Beginning with Ourselves (or) Pride: pt 2 of ?


What does it mean to begin with ourselves?

We live in an over-culture that constantly bombards us with messages of how we are not good enough… unless…. We buy this product, use/wear/play/listen to this or that.  Where most forms of social media are fueled by algorithms that thrive on engagement, and all too often accidentally or by design fuel that engagement through outrage and conflict.  Where the flow of information has become an onslaught, where news and opinion about the latest atrocity is beamed into our minds and heart in an almost constant stream.  Where we are constantly exposed to marketers, advertisers, and propagandists striving to bend us and our society to their wills.

As LGBTQIA peoples, the affect sometimes only seems magnified.  Changes in culture and society over the last 20 plus years have led to breakdowns of the old networks and community groups and organizations or lessened engagement as many of us felt that these were no longer as necessary as they once were.  There has been a sense of splintering and factionalization within the Queer community.  A sense of disconnection with our own history and culture.  At the same time we face continuing and renewed attacks from extremists.

What can we do in the face of all of this to celebrate Pride as a Holy Season as LGBTQIA Pagans and Occultists and fellow travelers?  What can we do to begin?

One of the first things we can do, and in some surprising ways, the simplest and most empowering, is to connect with our Queer culture and ancestors through learning about our history and culture.  The idea that we as a people have our own history is not such a radical notion, and indeed academia has embraced Queer Studies and LGBTQ History.  There are numerous books, movies, academic studies, documentaries, podcasts and all other manner of media exploring the human record where Queer people have left a mark that has not been struck from the record by bigotry and intolerance.

The idea that we have a unique culture may seem more out there, but when we start looking at our history and the works and lives of our LGBTQIA ancestor’s certain themes do emerge and as we continue forward perhaps other aspects of Queer culture will come to light.

Some of the points that come out as elements of Queer Culture include:

  1. Honoring our collective past.  Including remembering and honoring our ancestors, our heroes, and our dead.
  2. A culture of flexibility in what constitutes one’s family and immediate community.
  3. Openness to a variety of definitions and configurations for intimate relationships.
  4. An active and widespread embrace of creativity and artistry and the arts and crafts; including and especially where such things may be contraindicated by the social or cultural norms or the role one is seen engaging in in either the larger society or the LGBTQIA community.
  5. A rejection of violence within Queer spaces and events, an active investment in Queerspace being safe and free of violence.  Which is in no way to say an embrace of pacifism, although some do.  Every LGBTQIA person you will ever meet has at one time or another had to face the possibility that they might face horrific violence, violation, or death, for the simple crime of our existence.
  6. Not just Mutual Aid within the Queer community, but also a strong tendency towards both personal and taking part in organized altruism for others.
  7. A strong theme of solidarity with the struggles of other oppressed peoples.  Not that our history as a people or culture is not interwoven with a complicated legacy of sexism and racism, but I would argue that these are not intrinsic to LGBTQIA community or culture.  They are cancers present within them, just as they are within the overculture.

    Some of the above points come to my understanding from my own readings and studies of LGBTQIA history and my own lived experience.  Some were also inspired by reading The Soul Beneath The Skin: The Unseen Hearts and Habits of Gay Men, by David Nimmons (2003), which while focused on Gay male culture and sadly out of print I can highly recommend!

One of the ways I am celebrating Pride this year is by intermittent bingeing of the Making Gay History podcast.  This series by author Eric Marcus is named after his book of the same name.  At least in the second edition of 2002, original title Making History 1992, the podcast features biographical notes and author remembrances interspersed with taped interviews of a variety of LGBTQIA pioneers in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA civil rights.

I really wish I had encountered the book in either of it’s editions when I was a much younger man and a much more voracious reader, but I am loving the podcast.

There are almost, too many, resources currently available to list for someone wanting to explore LGBTQIA history and culture.  Here for our mutual edification and continuing journeys are a few of them…


Making Gay History

Queer as Fact

Queer News with Anna Deshawn

A Couple of Books & some Reading Lists

The Soul Beneath The Skin by David Nimmons (2003)

And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts (1987)

10 essential non-fiction books to learn about LGBTQ history and culture

The Queer History Book List

LGBTQ History Month: 17 must-read books about queer history


The Celluloid Closet

How We Got Gay

An Online Resource

The National Aids Memorial Interactive Aids Quilt

Blessed be our Jouney’s into Queer History and Culture and Bliss & Blessed Be,


So what do you think?! Opinions? Ideas? Beuller... Bueller?!

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