• Lilith Starr

Coming Out as a Satanist: Part One

Updated: Jan 14


Finding our way to the Satanic path can be extremely liberating. Nontheistic Romantic Satanism, with its focus on compassion, reason, and justice, gives us a set of internal ethical guidelines and a shared narrative of rebellion against tyranny. With the rise of the Satanic Temple, we now have the chance to be part of an entire community of fellow Satanists, where we can be ourselves without fear of prejudice or harm.


But outside that community, we have to carefully consider who we reveal our religious identification to. We do not yet live in a society that is friendly across the board to Satanism. Plenty of people, even some non-Christians, believe that Satanism equates with evil no matter what. There is always a risk when you announce your Satanism to the world. Many people have an extremely negative gut-reaction and no matter how much you explain that the religion is nontheistic and focused on compassion and justice, they will not understand. All some people hear is "evil" when the word "Satan" is used.


Though many will understand (especially since the documentary Hail Satan? has come out) that the Satanic Temple is dedicated to fighting for human rights, you will definitely encounter those who won't get it, and they can make life very hard for you. The stakes are very real ─ you could lose your job, housing, or child custody battle, for instance. For that reason, not everyone is "out" about their Satanic identification. But despite the risks, many Satanists have taken the plunge and come out to their friends, family, and even the public.


I interviewed 24 Satanists about their coming out stories. Their answers varied widely. Some only came out to the closest friends, whereas others had openly identified as Satanists for decades. People came out for all sorts of reasons ─ some were outed involuntarily when their parents went through their phone, some decided to come out to fight rising theocracy, and many just decided they wanted to live without hiding their beliefs. For some people, friends and family had already figured it out long ago.


As to be expected, there were some negative reactions. Some Satanists' families, particularly older family members, cut ties; one individual had CPS called on her by a neighbor. But negative ramifications were surprisingly rare. In several cases, family members took the time to learn about the religion, resulting in understanding. Other Satanists avoided problems by using a pseudonym to protect their privacy.


Not one individual reported being harassed at work or fired for their beliefs (though that is still a danger, of course). Many who weren't worried about it referenced the fact that discrimination based on religious belief is illegal in the workplace.


On the other hand, there were a great deal of positive consequences. Satanists reported feeling a sense of pride in having the courage to come out, as well as the sense of freedom. They no longer had to hide something that was extremely important to their sense of self.

When asked about recommendations for those who were thinking about coming out, many who replied mentioned going slow and coming out to only a few people or groups at a time; building up a support network before you take the plunge publicly; being informed about Satanism yourself so you can educate others; and being prepared to walk away completely if someone just refuses to understand and accept your identification.


Despite all these varied experiences, almost everyone agreed on one thing: it's completely acceptable to choose to NOT come out. If you do have to keep your Satanism to yourself to avoid problems, that's totally understandable. All the interviewees agreed that only you can decide if you're in a safe place to come out, and were highly supportive of those who for one reason or another chose not to bare their religious beliefs to their family or the world.


Here are the first six stories from those who have come out as Satanists. Every week I will publish a new installment until all 24 stories have been shared.


Jason Lloyd



1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

I'm not sure there's ever really been a pinpoint moment in time. I was pretty open about it later in high school, throughout college.


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

Definitely a casual thing. I didn't really advertise it, but if someone asked I didn't lie either.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

My family all knows, friends, employers . . . I had a cousin try to dox me, but nobody really gives a shit what she has to say anyhow.


4. What prompted you to come out?

Well, I've been more open about it in recent years for various reasons. Part of that is simply a Satanic desire to live my truth, be open about myself. The other is the political landscape today. Christianity today is so skewered and distorted that these people need to know someone's going to push back against their attempts to legislate their beliefs into law.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

I don't. I have one, and I'm not sure that I won't ever use it for whatever reason, but for me personally I felt that it was worth signing MY name to. I understand why people use them, I support their decision to, but for me I felt it best to assume the risk and put my name on it. If I use my pseudonym down the road, it'll likely just be for artistic reasons.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

Not really. I've always been the black sheep of the family, so to speak, and that's still true. I just tell people that I am what I am, and nothing about me has changed. If folks wanna see me differently once they find out, that's on them.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

No, thankfully. One of my managers has made lighthearted jokes about how I'm not very Christian, but it's all in good fun. We joke on each other like that. Every one else just accepts that it's "Jason being Jason" and doesn't sweat it.


