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As Vancouver Pride is just around the corner (August 2-4) and New West Pride coming up August 17 (Saturday), I’ve been mulling around in my head what Pride means to me and what it entails and why I celebrate it. I had been an evangelical Christian since I was in my twenties and believed being gay (or more clearly practicing homosexuality) was a sin and was to be avoided and suppressed… which was what I did for over twenty years. However, after many agonizing years of trying to get “cured”, I walked away from the church and God, finally embracing that part of myself. My first Pride was 2008 in Vancouver. I just started dating a guy and he was in town for the festivities and of course I came along. We did the bars, some of the Pride events, and watched the Pride parade. I was overwhelmed with emotion at all the people who were gay and their allies. I felt I came home, that I found where I belonged. There has been No other time have I ever felt that way until recently when I came back to God.
Pride is about protesting and letting people know the injustices that so many in the LGBTQ+2 have suffered for so many years. It’s now evolved into a celebration, of the progress that has been made but we still have a long way to go before total acceptance. Some have wondered why there is not straight pride… well the answer is quite simple. There is a straight pride. It happens 7 days a week 365 days of the year, there is no fear of losing your job, your home, being beaten up and ridiculed simply because of who you love! So, Pride represents those who have been marginalized, and cast out. Fortunately, with the progress that has happened in the last 50 years. (I was a young child when it was still illegal to be gay) there is reason to hope. The Anglican Church of Canada recently had their General meeting or otherwise called “General Synod”. In this series of meetings, they discussed and voted on various things pertaining the church and how they interacted to the world around them. One of them among many was the motion to include same sex marriage in the Canon (rules of the church), which they discussed and voted. Unfortunately, the motion was defeated by a very slim margin, however many of the Bishops who had voted “yes”, decided to go ahead and allow same sex marriages within their own diocese anyways. Pride is still a protest and a way to keep the debate alive to keep moving forward to full acceptance. Also, during the August long weekend there is also an event called “Spirit Pride”, which is put on by St Andrews-Wesley United church and is being hosted by Christ Church Cathedral. It’s a conference about LGBTQ+2 Spirituality and runs in tandem with Pride.
I am not here to debate the scriptures about it, and not interested in hearing that side of the story as I’ve heard it all before, and have spent a lot of time studying scriptures and hear divergent views on same sex attraction. My conclusion, God loves us all no matter and that being Gay is not a sin. I recommend getting know Gay Christians, find out how they tick, what they love, their passions and interests. You’ll find they are not so different from the rest of us. An excellent resource is Kathy Baldock’s ”Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community”. I challenge you to take a second look at the scriptures, keeping cultural context in mind. Who was it written to, and why? what is the background, the culture of the day, the language they used?
When you isolate your self from the “other” you miss the richness of diversity and shortchange yourself. Get to know them, be friends, DON’T JUDGE! You will be surprised what you will find when you open your eyes and mind. God is much bigger than our own theology and our own perception of Him.
When I finally came to accept myself and God’s Love, that is when I truly felt I belonged… No other time in my life have I ever recalled being full of emotion than when I came to myself and realized that I was not an abomination, that God LOVED ME and accepted me. I am part of two Christian communities, St. Andrews Wesley United Church and St Brigids Community @ Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican Church of Canada) who both completely accept and affirm of LGBTQ2+ people. I’ve come full circle since the day I decided to walk away from all I had come to know about God, but now I am whole and know I am loved.
When we come to accept one another and not judge, when we embrace the “other” and seek to know them as a human being, when we finally realize that Gods diversity is much more than we can imagine, that His love is BOUNDLESS, Pride may no longer be needed, as we would all CELEBRATE our individuality and accept one another as children of God no matter who we love!!!
Other resources to consider: