Indy Pagan Pride 2018

Heads up! This article was imported from a previous version of The Campus Citizen. If you notice any issues, please let us know.

Nearly three thousand people gathered for the Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

“This is an opportunity that we use to gather together to show the strength of the pagan community and its ability to donate and help the outside community as well as our own,” event organizer Tom Jones said.

A booth topped with a witch's hat is overlooked by billowing flags at the Indy Pagan Pride Day event.

Indy Pagan Pride participants donated canned and dry goods as well as toiletries for the Damien Center, an AIDS service organization based in Indianapolis that has been partnered with the event for seventeen years. Organizers also received food and litter donations to Indy Feral, an organization which provides shelter as well as spaying and neutering services for feral cats.

Tom Jones (pictured) organized the Indy Pagan Pride Day event.

Jones contrasted the many participants who donated to these causes to attendance at the first Indy Pagan Pride event in 1998.

“We started with 20 people,” Jones said.

Jones explained that that the social environment around paganism had changed since the event’s inception.

“It’s a much better atmosphere, it’s much more relaxed. We’re not in fear,” Jones said. “As a group and culture we’ve been through quite a bit with lawsuits and reassurance that we have validity.”

Jones referred to a 2004 case in which a Marion Superior Court judge  ordered his son to be shielded from his “nonmainstream” Pagan faith of Wicca. On Aug. 18, 2005, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out the order, ruling that the Marion Superior Court had overstepped its authority.

In contrast with this court order which sought to forbid a child from growing up in a pagan household, participants brought children young enough to be pushed in strollers to Indy Pagan Pride.

“It takes away the fear when you know that you’re not going to lose your children for being a pagan,” Jones said. “It makes you not afraid. It makes you powerful.”

Jones added that he is not afraid to publicly wear a pentagram or openly discuss his faith.

“As a general rule, I’m certainly not in the closet, hiding,” Jones said.

Jones observed that the phrase "in the closet" and many of the other terms pagans use to describe their lives are derived from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

“There’s a lot of similarities between how both groups are treated by mainstream society,” Jones said. “There is a lot of solidarity. In fact, a lot of us are gay, bi. A lot of us are LGBT.”

This intersection between the pagan community and the LGBT community was evident from some of the organizations and vendors which had booths at the event. Among these was GenderNexus, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Indianapolis which provides resources for transgender and nonbinary people resources such as workshops, social events, and referrals to inclusive service providers.

At least three vendors at Indy Pagan Pride first sold their goods at the Indy Pride Festival for the LGBT community: Portia Joi Jefferson, Dio Mikko Lachance and Alexandria Swan Tuesday.

Three vendors at Indy Pagan Pride stand in front of the transgender pride flag. From left to right: Portia Joi Jefferson, Alexandria Swan Tuesday, and Dio Mikko Lachance.

Portia Joi Jefferson said that it was her first year selling her crotchet and knitted goods from Hook ‘N’ Purl at Indy Pagan Pride.

“I feel like it’s pretty inclusive of beliefs and identities,” Jefferson said of the event. “Everyone’s been pretty nice and it seems like a comfortable, welcoming space.”

Jefferson first learned of Indy Pagan Pride from her friend Dio Mikko Lachance. Lachance is a poet and artist from the east side of Indianapolis who designs buttons and sells them at events.

“I make buttons, mostly queer-centric, but I like try to do stuff that’s kind of for pagan pride and just random things I think of,” Lachance said.  “There’s a lot of different types of people here, and you don’t get too many people side-eyeing you for being queer or something.”

Lachance explained that they first went to Indy Pagan Pride last year with their girlfriend Alexandria Swan Tuesday. Like Lachance, Tuesday is a poet from the east side of Indianapolis.

“It was fun to meet a lot of different people who were just into a lot of different things I was into and they were into things I was curious about,” Tuesday said. “I was like, ‘this is a place where I can definitely continue to meet people.’”

After her first time at the event, Tuesday returned as a vendor, preparing and selling jewelry. Tuesday said that she believed Indy Pagan Pride was a safer space than most in the United States.

“I have my trans flag hanging right here not even a foot from us. I have not been called a single awful name yet today. I say yet because generally when I leave the house somebody has something to say about me because of who I am,” Tuesday said.

Tuesday contrasted the atmosphere of the event to current events. She specifically cited the support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has received despite being accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, among other women.

“We need to regain the concept of human decency. There is nothing cute or attractive about the things that are going on in the United States right now,” Tuesday said.

Tuesday said this was a reason that spaces like the one offered by Indy Pagan Pride were necessary.

“At the end of the day, no matter what you do or do not believe in, we all got to move on from this dimension. So why are we gonna fight about it in the meantime?” Tuesday said. “So that’s why I appreciate this space.”

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Campus Citizen, IUPUI