Yet another controversy in our Pagan community still raging: transsexual individuals being excluded from ritual due to gender bias. An incident at the recent PantheaCon is only the latest reported episode in a long battle where some members of the community question the legitimacy of another based on birth genetics vs sexual reassignment.
Personally, I am aghast that our supposedly enlightened and tolerant community is still having issues in this area. Having had transgendered men and women in my home circle has never affected the integrity of the ritual. Never. Several months ago the priestess chosen to Call Down the Moon was, in fact, a transsexual woman, who by all accounts pleased the Goddess and did an excellent job evoking Her. This individual was chosen for her ability and skill at ritual expression; that she was born a man made absolutely no difference whatsoever because she had completed gender reassignment surgery and was now biologically and psychologically fully a woman.
Heterosexual male and female, bisexual male and female, gay, lesbian, transsexual and any other variation of gender identification-we are first and foremost human. Recognition of the inherent worth and dignity from others of our kind is our human birthright. It should be the foundation we build further acclaim upon; everything that comes after it in that regard is earned. We tend to forget that we all possess a bit of both sexes within us and it's only the difference of an X or Y chromosome that makes the final distinction of our gender. Jungian psychology recognizes the anima and animus:analytically speaking, the unconscious feminine in the masculine and masculine within the feminine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima_and_animus. Taking this into account, I often wonder why we don't know one another a bit better as men and women.
Sarah Thompson's letter to the organizers of PantheaCon expresses eloquently and passionately the emotion of being denied and excluded from certain rituals; you may find the text here: http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Gender_and_Transgender_in_the_Pagan_Community
I cannot understand why some in our community feel justified in denying a transsexual individual the right to inclusion if that person meets all the other requirements deemed appropriate to participation in a ritual. A transsexual person feels they have been "born in the wrong body" and identifies as the opposite sex; therefore a trans woman is still a woman, even if she has not undergone surgical intervention. How much more simple could this be and why are we making it so difficult for everyone affected?
The answer is just as plain and simple: prejudice.
I hope the answer has shocked you, because it certainly shocks me.I also hope you are as offended by the existence of this type of prejudice in our community as I am. Claiming to not have all the facts on the subject is inexcusable: if you don't feel you have all the facts, go educate yourself. The rant attributed to Z Budapest amounts to rationalizing this prejudice and is nothing more than self-righteous ignorance and male-bashing. It is time we dropped our ill and preconceived notions on the subject. There is no place for bigotry among us. Have we not suffered enough at the hands of others without committing the same shameless act upon our own?