Coming out is hard and when I was between the ages of 13 and 14, I was dealing with that heavy prospect and blossoming anxiety all at once.
Tarot quickly became something I used as a refuge, confidant, and outlet for my anxiety all at once. I came out, partly by accident, after consistently pulling cards such as the Tower and the Nine of Swords. Do you ever have those moments where right before you make a decision the whole world seems to stop for just a second? I had that the night I told my mother I was gay, and again when I first put myself out there as a tarot reader online. It was terrifying, exhilarating, and pretty cool to be finally doing something I loved doing-tarot reading-for others.
One of my very first decks was the Gay Tarot from Lo Scarabeo. An Italian company, they have a habit of taking a very European approach to their cards, in that they don’t often have a lot of diversity and when they do, it’s largely stereotyped and appropriative. The Gay Tarot became my go-to deck for many years but as I grew older, more comfortable with my identity, I recognized that the deck was by and large incredibly white. Interact with your tarot communities and you will hear more and more how many mainstream decks don’t take into account many people.
Eventually, I decided to craft a deck, but many ideas fell apart, until I decided to make a deck for myself. This deck would eventually become the Queer Community Tarot but I didn’t know it at the time.
The Three of Wands from the Male Tarot and the Empress from the Female Tarot
An idea with muscle
Initially, when I started making cards, it was to see if I could make cards. After playing around with images and getting a general look down, I wanted to make a deck just for me that was going to be unique and, well, filled with lots of men and their abs. For the most part, the deck began just as that and didn’t progress any further until some friends saw it and urged me to keep going.
Then other people saw it and asked whether I was going to include ‘everyone’ in my decks (as best I could). I hadn’t planned on distributing this deck and I hadn’t initially planned on more than one but the idea stuck with me for a long time and I came up with the basis for the Queer Community Tarot.
Three decks: Each of them would encompass male, female, and non-binary elements that people could combine any way that they want.
The Sun from the Non Binary Tarot, and the Hanged Man from the Male Tarot
This idea of having three decks that you could combine to make something representative of your own community came about during Pride month, and it was important to me that the cards be interchangeable to a degree.
For the writing, I use work from Queer Studies and explore the relation to tarot and the human archetype. It isn’t that LGBTQIA+ people haven’t historically existed, it’s just that they haven’t been talked about and these decks are meant to be both eye catching and educational.
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Thank you all so much!
About J Ryan:
All Roads Begin Somewhere. My tarot journey began fourteen years ago when I was dealing with my identity as a queer man and struggling to come out. I am an avid horror movie fan, writer and reader of fantasy, and learning to cook without burning the house down. I teach classes as well as provide one-on-one tarot readings and life coaching sessions.
I am constantly amazed by life and love to read and explore. I am a nerd for historical documentaries. If you sit with me, be warned that I have a mouth on me but I will always be direct with you and give you the best I can.
Now out and proud, I have grown over time, and this led me to want to give back to my community. While not all of my clients are in the LGBTQIA+ community, they are all helping me to give back.
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