I’ve been thinking a lot about this coming Sunday and weekend. We will celebrate Pride weekend with all of our LGBTQ+ friends and family. Pride celebrations take place in cities all over the world at different times throughout the year. It has been recognized as a way to affirm the dignity and worth of every person, especially those who have traditionally been made to feel less than or been set on the margins of society.
When we celebrate this time, we are witnessing a time when racial, ethnic, gender, class, and age boundaries are crossed. We are seeing a cross-section of our world.
One of the things I see every time I attend a Pride event is a group of mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, nieces, cousins, friends, and neighbors who offer to affirm hugs to those who are present who may have felt rejected and cast aside by biological families. Every time I see this tears well up in my eyes. Why is it necessary to reach out to comfort those who have been ostracized by family, friends, or churches? Are any so perfect, so without blemish or issue, they feel they have the right to judge and reject another?
Undoubtedly, you have heard about the new harsh anti-gay law passed in Uganda. It was already a repressive society as far as LGBTQ+ persons are concerned. The country has taken it a step further by calling for life imprisonment for anyone convicted of homosexuality. The law even calls for the death penalty for what is called “aggravated homosexuality.”
When I hear some ask if Pride celebrations/parades are really necessary, I can’t help but reply with a resounding YES THEY ARE. For all those who have lost their lives because of someone else’s hate, we celebrate Pride. For all those persons who have committed suicide because they were made to feel unwanted, we celebrate Pride. For all those who have had to flee from homes and lands out of fear, we celebrate Pride.
But do you know what fills me with pride? Being a part of a community of faith that gets it. A group of people who support loving others regardless of who they are, where they come from, or who they love. This makes me feel all the closer to the God who I know loves me. And I wouldn’t for a moment say, we as that community of faith, have arrived where we are supposed to be. Love is an active word that should always be continually pushing the boundaries for us. If we are honest with ourselves, we are always going to find intolerance in our thoughts, words, and actions. We are going to always need to draw our circles wider and wider.
There are a good number of heterosexual persons who are choosing this year to be with us as we march and ride on the float to declare our support and love. We are all people looking to be loved and accepted. First, we love and accept ourselves. Jesus told us the two most important commandments were to love God and love others AS we love ourselves. So we learn to love ourselves enough to see God in us. Then we draw the circle a little wider, then we love and accept those God puts along our path.
May God’s love draw us closer to God and each other, and then may it help us stretch our boundaries each and every day.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,