Two Sexes, Many Genders and the perils of thinking in dichotomies

Gus diZerega is a Gardnerian Elder and a Ph.D. in political science. Presented at Conference on Current Pagan Studies January 26-27 2019, Claremont, CA

Contemporary disputes over the status of trans people within the NeoPagan community, particularly trans women, have led to purges of long time Pagan figures and groups for not agreeing with others on these matters.  In the process basic themes about the sacred feminine  long considered fundamental to NeoPaganism have been attacked, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes explicitly.  Some people have set themselves up as arbitrators of who counts as a member of our broader community and sought to enforce their agenda.  This conflict is rooted in a dualistic way of thinking, where one is either a man or a woman.  Outside the box of Christian assumptions there is no strong reason for accepting such a framing, and plenty of reasons for rejecting it. Both trans Pagans and natal Pagans have legitimate interests that overlap but are not the same.  Contending otherwise reflects a rigid thinking in dichotomies at odds with Pagan insights and the nature of reality itself. The concept of “Two Spirits,” rooted in many Native American peoples who identified from three to five different kinds of gender show a way out of this conflict that respects the legitimate interests of all involved.