June 19, 2005

Taking Pride

As a straight man, I never had a burning desire to attend a Gay Pride festival. It turns out, that was my loss. I recently participated in my first event of that type, helping out in a booth my church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, a non-denominational congregation that ministers to GLBT individuals, was running.

As I have found in the relatively short time I have been active in this fellowship, the more I open my mind and heart to new possibilities and opportunities, the more I am blessed. Such was the case again last weekend, at the Washington DC Gay Pride Day, held in the shadow of the U. S. Capitol.

Most of the images I had seen in the media from this event over the years included men dressed in drag or revealing leather outfits, or other members of the gay community who mistook Pride Day for Halloween. As I talked to some of my co-workers in the weeks leading up to this year’s celebration, they confirmed the stereotyping of Gay Pride Day as little more than a freak show. I was even asked more than once what type of "outfit" I planned on wearing. I politely reminded them that I’m a straight man—we don’t wear "outfits."

Early on in the festival, while there were plenty of people available to work at our booth, my fiancĂ©e Brenda (one of the founding members of our church) and I had a chance to check out the other exhibits. While there were a couple of booths that wanted to sell lewd t-shirts and videos, there were even more exhibitors representing large mainstream corporations, professional services, and yes, even churches. Like any other festival, there were also plenty of people there to promote political causes or just sell refreshments. Going against what I’m sure my mother would have expected, no one tried to "convert me" into being gay.

Once we returned to our church’s booth, Brenda and I took our turn out front, handing out little stuffed bears and tootsie pops along with information about our fellowship. While I did see some individuals that fit the media image I referred to earlier, they didn’t stand out any more than sports fans that paint their faces and bare chests with their team colors and logos. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many families—husband, wife, and children—I saw strolling along and checking out booths that interested them. How odd that I never seem to catch them in the video highlights of these events.

At one point later in the afternoon, I had a moment of clarity (which are coming more often these days) and realized the single most basic truth of Gay Pride Day. I turned to Brenda and said, "You know, these are all just people. Some are gay, some are straight, but we’re all just people. God made us all and loves us all regardless of our orientation or any label placed on us." This was a point she had reached a long time ago, but rather than make me feel slow, Brenda simply enjoyed being able to share it with me.

The most moving part of the day for me came not long before we closed the booth. A young man with a "Metallica" cap on came up to us and shared his astonishment that a charismatic church like ours existed that would openly welcome the GLBT community. He just couldn’t seem to get over that, sharing how he was a gay Christian but often felt like a man without a nation. He stayed at our booth for quite a while, first talking to Brenda and myself, then moving over to enter a deep discussion with two of our other members.

It was for people like him that our church went to the trouble and expense of setting up a booth at this event. There are so many still in the GLBT community that have been shunned, condemned or worse by their families and/or the Religious Right who don’t realize that God does love them and will embrace them AS THEY ARE if they will accept Him as their Savior.

There are also Christians who don’t judge people based on which gender they prefer to sleep with before welcoming them into fellowship. At Believers’ Covenant Fellowship (http://www.imabeliever.ws/) , I am privileged to worship with a group that practices and preaches this type of inclusion along with the importance of forgiving all those who have hurt us along the way. We also study and learn from the TRUE word of God, not one twisted to suit any political agenda.

That’s what this blog is all about. Please post your comments or send e-mail to straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com.


  1. While not a "religious" person (spiritual - yes) I was raised as a Christian. I admit I am one of those Manhattan, PhD, elitist types as the stereotype goes I actually read the whole post. I say this because I'm quite the non-religious person (to me it is very irrational - which is the most positive way I can say it) so I hope, upon reading this, you smile knowing that while I will never embrace the fold - you have given me hope in such hopeless times. Something to be proud of I believe. Thanks for not being what others are. If I did believe in the Holy Father - I'd also believe that there is a good spot right up front with him - for you.

  2. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your post about public affection to several friends who during Gay Pride Week will be re-assured that they are not condemned by all who do not share their orientation. Thank you for revealing your not narrow attitude. I find that a very Christian act. Life and Love are things to be shared !