My article about LGBT in Satanism is up on the Church of Satan website. More than an illustration of Satanic views on queerness it’s an outline of my own views of what queer liberation means. http://news.churchofsatan.com/post/153319917022/satan-loves-queers-by-witch-josie-gallows-an
Many a street preacher has screamed “God Hates Fags” to pedestrians. Homosexuals and gender outlaws have been the scapegoats of religionists both moderate and extreme, and for thousands of years. As always men make God in their own image, rather than the reverse. It turns out he’s viciously petty and has a stake in the private ongoings of everyone, both great and inconsequential. I think it’s time for the symbolic response that “Satan Loves Queers.” It’s appropriately antagonistic, since many deviants have been compelled to argue within the confines of pious moral trappings. They’ve masked themselves in liberalized religion, they’ve whitewashed their relationships and sexual practices, and they place all their bets on whatever argument appeases their assailants. Enough is enough. “Satan Loves Queers” may be tongue-in-cheek, an antagonistic retort, but it’s also accurate. Satanism has treated queers of all sorts more favorably than any other organized religion, and since its very inception.
From time to time there have been essays, articles, and key passages from Satanists on subjects ranging from homosexuality to asexuality to gender non-conformity. Some of those passages are explicit dogma, such as The Satanic Bible’s direct recognition of these human conditions as perfectly natural regardless of how statistically deviant. The Church of Satan itself supports the legalization of same sex marriage and welcomes gender minorities into its membership and hierarchy. Though few if any Satanic texts have expressly celebrated just how goddamn full of queer rainbows the religion of Satanism, and the Church of Satan, have always been. Should that be necessary? It shouldn’t. It ought to be obvious that Satan loves queers and Baphomet is anatomically correct—tits, cock, and all. It’s been made clear, but nonetheless requires a hammer over the head. Dull critics and misguided wannabes love to misrepresent Satanism as a socially regressive ideology. Why? Because the religious movement of Satanism has dissected and even applauded the merits of family, self-respect, and traditional gender roles. More accurately, it has discussed theories of application rather than making moralistic proclamations on whose crotch is best. For some, not discussing a subject with seething hostility is enough to signal an unshakable bias.
Both textually and institutionally we welcome gender and sexual minorities into our “Infernal Empire,” which itself is always well decorated. Anton LaVey may have said “…conservative organizations will (and already do) find Satanism far more compatible with their doctrines than they now think it to be,” though let’s be realistic. It rings true, but large swaths of cultural conservatism are regressive through-and-through. Satanism is not. Especially in the case of gender and sexual minorities. Any movement or individual making an honest appraisal of Satanism will find more clemency for queers than even liberal parties were willing to support. Only recently have establishment liberal politicians and mainstream feminists taken sexual and gender liberation seriously. While the population at large either affirmed or skirted the myth that homosexuals were pedophiles, one and all, Satanism had already settled the question—half a century prior. Satanism has been ahead of the curve on questions of civil rights despite not adhering to conventional morality on the subject. Being a religion of the flesh, dedicated to the carnal nature of human beings as they really are, it would’ve never made sense for Satanism to ostracize anyone for consensual sexual activity and all the expression it might entail.
This isn’t an example of a Satanic Witch polishing her “Good Guy Badge,” showing off a collection of minorities and soliciting the affections of any movement. This outlook is a built-in feature. It simply couldn’t be otherwise. Satanism isn’t a morally restrictive creed where false and laughably ridiculous values are assigned to innocuous personal behaviors. We don’t take part in the control freak’s all-too-serious demand to “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Exactly the opposite, the Satanist tends to have one of two stances on other people’s consensual private lives. The Satanist may be apathetic, which is usually the case. At other times the Satanist might applaud those living the Satanic way. The Satanic way means kicking abstinence and counterproductive compulsions to the curb, preferring to actualize the most potent and authentic parts of ourselves. Unnecessary frustration isn’t Satanic and so unreasonable limitations on gender expression and sexual gratification aren’t Satanic.
Satan loves queers. There’s no preference for what type of queers. They are gay men, whether they be femme, butch, top or bottom, bear or twink. Some of them are sashaying their way to cocktail hour. Some of them are brooding over their ultra-masculinity like Spartans in mating season. There is no principle against dousing yourself in glitter and dancing to diva music at the gay bar, incessantly referring to oneself as A Massive Homo. It’s your own self-interest at play when finding your niche. It’s your job to find the mode of expression most befitting your personality.
