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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 4 - 8/27/2000
The Broomcloset-In or Out?... What's YOUR View?
Some Pagans feel that it might be better if everyone Pagan was just open about their beliefs. Some, on the other hand, are sick of 'in your face' Pagans or groups. Others feel that in some areas of the country being "in" is almost a necessity. But we've also heard some background grumbling that expresses rather resentfully that those who remain hidden are simply reaping the benefits earned-while experiencing none of the backlash-by those who are openly fighting for pagan rights.
The apprehension of what the impact of openly declaring a pagan belief might be on a family or work relationship is as much a concern in the decision-making process as what the reaction of a neighborhood or community might be in other cases. So, are YOU in or out? How far out is 'too far' out? What are the pitfalls or the rewards? Why should everyone be out, in, or just make his or her own decision about the broomcloset occupancy rate.
| Reponses: There are 181 responses posted to this question.
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| As A Pagan Disk Jockey Doing A Pagan Radio Show, I Am... ||Aug 29th. at 3:30:52 pm EDT|
|Nadine Murphy (Lincoln, Nebraska US) ||Age: 53 - Email |
As a Pagan Disk Jockey doing a pagan radio show, I am definately out. I am out at work. I am never, however, an 'in your face' type of person.
I have had many conversations with many people. I explain my beliefs and also that not all pagans share them; That there are as man different types of pagan as there are christian.
I also try to do the same thing on my radio show. We do a news section as part of the show (as well as a bad joke section). To let listeners know what is happening in the wider community.
No, not all of my listeners are pagan. Several have called and not been aware that it is a pagan show. They like the music, they think the stories are about religious freedoms being ignored.(they are). They think I am to much of a liberal(lol! I Am). But no one has ever complained about my being pagan. I feel very lucky, for I have not had to deal with the worst people can do to each other.
But, here, we have had our difficulties. and misunderstandings. Mostly there has been good information giver out and people have listened with somewhat open minds.
I keep up with the goings on at the Witche's Voice so I know that not everyone is as lucky in their communities. Therefore, 'in or out' is an intensely personal choise, and the only one who can make it is the person who lives it.
| While I Am Out Of The Broomcloset For The Most Part, Some... ||Aug 29th. at 3:59:32 pm EDT|
|Fiona (Hampton Roads, Virginia US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
While I am out of the broomcloset for the most part, some members of my family are kept in the dark. For instance, my mate's grandmother (a southern baptist) will not be told, by my mate's request. But by and large, if you ask me then I will tell you without skirting the issue. I don't "flaunt it" or anything else; I am a Witch but most people don't know by looking at me. That's fine with me. As far as others coming out of the closet, I feel it's their choice.
"...those who remain hidden are simply reaping the benefits earned-while experiencing none of the backlash-by those who are openly fighting for pagan rights..." I'm not fighting for these rights for just myself, but for all of us. I want *all* of us to benifit from a more open society.
| Coming Out Of The Broom Closet Is A Personal Choice To Be... ||Aug 29th. at 4:28:05 pm EDT|
|Hayden (Southport, Connecticut US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
Coming out of the broom closet is a personal choice to be made by pagans if and when they are ready. I am out of the broom closet... more or less. Not everyone knows, not because I'm keeping it a secret, but because I don't believe in 'in your face paganism' if people I what my religion is I tell them, if not I don't bring it up (unless I am being instructed to do or say something that goes against my religion ex- 'One nation, under god' replaced by me w/ 'one nation, of all gods') I don't have a problem with wearing pagan symbols in public, but I don't wear em just to make a statement, I wear them when I feel I need to, for strength, wisdom, guidence, etc. I think I have found the perfect medium and I'm happy with it.
ps ofcourse if someone has something rather stupid to say about pagans then ofcourse I errr... make a point of letting them know how wrong they are...
