Monday, June 18, 2007
Pride in Connecticut
I spent part of Saturday, a beautiful day here in Connecticut, at the local Pride celebration on the grounds of the local Episcopal Church. It was great to see the rainbow balloons stretched out at the end of the town green, and I smiled as I mingled, thinking about how far even my town has come on these issues. The celebration was low key, filled with families with children, local politicians and church leaders, teenagers to grandparents. I thought of Holly Near singing "We are straight and gay together..." and indeed we were.
I thanked the priests from the local church for sponsoring the event this year. (You could pick them out by their vestaments; I on the other hand was wearing a tunic, leggings, and flip flops on this hot summer day. I'm not sure people believed me when I introduced myself as Rev. Haffner!) As you know, the national Episcopal Church is struggling so with sexuality issues, and this church on the green was definitely taking a position bigger than our town.
How healing though to have church sponsorship for this event, when so many GLBT people still carry the wounds from their religious community. In fact, next week, Soulforce and Beyond Ex Gay are sponsoring the first "Ex Gay Survivor's Conference" in Irvine, California, for people who have undergone so called "reparative therapy" to become heterosexual, therapy that is often encouraged by religious leaders. I have had the privilege of hearing heart-wrenching stories of these experiences by people who have now fortunately found their way to religious homes that affirm their sexuality. If you go to the conference, we'd love to hear a report.
I couldn't wait until tomorrow's blog to share this. Abstinence only proponents once had T shirts that said "Pet your dog not your date." But they have come up with a new product. Here's a blurb from their latest newsletter: "There is nothing wrong with saving sex until marriage. In fact, there are millions of people worldwide who are making that commitment. Check out our No Trespassing Underwear and take your stand for abstinence; even if you are the only one that sees it." I'm not making this up. I'm not giving you the link, because I don't want some of the folks who oppose my positions but read me regularly to support this effort. You'll have to google it yourself.