pagan spell book with lgbt pentagram
Why is the Pagan community so pro-LGBTQ?

A recent study shows that Pagans are the most LGBTQ-friendly religious group in the United States, with some 93% of Pagans in support of broad pro-LGBTQ policies, compared to 69% for other faiths. 

Pro-LGBTQ sentiment is so strong within the Pagan community that they have a “uniquely Pagan outlook” on gay rights, according to the study's authors.

But why? Despite Paganism being a broad umbrella encompassing a variety of beliefs (Wicca, Druidry, Hellenism, and more), all parts of this diverse coalition support the LGBTQ community. 

Why do Pagans in particular have such a pro-LGBTQ outlook?

It’s All Greek

Well, it could be because many of them are gay. A 2015 poll found that nearly half of the Pagans in England, Canada, and Oceania identify as non-heterosexual, and a Pew Research survey found that 11% of LGBTQ respondents identified their faith as some sort of Paganism.

In other words, Pagans are more likely to be gay than other faiths, and those under the LGBTQ umbrella are more likely to be Pagan than heterosexuals.

Support for gay rights is part of the “Pagan religious identity,” says Kathleen Marchetti, associate professor of political science at Dickinson College. That might be due to a history of outsiderism, speculates author David Salisbury.

“Pagans have always been seen as outliers and oddballs,” he says, arguing that historic exclusion and mistreatment might’ve given Pagans a stronger sense of empathy for others on the outskirts of society.

In some cases, Pagans worship or celebrate queer gods. Perhaps most notable is the Greek god of wine and fertility Dionysus, who is frequently viewed as queer by scholars of Greek mythology. In some mythic interpretations, Dionysus is said to have sexual encounters with other male gods like Adonis.

“We have always focused on our queer ancestors/ancients and deities” to help young and closeted Pagans come out, says pagan leader Clio Ajana. Utilizing ancient myths showing literal gods as queer, they say, might just give young gay or trans people the courage to come out.

Pagan Politics

Some have also speculated that the pagan community is so pro-gay simply because its members tend to skew left politically. A recent political study of Pagans found that they vote with Democrats more often than with Republicans – and Democrats, at least in recent years, are widely viewed as the more pro-LGBTQ of the two major political parties.

You might remember when a group of witches 13,000 strong fought MAGA with magic, gathering online to hex President Donald Trump. At midnight on every waning crescent moon, the group of witches channeled their energy towards a binding spell on President Trump, hoping to minimize the “harm” he might do, and ultimately remove him from office.

They’ve also thrown their metaphorical weight behind other social causes, hexing those opposing their goals. They had a Brett Kavanaugh-specific hex during his appointment to the Supreme Court, and in recent years witches have thrown their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement (by hexing police) as well as a safe withdrawal from Afghanistan (by hexing the Taliban).

Perhaps the explanation isn't all political, though. Both Pagans and the LGBTQ community have long been viewed as outsiders. Advocates on both sides say that being a member of a historically persecuted group makes one more inclined to want to uplift others in similar situations.

It would make sense, then, that Pagans would be more broadly supportive of LGBTQ rights than other, less marginalized faiths.

What do you think?

40 comments

  1. Shango MasterExorcist, D.D.'s Avatar Shango MasterExorcist, D.D.

    When I hold Pagan celebrations, I never thought it relevant to ask the sexual orientation of my guests. And when I go to other's Pagan celebrations, nobody has thought it important to ask my sexual orientation. There are some thousands of other interesting traits that make people different, like some people have the ULC Master of Wicca Certificate.

    1. Dr. Jerry Moyes's Avatar Dr. Jerry Moyes

      That's a perfect answer. Why should we ever ask, or be concerned with, another's sexual orientation, it's simply none of our business.

    2. Dr. Jerry Moyes's Avatar Dr. Jerry Moyes

      Comment removed by user.

    3. Dr. Jerry Moyes's Avatar Dr. Jerry Moyes

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Well, we pagans don't believe in sin. Neither do we have a sadistic God or Goddess that makes us a particular way and then says we're vile for being the way we're made.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Does itit matter what your sexual beliefs are whether Gay Straight Transgender is God loves everyone regardless of you're race,religion, I'm a straight Christian and I have worked with gay people and straight people. As long as they do their job well. It doesn't matter

  1. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

    Pagan Witch here.......the article is 100% on the money!

