In days gone by, Pagans had to hide themselves to avoid persecution and even death. Even in more recent times, since the introduction of the world wide web, Pagans have felt the need to hide their identities and often did that by using an alias, which might have been a magical or craft name or simply a name they picked because they liked it. Modern day Pagans realized the necessity to have a way to be who they were, without risking their jobs, families, reputations by being labelled a witch or whatever else they happened to be.
As time went on, Paganism became more acceptable to the general public and in South Africa at least, Pagans can now be more open about who they are, but even then, there is the risk of being targeted by fanatics and having your family or children dragged into it, or victimized. Pagans in South Africa are still fighting a battle against misinformation and propaganda circulated by fanatics, although we are lucky to have organisations like the South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) and the South African Pagan Council (SAPC) working on our behalf to make things easier for South African Pagans in general, so things are getting better in that regard.
However, Vampyres are a bit further back in the timeline. We (Vampyres) are still in the early stages of coming out of the coffin in South Africa and we are VERY MUCH facing the same threats that the Pagans did in the early stages of their coming out of the broom closet.
Some people fear what they do not understand – and what they fear, they want to attack and eradicate, so as vampyres, we face a very real reality of being targeted – which is why a lot, if not most vampyres have ‘Nightside’ names.
Our Nightside names are not just pretty names we choose because we like them. They are for our security and the security of our families – and therefore a ‘rule’ in the Vampyre Community is that NO ONE ‘out’s anyone by linking their Nightside name with their Dayside one. It’s a HUGE no no!
While I would say that this is not a life or death issue (although I’m sure you can see that it could be – and who knows what the future holds for us in this country?) it most certainly is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously – by us as well as our friends.
Lets talk about a fictitious scenario…..Mr Harrison, works at a large well known school and he is a Vampyre, but nobody knows that because he uses his nightside name ‘Bob Dracula’ in the Vampyre Community. The fact that he is a Vampyre has no detrimental effects on his work or how he interacts with staff and pupils at the school he works at – however, at some point, someone tells someone else that Mr Harrison is in fact Bob Dracula. Next thing you know, Mr Harrison is being hauled into the principals office and is summarily dismissed. Let’s assume they have made up some other legal reason to get rid of him, because I’m sure the school would not want to have news headlines associating their brand with vampyrism. I think it’s safe to say that they would have made it obvious (although discreet) that the actual reason is the fact that he is a Vampyre.
So he now has no job and cannot support his family, and as the story spreads on the down-low, he may find that he cannot get another job. Thus not only was he affected by being ‘outed’ – but his family has too. Mrs Harrison will suddenly find she has lost friends as will his kids – and his kids are likely to get bullied and victimized – stories of the cruelty of children are commonplace… and all this because Mr Harrison is a Vampyre. I’m sure that anyone can see all sorts of other implications which will come up with this scenario too, ones I have not specifically mentioned.
The same kind of scenario might have happened with Pagans in the past and I’m sure still does in South Africa, but at this point in time, even with those difficulties of being Pagan it is easier to be openly Pagan than openly a Vampyre – and that, unfortunately, is a fact.
Pagans have SAPRA and the SAPC working on their behalf, at this point in time there is no such open organisation for Vampyres, as our community is still growing and rather secretive. Vampyres are mentioned in press and general conversation – but under nightside names and in anonymous general terms as an accepted fact – but not as a visible group. We have the South African Vampyre Alliance (SAVA), but it is still growing and is not yet at the point where it can do the type of work that SAPRA and the SAPC are doing for Pagan rights.
So, if you are friends with a Vampyre and know that Vampyre’s nightside and dayside names, don’t ‘out’ them by telling anyone who they are.