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

I've had members of my family try and shut me out, but who cares? We weren't ever close to begin with. Otherwise, I'm aware that I've been really lucky that I can be open, be me, practice my religion, and have nobody really give me a twist over it.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

It's very empowering to simply be.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

Just be honest with people. Most people, in my experience at least, are curious but they're willing to learn. People fear what they don't understand, so helping them learn really helps to alleviate that fear, that concern that they initially have. I always tell people, no question asked with a desire to learn will ever offend me, no matter how silly it might seem. I've been straight up asked if I sacrifice animals, and I just give a soft chuckle and I answer honestly and openly, and it's nice to see that concern melt from their faces as they learn.


Abset


1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

I found Satanism in grade school and never thought to hide it.


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

Told my mom, she dismissed it as a phase. I kept bringing it up, teens, 20s, and she finally accepted it when I was in my 30s. My friends have always known.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

Family, spouse, friends, coworkers, pretty much anyone I meet.


4. What prompted you to come out?

It never occurred to me to keep it a secret.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

Now that I am a member of The Satanic Temple I've taken on the nym Abset. I still want the right to choose who knows and when.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

My mom didn't want to accept that the values she was raising me with were in line with Satanism. I was originally being raised pagan and very anti-Christian due to things in my family's past.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

N/A


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

I've been lucky with this one. I've suffered no known repercussions.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

I knew my life was my own. If I had a victory, I would praise myself. If I had a setback, I would reflect and figure another way to achieve the missed goal. Knowing it was all up to me, but also knowing to not be so prideful as to not ask for help when needed.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

Know your reasons for choosing your path. Think ahead the questions others might ask and have solid answers that reflect your personal code of ethics. Always be calm, and know you can walk away if you're feeling threatened or antagonized to react in a harmful way. This is your life and no one else's. Be strong in yourself.



Caroline Blicq


1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

2016


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

"Coming out" as a Satanist was more of a casual thing ─ I'm self-employed and have a liberal/accepting/open family life and I've always been lucky/privileged to not have to hide it.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

Friends know, my immediate family knows. My extended family and acquaintances likely know because despite not having an "official" outing, I don't hide it.


4. What prompted you to come out?

Feeling like I found "my people," not caring what anyone else thought about it.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

No.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

No negative ramifications. My children ─ while having some differing religious viewpoints ─ asked to join me for some meetings. I'm glad that they know that they can choose whatever they're most comfortable with, without fear of judgement.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

N/A


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

My children's father has primary custody and I have always been aware that it could have a negative impact, but it would be difficult (impossible) for him to allege or prove anything negatively impacting my children, so I welcome the challenge.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

Embracing my life. Knowing full well that this life is the only one I have, and to live it to the fullest. Also possibly known as a mid-life crisis? Either way, I'm happier and feel free to do what I want, how I want to, on my own terms.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

It's difficult for me to dispense advice because I realize that my not having to contend with potential workplace/interpersonal/familial discrimination IS a privilege. I think that everyone has a different perspective and set of circumstances to navigate, and it is probably best dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I do know that taking ownership of one's own belief system (or lack thereof) is extraordinarily liberating, and would highly recommend.



Hannah


1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

Within the last few weeks.


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

I have been slowly introducing this to friends and family. I have made a few posts hinting towards it, and have been bringing it up in conversation.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

My parents, my sisters, and all of my close friends.


4. What prompted you to come out?

I felt it was important to have a conversation about it so that no one had any extra time to come up with their own idea of what it may mean to be a Satanist, since those ideas are usually pretty inaccurate.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

No, but I do keep posts concerning Satanism to a minimum on my main Facebook account. This is due to the fact that I have a lot of family on Facebook that I haven’t been able to speak with about this topic yet, and I would rather speak with them in person.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

Not so far, however I am sure it will with some family members that don’t yet know.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

No.


