It’s June, so Pride month is on. Depending on who you are, that means a lot of different things. For some, it’s an opportunity to gather with community; and yet some others feel excluded from the same community. Others take the most extreme examples from Pride events and show them off as how depraved “the gays” are. If one actually goes to a Pride event, they’ll see everything – yes, there will be young men dancing in not much clothing; but there will also be families: gay parents with children, hetero parents with gay or trans children. We could stand to have more color in the crowd. But, generally, it’s a place where those who fall into a sexual or gender minority can relax and breathe. They’re among their own; they don’t have to explain or apologize about who they are.
Some people would complain that there’s no straight pride. Well, folks, straight people don’t need this space to exist in. Why? Because your existence and relationships are not persecuted. We’re not persecuted, you say? I have two recent examples:
A Catholic Bishop decreed full exclusion for same-sex couples from the church, essentially excommunicating them without saying that directly.
Multiple people have commented back on the decree. New Ways Ministries’ blog captured several comments and asked for respectful communication with the Bishop.
I’ve written about my evolution and consternation with faith previously. The Catholic parts still hit close to home. I’ve been taking my mom to a ELCA Lutheran church close to our home for the last couple of months. In the after-service coffee social time last week, I dropped a few big “coming out” breadcrumbs to the pastor. It was a relief to just have the conversation continue to roll on normally, without a blink, without a reaction other than the recognition that I’d just shared something personal, with no more fanfare than introducing my mom as my mother or sharing where I work. I do miss the beauty built into Catholic churches. They generally have more artwork, statues, all the ‘smells and bells.’ I have to admit though, last week’s relief and sense of welcome trumps a pretty shell and repeated slaps from the hierarchy. I’m still thinking through this.
Father James Martin, SJ has written a book, Building A Bridge Between the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community; which he wrote in response to the shooting in Orlando last year, and the relative silence that the Catholic church responded with. The book was published this month, and the backlash has already started on Fr. Martin’s facebook page.
Last week, there was a viral shake up in the LDS faith as well. A young girl decided to come out in her testimony meeting. This isn’t my tradition or experience, so, I’ll let others speak here:
An opinion piece was published in the New York Times this morning, this article has a link to the video that has gone viral within LDS circles. Young Savanna came out to her family of faith, within her church. In my opinion, for one that age, she was quite bravely reading her statement. A friend of mine wrote this blog regarding young Savanna.
Sometimes keeping that higher moral ground can be tough. It can wear you down to continue to belong to groups that clearly – or passive-aggressively – want to deny you, your membership, or invalidate your goodness as a person. My dear nun friend calls this spiritual rape. This is part of why we need other spaces, ones that don’t hurt. Most folks get comfort and support from their faith and their churches. When your church or your family can’t provide that, where do you go? You rebuild your family and your faith somewhere else. For some of us, that’s the root of what we call PRIDE. The event is just the party. The reality is finding our own inner strength, our family, our community, and keeping ourselves together when we’re getting ground down. As U2 says in their song Acrobat, “don’t let the bastards grind you down.”