Lesbians are welcome, and how. Lipstick or diesel, bisexual girls with asymmetrical hairstyles of all hues, pillow princesses or female-on-female dominatrices. Some emblazon the word “feminist” across their identities, marking that paradigm as an essential part of their analysis of the world. Others don’t, at all. My personal favorite is that special type of woman we call “soft-butch.” That type is near and dear to my heart. “Strap-on” is the watchword of my lifestyle and it’s all unquestionably Satanic. The rainbow banner hangs proudly in my home.
Whatever our lifestyle or orientation, we might be getting tied up, slapped, called a bitch and zapped with a violet wand. Or not. We could be swingers. Everyday 24/7 power exchange could be our thing. Either way, the Satanist isn’t invested in cleaning up the act and wailing that “we’re just like you.” Maybe we’re so different our households are alien planets in comparison. Perhaps the dynamics of our relationships don’t mirror those of your average heterosexual couple. It’s no problem for us.
By virtue of popular bigotry, transsexuals and other gender non-conformists are lumped in with sexual minorities, despite these categories having little to do with sexual orientation. Indulgence is indulgence. If gratification can be found in medical transition, private cross-dressing or role-reversal as fetishistic activities, if it’s found in drag performance, or in fashion and grooming habits that blur the lines between masculine and feminine, then these avenues of personal enrichment warrant encouragement rather than derision. The bewildered masses look on, ass cheeks clinched so tight they could turn coal into diamonds, trying to peg gender diversity as either sinful or mentally ill. Naturally, the Satanic attitude is these so-called sins lead to personal gratification. Go for it. Likewise, mental illness means instability and not peculiarity. The prevalence of gender diversity in today’s popular discourse is a positive outcome, despite all sensationalism to the contrary. It couldn’t be more pleasing to see this age of fire continue to play out, where individuals are freer than ever to enjoy themselves as they see fit. Ultimately this is what we’re seeing unfold in today’s march towards gender diversity, despite certain potholes along that road.
It’s important to spell out this list of perceived “deviants” and signify their abundant presence within Satanism. And it is abundant, make no mistake. Anecdotally, Satanism appears to encompass more gender and sexual minorities per capita than any other organized religion. That’s my impression from years of knowing and networking with other Satanists. Though exactly how queer Satanism happens to be isn’t the point. The point is that Satanism naturally contains sexual and gender liberation as a key component. What’s more, it functions far differently than many groups or ideologies purporting to have sexual and gender emancipation as core values.
How so? Because, again, Satanism is not a morally restrictive creed where laughably ridiculous values are assigned to innocuous personal behaviors. The individual isn’t seen as belonging to a group or to a higher value. Instead, individuals belong to themselves alone.
The sassy cocktail drinking homosexual isn’t held up as an example of all that’s repellent about the so-called Gay Lifestyle. His quirks may be unappealing to some but that distaste is not a moral value. His flamboyance isn’t avoided, swept under the rainbow rug at all costs, because it amounts to bad public relations for homosexuals who desperately seek mainstream approval as Manly Men with a capital M. Likewise, the masculine homosexual doesn’t have a sequined boot planted in his face. How and why he fancies all things stereotypically masculine isn’t up for debate or demoralization in favor of strengthening some collective queer identity.
The lipstick lesbian and the High Femme transsexual woman, such as yours truly, are not scolded for having “internalized misogyny” or “reinforcing female stereotypes” for embracing what’s most arousing and accurate to them. Instead, these types are encouraged to leverage their hyper-feminine sensibilities towards the ends befitting a Satanic Witch. Likewise, the butch woman isn’t harped upon as being a castrating, man hating, shrill bitch, unless of course she’s proven herself exactly that. Her short cropped hair and button down shirts don’t symbolize the blight of radical feminism run amok in the western world. She belongs to herself.
Satanic principles of personal liberation function in decidedly different ways from the norm. The status quo is to hold the individual as hostage for the sake of the group and its ideological or cultural purity. In traditional religion and socially conservative societies this means enforcement of a strict binary between male or female, heterosexual or deceased. As Christianity’s power and influence dwindles we’ve found that control freaks need no religion to play schoolyard bully. Armed with neither crucifix nor flag, millions of psychotic malcontents still froth with hatred at the sight of anyone living happy productive lives without “traditional values.” On the flipside, in the LGBT world there exists an unfortunate proclivity to cast individuals, and all of their behaviors, in the role of ambassador to the straight world. An unfortunate but predictable political response to being thrust into perpetual battle with authorities both great and pissant. Expected to abandon their own desires and proclivities, like martyr masochists, to appease the insensible and hypocritical piety of the masses, the result is a fractured psyche and an insatiable leech upon all enthusiasm. Resentment towards transsexuals and other non-conformists tends to run high, skittishly begging for scraps of legitimacy. Campy or strikingly provocative homo-eroticism are treated as leprosy, for the cause. Ironically, for the cause of liberating them from restrictive and baseless social norms. It’s documented history.
