When the flag hit the top of the flagpole, my eyes filled with tears. Underneath our American flag, there was now another one: the LGBTQIA+ pride flag. I looked out over the small gathered crowd of about 35 people. Some of the faces were familiar but others were new to me, and all were tilted up to look at the new flag flying in front of our church. It was a simple but beautiful moment.
For too long, churches have been sites of rejection for people whose gender or sexuality put them on the wrong side of society’s norms. But now churches are increasingly understanding the diversity of genders and sexualities to be gifts from God.
As Christians, we promise in our baptismal vows to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Jesus teaches us to seek out the most vulnerable people and show them God’s love (see, for example, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 6:20, Luke 14:13-14, John 5:1-15). In our society, LGBTQIA+ people are some of the most vulnerable.
2021 Pride in Southington
A pride celebration in Southington is a joyful way to connect LGBTQIA+ residents with one another, and to show them that they are loved and appreciated. This is especially important for LGBTQIA+ youth, who are at increased risk of suicide and mental illness. Those risks are worsened by contexts where they don't feel supported for who they are.
We believe that God loves us all—no exceptions. For more on the story of LGBTQIA+ people in the Episcopal Church, check out LGBTQ in the Church.
Did you know?
You may expect the Pride flag to have six colors of the rainbow, but ours is a little different.
In 2017, the Philadelphia Office of LGBTQ affairs released this new version of the flag. The black and brown stripes were added to highlight the activism of Black, Latine, and indigenous people. Within the LGBTQIA+ movement, those groups have often led the way. But they’ve also faced discrimination in the very spaces they worked to build. Including these two colors on the flag is a way to acknowledge the work of people of color, and to commit to true inclusivity for all.