Nobody really knows who first used the term “Pagan Pride”. In name, it owes its origins to the Gay Pride movement, and certainly it is a term that reaches far beyond any single organization. It cannot be copyrighted; the founders have always felt it would be a breach of honor and decency to copyright it. There are rumors of single, local events using the name of Pagan Pride as early as 1992, though no documentation of these events has been found. We can, however, safely identify and document the first organized movement to support and encourage public celebrations of Pagan Pride in communities all over the world — the Pagan Pride Project.
The history of the Pagan Pride Project starts with Cecylyna Brightsword’s — now Cecylyna Dewr — participation in the Pagan Awareness League, or PAL, the organization that was founded after the Witches’ League for Public Awareness eliminated their state representative program in 1997. During her time as a member of PAL, Cecylyna proposed a formal program to the PAL membership and director to facilitate celebrations of Pagan Pride on a local level to be called Pagan Pride Day.
From the beginning, Cecylyna’s vision of Pagan Pride Day included several departures from the celebrations common to the Pagan community. Her proposal included three elements designed to increase community good will and public relations towards Paganism:
- a public ritual or celebration open to Pagans, non-Pagans, passersby, and onlookers;
- press releases and public relations activities designed to encourage positive media portrayal of Pagans and Paganism;
- and a food and materials drive for a local charity, food bank, shelter, or refuge, to symbolize both Pagan responsibilities to their town, city, or state and in honor of the various Thanksgiving holidays common to most Pagan traditions held around the Fall Equinox.
This vision continues today as every celebration held as a part of the Pagan Pride Project has included at least two, if not all, of these elements. (Two of the celebrations in 1998 were food drives only.) Many include much more.
There were 18 Pagan Pride Day celebrations held in 1998, 17 in the United States and one in Canada. All were small, and while attendance figures were never totaled formally, a rough estimate would probably include about 800-1000 attendees. Food drive numbers were not collected.
While many Local Coordinators were PAL members, Pagan Pride Day was never a part of PAL’s official events, and by the end of the 1998 celebrations, the term ‘Pagan Pride Project’ was being used for the organization, usually shortened to PPP. PAL soon after dissolved and reformed as PACT, which has no relationship to the Pagan Pride Project.
Learn more at http://www.paganpride.org
KANSAS CITY PAGAN PRIDE DAY
The first Kansas City Pagan Pride Day was organized and held in 1999 by Raven Spirit (Duanne Marshall). Around 100 people attended and $210.00 in cash and $400.00 in clothes, toys, etc. were collected for The Hope House, a local KC women’s shelter.
Kansas City Pagan Pride Day has proudly continued to organize a Pagan Pride Day event every year since providing the Kansas City Pagan community a day of community, workshops, lectures, music, and ritual for hundreds of local Pagans. We have also continued our fund raising activities which has allowed us to raise thousands of dollars for a local non-profit organizations.