Yesterday marked the beginning of worldwide Pride Month! Why is Pride Month important? Although much progress has been made and we celebrate that, members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to face ongoing attacks on their basic human rights. This year saw the passing of dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the nation that targets transgender children and their parents and interferes with their access to health care. LGBTQ+ youth have a disproportionately high rate of suicide, with 45 percent having seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. In addition, members of the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk for addiction and continue to be the victim of hate crimes perpetrated against them.
Pride Month is about visibility. It is about allowing members of the LGBTQ+ community to be front and center, where their issues are highlighted and their experience is validated. Pride is not just about “gay rights,” it is about human rights. As we know and say often, none of us will be free until all of us are free…..free to be safely and unapologetically who we were created to be.
The annual Monterey Pride Event and Parade is coming up! It was canceled the last two years in a row due to Covid, but three years ago UMB was a strong presence at this event and I’m hoping we can be again! I feel it is so important for people in the LGBTQ+ community to see clergy and spiritual-religious folks standing up publicly for the rights of people who have been so-long abused by “the church.” I hope you will join me. The event is Saturday, July 23, 2022, at Custom House Plaza.
The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. at Alvarado Street and Polk Street. Those of us who will be marching in the parade will gather at 10:30 a.m. at UMB so we can all walk together. Please wear rainbow colors!
Research conducted by Unity found that the LGBTQ+ community is our biggest potential audience for the Unity message. LGBTQ+ folks who have been wounded by the church are looking for a safe, open, and affirming place to worship and grow spiritually. If anyone is interested in helping table a booth for UMB at Monterey Pride, please let me know. The bigger a presence we can be at this event the better!
Our Annual Pride Sunday Service at UMB will be on Sunday June 26 at 10:00 a.m. Again, wear your rainbow colors to support LGBTQ+ people and join us for songs, prayers, and a Sunday lesson relating to LGBTQ+ rights and visibility. It will be a fun, celebratory service and I hope you will join us!