Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pride and Church

Wow, it's been a while since I've updated. Pride was great fun. I got to catch up with a few old friends there, and that is always nice. One I hadn't talked to since our friend died over a year ago. It was really nice to see her. I got to meet all of my favorite writers from Curve Magazine, which was fabulous, too.

My church was there in style. That's one of the things I love most about my church: how supportive they are of the numerous gay members. Several straight members showed up with our church's big banner, and they marched in the Pride parade. It made me proud to be a member of my church. There are so many wonderful people at my church. One elderly lady had a lesbian daughter who committed suicide while she was in seminary. Her daughter never came out to her and believed that she could not be loved by anyone, especially God, because she was gay. Her mother found healing in our church. At Pride, she showed up with her rainbow flags attached to her scooter and rode in the parade. She is a fantastic person. Another couple who came are very special to me. They are some of the first people I met when I went to my church. One was a pastor in a denomination that did not ordain gays. He ended up leaving the church at least in part because of that, even though he is straight, and is now a member of my church. He and his wife are absolutely wonderful. They are hosting a glbt picnic at their house on Sunday, and I can hardly wait :) My church is a wonderful place.

Other denominations are also moving in the right direction finally. The Episcopal church just elected a woman as their presiding bishop. Frog has more Episcopal news on her blog. Go check it out! The Presbyterian church is also moving in the direction of full acceptance of gays. Yay for both of these churches and many blessings as they continue to work for change. I'm still waiting for my former denomination, the United Methodists, to get a clue. Hopefully, someday they will.

I'm always a little sad when Pride is over because it is such a time of celebration and community. In the coming months, glbt people in my state will be fighting a hideous battle against the anti-gay amendment. Call me delusional, but I really think we can beat it. I also think it will shock the nation when we do.

I have great hope that the future generations will change things. We will see gays have equal rights in my lifetime. A couple years ago, I had a young Mormon guy in my English 101 class. He was fresh from his mission, and he was obviously a very faithful person. He came to talk to me partway through the semester about gay rights. He was genuinely concerned that gays don't have equal rights. For his next paper, he wrote about the arguments presented in the gay marriage battles and about how he believed the government should change the laws to allow gays to marry. Normally, I would be concered that he was only writing that for my benefit, but he wasn't. His mind was really opened by the research he did. Of all the wonderful students I have had in class, I really believe he has learned the most.

The highlight of Pride this year was seeing another former student. This guy was painfully shy when I had him in class my very first semester teaching. He always sat in the back corner of the room, and for one of his essays, he wrote a very vague essay about a "friend" who was just coming out. He was his big gay self at Pride, and I am extremely happy for him that he has the courage to be himself. After all, it is that sort of courage that Pride is about.

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