Coming Out of the Broom Closet: How to Reveal Your Wiccan Identity
Perhaps you’ve been a practicing Wiccan for years, or you’ve only recently discovered the religion. Either way, it seems to be the perfect fit for you. Maybe you even feel like you’re coming home at last by practicing Wicca.
There’s only one obstacle: nobody knows you’re Wiccan. You’ve heard horror stories about people losing their job, kids, friends and families after “coming out of the broom closet”.
You don’t want to feel like you’re lying or hiding anything, yet you’re afraid of the repercussions. Now you’re wondering how to go about telling people that you’re Wiccan without causing a storm of accusations and hurt feelings.
The best way to start the process of coming out of the broom closet is to examine your reasons for doing so. Are you doing it to get a “wow” out of those who know you, or are you doing it because you don’t feel like hiding a major part of your identity any longer? It’s worth taking the time to carefully think about why you want to come out of the broom closet before beginning to do so.
When you’ve figured out why you want to reveal your religious preferences to your friends and loved ones, it’s time to decide whom to approach first.
You know your family and friends best. Are they heavily conservative or generally tolerant? Which friend or family member is least likely to gossip or react badly? Start with your best friend or closest family member, and consider people’s feelings. Though it might be easier to start with those you aren’t as close to, you don’t want a valued family member finding out from a distant friend of yours.
Also, consider repercussions. If you’re a minor, you have to risk being kicked out of your home, as a small number of Wiccan teens are each year. If you’re a parent, you risk your children being bullied at school if word gets out. If you’re married, your spouse might not understand and might even leave you. Weigh the repercussions for telling each person with the benefits.
Once you’ve decided whom to tell, you have to decide when to do it. It’s generally a good idea to avoid telling them in a stressful or busy time like the holiday season. Don’t do it while there are many others around who might pressure the person you’re coming out to.
Remain calm at all costs and don’t yell, even if the person you’re speaking with does. Try to avoid negative phrases, even if you’re explaining that you don’t do something. Rather than saying, “It’s not a devil worshipping thing,” try saying, “It’s a nature-centered religion,” for example. People will filter out the “not” and hear only the trigger words that alarm or upset them.
For a successful experience, emphasize the fact that you’re still the same person you were before. Perhaps most importantly, choose the “who” and “when” carefully when coming out of the broom closet