imagined a world whose laws of physics differ from our own? Welcome to the Twin Cities’ first open-mic dedicated to speculative fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, supernatural horror, or anachronistic interpretations of myth! Sign up for 5-7 minutes, and tell us about a place of which we’ve never dreamt.
VENUE/TIME/TICKETS: Taking place at Kieran’s Irish Pub, 85 N 6th St, Minneapolis
Tickets are on a $5-$10 sliding scale, $3 with a Fringe button.
Feature performer TIM UREN on 10/20
Have you planned your calendar and registered for all of your cons and events yet? Check out the links below:
Oct 9-10 NerdCon
Oct 9-11 JOFCon 2015
Oct 10 MCBA Fallcon
Oct 16-18 Anime Fusion
Oct 23-25 Arcana 45
Oct 23-25 Crypticon
Oct 24-25 PokéCon
Oct 24 13 Gears
Oct 25 Halloween Comic Fest
Nov 13-15 Omegacon Fall
Nov 13-15 Aethercon
Nov 20-22 Teslacaon
Feb 6-8 Supercon
Feb 12-14 Con of the North
Mar 4-6 Marscon
Mar 25-27 Minicon 51
Apr 22-24 Anime Detour
May 6-9 Costume Con 34
May 27-29 Manticon
May 27-30 WisCon
Jun 3-5 CONsole Room
Jun 3-5 2D Con
Aug 17-21 MidAmeriCon II (WorldCon)
Sep 9-11 Furry Migration
Sep 23-25 Nerd & Tie Expo
Oct 7-9 Gaylaxicon
I came out around age 16, at that time, yes there was Internet, but there wasn’t a lot there yet- searching “bisexuality” would likely yield more porn than decent information, and I was fortunate enough to be living in large liberal metro area that had books about bisexuality and gay/lesbian/bisexual issues more generally in the library. I’ll admit that for myself at the time, my understanding of bisexuality was rather binary- an attraction to both men and women. However, this was more due to my understanding of gender at the time than definitions bisexual activists were promoting. Many bi folks did and still do, use definitions like “being attracted to one’s own gender and others”, but others did and still likely do use more gender binary definitions. Bi communities have frequently experienced overlap and allyship with trans communities and individual activists, but transphobia and cissexism has also occurred and still does in bi communities. I think we need to be honest about all this- warts and all, to both bi/pan and monosexual trans, genderqueer and cis folks. Let’s not pretend we have this magically more Enlightened Than HRC attitude.
With this honesty I believe we can sincerely and politely respond to various critiques of bisexual identity from folks who prefer pansexual identities. If we do this consistently, along with affirming the legitimacy and choice of other non-monosexual identities and labels (and desire to use none at all) and listen to younger people’s desires for distinctive identities, I think we can work toward a broader, more inclusive bi community, (or whatever we agree on calling it!). We need to stop publicly arguing with pansexuals over the bisexuality definition. I understand it’s frustrating, but instead let’s redirect the conversation. Say “We accept and include pansexuals and respect your identities, please respect ours. We’d like to dialog and learn about each other *in person* or perhaps over Video chat (Skype, Googletalk etc) or even just message one on one. Obviously we’ll want to limit that to folks who are 18, or have parental approval for everyone’s protection.
This section is for the pansexual folks- I admit I’m less familiar with y’all- but I’d like to address some things I’ve heard from and about *some* NOT ALL pansexuals.
I’d really appreciate it, if you have not already- please learn more about bisexual and transgender movement history- really it was B & T before G & L came along and acted like it was all their in the first place, and B & T were just tag-alongs. (I admit this statement is specific to United States, while I know bits and pieces about other countries, particularly Britain and Germany I’d need to do more research to learn how different identity groups played roles in other countries)
For those who believe in the bi means binary definition therefore I’m pan, I’d like you to consider that I know quite a few trans and non-binary people who identify as bisexual (or sometimes both bi & pan) and in fact, many of them are involved in the Bisexual Organizing Project, BECAUSE or other bisexual groups around the country. I’ve also seen definitions of pansexual that emphasize attraction to “men, women and trans people” which doesn’t seem to actually be respectful of trans people considered many of them *are* men and women. If you want to be an ally to trans people please actually learn about them- in person (if & when they want to talk about it!) books, documentaries, blogs etc. getting many different opinions- there is no Grand Trans High Council that decides which trans celebrities to anoint or whatever. I admit to be being in a continual learning process about gender diversity myself! Other trans people are non-binary, genderqueer, agender, bigender, neutrois etc. there may also be some such folks that don’t see themselves as under the trans umbrella- we all know how complex those “umbrella terms” are now, don’t we?
I have also heard concerns from some trans individuals that pansexual sometimes seems to be used by people who have a particular fetish-y interest in trans people- not always, but it’s something they at least see as a “red flag” while dating. Date people because they are attractive, cool and interesting people, not for social justice/diversity cookies, and same goes for making friends.
I’m also hearing a “I’m gender-blind, transcend gender, I care about people not parts” sorta thing, which sounds familiar, it’s the same twaddle I used to and sometimes still hear from bisexual folks. That may sound cool and enlightened, but it’s also comes off as really annoying and will not win you friends. Most straight and gay people I talk to who have described their experiences of attraction have more criteria than “this person has this gender”. People of every orientation are capable of being superficial, lookist, sizeist or whatever label of bad-ness that you can imagine. We’re human. Sometimes there are messed-up beauty standards we absorb, consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes we just have features that attract us and features that don’t.
Resources about Bi & Trans movements in the next post…stay tuned!