Hospitality Here: Because it’s MY Blog…
I have recently been in a number of online situations where I have felt extremely marginalized. I am not feeling particularly safe in the online or Pagan worlds at the moment. This marginalization occasionally manifests in blog comments in response to my posts, too. So I feel it’s time for a hospitality policy here. This will go up as a permanent ‘page’ on my blog.
For me, inviting a person to read my blog is a trust thing, akin to inviting them into my home. (And those who know me and my spiritual practices will know just how important hospitality is to me, in that context.) In return for my hospitality to you here, please show me hospitality and respect in return. Consider this my space, and you my guest. (Cup of tea? Oh, go on…)
So here are the things that I’d rather you didn’t do, either in my home, or on my blog.
– When commenting on or linking to this blog, please link using the name ‘Léithin Cluan’. I use my real name online in some circumstances, but this is a safe place for me where my identity doesn’t have to be linked to, say, my professional identity – if I don’t want it to be. Thanks for respecting this.
– Please, no denial of my impairments, or of the fact that I am disabled. This includes denial of the existence of my condition (or of the physical nature of it), and arguing that neurodiversity is not disabling. I’d possibly be a bit more willing to have these debates with you if we were friends. But if you only know me through blog posts, you have absolutely no right to suggest that my expertise on disability (gained through many years of personal experience and an MA in Disability Studies) is less important than yours (especially if you speak from total ignorance).
– Disability oppression of any kind, of or about anyone, will also not be tolerated. I get to decide what I consider that to be. (Again, this is my space.)
– Related to this: no derailing, especially in relation to areas of my life where I am marginalized – whether the derailing is through telling me I shouldn’t be ‘hostile’, or through elitism or anti-intellectualism, or any other method. In return, I will do my best to be constantly self-critical (in a positive, constructive way) in areas where I have privilege and you are marginalized. We all meet on complex intersections of marginalization and privilege, at magical crossroads of experience. I will try to listen if you will.
– Transphobia, transmisogyny and oppression of non-binary people are not acceptable here. If it helps you to remember that I’m married to a non-binary person who comes under the trans umbrella, then by all means keep that in mind. Again, Pagans are not immune to the transphobia that permeates our culture. The Pantheacon 2011 debacle showed that, as do other incidents I have seen recently in the Pagan community.
– Racism will not be tolerated here. I suggest the Pagans Against Racism page as a great resource on this subject. Racism is complex, since it is institutional as well as personal, and not always easy spotted in our own behaviour. I know that I have white privilege and struggle with latent racism, just as many, many people do. The page is a good starting-point for learning more. If you are from a minority ethnic group and call me out on racism, I promise to listen and try to learn. I understand that I am part of a system, and that all aspects of that system need to be challenged. If you want to read more about the complexities of racism and colonialism in Paganisms, I recommend the research of religious studies scholar Kavita Maya. Such as this excellent paper.
– See also: sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, imperialism, cultural appropriation, or any talk about ‘purity’ of Pagan practices. (Hint: you are probably not the inheritor of a magical Irish tradition, uncorrupted by Christianity and passed down to you through books by people who have never been to Ireland.)
– I won’t put up with religion-bashing either. I am still involved on the fringes of the Christian church, and modern Paganism’s anti-Christianity annoys me. Don’t share it here. And absolutely don’t denigrate any other religons, whether you’re bashing world religions from an imperialist perspective, or new religious movements from an elitist one. Words I’m not a fan of include ‘newage’ (I have family who identify as New Age spiritual practitioners), and the use of ‘monotheism’ as a conflation of all Abrahamic religions without attempting to understand the vast differences between them.
(I reserve the right to add to this list whenever issues come to light that I have ignored through my own ignorance or lack of understanding of sytemic oppression in society.)
If I encounter any of the above issues in comments on my blog, I will do my best to address them, to check I have understood, and to draw people’s attention to their own problematic speech or behaviour. But I won’t keep arguing these things forever. I have limited energy for dealing with these things.
My new policy on comments is to screen all of them before they’re posted. This is for my health and safety. :P I will question and debate things with you, but I won’t put up with the above things for long. I will simply not approve comments that make me feel unsafe, that are oppressive, or that I don’t have the energy to debate ad inifinitum.