Why Celebrate International Pagan Coming Out Day?
Article ID: 15061
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: May 6th. 2012
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International Pagan Coming Out Day was founded with the mission to help closeted pagans come out into the world and practice their religion without the restraints and fear of having to live a double life. Through IPCOD one can find help, and support when they decide to make the big step of coming out about your religion. On their mission statement, IPCOD stressed that their goal is to “achieve greater acceptance and equity for Pagans at home, at work, and in every community” IPCOD stressed coming out about your religious choice has benefits both to the practitioner personally as well as to the Pagan Community as a whole; less stress and anxiety brought on from living that double life, and creating a climate of greater acceptance for all Pagans!!
International Pagan Coming Out Day caught the attention of those of us at Pagan Educational Network here in Indianapolis Indiana, we agreed with their mission and saw a need for it here in Indy, three PEN members stepped forward and agreed to work together to bring the ideals of IPCOD to our Indianapolis community.
We took IPCOD on as an opportunity to reach out to those who may be interested in a Pagan path, but are fearful of societal pressure or even negative repercussions from family, work or community. As out and active Pagans, we have all come through this test in our Spiritual Journey, and no doubt, we could all used a bit of help and guidance through it. By showing our Sisters and Brothers that their choice is acceptable, we also are showing the Community at large that we are acceptable. This, we believe, is the most positive way to bring acceptance of our choice of Spiritual Path or Religion to the Community at large.
We also take this opportunity to remind all who cross our paths that we do have Freedom of Religion in this Country… our religion, included. The First Amendment of the US Constitution gives us that right. And reminding both those who need to bolster their personal fortitude with it to step assuredly on their path, and those who would deny our choice as unacceptable by reiterating that right, assists both sides to come to a mutual, agreeable understanding.
The Indianapolis IPCOD Committee introduced a new one-day festival to the area in 2011. International Pagan Coming Out Day was held on Monday May 2nd 2011, the official day put out by the original founding IPCOD committee. We chose to hold the event on the IUPUI campus as a way to help drive our mission of outreach, inviting area pagan groups to set up a table (for a small charge) to promote their groups to newcomers or those who didn’t know where to look.
Monday not being the best day for a festival, we then chose to hold an Indianapolis Pagan Coming Out Day Event, on Saturday May 7th 2011 in Broad Ripple Park. Here we wanted to add to the outreach of the event with a more welcoming festive vibe. Once again we invited area groups to come and promote themselves, along with local (and no local) vendors, musical groups, and an area drum circle. Yes the showing was small, but for a fist event the reception was excellent!
We continue in 2012 with IPCOD because there is still such a great need for it. In the year that followed our event we had not seen any other group or event that was out in the community at large holding out a hand to people for guidance…no one working to break down those societal walls keeping so many people in, and so much understanding out, no one asking the questions.
Do we need live in secret anymore? Can embrace our choice of paths and help others to learn and grow without them having to ‘search us out’? Can show the world and all those who wish to learn that it is ok? We saw no one else “out there” with broom in hand and pentacle proudly gleaming from our necks telling others “We are not going to be shoved back into the closet!”
We know IPCOD will grow slowly, but it will grow, and there is plenty of room for us and many more in our diverse and beautiful Indianapolis Pagan Community.
I have attended most IPPD festivals from the beginning. It is a great festival. (Hats off Tom!) And, Tom has done much for the community for having it. But, since the beginning, I have seen little outreach to newcomers. I have taken people who were not known in the community with me. They had no idea the Pagan Community was as big as it is. But, IPPD is established. Have you not seen the growth? But, they do not advertise. The people who attend are told through word of mouth. And, it has taken 10+ years to become that big.
I hope to make IPCOD as well known. But, we are doing pretty well, for only our second year. I appreciate any suggestions we can get as to where to post our information. We will do what we can, money permitting.
Perhaps one could argue that some, many, or even most Pagans do not want to come out of the closet. They are happy with their clandestine practices. That is quite all right with me. But, if there are a few Pagans in our community who would love to walk proudly in the light of day, at home, at work, anywhere, wearing their symbols and answering the questions so many mundanes have about us, I want to be there to help, if I can. Because, I enjoy being a representative of our community to any who have questions, concerns or comments, including you.
This Article was composed by the Indianapolis Pagan Coming Out Day committee to our community for whom we work hard to support.
With much Love and Blessings,
Kailyn, Vanessa and Charlotte
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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