On The Powerful (And Unavoidable) Intersection Of Queerness And Witchcraft
I was a queer teenage witch, which more common than you might think. There is a natural intersection between being queer and being a witch. As a queer person, your sexuality places you outside the “standard boxes” of being cis, white, het, and in many cases, white. This can be both frightening at times, given the current political environment in many countries and the fact that many members of both groups find themselves without a readily available community. Fortunately, social media and the internet can often step into that gap, giving people a global community who will identify with and support them.
In my case, I had known I was queer long before I started exploring the idea of being a witch, but I knew that in my hometown, I was out of place. Several friends of mine who felt similarly out of place, were also queer queer, and/or not willing to conform, gravitated towards witchcraft not as a rejection of religion and parental traditions, but as somewhere we felt at home.
Unfortunately, it’s still not unusual for many religions to reject people based on their gender identity or sexuality, and that means queer people may end up looking for ways to express their beliefs elsewhere. When I tried going to church, I heard everything from “being queer is just a phase” to “a woman’s duty is to be married” to “you’re going to Hell.” I also had people try and convert me to their particular religion more than a few times.
Witches have historically been people who were viewed as being dangerous for the power they may have possessed, as well as being unwilling to follow the rules. In many cases, simply being an unmarried woman who lived alone and had a garden was enough reason for someone to be accused of witchcraft.
I’ve found that many of the same bigots who dislike forthright women and witches also think queer people are frightening, as if not being straight means a person is going to draw people to them with some kind of siren-esque pull. My “queer agenda” is not to convert straight people. I don’t have time and have much better things to do. Likewise, as witch, I’m not going to cast a spell on somebody just because they don’t like my shoes (although if you insult my cats, that may earn you a couple of nasty looks, which I think is pretty reasonable).
Both witches and queer folks have been labeled as outsiders due to the way we choose to live our lives. Being out of the closet, unashamed, and celebrating our power remains an act of bravery in the face of prejudice.
It’s still not unusual for many religions to reject people based on their gender identity or sexuality, and that means queer people may end up looking for ways to express their beliefs elsewhere.
That belief in power — be it magic, the elements, or the power of glitter or a spell — is another strong link between witches and the queer community. For me, power can take many forms beyond a ritual or spell, ranging from wearing red lipstick or a kickass pair of boots, to the way I braid my hair. Such magic may not be easily quantified or visible to anyone who doesn’t understand it, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful to those of us who use it.
So many things have driven me and many other people to seek out more a welcoming community, and a search for the “magic words” #witch, #queer, or #LGBTQIA on Twitter, Tumblr, or other social media platforms will produce results in by the thousands from other people celebrating their identities. Being a queer witch is one door you don’t need to say “Alohomora” to open, and as someone who has walked through it already, I say, “Welcome, it’s great to have you here. Now let’s make some magic.”