June 2024

LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

Stonewall!  The first time I heard Stonewall referenced in a theological conversation, I thought it was related to Stonewall Jackson, the Civil War Confederate General, or as a metaphor that means blocking conversation.  The fuller conversation informed me of the “Stonewall Riots” that began June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village.  The US was already in the throws of human rights and civil rights revolutions when Stonewall erupted to say “No more!” to police violence against Gays.  Today, Stonewall no longer elicits as my first thought a Civil War General.  Now, Stonewall, first and foremost, calls to mind the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement in America.

Welcome to June and LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.  Like so many other months of celebration, LGBTQIA+ Pride Month began as “Gay Pride Day.”  The activities have expanded into a month of parades and other special moments of celebration.  Pride Month is a celebration of life.  It is a celebration of embracing all that it means to be human and alive.  Pride Month is a celebration of full self-acceptance that opposes the degrading attitudes of a society that is male preferred and privileges heterosexuality as cultural normativity.  Pride Month calls out for the celebration of queerness in the same ways the nation celebrates gender-based holidays.

This is a special year for celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride Month within the United Methodist Church (UMC).  The 2024 General Conference voted overwhelmingly to affirm LGBTQIA persons called to ordain ministry.  Furthermore, the UMC also chose to celebrate LGBTQIA marriages as holy.  Previously, marriage, named as the most human of all social institutions, was identified as being limited to the covenantal commitment between a man and a woman.  The 50-year debate was fierce and deeply wounding.  Today, the table has been set for a banquet with a banner above the table declaring “Love!” (Song of Solomon 2:4).  Pride Month is truly the full celebration of life within the UMC!  The Iliff School of Theology, along with the UMC, joins in the Love Feast that is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month!