Or in other cases the individual is forbidden from appearing to reinforce long celebrated lifestyles and expressions, instructed to give no quarter to the straight world. There’s a habit to cast any perpetrator as a vile counter-revolutionary against a sexless and genderless utopian nightmare. Lesbians have nuclear showdowns over the ethics of using dildos, transsexuals charge one another with treason for appearing all too feminine, and bisexuals are both nonexistent and untrustworthy at once. A gay man without a penchant for diva techno and effete fashion sensibilities are Uncle Toms shucking and jiving for Massa Heterosexual. Whatever the case, abstinence or compulsion are being favored above indulgence and rational self-interest. That state of affairs is detestable to the Satanic eye. We don’t cower before “the cause.” No amount of books, articles, and lectures informing us how we should express our sexuality and gender will sway us. We’re not so flimsy. We don’t need to be told how to be real men, or real gay men, or politically convenient transsexuals, or straight as an arrow. In Satanism morality takes a backseat to pragmatism and self-interest.
In Satanism, the intersections of orientation and gender expression are not weaponized against the individual but rather weaponized for the individual. First you have to pinpoint your most honest and unfettered self. Second you have to put in the real work, which is studying and applying the carnal principles that give you—the honest-to-goodness you—mastery over this world. Satanic liberation means more than being oneself, it means making yourself useful—to you! And it has nothing to do with solidarity, herd behavior, group-think, or living up to impossible standards of purity; except insofar as these things must be understood as well.
It should be obvious to those who critically examine both Satanism and the Church of Satan that, again, deviance is abundant among our tribe. Though there is room for misinterpretation by would-be Satanists and critics alike.
Facets of gender and sexual liberation have been criticized by Satanic writers, Anton LaVey included. Myself included. This comes as no surprise since Satanism climbed out of the monstrous womb of the 1960s counter-culture. The Satanic Bible was published amid second wave feminism—which isn’t devoid of valuable insight—and its distillations into flower children hippies. Their dictates were directly lampooned by The Satanic Bible and, later on, The Satanic Witch. Then as now, honest self-awareness was garbage while either conformity or empty-posturing ruled the day. A woman couldn’t be liberated if she hadn’t fucked at least a dozen greasy hippies in the back of a Volkswagen van. Better yet if she was fucking her guru. The same applied to men, whether gay or straight. Conversely, other factions branded the heterosexual woman as a loser who betrayed the dianic sisterhood of perpetual menstruation. Only political lesbianism would do. Sex with other women whether she liked it or not, or at least abstinence from cock, were deemed “liberation” for both woman and womankind. Little room existed for the individual to sort out their own needs on their own terms. And such is still the case in one form or another.
In the 1960s cultural cesspool we saw the fall of iconic forms of masculinity and femininity into modern day devils. Conventional appearances and manners could be traced, like so much Jewish blood quantum, way back to patriarchal invention. Embracing them became the most undignified betrayal. Never mind the “choice” so celebrated by cultural liberalism. The elaborate finery of yesteryear fell out of favor and the unisex pantsuit made a hostile attempt on our sex lives. To a man like Anton LaVey it must have looked like a whole species of peacocks ripping out their feathers in writhing agony; all for the sake of bald, well-plucked equality. Satanism stands in sharp contrast, offering genuine empowerment instead of fraudulent morality. The pantsuit is an option but it’s not totalitarian. We have options and we study them intently. For this we sometimes bare the mantle of regressive and we sometimes appear inviting to the regressive themselves.