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    In my religious beliefs, the mythos and existing writings upon which they are based are mostly silent about sexuality. Though there are a few stories with cross dressing and entities who are Male - Female "fluid."

    Personally, I do not care what another adult does in the privacy of their intimacy. If we can have amiable relations and work for the betterment of the community, that's all I need to know about them.

  1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

    One of the timeless qualities of pagans is tolerance - down to acceptance of other gods (polytheism). Unlike with many monotheisms, there is no battle of who's belief is correct, or who's view of god (or who's god) is the "true" god. All are accepted. In that same spirit of acceptance of multiple deities and belief systems, acceptance of other sexual orientations is a logical and natural outgrowth.

    1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

      Spiritualist churches are not pagan, but count many gays among clergy and congregations.

  1. Tom Thackrey's Avatar Tom Thackrey

    I don't understand the study author's definition of Pagan. A more interesting study might be religious vs non-religious or even a breakdown by various religions. Religious leaders often espouse anti-LGTBQ sentiments. So, I would assume their followers would, too. Non-religious people, not under the influence of churches, I would think are more often LGTBQ friendly. The argument that both non-religious and LGTBQ are persecuted and therefore simpatico has some merit.

    1. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

      What exactly is it that you don't understand about Pagans or Paganism?

      1. Lori Mongillo's Avatar Lori Mongillo

        I think he means, as a religion. Paganism is not a religion. Wicca is a religion. Paganism relates to Earth centered and indigenous spirituality, which also covers Wicca and other religions that are Earth centered with specific rules and regulations. Religion generally follows a form of hierarchy. Our Pagan group (no hierarchy other than organizers) welcomes anyone that wants to connect with Earth centered Spirituality. We even have Christians in our group, though Christianity is not incorporated. Quantum science, consciousness theory, and practical thought is a big part of Pagan spirituality. Those that believe they are hexing people only affect weak minded people that believe they can be hexed. Paganism/Witchcraft is slowly evolving away from distorted superstitions. Most Pagans don't know the origins of witchcraft. It goes back to the Kybalion, Buddhism and Kabbalistic teachings. It also relates to ancient and present day psychological practices of shamanism. Your run-of-the-mill witch thinks they have the power to cast spells, hexes and do readings, but they almost always have trouble paying the rent. Reality is not in their grasp. It all revolves around self-mastery. If you can't control yourself, you can't control anything outside yourself.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          This natural ecleçtic solitary has lived in the same apartment for eleven years, will probably live here for the rest of my life, and have never paid my rent late. Ofcourse, I am true to "An harm ye none, do as ye Will". And we do reap what we sow.

  1. Gabriel Gurrola's Avatar Gabriel Gurrola

    Praise the Lord Jesus Christ it doesn't matter if you're straight or not straight it's none of our business even though you walk with our Lord Jesus Christ you're not supposed to judge nobody or not even the sin before I got my ministry from u.l.c. I got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and trust me even in the Christianity world they are hypocrites they're watching every single step I even got told by another preacher that I didn't have the Holy Spirit in me so just remember Jesus Christ is the one that tells us what to do we are nothing without him

    1. Timothy Holland Sr's Avatar Timothy Holland Sr

      I agree totally 💯 our Lord and savior died for all sins; all of them

  1. James Pace's Avatar James Pace

    Duh ..

  1. Steven Lee's Avatar Steven Lee

    The author does need to have a remedial writing course. "Queer" and other words used in this article are offensive and have not been used, except as a derogatory, in decades.

    1. White Owl's Avatar White Owl

      "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"?

      1. Tom's Avatar Tom

        Not to mention that the one use of "queer" is a direct quote.

    2. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

      Oh so the name will be amended to LGBT ?

      1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

        Uhhhh.. I, and many others do not have a problem with it. I do in fact use queer as a pronoun. An Q in LGBTQ+ is for questioning and queer. Times and attitudes have changed towards it.

  1. Gabriel Gurrola's Avatar Gabriel Gurrola

    Praise the Lord Jesus Christ brothers and sisters it doesn't matter if a person is straight or not straight that does not concerned us what they do is their business because people are no different than them when I got my ministry for the universal Life Church and before I received it I got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and before that I was baptized Trinity even in the Christian world I had preachers tell me that I didn't have the Holy Spirit in me people being disrespectful and try to force their religion on you I love that the universal Life Church has no religion because remember this they know religion out there that will get you into the Gates of heaven only one way in is through Jesus Christ and my Lord is beautiful and good to me I wouldn't be the man that I am if it wasn't for him Jesus Christ so yeah I've been through a lot and I'm still walking with the Lord Jesus Christ pick your head up don't bow your head down pick it up to the Lord Jesus Christ 🙏😇🕊️ amen

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As a ULC Bishop, with a DD, and several other ULC awarded doctorates (who has also been certified, twice, as a saint, due to all of my good work — in many of my previous roles, I often claimed to be a Pagan, especially when I had insufficient time, and/or the inclination, to fully explain my current “Secular Humanist Pantheism.”

