The concept of gender polarity is a highly debated one in Paganism, especially within the LGBT Pagan community. Too many the pseudo-heterosexuality of it all is alienating to put it nicely.
The concept that both male and female energies are required for all things is not a hard one to grasp and for me it is logical. Opposites need to interact to create energy – that is scientific fact. Paganism applies the gender labels to these energies on the grounds that there are only two genders and we all have a gender – yes, like most of modern thinking it is fixated on the gender binary model. This is where I have a real problem with gender polarity on a literal level as neither gender nor sexuality are binary. This gender alignment is indeed alienating to those who are transgender or who do not identify comfortably within the binary gender system.
The ritualistic re-enactment of the heterosexual union can obviously be uncomfortable to LGBT too. While some of us can equate it to the science of life many do not want to. Endless wittering’s on fertility based on heterosexuality are not only meaningless and offensive to many LGBT they are discriminatory.
There is also the gender discrimination in how many portray the deity – gods are darker and stronger than goddesses and in turn goddesses are sweet and loving. Very nice and cutesy if that is what you like.
None of this is gospel and if people want to believe this way that is cool but when this kind of thing, which is loaded with discrimination, is used to be a foundation it is going to cause no end of problems for those who do not fit into the neat little boxes. The tendency to discount LGBT is a reality and needs to be addressed.
For years I believed I should not form close spiritual connections with male deity as a birth assigned woman. Anyone who knows me will know why that was never going to work out. This concept that males should only deal with male deity and females likewise does not allow for personal polarity and balance.
Paganism is very individualistic and if we are all allowed to find our own polarity it works, it is when we try to dictate what is right for everyone else that problems arise. There is a need for a general baseline of belief or practice but that baseline surely should not be a hiding place for sexism, homophobia, transphobia or any other form of bigotry. Polarity of energies is an important concept but to use gender as identifiers is dangerous.
© J Farmer 2013