But hardly. Satanic thinkers have been cutthroat (and imperfect) in critiquing the feminization of men and the masculinization of women at the hands of meddlesome ideology. And indeed, culturally mandated androgyny has earned plenty a Satanist’s ire. This has extended to the straight world and how queer communities function. They’ve sometimes been imperfect in their language, dubbing one negative quality or another masculine or feminine. Discourse evolves. Setting the record straight, the critique has forever been aimed at the herd conformity involved. It hasn’t been the morality of being either feminine or masculine, flamboyant or reserved, femme or butch. If a man is feminized because of popular morality then he’s not emasculated because he’s feminine, he’s emasculated because he’s a weak willed consumerist with a gutless personality. Same goes for his inability to hold his own in matters of sex and love. He’s not feminine at all. The Satanic woman packs heat but could kill with high heels, which includes our transsexual women. The pusillanimous “metrosexual” couldn’t speak up with more than a whine. He could only be so lucky to embody those classic feminine virtues of fortitude, nurturing, and elegance, or the ice cold rage women are known for. In the same vein, if a woman can’t turn off the feminist squawk-box for all of five minutes then she’s not masculine, she ain’t butch, she’s just a miserable asshole. She’s let someone else’s narrative whip her into endless discomfort. If she’s throwing her nicest dress in the garbage because of political convenience, out of misplaced loyalty to an abstract tribe of women, then she’s a coward and a moron. Her combat boots and blue hair have nothing to do with it.
Never has it been a Satanic principle that gender has a required dress code or androgyny itself is toxic waste. As a result, transgender and transsexual people aren’t verboten in Satanism. Have you seen how the most brutal royalty in past times used to dress? Drag queens would flat out lose the game of RuPaul’s Drag Race to them. Further, it has never been the Satanic contention that gay or transsexual people are inferior to or less authentic than their heterosexual or cisgender counterparts. If modern manifestations of gender diversity are critiqued it’s because some people, lacking in genuine identities of their own, crib notes from genuine transsexuals and interesting gender benders for the purpose of appearing more special, more unique, like some sort of “special snowflake.” The same can be said of those who poorly imitate genuine article Satanists. In both cases a Satanist would be wasting their time trying to sort these people out. This quickly devolves into unnecessary bickering and madhouse bullying. Flatly, it’s not our job to police every culture and sub-culture out there—which is something the normals haven’t yet figured out. Another millennia perhaps? It is enough to advise would-be Satanists there are qualities and values more pressing than gender presentation and sexual orientation. After all, Satanists are invested in themselves and not the herd.
These are facts. If it has to be a hammer over the head then so be it, here’s the hammer: real transphobia, homophobia, and genuine misogyny are unsatanic. Context clues can tell the difference. The Satanic perspective is more far-seeing than all that. They’re the trademark of people who both misunderstand and fear carnal reality. We can throw misandry in there for good measure, since this kind of insufferable bigotry is in vogue and largely unexamined in the mainstream. If that makes Satanism inconvenient for you, then find somewhere else to peddle your horseshit. On the other hand, if Satanism’s lack of political correctness ruins your appetite then I’m afraid you’ll be in bad company. We have the grill if you’ve got the sacred cow, so come on down. Either way, Satanism doesn’t distort the peculiar but otherwise harmless private lives of individuals into dire questions of moral stability. We don’t pretend that a pair of panties or a blow job can threaten the support struts of civilization itself. We don’t admonish the blond vixen who lusts for male attention, herself the subject of scorn in sex-negative feminist books like Female Chauvinist Pigs. Women who choose a lifestyle quite the opposite of our blond vixen, or transsexual women, are not threats to traditional manliness. For sure, one would think the muscle of such a man could weather the fleeting storms of popular opinion, itself being more appearance than substance. His insecurity in the face of freedom is more a threat to his perceived manliness. Everywhere we look we see personal preference rendered into convenient caricatures by career propagandists. It’s highly effective, since politicizing private lives is the quickest route to controversy.
In my estimate the whole ordeal of contemporary society’s culture war regarding gender and sexual minorities could stand to be more Satanic. Less emphasis on moral outrage would be preferable. It’s time to drop notion that having one sexual orientation rather than another, or existing as one gender or another, can be a moral question at all. Marriage is not a question of national security. Gender confirmation surgeries are not devious conspiracies. Individuals belong to themselves and for themselves. Their gender identities and bedroom activities don’t imply one political creed over another, no philosophy over another. Neither do they imply a specific value. Oral sex doesn’t make someone an ambassador for one group or another, beholden to any given public relations program. Appearing conventional is not regressive and being deviant isn’t special—and vice versa.
The Satanist will use sexuality and gender to their own ends. They shirk accountability to anyone that seeks to control, mold, or otherwise guide the trajectory of their personal lives according to a collective will. They sort out what works for them and they stand for themselves. As always, the Satanic third side perspective finds itself watching from the outside with a raised eyebrow. The whole world’s a stage, it’s always improv hour and the actors are desperately looking for a script.
—Witch Josie Gallows