Tag Archives: Pride parade

On being Proud.

Yesterday morning, an envelope slipped through the letter box. It felt like an invitation to something and on the back were the intriguing words “10 Downing Street”.

It turned out to be an invitation from the Prime Minister to a reception to celebrate the LGBT community in the United Kingdom.

Will I be going? You bet I will.

Receiving that invitation made me realise in some small part why I’ll be marching in today’s Glasgow Pride march.

Now, Pride is an emotion that Christians tend to be a little wary of. After all, didn’t our Lady have something to say about scattering the proud in the imagination of their hearts? Surely she wouldn’t be found dead on a gay pride march?

Well, think again. Our Lady will be marching today in the form of a group of folk from St Mary’s, Cathedral. (Notre Dame de Glasgow indeed).

The word “pride” covers a number of things in English these days – some negative and some positive. The proud hearts that Mary was wanting to send on their way were surely those of the haughty and the disdainful. Rather a different crew to those marching from Kelvingrove into town today.

The pride that is celebrated today is a sense of delight in the well-being of one’s self and others. Entirely a different thing, I think.

I’ll go to the Prime Minister’s reception full of pride in many people.

-full post at  What’s in Kelvin’s Head?

(weblog of Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow)

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Catholic and other religious groups were well-represented at the World Pride March 2012 which wound through the streets of London on July 7th.  The Soho Masses community of London wore T-shirts that said “All Are Welcome at Soho Masses” on the front, while the reverse said “Nobody Knows I’m Catholic.”    Members of Quest, a Catholic LGBT group in the United Kingdom marched with their banner. And New Ways Ministry was present, proudly marching with our banner amid the thousands upon thousands of marchers and spectators.

Here are some photos which I hope will give you a sense of the strong faith presence in the march, as well as the diversity of attendees:

– more pictures at  Bondings 2.0.

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Gay Pride Weekend Draws Mormon Allies and Equality Supporters

This weekend, organized contingents of Mormons marched in LGBT pride parades in 8 cities, from New York to Santiago de Chile, marking the high point in an historic season in LDS LGBT history that began with the Mormons Building Bridges Parade in Salt Lake City on June 3.

In Seattle, the Mormons for Marriage Equality contingent counted 55 marchers at the beginning of the Pride parade. As the group made its way down the parade path, an additional 20 Mormons left the sidelines to join, repeating scenes witnessed in Washington, DC, when the parade route became a site for reunions between active Mormons and gay Mormons long estranged from the faith community.

In New York City, 50 gay Mormons and allies marched behind the banner of Affirmation, the nation’s oldest Mormon LGBT group. Some held signs quoting a verse from the Book of Mormon: “All are alike unto God.” Nineteen LDS marchers held the Affirmation banner in Houston, as did an estimated 100 LDS LGBT and allied marchers in Santiago de Chile.

The largest contingent of the weekend gathered in San Francisco, where more than 100 LDS people gathered to march behind the Mormons for Marriage Equality banner, winning the parade’s award for “Absolutely Outrageous” contingent. Mitch Mayne, who is openly gay and holds a leadership position in his San Francisco LDS congregation, offered an opening prayer for the group. “I felt prompted to ask our Father to bless us with the capacity to be ambassadors of His unconditional love,” said Mayne.

-full report by Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches

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Catholics, Mormons, many religious will march in Seattle’s Pride Parade

A new wellspring of support will be on display when the annual Pride Parade gets underway Sunday in downtown Seattle.  People of faith are coming out for same-sex marriage, speaking with voices and feet, even if their bishops continue to stand against marriage equality.

The Mormon contingent in Seattle’s Pride Parade on Sunday will dress in classic missionary attire of shirts and ties, over which marchers will be wearing  “Approve Referendum 74” t-shirts.

“We stand for marriage equality:  We don’t stand AGAINST anything, and we are not interested in attacking anyone,” said Scott Holley of Mormons for Marriage Equality.  Holley’s church stood against same-sex marriage four years ago and was instrumental in passage of California’s Prop. 8.

The newly formed Catholics for Marriage Equality will be marching nearby in the parade under a big, newly made banner.  Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has fought against marriage equality, but CME leader Barbara Guzzo is standing her ground and walking her talk.

– seattlepi.com

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Over 300 Mormon allies march at Utah Gay Pride

Mormons Building Bridges came out in their Sunday best and celebrated the LGBT community

Over 300 Mormon allies dropped their bibles and marched in Utah’s Gay Pride parade on Sunday (3 June).

The group Mormons Building Bridges said they wanted to send a message of love to the LGBT community, saying it was compatible with their faith.

