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The Broom Closet


I am very publicly a Witch and visible member of the Pagan Community.  

 

Being out of the broom closet is a choice that works for me and some others. I know plenty of people who are only open about their faith in certain places or with specific people. Others keep their practice very personal and quiet. All are valid choices. I’ll talk more about my choice and its impact on my life. 

 

By day, I work in one of our local hospital systems. I came out as a Witch on my first day on the job, just under three years ago. As I was setting up my workspace my boss came by and said to leave the small figurine on the windowsill alone. She explained that she didn’t know why but had been told not to mess with it.  

 

I explained that I had already made friends with The Lady and we were fine. She asked questions. I answered. No drama, just simple answers explaining that I’m a Witch. It came up occasionally after that, especially as Cleveland Pagan Pride approached. I was matter-of-fact and nobody acted upset or offended. Today, I am well known across the system and am casually visible as a Witch.  

 

Our hospital has a good program for employee affinity groups - African American Alliance, Disabled Employees, Hispanic Alliance, Pride Alliance, Christian Fellowship and a half dozen others. I’ve been thinking about a Pagan employee group for a while; now is the right time. 

 

A few weeks ago I filled out the forms to initiate a Pagan group. Words are spells and I worked hard on this spell. I was open about my personal credentials and affiliations. I sent the email package to the appropriate people, knowing the process would take a little time.  

 

At the same time I took a parallel action and reserved the hospital chapel for an Equinox Ritual. The Baptist head Chaplain knows me. She knows I am a Witch; we’ve had some respectful conversations. She approved my request less than ten minutes after I sent it.  

 

I made a flyer that evening and submitted it to the events calendar on the hospital intranet. A week later it went live across the system to thousands of employees. 

 

Meanwhile, I got a response on the Pagan group. I needed a C-suite level sponsor and I needed more people to sign up in advance to make sure there was actual employee support. I took the initiative and emailed a brief outline to all of the Executive VPs, attaching the application I had submitted.  

 

A few hours later I had my sponsor. She is excited to help and wants to learn about us! She was willing to be involved because, while she didn’t know I am a Witch, I am very visible in other ways. This just added one more aspect. (I then had 3 more EVPs offer to sponsor.) 

 

What’s the big deal about this kind of visibility? It builds bridges and opens doors that allow me to support others and impact change at work and beyond.   

 

Part of my job includes teaching classes, sitting on panels, and doing a variety of interviews in which I talk frankly about my experiences as a pansexual transgender woman. My visibility also means I am known to Queer employees who are having difficulty, personally or at work. It means I can reach out to other departments and leaders to arrange support. It means I am a contact point on policy or decisions that impact LGBTQ+ employees and patients. 

 

I serve as co-chair of the Pride Alliance at work. The presence of a strong and visible group of Queer employees who support each other and unite to advocate for dignity and fair treatment makes the workplace safer for all LGBTQ+ and Straight team members. It also creates a safer culture for patients. 


Being visible as a Witch works much the same way. By starting an employee affinity group I am bolstering connection and support for Pagan-identified employees and patients, regardless of how far out of the broom closet they choose to be. By planning events for the Sabbats, I can support our hospital community and bring Paganism into view in the greater community. I know this makes a difference because similar groups have made such a difference in my own life. 

 

Being visible can make me a target for those who want to cause problems, but being visible means I, too, receive greater support and connection at work and in our community.  

 

I choose to be out of the broom closet because it allows me to make positive change in a concrete way. I can teach, answer questions, and support those who follow a minority religion, Pagan or otherwise. People may decide to be less visible but they don’t have to be alone. This is deeply fulfilling for me as a healer and protector.  

 

 

Reverend Ginger “Stormwalker” Marshall, Priestess, Society of Aset Rising. 

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