On June 28, 1969, the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Following the lead of trans women of color - including the legendary Marsha P. Johnson - the crowd of onlookers fought back against the harassment and police brutality which had plagued the LGBTQ community for decades. The Stonewall Riots are remembered as one of the inciting incidents of the early LGTBQ Rights Movement.

Each June, LGBTQ folk around the world celebrate Pride Month. Partly as an act of defiance against those powers that continue to try and disenfranchise us, and partly as a commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising. At its best, Pride is our way of marking our history and celebrating our God-given identities.

Pride is an opportunity for us as a community to be the people God made us to be. To celebrate one another. To love and support each other. In DC, we celebrate Pride each year with a week of rallies and events that culminate in a parade and street festival on the second weekend in June. And each year, Pride is a seemingly endless blur of singing, dancing, and celebration. A joyful eternity packed into a weekend. 

We spend a few days on the mountaintop and see ourselves and the world around us transformed. We sing and dance in the streets. We dabble in fierceness. We parade down 17th street and call each other to task for the ways we’ve each done harm to the community. We march and show ourselves and the world how beautiful we are - beautiful children of God, made in God’s glorious and incomprehensible image. We peel back the curtain of the world and point to God’s Reality.

For a few days, we reject the dominant culture that condones homophobic and transphobic violence. For a few days, we allow ourselves to live as Jesus calls us to live. For a few days, we remake the world in God’s image and, in the midst of it all, we allow ourselves to be ourselves, together.

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This weekend, I’m going to miss out on much of the Pride celebration. But for a good reason: on Saturday, I along with 11 others from the Diocese of Virginia, will be ordained a deacon. But, while I won’t be celebrating in the streets on Saturday afternoon, I will be surrounded by my community - upheld by the prayers of the whole Church - as I vow to live into the calling to which Jesus has called me. We, as a community, will spend time naming and celebrating the transformational movement of the Holy Spirit.

Then, all too soon, Monday will roll around. The rainbow decorations will come down. They’ll try (in vain) to sweep up the last of the glitter on 17th Street. We’ll all go back to work.

As I make my way to the church offices on Monday, this time with a collar around my neck, I’ll be mindful that my ordination wouldn’t have been possible without the profound movement of the Holy Spirit, without the brave actions of my so many LGBTQ activists and martyrs.

And as we step down from the mountaintop, we’ll all have to ask ourselves: will it just be back to business as usual? Or will we, having seen the world through Jesus’ eyes, commit ourselves anew to help bring about God’s vision for the world? To combat the sins of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny and bring about a world in which all God’s children feel the abundance of God’s inestimable grace?

Happy Pride, y’all.