-full report: Gay Star News

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In Celebration of Pride Celebrations

[In his introductory post last week, “A Dissenting Queer View: Cardinal George, Gay Pride “,  Advocatus Diaboli expressed essentially two distinct concerns. One was about the overreaction by some gay activists/ gay Catholics to the Cardinal’s words, and one was about the nature of gay pride itself.  The piece he wrote was not originally intended for publication, but was for my personal consideration. As it was at my request that he posted it for public scrutiny, I promised to provide a full response, here. It was my intention to do this in two posts, for the two different concerns, but Cardinal George’s apology last week has largely removed the point of that one. Here is my response to AD, on the issue of gay pride specifically].

AD’s concern over Pride Parade appears to spring from the feelings of self-disgust that he experienced on seeing the displays of scantily – clad men, and his fear that he might be secretly “one of them”. Oddly enough, this is precisely the reason why Pride is important. Let’s take a closer look at his words:

……every time I saw depictions of scantily clad men parading down the street in some obnoxious display I was filled with self-disgust that I was secretly ‘one of them’. I thought that if I accepted who I was that I would immediately become a sex obsessed ‘queen’ who dressed like a prostitute-fairy. I was not able to accept myself as gay until after I found out that there were ‘normal’ gay people.

“Every time I saw “depictions” of…. I wonder: is this a response to real gay pride parades, or to the presentation of them in the media?

Yes, of course there are some unusual sights to be seen, expanses of naked or near – naked man-flesh, flamboyant drag queens, and perhaps leather men and their slaves/ boys – but these get into the papers precisely because they are exceptional. In my experience of London Pride, the “freaks” (as some may think of them), are vastly outnumbered by the others: those who are what AD describes as “normal gay people”.

When I think of the mental images that I take away from the London Pride parades I have participated in, I see a few of the extremes that upset AD and others, but I also see far, far more.

I see squads of military men and women, from the army, air force and navy, marching in uniform. I see groups from the police, fire brigades, and ambulance services.

I see charities and public service groups: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Age Concern, the National Health Service, and Terence Higgins Trust. There are groups from all three major political parties, as well as some smaller ones and lobbying groups. I see community, social and recreational groups, sports clubs and the like. Above all, (and this is why I participate mmyself) I also see hundreds of people from religious groups: Catholics, other Christians, Jews, Muslims and more.

And I see the commercially sponsored floats, promoting dance clubs and the like, or gym chains. And – note carefully – many of the hunky men in skimpy speedos are there as walking ads, promoting those gyms and clubs.

Why don’t straight people have pride parades, or African-Americans, or Jewish people? Because they don’t need to. Straight people don’t need to, because they are everywhere, and everyone you meet is automatically assumed to be straight. So, the whole of society is structured towards the needs and interests of the straights. Young people grow up learning how to be straight – and when they begin to realise that they are somehow different, they think there is something wrong with them. At best, they simply have a problem learning to fit in, in a society that is not designed for them. At worst, they end up suicidal. We need pride parades, not only to show that there are gay people who are “normal”, that is just like everybody else, but also to show that straight is not “normal” (it’s just common). Jews, African-Americans and the like don’t need parades, because they don’t need to make a point to be visible. They are that anyway, but still have some parades. AD says that at theirs, the main theme is not sex and glitter – but that is also not the case at gay pride. That’s just one part of it, just as it is at London’s Notting Hill Carnival, or Rio de Janeiro’s Mardi Gras.

I’m not going to labour this point any further, but I really do think that before rejecting Pride because it is all about sex and glitter, people should ignore the press coverage, attend a real-world parade, and look closely at the full diversity that is there. They may even find that there are very many people there that they can identify with, the kind of people that AD says led him to a measure of self-acceptance in the first place.

AD asks, how can Pride help us to gain acceptance from La Salette and the like? The short answer, is that it won’t. Nothing will, and there’s no point in fretting about it. Let them deal with the problem of their bigotry and hatred, themselves. I am far more concerned with encouraging and assisting self-acceptance by gay and lesbian people themselves. To see that this happens, try joining a parade some time. To walk down the street, and to see the responses of the people in the crowd, gives me a huge emotional lift every time. I guarantee that it’s worth the fatigue, sore feet and possible sunburn.

AD asks, “How much money is spend on the organization of such a parade?” The answer, quite clearly, is “A lot”. What is the point of the question? One could equally ask, how much money is spent on Christmas? Or on the Rio Mardi Gras? Or on making a movie? People spend money on it because they want to, because for some of them it will make money in return – and because some of the proceeds go to charity.

AD  states that

“Not a single solitary person alive today in the United States knows one iota of true discrimination, having their rights as a human-being violated, or anything approaching real suffering”.