    LGDBQ’s — leave the religions imposed on them by their parents, friends, school mates, religious panderers (like Donald Trump) and USA society in general — because all religions (with strong supernatural components) because they’re silly, nonsensical, anti-science, misogynistic, homophobic and prone to replacing democracy with authoritarianism (aka, fascism).

    So, I guess, I’m just now a “recovering pagan” — now that I feel more self-descriptive, as a Secular Humanist Pantheist.

    I hope the monastery begins to award doctorates — at the very least in Pantheism (as Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, and Spinoza were, but could also called themselves Pagans).

    1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      ARE YOU SURE YOUR NOT > D O O N S B E R R Y ???

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Um sorry but no. Jefferson's own museum in DC and his writings clearly say he was a Christian. Albert Einstein was a follower of Judaism, Watts was a follower of Buddhism and Spinoza was an ardent Catholic.

      Why would you want to try and claim people who dont follow your faith?

      1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

        The more you know...

        "When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was: - Do you believe in God? And he always answered: - I believe in the God of Spinoza. Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes. (Spinoza) : God would say: Stop praying. What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I've made for you. Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That's where I live and there I express my love for you. Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don't blame me for everything they made you believe. Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can't read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son's eyes... ➤ you will find me in no book! Stop asking me "will you tell me how to do my job?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love. Stop asking for forgiveness, there's nothing to forgive. If I made you... I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies... free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I'm the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that? Respect your peers and don't do what you don't want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide. My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need. I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record. You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell. ➤ I can't tell you if there's anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist. So, if there's nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won't ask if you behaved right or wrong, I'll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?... Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don't want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea. Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am? I'm bored being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me. Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you've been taught about me. What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations? The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders. - Spinoza"

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          and you have proof of this other then your word? No? didnt think so.

    3. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Well Saint William, we are obviously blessed to have your presence here on this blog of Luddite’s, but thank you for your post. Pagan Carl will look after your cloak, and the Footman, the Very Reverent Daniel Gray, will take care of your travel needs. Meals will be served in the Dining Hall.

      Your most humble servant, Sir Lionheart. DD. MSc. PhD.

      🦁❤️

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Thats their choice so your point is what exactly?

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    The Monastery sells the Bible that was written by President Jefferson, and nowhere in it does Jesus preform any miracles — which made Jesus merely a man; and Jefferson referred to “Nature’s God” which means that God and nature are the same thing.

    If one reads “Buddhism, the Religion for the non Religious, by Allan Watts, one can conclude that Watts was also a Pantheist.

    To say Spinoza was an ardent Catholic, suggests that anyone who makes this claim, would vote for Trump again, if given the chance

    Ditto about Einstein, who said that his God was the same as Spinoza’s — and Spinoza is credited with bringing Pantheism to the Reformation era,

    Have MAGAA and QAnon trollers, infiltrated the ULC Monastery chatroom?

  1. Kurt Neuleuf's Avatar Kurt Neuleuf

    In University I came across the phrase" LIES, DAMM LIES AND STATISTICS" I wonder if this does also apply to this discussion topic? Knowing the procedures employed in formulating statistics, I take the figures mentioned with an immense measure of scepticism.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Every statistic (fact, settled science, even made up static’s, as per DJT) demonstrates that nature exists — and as Pantheists have long realized (in recent times, popularized by Spinoza, Thomas Jefferson and Einstein) having a provable God, while no other known religion can, makes Pantheism unique in this regard.

    Having the only provable God, as Pantheists do, should make Pantheism more popular — especially for almost all candidates for public office — who are de facto required to have a God if they seriously consider winning.

    We, who have a provable God, because we’re Pantheists, could rightfully state that anyone who’s not a Pantheist (a Buddhist Pantheist, or Secular Humanist Pantheist) is therefor an atheist — not that there’s nothing wrong with merely being an atheist — because 2000 years ago, those who believed in the Roman Gods, labeled all Christians atheists.

