I work hard to try to make my Tarot practice more inclusive. I’m a cis gender white person, so I know there are places that I fall short in terms of inclusion around issues of race, class, and ability (and probably other ways too). But I always want to improve, so if you ever notice a place that I could use work or have a suggestion on how I can improve, I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to get in touch! Leave a comment, tweet @woolywitchy, carrier pidgeon, I would love to hear from you.
One of the way that I get to improve is when people share how they’ve promoted inclusion and openness. So this is my attempt to add to that dialog.
I identify as lesbian/queer (and lots of other finely tuned aspects of identity, but for the purpose of brevity I’ll leave it there for now) and here is my experience of how I promote inclusion in my tarot practice. And how you can do it too!
The first step I encourage you to take is to educate yourself on some queer issues. Are you familiar with the Gender Unicorn? Do you know what terms like cisgender and genderqueer mean? You’ll be better able to relate to queer clients if you’ve done a little background reading.
A second step is to consider where you use traditional gender roles in your tarot reading and what assumptions are being made about the roles of different cards. Yes, the Magician is pictured as a man in many depictions of the card, but does that energy necessarily have to be masculine? Gender expression, identity, sexuality, all of these things exist on a spectrum and not just in a binary system. The Magician could be a woman who embodies energies that have been traditionally associated with the masculine. Reconsider where you’re using pronouns and assigned genders in your reading. Maybe the Empress is a man, exhibiting nurturing and internally focused energies.
Instead of talking about masculine and feminine energies, talk about how those energies behave. Instead of saying that it’s a masculine energy say that it’s forceful and authoritative. There’s nothing about those traits that are inherently male.
“Really if people take one thing away from my entire series or need a single starting point for being a reader who is accessible to LGBTQ+ seekers it should be this: never assume someone’s gender, pronouns, or sexual identity, and ask respectful, relevant questions if any of it comes up in a reading.”
Bottom line, don’t make assumptions when you’re reading tarot. Another way you can be explicitly inclusive to ask what pronouns a client uses for themselves (also note the use of ‘them’ as a gender non specific pronoun there) and then use those in your reading when speaking about them or to them.
My last piece of advice is to state, right out, that you’re welcoming to LGBTQ+/queer clients. That goes a huge way to setting my mind at ease when I’m searching for a service. It’s tiring to constantly have to wonder if my little lesbian self will be welcome in different situations. Remember that for queer people, exclusion is the societal norm in most spaces, so if you don’t say you’ll be welcoming to me, I don’t know if I’ll be safe in your space. Especially in this violently divisive election year when I’ve started seeing Trump campaign signs around my neighborhood, it’s so important to voice your support and acceptance of the marginalized communities around you. Don’t make me have to ask, tell me right off the bat that I’ll be safe and respected in your practice and your group. It’s a little thing to do that has a huge impact.
Be Excellent to Each Other!
P.S. If you’re looking for a specifically queer themed spread to try, check out my Pride and Love Tarot Spread.