This is simply not true. Discrimination is real, in the US, in the UK, in South Africa and elsewhere. Every year, gay men, lesbians and (especially) transmen and women are murdered, tortured or beaten in all these countries. In the UK and South Africa, gay bars have been bombed, and in the US, customers of the Upstairs Lounge Bar died in an arson attack. In South Africa, many black lesbians are subjected to “corrective rape”, in attempts by some homophobic men to “cure” them of their orientation. Discrimination in employment, housing and public services is real in many countries – and should not be dismissed simply because it is not direct physical harm. I also find it odd that in his comparison of  what he sees as the privileged lives of the  LGBT community and “real suffering”, AD appears to be assuming that pride is unique to the rich Western countries, and suffering to the impoverished third world. However, Pride parades and smaller scale pride events are now a world -wide phenomenon, and take place on all continents. (The biggest Pride Parade in the world takes place in Sao Paulo, which regularly has over 3 million participants)

AD, I now address myself directly to you. It was at my request that you places this publicly, knowing full well that you could be facing some risk of personal attack for your views. I made the request because  although I disagree with you, I also know that you are not by any means alone in thinking this way. I wanted to bring this into the open, so that I could respond openly. I hope you will feel that I have done so constructively, and thank you for your co-operation and courage.  I close with some parting advice, for yourself, and other gay man or lesbian who is equally disturbed by the unsavoury “depictions” of gay pride.

I began this post by referring to your own account of your self-loathing, which you began to set aside when you were able to see that there existed “normal” gay people. I would like to suggest two ideas for you to reflect on, and do so deeply.

First, consider the key point I have tried to hammer above: that there is far more celebration of the “normal” in Pride parades than you appear to be aware of. The sex and the glitter are peripheral, not normal.

Second, please consider that what you see as “normal” is not necessarily better. “Normal” means only what is common. Just as there is diversity of orientation in the wider population, and diversity needs to be accepted and celebrated, inside the GLBT community, there is a range of ways in which we experience and express our sexuality and gender identity. You have made progress along your journey to self-acceptance, but that journey is never done. Coming out is a never-ending process. I would like to suggest, respectfully, that you could make more progress on that journey by opening your mind to the value of pride,  by attending a pride parade – or even by participating.

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Out in Asia: Gay Equality, Nepal

Progress towards queer equality has been remarkable in recent decades, with gay marriage or civil unions now achieving legal recognition in a rapidly increasing number of countries, and protection from discrimination and hate crimes being written into many statute books. Few countries though, have seen a turnaround quite as dramatic as that in Nepal, which has gone from persecution to imminent constitutional protection in just ten years.
First Gay Pride in Nepal, 2010
Gay marriage has been promised, and legal provision for it will shortly be built into the new constitution which is currently being drafted – but even ahead of the legal formalities, same-sex marriages are being conducted. Much of the credit for the remarkable transformation should go to the Blue Diamond gay  rights group, as Thai Indian reports:

Gay rights movement celebrates decade in Nepal

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Sep 12 (IANS) The only country in South Asia to recognise same sex marriages, Nepal Sunday celebrates a decade of the gay rights movement pioneered by a single group amid widespread persecution.
The Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s first gay rights organisation founded in 2001 by the country’s first openly homosexual MP Sunil Babu Pant, has been at the forefront of the sexual minorities’ right movement with such innovative campaigns as a tourism agency promising gay weddings and honeymoons in the lap of Mt Everest and an annual gay pride march in the capital.
On Sunday it celebrates its 10th birthday by holding, for the first time in the entire South Asia, the Mr Lesbian pageant as another remarkable way of spreading awareness about the diversity among the sexual minorities.
“People have this perception of homosexuals as effeminate men wearing women’s clothes,” says Pant, the recipient of several international gay rights awards. “We thought it is time to educate society about the diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
Every year, Nepal hosts dozens of beauty pageants for women and now, there is a growing number of contests for men as well. About three years ago, BDS started the Miss Pink contest for transgenders – men who say they are women trapped in a male body – and the winner goes to the final leg of the contest in Thailand to represent Nepal.
“But there are also transgenders who were born female but consider themselves male,” says Pant.
“Male” transgenders started hitting the headlines from 2007 after a trainer in the Nepal Army, Bhakti Shah, was dismissed along with another woman recruit, for an alleged lesbian relationship.
BDS is helping Shah to fight her dismissal in court and get reinstated.
Like the Nepal Army, their arch foe, the opposition Maoist party has also been homophobic. Its People’s Liberation Army dismissed a combatant – now calling herself Manish – for the same reason.
This year, Ramina Hussain, a traffic constable, was suspended after her partner’s family brought a charge of kidnapping in a bid to separate the couple.
However, after intervention by BDS and the media, Hussain has been reinstated.