I haven’t ever celebrated Pride Day. Even when I lived blocks from the Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement was born, it didn’t really seem like a holiday meant for me.
I am just home from singing at my church in a lovely Evensong Celebrating Love and Justice – a one-year anniversary celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling making it legal across the country for gay men and lesbians to marry whomever they choose.
There was great music and prayers for the victims of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Three recently married couples got up to tell their stories.
The stories were blessedly typical, though I know the perseverance, strength, and grace behind them. They were stories of commitment (one couple has been together for 35 years), love, life, struggles, children, promises. It all seemed so obvious, and so, well, normal.
Still, I was struck by something Brent said: “What the Supreme Court ruling said was that we MATTER.”
My dad once told me he knew he was gay when he was 11 years old. (There we are, above, on my wedding day in 1987.) He finally came out at 57, after my mother died, and it was a terrifying moment for him. By then he was also sick – he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS. He would die six years later, ravaged by strokes, blindness, and the other awful manifestations of that terrible disease.
I missed him more today than I have in a long time. To be in a church sanctuary (of all places; thank you St. Mary’s Cathedral), surrounded by men and women who know that being gay or lesbian is not a sin, to hear the comforting words of the liturgy, to light candles for those we see no more.
Dad, you always mattered to me, no matter what you thought of yourself. I am sorry that your life was dictated by rules you didn’t make, and that you spent most of your life hiding from who you really were. I am so grateful for the example of love, laughter, and hard work that you and Mom showed us your whole lives. You made me the woman I am today, and taught me what I know about commitment, love, life, struggles, children, promises.
I wish you could see it.