Pride, Faith, and Hope
On Saturday, I hosted my Pre-Pride Parade Party at my place. It was lots of fun and I had quite the crowd. Museum Man invited some of the gay and lesbian midshipman from the Naval Academy. Was I ever that young? I went with a champagne themed party with a bunch of different fruit juice mixers. I actually managed to get the food right as I had virtually nothing left over. But I continually underestimate that the gays are drinkers. About an hour before we were going to leave for the parade, I had to make an emergency liquor run to buy some more champagne! Around 6PM we headed out to watch the parade. Now it really doesn’t compare to NYC, SF’s, or Sydney’s parades, but it’s still fun. And despite the tres $hitty week (more on that later), it was good to go out and celebrate being gay. And I know there may be many who ask why we need to celebrate being gay? And it’s hard to explain. But if you’ve been listening to the news, if you’ve heard about the children bring bullied in school, the gay men and women being beaten and killed for who they are, then you’ve got lots of reasons for Pride. We’re standing up for them and for all of the gays and lesbians in small towns across the country who don’t get to be who they really are. They can't only not celebrate, but in fact have to hide who they are. We aren’t hiding any more. Go read Joe’s “Watching the Defectives.” It really is just the best explanation Pride that I’ve ever read.
On Sunday, I went to the Pride festival early to work the St. Thomas’ booth. You want to know the hardest job in the world? Working at a church booth at a gay pride event. With all of the crap that the GLBT community has gotten from organized religion, it’s almost like working in a danger zone. I worked the early shift as the crowds were just starting to build and I stood in front of the booth saying “Happy Pride” as the people walked by with a little dish of chapstick (cause everyone needs chapstick) and some lollipops! And while most people just gave me an odd look, a gay man trying to shill for Jesus? There were quite a few who stopped by to chat with us and pick up a piece of literature. I’d start to go into my schpeal about how St. Thomas is a historical Episcopal Church in Dupont etc. The responses were mixed. Sometimes I got the “Oh, one of the good churches” a young woman said to me. Yes, one of the good churches. One that is welcoming and inclusive and wants everyone to be loved by God. When I got a person like that, it felt good. When I got the “I don’t do God” I kind of felt sad. But I would say thanks for stopping by and enjoy Pride. Now, while most people stopped by for the chapstick or lollipops, I did have one admirer who was interested in St. Thomas, wanted to know what service I went to, and whether I had a boyfriend. I said that I did, but that we had lots of gays so he should still check us out. Kind of funny.
Hope. So it’s been a really crappy couple of weeks. I was an early Obama supporter. I remember refreshing my browser to get the updates on the Iowa caucas results and cheering as his numbers climbed higher. And I gave money to the Obama campaign. A decent chunk of change over the course of the campaign. While I wasn’t particularly thrilled with his stance on gay marriage, repealing DOMA, DADT, passing ENDA, Hate Crimes, etc would be good enough for me. And I supported his stance on the war on Iraq, torture, the econonmy, the environment, etc. I had hope that this man would be able to be the President that really led the country, unified it, helped restore it. And I think he’s done some good things. But then there was the DADT fiasco. I’ve met Lt Dan Choi (he actually hit on Lawyer X, while I was standing there!). And I kept thinking, oh Obama will do something. He’ll send a bill to Congress to repeal DADT. Or, if not that, just issue a stop loss order for now while Congress gets its act together. But nothing. And so my hope started to fade. And then the DOMA brief. Yikes, I can’t even begin to tell you what that did to me. Comparing gay marriage to incent and pedophilia? Did you just pull out an old brief from the Bush days and say this is good enough? And even after it came out, I still kept hoping that the Obama administration would say that it was a mistake, or something. But no, they stood by it. They supported the most hateful, biased, ugly legal arguments against gay marriage and I felt like I had been sucker punched. I’ve always considered myself fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And I’ve voted democratic since the republican’s weren’t really fiscally conservative anymore. But more to the point, while I don’t expect a lot of support of LGBT issues from the democrats, atleast they aren’t actively working to take my rights away, to make me a second class citizen. Or so I thought. The Obama DOMA brief just proved me wrong. And now my hope fades a little bit more.
The ironic thing in all of this is that while I’ve always supported the idea of gay marriage, I never thought it would apply to me. But with Lawyer X, that’s changed. I can definitely see us getting married some day. Or so I thought. Just when I started to buy into the dream, the President I help elect just made that dream a bit harder to realize.