I can’t wait for this Saturday’s Pride March and I am so excited that UMB will be participating as a church community. This event is one that is especially near and dear to my heart, as the well-being and liberation of the LGBTQ+ community is a main passion of mine.
I’ve shared in the past about my beloved Uncle Jim, who tragically died of AIDS in 1995, before they had the cocktail and all the new drugs, when an HIV+ diagnosis was basically a death sentence. His untimely death could have been prevented if he had only been able to live his life openly as who he truly was. Unfortunately, he was involved with churches that told him his sexuality was wrong, that it was a sin, that God didn’t approve of him, and that he was going to hell.
As a devout Christian, Jim lived with unfathomable religious and inner conflict, unable to reconcile what he knew to be the truth about who he was with the lies and hate he was hearing on Sunday mornings. I tried my best to support him, to be his one ally in our family, and even though I was just a young adult myself, I let him know I believed God loved him just as he was, but it was too little too late—I was unable to save him.
I will never stop fighting for what I wish my Uncle Jim could have lived to see—a world where LGBTQ+ people are free to live their truth and where they are recognized, honored, and affirmed as being absolutely perfect and whole and loved and accepted just the way they are, especially by the church. I want churches to stop shaming people for being who they are and recognize that the human family is so incredibly more diverse than we previously understood. I want all people to have the opportunity to know the indiscriminate, overflowing, unconditional, and infinite love of God.
This is why I march at Pride. I hope you will join us!