Throughout the next month, you will no doubt see local businesses, churches and neighbors recognizing June as Pride Month. With rainbow flags, parades or special worship services, many people see Pride Month as a way to acknowledge our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and their advancements in the face of decades of discrimination.
But Pride Month should be about so much more than passing recognition or easy acknowledgement. Support is a lovely sentiment, but this Pride Month I’d encourage everyone to go a little bit deeper. As followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t want to just see our LGBTQ friends and family members, but we want to walk with them, to listen to their stories and to open our hearts.
The power of authentic and sincere recognition does not come from pictures, posters and promotions. The power of our witness as members of God’s Beloved Community is seen and experienced through the Spirit that is present with us, the words that are spoken from us and the actions that are shared between us.
It starts with the understanding that the LGBTQ children of God aren’t struggling for recognition in the month of June, but all year long. Before Pride, during Pride and yes, after Pride, each of us must be willing to identify, to acknowledge, to recall, to examine, to celebrate and get to know our LGBTQ friends, co-workers and family members. We’re called, especially, to see and stand with those who are still subjected to discrimination and violence, especially trans women of color.
But we are called to go further still. In this national moment of great divisions, we often ask ourselves and each other “What’s wrong with our society?” There’s a great deal we can fix, but the real problem is what’s missing: love. “I give you a new commandment: love one another,” Jesus tells us. “Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (John 13:34).
During Pride Month and all year long, we must hear the language of love – but we must remember that it is the action of love that holds the power of transformation. The practice of love, and the daily living out of our faith, is where we find God and learn how to really see each other.
This year, do more than just recognize your LGBTQ neighbors and family members. Go beyond a passive acknowledgement. Love them, and love them deeply. Stand with them. Get to know them. Listen to their stories. Celebrate them. Walk with them – not just in a Pride parade, but every day. From all of us here at the Cathedral, Happy Pride!
The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr.
Canon Missioner and Minister of Equity and Inclusion
Washington National Cathedral