Peeling Back Layers of Ugly: The Gay Reality

Wintersong:

A heart-wrenching and heartfelt account of a sister’s challenging journey into accepting her gay brother. It’s a good read about how love really can conquer. Most importantly though, stories like this one are useful reminders in a time when the dominant narrative in the LGBT world is that people who aren’t instantly accepting are inherently lost to our lives. As the struggle for equality has progressed, the community narrative has begun loosing sight of the fact that some of our best allies and staunchest supporters had to work to get there.

Originally posted on IndeedIAm:

This was it.

The expectant tension was building in our awkward phone conversation to an almost unbearable degree.  I felt myself struggling to regulate my breath and appear nonchalant.  He struggled for words, a way to open the door, for the very first time to anyone.

His fear became so present, it felt like we may shatter when he finally found the words.

My brother is gay.

When he finally told me, a few months from graduating high school in the spring of 2004, every single bad, derogatory, judgemental comment I had ever heard about gay people played out in my memory. We did not grow up in a home where bigotry and hateful speech was ever uttered.  But we grew up mormon.  A place where they talked about the sin of homosexuality.  A place where t.v. shows like Ellen, or Will and Grace were considered immoral and inappropriate.  Where…

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An environmentalist interpretation of the binding of Loki

Wintersong:

This is a really fabulous way of seeing things

Originally posted on Rebalancing Acts:

This has been hanging around in the back of my mind for about a year now. I took a crack at a draft earlier this year, to get some of my thoughts down; that draft has been sent to join its ancestors.

I was thinking over the Lokasenna, and the myth about Loki’s binding, and the various players in that myth, and I realized that another way of looking at it is about civilization’s attitude towards nature.

The Aesir are commonly seen as gods of civilization, whereas Loki is not only a Jotun, from the part of the pantheon where deities are aligned with primal natural forces and phenomena, He is (among other things) a god of change, which is one of the most fundamental natural forces there is. While there are other Jotnar who are accepted among the Aesir, Loki never seems to be as fully accepted among this…

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Announcing Gods’ Mouths 2.0 – A New Collaborative Pagan Blog

Wintersong:

Very excited by this new project and I hope lots of you will join us (and reblog)!

Originally posted on Gods' Mouths 2.0:

Gods’ Mouths 2.0
Following our own paths… together

 

We are extremely excited to announce a new collaborative alternative spirituality, paganism and spiritworking blog project with the return and reboot of “Gods’ Mouths.”

The new managing editors, Alex Bettencourt of Rock of Eye, and Wintersong Tashlin of Notes From A Barking Shaman, intend to present content from contributors with a broad diversity of relationships to spirituality, faith, gods, spirits and magic.

Posts on Gods’ Mouths 2.0 will explore the complexities of our lived experiences as spiritual and/or magical beings in ways that challenge us as readers to broaden and question our own understandings faith and practice. But through it all, God’s Mouths’ writers and editors will strive to ensure that our content does not pass judgement on people whose beliefs (or lack thereof) differ from our own, or seeks to non-consensually impose a fundamentalist worldview on anyone.

In…

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Ordeal and Community

Wintersong:

Caer has some wonderful thoughts on Ordeal in a community context

Originally posted on Not All Who Wander Are Lost:

I’ve been facilitating and participating in Ordeal rituals for damn near a decade. One fairly constant aspect of my experience, whether I’m the Seeker or the Guide, is that these rituals tend to be individualized. They are crafted start to finish for one person, with one goal in mind, and the experience of the Seeker rarely affects any larger community.

This is completely understandable. Ordeals are not for everyone, of course, and there is no reason everyone should walk that path. It also plays into the near fetish we Americans have for the individual who exists outside of/rebels against/is distinct from the larger community. Especially in the case of Ordeal work, since so many Ordeal mechanics actively contradict the mores of the larger community. There are logistic concerns as well – getting a number of Seekers undergoing the same Ordeal in the same location as the number of skilled Guides…

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A Gay Case for Not Pardoning Alan Turing

On May 14th, I wrote a post for the Bilerico Project on why I don’t support pardoning Alan Turing. I’m reposting it here, along with the same argument in video form, because I’m working on going all multimedia.

Note: in the video below I mistakenly say that Alan Turing’s OBE was from King George the IV, when it was in fact George the VI. Sorry. 

 

 

Let Alan Turing’s Conviction For Homosexuality Stand

A bill has been introduced in the UK House of Lords which would issue a statuary pardon for WWII hero and father of modern computing Alan Turing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dr. Turing, allow me to provide a few highlights on his life and importance:

Dr. Alan Turing was a computer scientist and cryptanalyst whose work on decrypting German codes during the war earned him induction as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and contributed significantly to Allied successes. Much of his work during and after the WWII helped established the groundwork on which modern computing has been built. In 1952 he pleaded guilty to the charge of homosexuality, resulting in the loss of his security clearance, and court-ordered chemical sterilization via estrogen injections, which Dr. Turing had accepted in lieu of a prison term. His death via cyanide poising in 1954 is widely believed to have been a suicide, although there remain some questions on that point.

On the surface, pardoning Alan Turing would seem to be a no-brainer. He made critical contributions to saving Allied lives during the war, played a key role in bringing about the modern information age, and was convicted of a crime that hasn’t existed in England and Wales since 1962, although the rest of the UK was slower to come around.

But in my view a pardon would do a disservice not only to Dr. Turing’s memory, but also to the LGBT community.

As distasteful as modern sensibilities may find Alan Turing’s trial, conviction, and chemical castration; his experiences at the hands of the law are a vital part, not only of his history, but of the history of the struggle for LGBT equality. While Dr. Turing may not have been alone in being tried and/or convicted of homosexuality during that period of time, he was, even in life, a renowned scientist and war hero. The fact that even someone who had been awarded the OBE by King George VI himself, could be subjected to a loss of livelihood and physical/psychological torture, is powerful proof of the discrimination gay people have been forced to endure in Western nations within living memory.

In 2009 the British Prime Minister issued an apology on behalf of the British government for the treatment Alan Turing received. This was an overdue and wholly right move to address a historical wrong.

But being dead, pardoning Alan Turing does nothing for the man himself; he is widely known today and his work remains highly influential and respected. Moreover, despite having plead guilty to the crime of homosexuality on his lawyer’s advice, Dr. Turning did not see his homosexuality as a source of shame, and is said to have felt no remorse for his “crime.” A pardon could be seen as a way of saying that his conviction was in error, and it was not. Regardless of its fairness, the law made homosexual conduct illegal, and Alan Turing most assuredly “practiced” homosexuality. Pardoning Dr. Turing distances us and future generations from that distasteful truth.

Having already apologized, government of the UK should not now be allowed to retroactively attempt to ameliorate the wrong done to Dr. Turing. Today, whenever people learn of his life and work, they come face to face with the reality that little more than sixty years ago, being gay was a crime punishable by prison or mutilation, in what today is considered one of the more forward thinking nations of the world on human rights. It would be a betrayal of history, and of one of our community’s most visible and important martyrs, to water down that hard truth.