**Disclaimer: this blog is written by Elani and has a more personal feel to it than LWM usually would because the topic warrants it.**
I have been in a lot of closets throughout my life. I realized I was gay and a Pagan around the same young age; around thirteen. Seeing as I am now twenty five, that means I have had twelve years of experience in coming out as both.
I have to admit that coming out as gay has been easier than coming out as a Wiccan. In the beginning I realized that coming out at such a young age would undoubtedly label me as a 'fluffbunny', especially because that was around the time of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. So I didn't come out. What I did was wear a pentagram and answer questions if anyone asked. I build an altar in my room. I studied and frequented the local spiritual bookshop.
When I was around four years into my studies, I begun to tell people on my own accord. For a course on religion, I held a presentation about Wicca. I still studied and frequented the spiritual bookstore. I begged my mom to take me to pagan supply shops in the rest of the country and while she clearly was puzzled about the whole thing, she drove me to where I wanted to go and gave me a pendulum for my birthday.
From that point on it slowly got better. As my believes were solidified, I came out of the broom closet more easily and with better results. While most around me now know (which is not the same as understand) my religious choices, I am still careful who I tell. My religion is a lot more personal to me than my sexuality. There is so much ignorance in the general population that coming out sometimes seems like such a tiresome thing to do.
It's this reason why I, and the rest of the Little Witch staff with me, support a coming out day for Pagans. Coming out in bulk is always empowering. My first LGBT coming out days certainly were.
You can read more about the initiative on the website and it has a good few warning labels attached already but I want to stress that if you are not comfortable coming out, no one can or should force you. Wait until next year or the year after that. Tell just one person if you've been wanting to for a while but leave the big announcements for a later date.
I have found that coming out days don't even have to involve actually telling anyone about your sexuality, religion or anything else you want and need to be open about; it's about judging where you are in the process of coming out and seeing if you're comfortable where you are or if you feel the need to move forward a bit. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it's no. Both are perfectly good answers.
But what is a coming out day? A coming out day is simply a designated day where people who share a similar plight use strength in numbers to find the strength to open up to oneself or the outside world about something which occupies their time or identifies them.
The initiative for a Pagan coming out day was taken by IPCOD's Cara Schulz a little over seven months ago. She wondered if the pagan community could use one and promptly put the idea into action. Currently the focus is on America but there is no reason why we can't be proud and empowered on Europe's side of the pond!
There is a lot you can do to show your support. Visit the website or the Facebook page for further information on that. All I can add is that it's sometimes easier to come out online than to your friends and family in the 'real world'. Don't worry about doing it wrong or not coming out enough. 2 May will be a day of pride and even if you're just proud of being Pagan without telling a soul about it, you've added your positive energy to the world and the cause. That is enough!
So will you be celebrating on the second of May and how? Do you think it's important to organize these type of events or do you think pagan acceptance will work itself out if we just let it gradually evolve? Let us know as you can leave comments now!