In a continuing effort to keep my readers up to date on the ongoing conversations centered around the 2012 PantheaCon in San Jose, where debate, protest, and controversy emerged around a scheduled “genetic women only” ritual led by Dianic elder Z. Budapest, I have rounded up another round of statements and meditations on the subject. For those just coming to this discussion, I advise you start with my February 21st post, then move on to my first discussion round-up, before engaging with this latest round of entries.
- Hyperion of The Unnamed Path, who was at PantheaCon, and witnessed the silent mediation/protest initiated by T. Thorn Coyle, and was asked to be a defender by Z. Budapest, gives his thoughts on the ongoing discussion, and “witnessing from the center.”
- T. Thorn Coyle, who helped organized the silent meditation outside Z’s ritual, has penned an open letter to the women who attended that event at PantheaCon. Quote: “Sisters, I did not decide to sit across from you in that broad hallway Sunday night in order to intimidate you. Though advance word had gone out from Z that she needed protection, I was never there to cause harm to her or anyone else. Never was I even calling my actions “protest.” I was meditating in silence as counterpoint to what I and some others consider to be hate speech on the part of our common elder, Z Budapest.”
- Peter Dybing, former First Officer of COG, and current President of the Officers of Avalon, who sat in silence with Thorn, openly questions what role he should play in the discussions spiraling out from this action. Quote: “If I dive headlong into the fray will my effort make a difference or will I just add another voice to the deafening crowd. Ultimately, while making a few cautious comments, mostly I have chosen to listen. In my silence I can hear the very real pain of many of those involved. In choosing to not be overwhelmed and focused on just this issue I have maintained my ability to view this as part of a broader debate on human dignity. There is a sense of pride that my community is grappling with this issue possibly years before it comes to the forefront of the American experience.”
- Gus diZerega, who as a presenter at PantheaCon, but was not directly involved in the events that have sparked so much discussion, analyzes the politics of the situation as he sees it.
- Yansumi, an Amazon High Priestess in the Lineage of The Lady Yeshe Rabbit, who has played a significant role in these discussions since the 2011 PantheaCon, discusses her experiences at the Circle of Cerridwen’s “Discussion on Gender and Transgender in Paganism,” and the rituals/protest of that evening.
- Lazarus K (aka Sister Krissy Fiction), who took part in the silent mediation, notes that “these conversations are bound to be messy and difficult. Change, and talking about change, is hard. Pantheacon should be a safe place to explore these issues, and I believe that Pantheacon 2012 DID provide a safe place to explore these issues. But let’s keep things in perspective. My experience at Pantheacon was one of inclusion, community, and growth.”
- Gina Pond (aka WorthyAdvisor), discusses her role in the Circle of Cerridwen’s “Discussion on Gender and Transgender in Paganism” that took place, and described by Yansumi above. Pond was an editor of the just-released anthology, “Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism,” available for a free download, and essential reading for any who’d like to dig deeper into the matter(s) currently being discussed.
- At his blog CredenceDawg notes that “the ground is shifting under Pagan gender.”
- Hecate, a Dianic Witch, meditates on her “lover’s quarrel” with modern Paganism over this issue.
- Chas Clifton gives his theory on why the PantheaCon gender controversy persists.
- Meanwhile, Kenaz Filan responds to comments made by Chas Clifton regarding Z. Budapest.
- Finally, you can listen to a (rather faint) audio recording of Devin Hunter’s “Pagans in the Media” panel, which ended up shifting its focus to being largely about topics relating to the debates already circulating at PantheaCon (though not explicitly). I did the best that I could, but felt that I wasn’t an ideal “leader” to guide or provide some special wisdom on some of the questions asked. I am, and remain, a Pagan journalist, and function best in that role.
That’s all I have for now. Let me remind everyone who takes part in conversation here at The Wild Hunt, to keep comments civil, and avoid personal attacks. Let us all bring more light to this process. I want this to be a space where all voices can come to be heard, in hopes of encouraging productive dialog and working towards understandings that collectively enrich us.