The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey, we are not invisible


Photo credit - Joe Openshaw

Central Alabama Pride just produced one of the most memorable Pride celebrations the city of Birmingham has ever seen. Did you see any coverage on the news or in the paper? No. Were they notified of the events? Yes. Did they cover the events in the past? Yes. Are they negligent in refusing to cover the events this year? Yes.

A comment on facebook: "Imagine the difference in the outcome of the civil rights era if MLK and Rosa Parks were swept under the rug and ignored...this is our time!"

Larry Kramer said it last night in his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards:
"Dearest loving mother, Daryl Roth and generous Paul Boskind, thank you, and everyone, for this magnificent production. To gay people everywhere, whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight. Let them know that we are a very special people, an exceptional people, and that our day will come."

Here is a column I wrote for Noise Magazine about Pride. Interspersed are pictures of Equality Alabama in the parade this year.

Pride artwork by Benjamin Faucher

June is the month that LGBT Pride is celebrated in Birmingham and many other communities across the country. This commemorates the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village that occurred on June 28, 1969 that many designate as the start of the modern gay rights movement.

Photo credit - Joe Openshaw

Pride means different things to different people. For some in the LGBT community the Pride celebration is a way to let others know that “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” For others, it is a chance to blossom into a role that they don’t play every day. And for still others, it’s a chance to party. But for some, Pride celebrations are thought of as silly, unnecessary or even hurtful to our cause.

Photo credit - Chris Wilson

Definitions of pride include references to dignity and self esteem and self respect. None of these words; pride, dignity, self esteem, or self respect, mean the same thing to everyone.

We all come from a different place, physically and emotionally, in our journey. But most will agree that somewhere along the way, our pride suffered and our dignity, self respect and self esteem were low.

Photo Credit - Chris Wilson

Photo Credit- Joe Openshaw

Almost all injustices toward the LGBT community have a basis in religion. Whether one is a member of a particular church or denomination, we all still feel the effects of prejudices and misunderstandings that come from the pulpit. Even though many denominations and individual places of worship are becoming more friendly or affirming toward the gay community, the attitudes of the conservative religious sects continue to affect elections and laws and policies that affect us negatively.

Photo Credit - Joe Openshaw

Equality Alabama has compiled a list of “welcoming” places of worship in our state. The list is incomplete and is evolving. If you know of a place of worship that should be included but is not on the list, please let us know. What we have tried to do is create a database of places where an unsure person could go and seek comfort and be allowed to worship without fear that they would walk away feeling condemned. Because that is exactly what has happened to many of the LGBT people in our state.

Rejection by the church has led to feelings of not belonging, being un-loved and un-wanted, and the inability to accept one’s self. Dignity is lost. Self respect and self esteem are lost. Depression and its sometimes awful consequences are the result.

LGBT Pride is a chance to counter those feelings, whether one is experiencing them now, or has experienced them in the past. Show the world, and those who would seek to oppress you, that you are proud to be gay, proud to be lesbian, proud to be bisexual, proud to be transgender, or proud to be a straight ally.

It is not a coincidence that Equality Alabama has compiled their list at this particular time. The list should be posted on Equality Alabama's site by the time Pride takes place in Birmingham. It is Equality Alabama’s offering in the spirit of Pride, that the LGBT community is not going to let religion inspired prejudice take away the opportunity for us to worship in peace, should we choose to do so.

Celebrate Pride in June, but have pride all year long. Because you are who you are; you were created, or made this way; and it does get better. We have made tremendous strides toward equality in this country over the last few years; in part because of the visibility and message that we send by showing we are proud of ourselves. And by continuing to show our Pride, we will push the arc of justice a little further along.

Central Alabama Pride is celebrated in Birmingham June 3-June 12, and Bessemer Pride is on June 25.

Photo Credit Joe Openshaw

Photo Credit - Joe Openshaw

1 comment:

Countrycat said...

Darn! Even Huntsville's paper did a story on the city's first-ever Pride parade. and it was a pretty positive piece too.