Most tarot decks can be pretty white and heteronormative. The Lovers card pictured above is from the Atomic Tarot by the Atomic Pixies artist collective. I love queer tarot decks like this, because seeing images of figures with lovers and lives and bodies like ours is vital for us to imagine ourselves into the lives we want.
However, it's possible to queer the tarot even without a capacious deck like the Atomic Tarot. Little Red Tarot hosts a blog series called Queering the Tarot, which I love, and is definitely worth reading, and sheds light on how we might queer any deck. The truth is that we queer folks are used to altering everything in the world in order to find our place in it, so we naturally read ourselves into even the heteronormative narratives, identify with protagonists of different genders in order to imagine our way into a story that doesn't yet exist for us.
As a child, I pretended to be Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell. I wanted to woo the pretty girls, command attention, and avoid consequences. I imagined cutting my hair short and kissing my babysitter. Representation matters, and we can, do, should create art that includes us, but we don't have to wait to make use of the tools we already have.
I've always viewed the tarot as a little queer, with its mysticism so different from the fundamentalist Christian doctrine with which I was raised. The idea that I could embody all of the archetypes of the Major Arcana, that I could be both eternally beautiful High Priestess and muscular charioteer fascinated me as a child when I hid in my closet shuffling my first deck.
The divinatory connotations of tarot and its occult connections place the tarot squarely in the realm of queer—different, unusual, strange—for me, and many people I talk to about being a Tarot Reader. I love this. I love that tarot allows me control over how I tell my story, allows me to take a multi-faceted approach to my life and be both this and that simultaneously. My genderqueer heart delights in the options offered by the tarot's acknowledgement of multiplicity.
The Fool's Journey speaks to my queer spirit, too, as we queers are skilled in forging our own path, forming chosen families, and transforming time and again. All of these elements are present in the tarot , and I bring my lived queer experience to my interpretations for my clients. Where have we been? Where are we going? To whom can we turn for solidarity as we wether the storm of the heteropatriarchy?
Stay tuned for more queer tarot thoughts on my blog.