“HAPPY P.R.I.D.E” Beloveds!
The LGBT P.R.I.D.E. (Purposefully Rising In Divine Essence) season is upon us! This season brings with it equal amounts of commemorations, pride festivals and parades for the LGBT community across America. These activities customarily serve as an affirmation of our sexuality as well as our overall humanity. But as I extend greetings, my heart is full. After all, P.R.I.D.E.-2016 is happening against a backdrop of a hate filled climate averse to LGBT progress and safety. For this reason, I lean on these words:
“So put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, just stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
Four decades ago, the first pride marches were actually protests against police violence and harassment. They were a direct reaction born from the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969. Today’s P.R.I.D.E. celebrations however, often amounts to little more than huge street parties held in homophobic places resistant to acceptance and equality of the LGBT community typically sponsored by city authorities’ intent on tourist revenues. But after the festivities are over, unfairness remains real and prejudice is still rampant all because of religious meanness, hate speech and discriminatory legislation that we currently live in the midst of. That’s why, we who believe in full equality and are committed to overcoming hate must “Stand Firm in Our Struggle”.
To stand firm proclaims that we who are Justice Warriors have planted our feet so as to be unmovable. It conveys an image of having good footing on slippery soil made so by the crisis of LGBT youth homelessness; harassment and suicide; increasing numbers of LGBT people, especially Trans Women of color being killed; and continued rising rates of HIV among gay and bisexual men, particularly men of color. Still, we have the potential and responsibility to liberate oppressed people from oppressive laws and institutions because to be fully acknowledged and accepted within society is more than merely being tolerated. For as we stand, we do so fully clothe in P.R.I.D.E. (Purposefully Rising In Divine Essence). For God’s presence is evident in the victories from attacks; the building of LGBT community; and all the stages in between.
None the less, regardless of whether or not it is P.R.I.D.E. (Purposefully Rising In Divine Essence) or simply “LGBT pride”, people will still publicly come together and celebrate this month because it is often the only time when many LGBT people find they don’t feel alone, isolated, cut-off, rejected, hated and despised. These celebrations of cultural festivals, street parades, parties and public speeches does help countless LGBT people to not feel worthless given that society typically suggests that we should hate ourselves. Yet when the music stops, the lights dim, and the party ends:
“my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of God, because you know that your labor in God is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Be Safe and have a Happy Pride….
Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor