I miss PRIDE Month already. I miss Facebook’s rainbow emoji’s, the vibrant colors and encouraging words woven throughout corporate ads and banners, and the sea of rainbow-clad children parting the streets of Huntsville, Alabama, and other townships and cities that intertwine to form the Bible Belt.
Photo: provided by author, Rebecca Wortham. Pictured: Rebecca and her son.
I enjoyed marching alongside so many colorful comrades in this year’s PRIDE Parade. The lessons learned and love and laughter shared were invaluable.
This is why I marched:
I marched because I believe ALL people are created in God’s image and loved by Him. I marched because I am a Christian who is called to love, and love is a verb.
I marched because I have a son who is an amazingly talented, kind-hearted individual who also happens to be a Christian and also happens to be gay.
I marched because I have served over 300 students in the city youth orchestra, and 11 of them (that I know of) are lgbtq.
I marched because I am (too) familiar with wiping tears and offering beds to lgbtq youth and young adults who “come out” to their parents then get kicked out of their homes.
I marched because my brave college friend who stepped in to rescue me from my abusive ex-husband is gay.
I marched because I don’t understand the irony of evangelical Christians (and other religious groups) claiming that being gay is a sin and, therefore, not allowing lgbtq people to become baptized/serve/lead/attend church while at the same time making room on sin-stained pews for adulterers, liars, thieves, gluttons, gossipers, and envious people.
I marched because I am tired of Christian pastors promoting “service” for unwed teenage mothers, alcoholics, porn addicts, homeless people, cancer survivors, elderly, poor, and rural African village people but conveniently being “unavailable” to serve lgbtq people. (There were 8 Christian pastors at Huntsville’s PRIDE last year, as compared to the 300 plus who showed up to support tornado victims.)I marched because I don’t want to find my gay son hanging from a closet one day so I will show him love and support in tangible ways.
I marched because I am tired of seeing confederate flags allowed but rainbow flags denied.
I marched because I am intelligent enough to know that my heterosexual hiney has absolutely, unequivocally shared a toilet with members of the lgbtq community at Target and elsewhere and my husband’s and my classrooms have absolutely and unequivocally had desks filled with lgbtq students.
I marched because I want to support ALL members of our community, not just the ones who look, act, and believe the same as me.
I marched because I believe the Bible teaches us to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.
I marched to hand out hugs and high-fives to lgbtq individuals who have not felt the warmth of human touch since before they were shunned.
I marched because I want to raise my children to learn to build bridges instead of walls, to coexist instead of divide, and to accept instead of judge.
I marched because I am a part of my community, and serving my community means serving ALL.
I hope to see you all at next year’s PRIDE. If you’re not the marching type, maybe you’ll consider posting rainbow emoji’s all over Facebook during June, calling your local lgbtq advocacy center and asking how to be involved from behind the scenes, or opening your home or heart to an lgbtq person who needs a hug or some love.
God is LOVE. Love always wins. Love one another.
Rebecca Wortham is a progressive wife and mom of 6 who loves teaching, writing, advocating, and other-thinking, feeling, and loving. My heart, home, and classroom are open to ALL, and my mind and village are diverse.
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