Pagan Pride (2013) Daniel Bran Griffith


In August 2013 I performed one of my last official functions as East Midlands Pagan Federation Deputy District Manager, prior to my retirement from the organisation. I like to think I went out on something of a high note, delivering a talk entitled ‘In defence of Interfaith’ in which I addressed briefly, the reasoning why Interfaith is an important part of the Civil and Religious Rights movement within our Pagan community.

For many within our community Interfaith is unimportant, a side issue, it is dismissed perhaps as joke but this is an underestimation of the importance of our involvement. As I have explored in articles previously published in magazines such as The Pentacle, The Hedge Wytch and Deosil Dance, Interfaith has a political element. Interfaith Dialogue is not about breaking bread with the ‘enemy’ or allowing ‘Christian Trojan Horses’ to corrupt some fantastically ‘pure’ form of Paganism. Interfaith is part of a political agenda within the Pagan community in which we assert and demand our equality within a modern society. It is an absolute recognition that the Pagan Community be treated with the same respect and consideration as any other social group, religious, ethnic, sexual or otherwise. It is not part of a request for special treatment but it is a demand for the same treatment, the same status as other social groups. Importantly, there is also an element of standing together with other minority groups, unified in dialogue and demanding equality for all.

Pagan Pride is a manifestation of the Pagan Community, in its desire to gain recognition and equality. Importantly is it also a celebration of what it is and what it means to be Pagan. It is a social group asserting its identity, whatever the definition of Pagan is to the individual and its associated meaning, the community acts as a unified body in celebration. Pagan Pride is both a political demonstration and a community festival. As such it as much in common with other Pride marches and events such as Gay Pride, combining two complex requirements in one event.

Pagan Pride has at times faced criticism from within the community, ranging from the outlandish clothes worn to the use of chants and slogans. Yet these are all part of any similar event, whether a demonstration or a carnival to celebrate a particular culture, they are the ubiquitous elements that display the emotional energy of the participants. Perhaps as time progresses and mainstream society becomes more accepting of cultural differences; the celebratory and festive elements of events such as Pagan Pride will become increasingly dominant and those elements associated with demonstration will decrease.

Yet while we live in a world that still has prejudice and displays that prejudice, whether it is against Pagans and other religious groups, persons of a different Ethnic origin to the dominant culture, those who are Lesbian, Gay or Transgender, the elderly, the sick, the homeless or the disabled. Then the need for minority groups to demonstrate their community strength will exist. Pagan Pride is a manifestation of a much broader movement than simply being ‘something’ for Pagans; it is a celebration of diversity within our British society.

©Daniel Bran Griffith the Chattering Magpie 2013

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