June is Pride Month! My pride tee shirt is on its way! Two of them, actually! I couldn’t pick just one. No worries, I’ll be sure to post some pics once they arrive!
What to share about Pride Month? What on earth do I have to add–if anything– to the conversation? Here are the few cents I humbly add:
As a woman in a male-dominated profession, I understand what it means to have power and privilege. It’s not a “problem” to have power or privilege, the real challenge, though, is how we use what we are given to effect change in the world. I choose to use what power and privilege I have as a white, cis-gender, heterosexual woman clergy to say:
- I affirm all people, all genders and sexualities, in their God-created wonderfulness.
- I respect all humans in their rights to live with integrity and honesty.
- I honor the great diversity of humanity in gender and sexuality, and believe the glorious rainbow of humans is PROOF of the power of our Creator-Artist-Poet God.
While all humans have the capacity to understand and offer hospitality, I believe that because of their unique experiences, LGBTQ+ people can be especially gifted in this deeply spiritual and biblical practice. Following the example of Jesus himself, they join other folks on the margins, standing with their arms open-wide, to offer grace and welcome to those pushed aside by mainstream society.
Lastly, in a world where such a beautiful thing as family can be so broken and dysfunctional, the LGBTQ+ community has reclaimed the word and redefined the concept in a powerful way that has seeped back into all aspects of our larger culture. Of course I know folks have been making “families of choice” rather than “blood” since the beginning of time, but to ignore the contribution of the LBGTQ+ community here would be to deny their unique offering to the concept, and the freedom and healing it has offered to so many broken and rejected people. Sharing my own family with gay and lesbian friends, and being welcomed into others’ families as surrogate mom or sister is not only a privilege, but is so healing and empowering to me, my husband and my kids.
When my own journey took me down the path of interracial love and marriage, and I faced rejection and judgment from my family, the people who picked me up, held my hand when I cried, and listened to my story were my gay and lesbian friends. “We’ve been there,” they told me. When my family used phrases like “you chose this” and “how could you shame us this way,” my gay and lesbian friends not only cared about me, but they UNDERSTOOD me because they had shared the same pain, even more so than I in most cases.
At times when I didn’t have blood family to rely on, LGBTQ+ friends claimed me and Allen as their own. They welcomed us and affirmed us, they cared for us and shared in our heartache and laughter.
I only hope that in my efforts to be an ally now, I can repay a portion of their kindness and love. This month, and all the months, I stand humbly and proudly alongside you and offer my support, gratitude and love.