Monday, June 30, 2008

Gay Pride

I knocked on Glen's door at precisely 9:00 a.m.

"Time to get up. We're going to church, then straight to the Pride Festival. So pick clothes you want to wear to pride. Rainbow colors are du jour."

"I hate rainbows!" he said.

"Then wear black if you want. Be emo. Just get dressed so we won't be late for church!"

Glen is a bear to wake up in the morning. But within less than an hour, he was up wearing bright colors to match his favorite, rainbow-colored belt. By the end of the day he was sporting a rainbow feather boa and waving around a rainbow colored flag.

"What did you tell me this morning?" I reminded him, later in the afternoon.

"I lied," he admitted sheepishly.

I wore white: skinny white trousers, and a beautiful white linen shirt with purple trim that I bought on our last trip to Utah at a Native American store. Göran wore a white t-shirt and tan shorts.

Going to church made us a little bit late for Pride, but to me the most significant moment of the day was during the prayers of the people, when I was able to raise my voice in thanksgiving for the outpouring of gifts: for Glen, for our upcoming wedding, and for the discovery of Göran's family. All gifts it would be deeply ungrateful not to recognize God's hand in.

The Pride parade is a smorgåsbord. There's something there to offend and please just about everybody. (Except the occasional handful of picketers, who presumably are pleased by nothing.) Pride parade wouldn't be complete without the running commentaries from the granola types who are offended by the "commercialistic" corporate floats and the Log Cabin Republicans. ("Did you hear? McCain has a booth at Pride!" "No, really? The nerve!") Then there are the bar-sponsored floats, featuring over-the-top drag queens and thong-wearing, undulating men. (Definitely, by the way, not very hot this year. Yawn-inducing, almost.) There is the never-ending stream of religious groups: "open and affirming" Presbyterians, Catholics, Episcopalians, Quakers, Unitarian-Universalists, UCC'ers, Lutherans, Wiccans, you name it. The Jewish contingent was impressive this year. Glen asked me, "Will there be a contingent of Mormons?" "If there, were," I replied, "It would have been me who organized it." And of course there were the Atheists, all proud that they are none of the above. I saw several signs this year saying, "Happiness is being a gay atheist!" (I thought, "Yes, I was happy that way. But not nearly as happy as I am now!") The only group that garners loud cheers from anybody and everybody is PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

I could worry. I could fret that certain members of the parade are giving GLBT folks a bad name. I certainly don't agree with everything and anything represented in the parade. But it's not my image to fret about, not my movement to control. Not a movement at all really, more like a moment. A pause to reflect on the courage it's taken to reach this place in the journey where we don't have to fear for our lives or our livelihood. (At least, not in this corner of the world.) It's a pause to reflect on what integrity means to us. To me, integrity means having learned sufficient self-acceptance to want to be better than I am, to accept that I am more of who I am when I acknowledge One Greater.

So no worries on Pride. No control fits. No criticism or insecurity or anger. Just the awesome recognition that truth will eventually out. It's the integrity of the journey that counts for all.


GeistX said...

I know this isn't quite the same thing, but Nerdwife and I marched in the gay Pride parade on our server (Proudmoore) in World of Warcraft.

A picture of us can be . (I'm on the left, N is on the right). There were hundred of players from both factions marching. Yeah there were some hateful things said in the sewer that is general chat, but for the most part it was a fun time.

Solidarity extends beyond just this world.

J G-W said...

Wow! There are virtual gay pride parades now? One for fantasy evil beings and another for fantasy good beings?!!

Well, my virtual hat's off to you!