“Why do those people need to march in the streets? Why do they call it Pride?…After all they are sinning, there’s no pride in sinning! Why do they need to do these things?”
I had those questions in the distant past, and saw them pop up by conservative friends recently. It’s taken me a long time to answer those questions.
I attended my first Pride event last year. I noticed no hedonism, no debauchery, no licentious sex, none of that Sodom and Gomorrah that many insist happens at these events. It was just a fun time with people from my church and I ran into a few friends during the day. This is a very low-key event but it was just fun and relaxing.
It occurred to me as we start this celebration of Pride month in June, exactly why LGBT folks want to have a pride parade or even a pride gathering.
Every LGBT person that shows up for Pride has a lot in common.
A high percentage of us have been kicked out of our churches for being honest about who we are. Some have been kicked out of our homes.
Nearly all of us has received some sort of harassment verbally or physically, especially when coming out.
Many in this group of LGBT people have given up on religion altogether because they’ve been treated like dirt at their churches solely for being honest, oh the irony. This is something Jesus would never do, but too many institutional churches are happy to kick someone to the curb who doesn’t fit within their often-cliquish social constructs.
The pain of being kicked to the curb runs deep. Our social circles are often inside that church that cast us out. God doesn’t insist this occur, only people who claim to know about God insist the gay or transgender person be cast aside.
Who shall we then convene with? Who shall we trust to hang out with? People that are just like us, other LGBT folks. A safe place to convene without harassment.
There it is, the answer. It’s quite simple, Pride is a safe place to hang out for a day or two so we can just be ourselves.
Pride is a safe place, an oasis from the daily pain we bear from being told we are abominations, aberrations, backsliders, perverts, rejection from churches, unworthy of Jesus’ salvation…An oasis from being told from family and friends that have disowned us that we are going to spend “eternity in hell”…those same people no longer talk with us. It’s a safe place to gather so we can forget that some of us had jobs that we were pushed out of because of who we are.
Being honest with fellow man has cost us dearly.
We are not abominations or aberrations, we are people too, many with deep faith in God.
All that Pride means is a safe place to convene with others just like us who are honest about ourselves. God is proud of you and me.
Since many churches won’t offer a refuge for those who are honest about their gender and sexuality, is making our own safe place such a bad thing?
I think not.
-Monica Jean Maday