Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) played host to a press conference on Saturday to detail the progress made in discussions surrounding issues of gender rituals, women’s mystery traditions, and the transgender community. As happened at other recent Pagan events, controversy was sparked by a women’s ritual limited to women who will, have, or had experienced menstruation, thereby excluding transgendered women. Discussions involving Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, Dianic High Priestess and women’s Solstice ritual leader Ruth Barrett, and festival presenter and transgendered activist Melissa Murry took place before and during Pagan Spirit Gathering. While the three women said they do not speak for all in their community they took part in what they termed respectful dialogue to search for solutions for next year’s PSG.
On Wednesday night at PSG, a Dianic ritual for “women who bleed, will bleed, or have bled our sacred bloods” was held at the same time as the men’s Solstice ritual, which was open to all who self-identified as male. These events are generally considered the main gender based rituals at PSG. A second women’s ritual, held on Friday night, was open to any who self-identify as female. At the Saturday press conference Rev. Fox said PSG is experimenting with ways that allow diverse groups to hold rituals with exclusionary criteria while still ensuring other rituals are more universal in nature. She went on to say PSG added a workshop and ritual on Transgendered Paganism, presented by Melissa Murry, and a workshop on the Dianic Tradition, presented by Ruth Barrett, to help foster productive conversation about these hot button topics.