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

None so far, but I do fear that some family members may cut me off or that I might have trouble with jobs in the future.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

I feel much more free to express my beliefs, and found that much of my close family and friends actually agree with the message behind Satanism.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

Keep calm in conversation, and offer to answer any questions or concerns. Don’t allow anyone to harass you or threaten you. If a job tries to fire you for your religious beliefs, be sure not to stay silent. Speak up and point out any injustice you may face.



James L.


1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

I suppose this year, when I joined TST. I was often accused of being a Satanist when I was an edgy teen, but didn't seriously consider myself a Satanist until I read the Seven Tenets.


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

I really just changed my FB to say I was a Satanist (and specifically TST). That part of my profile is public. Apart from that, and posting more Satanist links etc., I didn't make any announcements or anything. Religion is a private matter and while I'm happy to talk to anyone who asks about it I don't see the need to proselytise or evangelise.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

Anyone who has looked at my Facebook profile! It's not something I go out of the way to talk to people about. In Northern Ireland people tend not to ask questions about your religion.


4. What prompted you to come out?

I think you should have the conviction to show your beliefs, so it wasn't really a question to hide it for me.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

No.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

No, and I can't see many of them having an issue about it. Most of them are at least atheist or agnostic skeptics, so I don't have much of a barrier there.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

I doubt any of them know or care, and again, many of my work colleagues are atheist or agnostic so I doubt it'd be a huge issue for many. I have talked about Satanism with some of them, but nobody has asked if I am a Satanist or talked about it in great depth.


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

None. It is illegal in the UK to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief. At worst some of the right wing Christian fundamentalists would take objection to me and hurl some abuse, but that's nothing new, they do that to the Humanists too, and have done so for years.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

There's a good sense of community around TST. It's nice to be able to chat and debate with like-minded people. In my view this is what most people truly enjoy about religion, so to have that divorced from the need for all the superstition and fear mongering that comes with "faith" would be positive for most people.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

People tend to react out of fear. Most reasonable people will accept your choices when you explain how you came to your decision. Some people may not be able to get over their fear of what their religion tells them is evil, and that's something you'll have to consider carefully if they are close to you. Sadly there is no single answer to this, it will very much depend on your circumstances.




Missy Morbid


1. When did you come out as a Satanist?

Last year, around the first of December.


2. How did you come out as a Satanist? Did you announce it, or was it more casual (e.g. came up in conversation, people noticed from you FB posts etc.)? Was it intentional, or were you outed involuntarily?

I really only came out to my husband and kids. I just brought it up out of the blue, lol. I had researched TST and Atheistic Satanism and knew that I wanted to be a part of it.


3. Who have you come out to or been outed to ─ who in your life knows you're a Satanist?

Everyone.


4. What prompted you to come out?

Myself.


5. Do you use a pseudonym for your Satanic activities? If so, why? Do you use separate social media accounts for your Satanic activities?

I had an individual call the Child Protective Services on me because, and I quote, "she is a Satanist and does rituals around her children." From that point forward I've used a pseudonym.


6. Did coming out affect your relationship with your family, your partner and/or your children, and if so how?

No, my family (mom etc.) are not close. My husband and children are very supportive.


7. Did coming out affect your relationship with your work colleagues, and if so how?

No


8. What serious repercussions did you face (or might face) as a result of coming out as a Satanist?

I'm lucky that besides the whole CPS ordeal I've not had to deal with any of the aforementioned problems.


9. What positive changes did you experience in your life after coming out?

Found the most wonderful and supportive community and friends.


10. What advice might you give someone who wants to come out? Do you have any tips on dealing with misunderstanding and discrimination?

Let your actions speak for you.



See Part 2 >

See Part 3 >

Lilith Starr is a Satanic writer and the author of "The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment." She served as Chapter Head of the Satanic Temple - Seattle Chapter for four years.






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