Earlier today I saw a YouTube video where a girl was talking about coming out of the broom closet. As this is something I struggle with on a daily basis my interest was immediately piqued as it always is when I hear other people talk about their experiences with this particular problem. To be perfectly honest I was ... less than pleased.
To give a rundown of what she had to say, apparently she's annoyed by the very term "broom closet" as it's just a cutesy pop phrase that pagans use. According to her it's trivial compared to coming out as a homosexual which is something much more dire. She also said that most people who talk about coming out are simply looking for attention and that most people who find paganism are turned onto it by the glamorized Hollywood examples they see in movies and on television and that people shouldn't come out "too soon" because you can't really be pagan until you study ALL religions.
To express my issues with this one at time, for starters what the hell would you like us to call coming out. Does someone have a better, simpler, more accurate phrase than that. If they do I'd really like to hear it. Let's be honest it's the same thing as coming out of the closet. The only difference is you're expressing your spiritual beliefs rather than your sexual preferences. Calling it the "broom" closet rather than just the closet is our way of keeping it separate and NOT trivializing the struggles of someone who's trying to tell their friends and family that they're gay.
Secondly while bringing home your partner for the holidays is much more serious than simply wearing a pentacle to Thanksgiving without raised eyebrows, coming out for a Pagan is still terrifying. Pagan's are bullied, physically and verbally. To this very day people are murdered for being Pagan, or because someone assumes they're Pagan, all over the world. Even in America there are people who won't bat an eyelash at sending death threats to someone who's pagan. Open Pagans have been ostracized from their communities and families. Pagan homes and business have been vandalized by some nut or another. Coming out to your friends, family, and the world at large could leave you open to a whole shit-storm of hate. Don't tell me coming out as a Pagan is fucking trivial.
As for talking about it for attention, I live in a household with my devoutly Christian parents. I have to listen to them ridicule and insult Pagans. They talk about how they're wrong, evil, going to hell, and how they've all been foolishly duped into worshiping Satan. I have to listen to all of this bullshit with my blood BOILING and I can't say a word. I live here with my husband and son and I have to keep the peace. I can't even come out on Facebook because my mother, other family members, and people from my parents church are on there. Every time I like a pagan page I do so with bated breath wondering if someone will notice and say something. I have a Facebook page linked to this page and I can't connect it to my personal page for fear someone might see it. And that's just Facebook. All of my spiritual books I have to either keep hidden or pretend they're fiction. I can't practice Rituals, I can't openly celebrate Sabbats or Esbats. Other than my husband, my friends and this blog, I live in secret. I don't talk about coming out for the attention. It's something I dream about and wish I could to do without having holy water and salt thrown at me. I tried telling them in my teens and they told me I was possessed.
Finally being pagan isn't something I chose. It's just who I am. I tried with all I was to be Christian. I went to church, excelled in Sunday school, I got married in a church and had my son baptised in one. Finally after years of feeling spiritually numb I gave up and gave in. Being Pagan is what resonates through my very soul. As for studying, I do that because it interests me. Even if I didn't though, I would still be Pagan, I just wouldn't have a name for what I was. There is no one person who can know everything there is to know about every religion there is. There will always be something new uncovered and unknown. Don't tell someone who's brave enough to share their faith with the world that they shouldn't do it until they've done more homework.
I don't like to bash people which is why I won't name names, and I won't link to the video. If you've seen it you know what I'm talking about. I don't care who you are. Don't trivialize someone's experiences and struggles simply because you think you're above them. I'm glad for you if you have a secure enough family and social situation that you can feel confident telling everyone who you are. Not everyone has that though and just because you do, doesn't mean that's the norm. Before you start insulting someones struggle, try a little empathy.