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Why Pride Matters
A Reflection on the Importance of Pride
Every year during the month of June, millions of people around the world celebrate “Pride Month”- a time set aside to celebrate the lives, love, and contributions of LGBTQIA+ people to our world. From now until July, you will likely see storefronts and street corners adorned with rainbows, weekend parades and festivals celebrating your local LGBTQIA+ community, and a whole lot of outcry from “traditionalists” who say that this whole Pride month is a display of moral depravity.
Fifty years ago, in most places in the world including the US, it was not safe to be queer. Queer people didn’t have equal rights, we were demonized and stigmatized, and most people believed that we were social deviants that belonged in prison or mental institutions simply because we desired to be in relationships with people of the same gender or did not conform to cultures gender categories. So much progress has taken place over the last fifty years, won through the tireless fighting of queer people simply for the right to be.
Yet today we stand at the precipice of a pivotal moment in the history of queer rights- opposition to our lives and love has recently intensified, and in many places in the world political power has returned to the hands of people who would love to see queer people stripped of our hard won rights. Violence against queer people is increasing across the United States, especially targeting our transgender siblings. There is a very real possibility that even the 2015 Supreme Court decision which secured marriage equality may be reversed by our far-right court.
All of this is to say, while there is much to celebrate, the truth is that there is also much to fear. Queer people are not equal, we are not safe, and our future is not certain in any part of this country or around the world. And because of this, it is all the more vital that our straight, cisgender allies refuse to stand on the sidelines, but step up and speak out, showing your support for the LGBTQIA+ community and our equality and dignity as fellow image bearers of God. In this moment, it is essential that straight allies use your power and influence to protect and defend queer folks in your community who are increasingly at risk of discrimination. In this moment, it’s essential for all of us to return to the roots of Pride- not just a celebration of the beauty and diversity of the queer community, but a riot for equality.
This year as you see Pride celebrations all around you, remember how close we are to reversing so much of the progress queer people have made, and let that fuel your participation in Pride Celebrations, not just as a party but as a movement of resistance. May we resist the forces of hatred and fear of difference. May we resist the lies of uninformed religious folks who believe queer people are inherently sinful. May we resist the forces that would rather us conform to their image of “normal” than express our God-created true selves. This year as you celebrate Pride, may you remember why this month is so important, why queer visibility matters. Our freedom and equality is not a given and the fight is unfortunately not yet over.
Are you a queer person seeking to reconcile your faith and sexuality? Are you a Christian ally seeking to learn more about what the Bible actually says related to queer people?
Join queer pastor and theologian Brandan Robertson for an hour and a half seminar and Q&A session exploring the Biblical case for the full inclusion and celebration of queer people and their lives and loves in the Christian Church.