Column: Honoring the Temples of Diversity

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Throughout this month, many celebrate the freedom and pride of being who they are regardless of the criticism, threats, insults, and even the violence that may ensue. June is a month that’s painted with rainbows and celebrates diversity in every way. June is a month where we find courage in being vulnerable, embracing differences, and learning from them.

My Own Temple

Among the many things I heard from a young age on the subject of homosexuality, and then the whole LGBT+ collective, was that it went against nature and the laws of the Christian god. Growing up in a mainly Catholic and socially closed country, I received too much negative information as a child, but something told me that it couldn’t be as simple as they said.

In the second year of high school, when I was 13 or 14 years old, in the middle of 2008, I remember reading in classes that homosexuality, bisexuality, and being transgender were sexual deviations. Three years ago, 2019, a reiki therapy patient told me that she broke up with a boyfriend because he “was bisexual, he had sexual deviation.” Venezuela is a country that has many benefits, but it’s not a perfect country for that.

A person waving a Pride flag [Raphael Renter, Unsplash]

As I began to study spirituality, I came across very similar comments, where more than once I was told that a soul would always be either more masculine or more feminine, that the elements had a certain gender, that to be initiated into certain traditions you had to be initiated by someone of the opposite sex, that being trans was to be against one’s own energy, and so on. It always felt wrong.

The more I read, the more I investigated, dissatisfied with answers so closed that they only seemed to be justified by the prejudices that surrounded me. I learned that sometimes books don’t have the ultimate answer. If each person has a particular energy, I can think of nothing that empowers more than finding their own path, taking ownership of their identity, living without fear, honestly and without harming anyone.

Studying Witchcraft taught me that I am my own temple, my own deity, my guardian, my healer, my savior, that the elements live in me, and that I’m part of a planet that vibrates with every beat of my heart. Whether through Witchcraft or any other spiritual path, if each person learned the same thing, it would be easier to accept the differences that make the world such a fascinating place instead of seeing them as a danger, a social cancer.

We Just Have to be Human

Along the way I have met wonderful people of all kinds. Different genders, sexualities, cultures, families, bodies, dreams, goals, worlds completely different from mine but that have nurtured me and made me a better person. I can only hope to have given them back in equal measure.

Venezuela is a country that taught me the importance of traditions, the value of heritage, the power of family lineage, and the magic that runs through my veins. Simón Bolívar, liberator of five Latin American countries, Venezuela among them, said it well, “ignorant people are a blind instrument of their own destruction,” and as my uncle told me a few days ago by video call “never forget who you are or where you come from.”

Two hands decorated with the letters “LGBTQIA+,” celebrating Pride [Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash]

I carry my heritage with pride, but I have also learned to look outside and accept new ideas that make me a better person. Although the traces that Venezuela left me are still present and I find it difficult to understand different points of view or those with which I have not had any contact, I try to remain open to everything, understand the best I can, and be an ally whenever I can.

Pride month could seem like a mystery to more than one, meaningless, but for me it is a month to celebrate the differences that make us unique, remember those who fought for it, join those who do today, and make sure the legacy that started at Stonewall lives on. I’ve heard that “if you support gays then you’re gay,” but really we just have to be human.

This June 28th, Day of Pride, light a candle to send healing, strength, and peace to those who need it. It doesn’t have to be a rainbow candle, say elegant and profound words, but it is important to do it from the heart, honoring the temple that lives in each one.

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