Coming out of the Closet

I read a lot of tarot blogs, and I’d love to read more (hint hint, I’d be delighted to hear your recommendations!), and I love to share good things that I find with the blog as well.

I want to start my post by saying that I really like Biddy Tarot a lot.   I think Brigit puts out a lot of great information and she’s informative and accessible.  I think you should definitely be reading her blog if you aren’t already.

The other day she put out a podcast called Coming out of the Tarot Closet.  I liked the article and I think it had a lot of great advice about facing your fears and living your authentic truth.  But it always gives me some pause when I see people using ‘coming out of the closet’ in ways that don’t relate to queerness.  I’m uncomfortable when that phrase gets co-opted.  I’ve always had a little trouble expression why that bothers me so much.  I was talking about it with my wife this morning and she just hit the nail on the head.  The difference between telling people that you read tarot cards and telling people that you’re gay is the systematic discrimination that queer people face.

I am sure that some tarot readers get a lot of flack from other people who don’t understand what tarot is really about.  Especially with the rise of a lot of really fundamentalist religious groups that we’re seeing lately.  So I won’t say that telling other people that you read tarot can’t get you some nasty reactions.  It could possibly even cost you some relationships if things were really bad.  I don’t doubt that there are young people who could face abuse if their parents found out they read tarot. But the difference is that tarot readers don’t face the systematic discrimination and disenfranchisement that queer people living in our culture do.

When was the last time that you heard about a tarot reader being murdered for having their tarot cards on them?  Queer people, especially trans people of color, are killed every single day in America and places all over the world.  In most places queer folks can’t adopt children, they can’t be married, they can’t inherit their partner’s pensions, and there are plenty of places where it’s completely illegal–you can be killed for being gay.

I just want you to read that one again.

I’ve been pretty lucky in many ways.  My workplace allowed domestic partner benefits long before my state finally allowed legal same sex marriage.  But, before marriage was federally recognized, the portion of our medical insurance that covered my wife was regarded as extra income.  Which meant that I had to pay extra taxes on that coverage.  We did the math, it worked out to an extra $1,000 dollars every year because my spouse was a woman and not a man.

And I get it, it’s just a phrase, just some words.  But words are powerful things.  And when they get co-opted for everything from tarot cards to coming out as liking a certain TV show, it cheapens their impact.  It makes it seem like these events are the same.  And they’re really really not.

So, please, the next time you’re tempted to say that you had to ‘come out’ as a _____, please pause and think of some other way to talk about it.

I’d love to hear some other perspectives on that issue since I’m sure there are aspects I haven’t considered.  Please feel free to leave a respectful comment below!

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2 thoughts on “Coming out of the Closet

  1. As a queer person and also a Kemetic pagan, I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. I know people think it’s clever to call being a secretive witch “being in the broom closet”, and you’re right, a lot of people will still face negativity when they “come out” about their spiritual practices, but… it’s not the same. There’s just too much history and political charge to a phrase like “the closet”.

    Liked by 1 person

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