    Ergo, who’s not a member of my tribe, must therefore be an atheist - and therefore an enemy of the GOP and DJT.

  1. Kevin Joseph Kervick's Avatar Kevin Joseph Kervick

    There is also a growing Euro-paganism that is white nationalistic as it wants to reinforce the pre-Catholic spiritual roots of Europeans. It is an interesting movement.

    A recent study reveals that 37% of young Millennials now identify as LGBTQ. That illustrates the social contagion effect also known as the "cool factor". The actual numbers of LGBTQ from several thorough studies are about 3%. This is a dangerous fad that is harming young people, perhaps irreparably. People of faith need to offer common sense.

  1. Ronaldo's Avatar Ronaldo

    Just as the Bible claims about the One True God, I prefer to see only the heart of another person. I'm not much concerned about their sex, gender, color, or country of origin, if they have a good heart. Someone who thinks they are superior to someone else because of anything but their accomplishments and skills, does not have a good heart. Someone who believes that they are right, but is unwilling to discuss the matter, does not have a good heart. Anyone who aggressively pushes their beliefs upon others, without considering the other beliefs, does not have a good heart. I've known many people, of many beliefs, over the decades that hate having their beliefs challenged. On the other hand, I enjoy having my beliefs challenged, as long as it leads to a worthwhile debate, rather than a screaming match. I can always explain why I believe in certain ways, and present the evidence that led me there.

  1. Kathryn Darcy Smith's Avatar Kathryn Darcy Smith

    As a Theosophist and a transgender ULC Minister I grew up Catholic, spent many years in leadership as a Presbyterian and was married in a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Soon after I studied paganism and ascribe to many wiccan philosophies. LET IT BE KNOWN... WE WERE HERE FIRST! CHRISTIANS STOLE AND BORROWED from early old religions in order to assimilate power and wealth. That is FACT. Also I do NOT SUPPORT Pride activities and do not ascribe anything LGBT+++ related to my pagan philosophies. I AM A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN! The fact that I AM transgender only means I'm connected on a higher level to the true non-gender infinite source of our true Higher Self.

  1. Michael Dwayne Cooper's Avatar Michael Dwayne Cooper

    WOW!

  1. Glen Dean Pollard's Avatar Glen Dean Pollard

    Paganism is not what my believes are .Im a biblical pastor and preach against it !

  1. Sharon LaBorde's Avatar Sharon LaBorde

    I'm glad to see this article at least mentioning some of the traditions grouped under 'Paganism', although it leaves out some major chunks. I would suggest adding 'Pagan Reconstructionism', which is still broad but includes Celtic Reconstructionism, Roman Recon (commonly accepted shortening), Egyptian (aka Kemetic) Recon, which is my chosen area, and even Sumerian Recon. I work with adherents of all of these. Generally, the statistics support what I see in my online ministry, but I want to add some further details. For one, you do have some unusual exceptions - such as people who identify as gay, but against trans acceptance, and Pagans who identify as neo-conservatives who support Trump. I have dealt with all of these in the past year. Also, you have a growing movement among younger Pagans who view Wicca specifically as 'hetero-normative' because of its central motif of the sexual union of Goddess and God, and the use of terms like 'crone' to describe the Goddesses' third aspect. Here the article is correct to cite historical deities who bend gender and orientation, but especially popular in my circles is the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who was described in ancient texts as 'changing men into women and women into men'. But ultimately, I think the history of Paganism as a movement of outsiders is exactly why so many Pagans support LGBTQ+ and so many people on that continuum are Pagan. In ancient Rome, the Isis religion attracted women and slaves, two groups who had no rights under Roman law. Today Paganism draws those who find no voice in the faiths of their upbringing and their community. As a marginalized woman my entire life, my answer is (with no harm meant towards open-minded Christian readers): Jehova has His beloved Son. But Ra has His daughters. That's why I chose Him.

  1. Rev. Jack Harte, DD, MscD's Avatar Rev. Jack Harte, DD, MscD

    At some point in time, will we stop worrying about the demographic specificity of each person involved in every freaking aspect of life? It's disgusting. It's exhausting. It goes against so many things in this world. We claim to be so enlightened, but we are not. We have divided up humanity into teeny tiny little pieces so everyone can feel extry-special. Bull refuse. How about identifying as human? How about there being one color - human. One gender type - human. One religion - human. How about that? Does God have a color or sexual identity or nationality or religion? Probably not. Let's go with that.

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