| I Always Felt "pagan" Even In High School. I Remember Reading "mists... ||Aug 29th. at 4:38:26 pm EDT|
|Theresa (Boynton Beach , Florida US) ||Age: 34 |
I always felt "pagan" even in High school. I remember reading "Mists of Avalon" and relating well to the priestesses even though I was brought up Catholic. Of course, back then I had no idea there was this sort of Pagan thing for real life. My family and husband (a Pagan too) knows I follow a "earth religion" but that is it. When they come to visit, I leave out the crystals, goddess incense holder, but hide the pagan type books. I don't thrown Pagan in their face (the in-laws) but they know if they bring out any sort of debate, i'm all for it-so they usually keep quiet! In public I look "normal" but do wear a "flower" type pentacle most of the time. If others can wear a cross, then I hardly think that wearing a pentacle is throwing my faith in people's faces. I think when others see a friendly person wearing a pentacle it changes their views on what a Pagan is like. So get out your pentacles and change the world for the better!!!
I have seen a couple people wearing 7 inches or more of pentacle and struting around arrogently as if saying "So...what are you going to do about it? Be nice or i'll put a spell on you!" DONT DO THAT!! It only makes other pagans look bad-our faith is new to many people-don't cause negitivity in the faith.
| I Think, If I'd Really Been Given Time To Think About It... ||Aug 29th. at 5:24:26 pm EDT|
|Medea (Mankato, Minnesota US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I think, if I'd really been given time to think about it, I would have remained in the broom closet. However, circumstances and invasive family and friends hd me out and "labeled" as Wiccan before I was sure I wanted to take the path! That I am Wiccan now comes almost by chance, especially since I got a sampling of some of the hostility I might face if I chose Wicca as my spiritual path. Although the behavior I was subjected to was atrocious, I'm glad for it now because I know I made an informed decision by committing to Wicca, and I was well prepared for both the good and the bad of the Wiccan lifestyle.
At work, at home, at the university I attend, I am definitely out. I wear my pentacle in full view, I identify myself as an officer of the student pagan organization when handling organization business, and if someone asks me if I'm a witch, I answer yes and ask them why. Perhaps it's self-confidence, or perhaps it's because I prefer to dress in mainstream clothing most of the time, I rarely have had problems because of my religion. Other peers that live in my town have, including one friend who had an incident just yesterday having to dodge the evangelists that set themselves up on campus the first day of school! The same evangelists always look at me and say nothing. *shrug*
I don't consider myself "in your face." My religion does become a conversation topic, and I discuss it willingly, but I have so many interests that the topic doesn't come up that much with non-Pagan friends. I certainly feel no need to run around announcing myself; I am as I am. Just give me October 31 off like a good boss, and you won't have problems scheduling on Christmas.
| I Feel That This Is Something That Is Really Up The Pagan... ||Aug 29th. at 6:14:36 pm EDT|
|Bo'Wind Art Do'bhran (Nappanee, Indiana US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I feel that this is something that is really up the Pagan/Witch if he or she wants to come out of the broom closet, depending if they can handle the questions that arise, and attention. I want people to know about us and to know the truth, about what a Pagan/Witch is. My own experiences have been positive, I dont get in any ones face and scream "Iam a witch!", but I have told my boss and co-workers, and that I dont like them using the word Witch lik its a swear word, and reasons why I take different holidays then they do. I don't tell anyone right away when I meet them, unless they come right out and ask what my religion is and when I say "Wiccan" they go "oh, yeah", "whats that" that usually when I say "Witch" they I get the funny looks and hand them the book by, Scott Cunninham- The truth about Witchcraft, or the one by Vivianne Crowley- the Principle of Wicca. Or I get the reply "I dont believe in Witches", Thats when I smile and walk away. I would have to say That coming out of the Broomcloset is something that all Pagans and Witches should do, because we need to let our co-workers, family, friends and community know what we are all about and what we arent, I would love to get more actively involved about letting others know what we do and why. Any one willing to help me get started on a bigger adventure please get in touch with me.
| I Am In And Out Of The Broom Closet. If I Fugure... ||Aug 29th. at 8:42:32 pm EDT|
|Jasmine (Austin, Texas US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I am in and out of the broom closet. If I fugure the info would be upsetting I withhold it... Otherwise I am openly Pagan.
| I Do Not Tell Anybody Anything, But Just Live My Life According... ||Aug 29th. at 9:23:43 pm EDT|
|The Old Kelt (Scotia, New York US) ||Age: 0 |
I do not tell anybody anything, but just live my life according to the old ways and those who have eyes see, and those who do not, don't.
