Episcopal Pride in NYC
On June 27, 2010, the Episcopal Diocese of New York put into practice their slogan “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” by marching in the NYC Pride Parade. This move visibly demonstrated that despite the stances taken by the American Anglican Council, The Church of Uganda, and others within the Anglican Communion, they stand in solidarity with the LGBT community.
I reported on the God’s Politics blog my experiences marching in this parade with the Episcopal crew.
I quit after two years when I realized I was there to be the “hang-out-with-the-cool-Christian” person instead of someone actually immersing myself in the cause … I didn’t feel a call to march again until I became aware that the media has only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the role of churches and faith-based organizations in the advancement of the anti-gay legislation in Uganda, a story that will continue to unfold in the months ahead. Then I decided I had to stand up and show solidarity with those who are oppressed simply because they are perceived as somehow “different” and are therefore categorized as “the other,” when in fact, we are all part of a shared humanity.
My day began at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery for their annual Disco Mass. Following a spirit filled rendition of “We are Family,” a small contingent of us headed up to 38th Street between Park and Madison where we all waited for our turn to go.
The routes for all NYC based parades have been were shortened due to budget cuts. So, we began the our march at 38th and Fifth, thus bypassing St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the small crowd of anti-gay protesters that gather there every year. Still, a few die-hard protester or two felt the need to make their presence known.
All down Fifth Avenue, the marchers were embraced by church groups like Marble Collegiate, Presbyterian Welcome, and The Church of the Ascension, who offered some much needed water. In fact, the only church I noticed that didn’t have a welcoming presence outside their church doors was the supposedly gay-friendly St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Christopher Street. Go figure.
This year the crowd and marchers seemed a to skewer a bit on the older side, which probably explains why the DJ on the Episcopal float cranked out classics like “It’s Raining Men,” “La Vida Loca” and “YMCA” instead of more contemporary fare. Also, one could find some beefcake though not nearly the amount of skin uncovered in years past.
But then again, this parade has been going on since 1969, way before many of LGBT teens and young adults were even born. So for them Christopher Street represents more of a commercialized place to buy something slightly risque than the place that sparked the gay rights movement.
Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).