March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This day is devoted to celebrating transgender folks, and raising awareness of transgender people and the discrimination they face worldwide. The holiday was created by Rachel Crandall in 2009. Crandall felt that there was a lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people. The only other well-known Trans holiday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance that focuses on the deaths and murders of Trans individuals. The Transgender Day of Visibility instead celebrates their lives and achievements.
Eastern Beach Kindred hosted Mystic Moon’s Ostara Ritual this past Saturday, March 18, 2017. Eastern Beach Kindred is a community of families in Hampton Roads who follow a path of Norse Paganism dedicated to the Northern Gods. Besides rituals, the group teaches Norse lore and holds regular classes on Norse magic at Mystic Moon. Ostara is one of eight Pagan sabbats (holy days) making up the Wheel of the Year. Ostara is a celebration of the coming of spring. It is the pre-Christian “Easter” celebration and where all the rabbits and eggs come from. Ostara celebrations take place at or near the spring equinox.
With all the rainbows, it could only mean leprechauns or LGBT folks. The Norfolk St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ocean View on Saturday, March 18, 2017 had both. Two local LGBT organizations took part in the parade among a number of other local clubs, organizations, schools, and businesses.
Hampton Roads Pride has been participating in the parade the past couple of years. New Life MCC joined the parade this year.
Who’s that face watching from within the forest leaves and foliage? Perhaps it’s the Green Man. The Green Man is in many ways the counterpart to Cernunnos. Whereas Cernunnos symbolizes the wild and untamed animal nature of the forest, the Green Man is the embodiment of the wild and fertile vegetation of nature. The Green Man is often depicted as simply a face in the leaves. Branches or vines might sprout from his nose, mouth, or other parts of his face. They may even bear fruit or flowers. He may have leaves for hair or a leafy beard. The face is almost always male. Green women are rare and green cats, lions, and demons are also found. Green Man carvings and sculptures are often found as part of the architecture of churches from the 11th century to the present day. The Pagan-esque symbol of the Green Man in Christian Churches would seem to indicate the vitality of the Green Man and his ability to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite the influence of Christianity, while at the same time co-existing with Christianity.
You may have heard the expression in school never to wear green on Thursday because that makes you a "queer" or a "fairy". What seems like a cruel made up children's game to identify gay people actually underscores a long history of the color green being associated with gay men.
The term “fairy” has long been a term used to identify gay men. Its use has been largely derogatory, but some gay men have reclaimed it. In the book, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, by Judy Grahn, the author points out that green was the primary color worn by mythical fairies, and this connection ties into this tradition. The fairies have freer sexual morals than Christian cultures are comfortable with. In fact, given their extremely long, perhaps even immortal lives, the idea of eternal marriage and coupledom would only give way to boredom. So homosexual bonds were likely to have been acceptable. The color green is a useful color for mythical fairies because it helps them to blend in and remain hidden in their natural environment among the plants and trees.
This past weekend, March 10-12, 2017, a group of men gathered in a cabin at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach for a weekend of discovery. The gathering included men straight and gay, mostly around middle age, and mostly Pagan. The theme of the weekend was “The Hero’s Adventure” and the weekend was facilitated by Shaman, writer, and teacher Tom Crockett.
Crockett used pop culture icons to explain the archetypal masculine model of the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey is a process where the hero receives some kind of call in his life to something greater. If he answers the call, he goes through a journey where he is challenged by obstacles and given assistance along the way by allies and mentors. Eventually he passes an ultimate test to prove what he’s learned along the way. He then returns to his life with more knowledge, skills, and confidence than before. He often brings back something that benefits his community – whether knowledge, defeating a common foe, or some magical tool.
On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Alison Jones hosted the “Grieving Man Green Tea” at Mystic Moon of Norfolk. Despite the name, the event was actually lighthearted and jovial. Everyone wore green. A variety of teas, cookies, and sweet snacks were offered.
The event was mostly about the tea and socializing. Folks were given the option to write grievances to St. Patrick and pin those on an effigy of the Saint. The effigy and grievances will be burned at a later time. For Pagans, burning grievances they’d like to banish or wishes they’d like to come true is a way of sending those messages to the spirit world.
What do you get when you mix an LGBT faith group, drag queens, and bingo? You get New Life Metropolitan Community Church’s (MCC) Drag Queen Bingo!!! This event was held this past Saturday, March 4, 2017.
The MCC is an LGBT Protestant Christian church that was founded in Los Angeles in 1968 by Rev. Troy Perry. The church has since grown into an international church with over 200 congregations in 37 countries worldwide. The church holds the position that God’s love is for all people including LGBT folks. The church is progressive in advocating for LGBT and other issues related to “race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights.”
Spiritual Relics held a psychic fair this past Saturday, March 4, 2017. Spiritual Relics is a relatively new metaphysical and spiritual supply shop located in the Larkspur Square Shopping Center on Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach. The store offers a wide variety of gifts and supplies including herbs, oils, candles, incense, stones and crystals, jewellery handmade by local artists, pens and woodcrafts from local artisans, statues, tapestries, Viking supplies, locally made soaps, bath salts, and other items. The shop is in the process of expanding its space to include a larger classroom, library, reading rooms, Reiki and energy healing rooms.
The fair drew a huge crowd with standing room only in the shop. Three psychic readers offered tarot, angel, and tea leaf readings. There was also a raffle.
Two Hampton Roads LGBT leaders will be honored as OUTstanding Virginians at Equality Virginia’s 14th Annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 1, 2017 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Every year Equality Virginia honors Outstanding Virginian’s who make a positive difference for the LGBT movement within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Over the years, a number of OUTstanding Virginian’s have been honoured from the Hampton Roads area. This list includes Todd Rosenlieb of TR Dance Studio (2015), Robert Roman of Decorum Furniture (2014), The Publishers of Our Own Community Press (Alicia Herr, Jim Early, and Garland Tillery) (2013), Gregg Smith of Ameriprise (2013), Hugh Copeland of the Hurrah Players (2012), Mitch Rosa (2011), Jim Spivey of TACT (2010), Claus Ihlemann of Decorum Furniture (2009), and Dr. Charles Ford of Norfolk State (2016).