I give it no name, but live it, just the same.
Unlike other religions, the modern pagan way does not demand evangelism. Rather, we promote individual choice.
Choice, and acceptance of responsibility.
| I Think That Being In Or Out Of The "broomcloset" Is A... ||Aug 29th. at 9:45:55 pm EDT|
|Fiona (Durham, North Carolina US) ||Age: 31 |
I think that being in or out of the "broomcloset" is a personal choice. Here in North Carolina, "the buckle of the bible belt", it's not necessarily a good idea to be too out (there are no fewer than ten baptist churches within five miles of my house-don't ask me why they need that many) but I'm not really that secretive about it either. My friends know (and are mostly also Wiccan); my family and my husband's family know; my boss and coworkers know. My husband, his parents and my boss are even all Catholic, and they've made the effort to learn more about my religion and to respect the difference in my beliefs, even though they don't agree with them. Otherwise, I wear my Pentacle all the time, but mostly inside my shirt and just answer questions when I'm asked. I've found that religion is like politics, sometimes it's better to go out and be "in your face" about things, other times it's better to keep a low profile...it just depends on the circumstances.
| While I Am Very Much Out At My Home I Am Very... ||Aug 29th. at 11:15:24 pm EDT|
|Candleberry (North Pole, Alaska US) ||Age: 49 |
While I am very much out at my home I am very much in when it comes to the rest of my family that live elsewhere. Our first rule is harm none. And my telling my very Catholic mother that I am Wiccan would greatly distrub her, so I will keep quiet.
The decision to be in or out must be a personal one and take many things into consideration. The most important thing to remember, in IMNSHO, is the damage it may cause to others. If you are likely to lose your job if you come out and you are your family's only wage earner, then coming out is not a good idea. If, however, you are just supporting yourself then the decision is up to you.
| I'm Out Of The Broom Closet...but No One's Noticed. I Live... ||Aug 29th. at 11:54:22 pm EDT|
|Heather H (Martinsville, Indiana US) ||Age: 29 |
I'm out of the broom closet...but no one's noticed. I live in a very conservative town (but not for long) and work at the public library. Most of the people I work with know I'm a Pagan and I wear a revolving set of pentagrams that range from obvious to vague. So far, in the three years that I've been an "out" Pagan I've had five or six "Nice necklace", two "Oh look, a Star of David" and no negative comments. I guess I don't look like the conservative Christian's stereotype of a Pagan or a Witch, so they just don't comprehend the meaning of what they see. Or, it could be, as a co-worker told me, "You look so Lutheran." I've had no trouble with my family. It's too bad that some Pagans feel forced by their environment, be it familial or social, to hide their religion. This is supposed to be the "Land of the Free" and NO ONE should be forced to hide how they feel or what they believe.
| The Closet Is Comfortable And Some Days, Like After Someone You Thought... ||Aug 30th. at 1:02:11 am EDT|
|Rebekkah Rigler-Lowe (Stratford, Ontario CA) ||Age: 16 - Email |
The closet is comfortable and some days, like after someone you thought you knew attacks you and argue the righteousness of God or someone close comes st you with a "you're going to hell" remark, you may even want to crawl right back in. I realised after a running into someone who I had known for 5 years (she didn't talk to me at all, not even a smile) that I wouldn't want her friendship if it meant that I would have to lie about who I was. I also wouldn't associate with anyone who insulted people because of their religions so why would I spend time with someone who would insult mine? Idealy we could all come out, but when jobs and children and family are at stake then sacrifices must be made. I don't think that people in the closet should be judged, it's something we all need to decide on by ourselves. But I am proud in my decision and I am proud to call myself a witch to anyone. True the are you Jewish? and are you a Satanist? questions do grow old after a while, but I'm not going to change myself to make someone else's or my own life easier. I don't think that anyone can go through life without discrimination, but I've put up with enough to know that backing down isn't the answer. I may always have to deal with the "you're going to hell." from everyone, but I'm able now to reply with a puzzled face and a "You say that as if it's a bad thing. I mean all my friends are going there too."
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