+Star.Foster has stepped back from the label "Pagan". On the one hand, this is her decision (one it seems like many others are also considering or have already taken), and therefore none of my damned business.

On the other hand, Pagan is not only a personal label of faith, nor a community label by which we recognise 'our own', but also a public label via which we exercise solidarity and lobby for our rights to be upheld.

I'm seeing a lot of parallels with gay/Queer/LGBT/QUILTBAG communities - but with one vital difference.

The parallels - based on my limited current knowledge and understanding of the history: it used to be that there was a Gay Movement. Within the gay movement were gay men, lesbian women, bisexual people of all genders, and included among those folks a strong contingent of trans people.

But as time went on, it became clear that the Gay Movement had become a Gay Men's movement. Lesbians had to create their own spaces. Then the movement came back together and became the Lesbian and Gay Movement. The the same thing happened with bisexual people, then trans people (not that the LGBT movement and LGBT services are very good at representing or making space for the B or the T, and many services still even struggle to make space for the L).

Some people use the term Queer as an overarching label, but it can have liberal / left-wing / radical political associations, which makes it difficult to use as an inclusive term. Then there's QUILTBAG -- QUeer Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay -- which I personally like because it pretty much covers everyone who isn't heteronormative, but at the same time, it's one helluva bowl of alphabet soup.

I hope the parallels with Pagan, Polytheist, Reconstuctionist and "nature-based spiritualities" (I shall be using PPRNBS from now on [in this post, to save my fingers]) is clear. 

Now to the part where the parallel breaks down. In my opinion, the 'Gay' in the PPRNBS situation is Wicca - both Gardnerian/Alexandrian (i.e. oathbound, coven-based traditions) and its related eclectic and solitary off-shoots - along with other traditions of Witchcraft.

If 'Wiccan' were being used as the overall community title, I would immediately see why Druids, animists, shamanic practitioners, reconstructionists, hard Polytheists, Heathens and other PPRNBSers would object and distance themselves. But Pagan has for decades been a term which has been used as an umbrella under which all PPNBSers could congregate, to act in solidarity to ensure we can keep our jobs, our homes, our children and our human rights. 

I have no objection whatsoever to people ditching the label "Pagan" in how they think of themselves, and in how they relate with other PPRNBS folks. But in terms of political organising and holding the line against those who want to see us not exist, we need a label we can organise around and shelter under, and "Pagan" [at least in the UK] is one which is finally being recognised by governments and policy-makers. (Heather Greene has been talking about this political aspect over at The Wild Hunt http://wildhunt.org/2013/01/a-question-of-pagan-solidarity-part-one.html )

I have a horrible feeling that as a group, we PPRNBS folks may be about to commit political and societal suicide.
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