Monday, April 1, 2013

The Broom Closet and Harassment

  The Wild Hunt recently reported that Kyrja Withers, author of the Rupert series of pagan children's books, had gun shots fired at her home after being the victim of prior incidents of harassment related to her pagan religion. (See the original story here.)  This news saddens me, but it doesn't make me regret my own choice to be "out of the broom closet."
   I was always taught that I should be careful what people think about me, that reputation is a powerful thing.  It's a viewpoint I've come to disagree with strongly, especially as I began to make controversial choices such as being a pagan.  I could hide the fact that I consider myself pagan, or I could let it be known in the same way I let other opinions and interests be known. Growing up in a generation of Facebook users who express their opinions loud and proud on the Internet, combined with the fact that we Americans tend to believe we have the right to be happy while being open about who we are, I can't bring myself to go to great lengths to keep my religion hidden. When I was a Christian, "Christian" was proudly displayed as my Facebook religion status. Now, it says "Pagan."  I don't tell everyone I meet that I'm a pagan.  It's just there on my Facebook to be found by curious profile-stalkers, and I'll mention it once in a while, if it comes up.  So it's not a choice to be in-your-face about my paganism. It's just a choice not to hide who I am and what I do.  There have been few negative implications of this choice in my own life, but we sadly live in a world where such consequences are clearly a possibility.  The choice to be open about paganism or not is a very personal one, and may take into account where you live, your professional life, etc.  In my current situation, I choose to be open and this news does not make me regret my choice.  But I'd love to hear your opinion.

Are you out of the broom closet?  And does this recent story influence how you feel about being an open pagan?

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